A Day in the Life of Kiran Kari



In my short time here at PTC, I have grasped a good knowledge of marketing and the products we have to offer, but I could not tell you much about what goes on behind the scenes. What I can do, is tell you about the masterminds who design, test and produce our groundbreaking technology. Often times, we only see what is right in front of our eyes, oblivious to the skills behind the finished products, unable to appreciate the ingenuity employees, like Kiran Kari, possess. In effort to enlighten our audience on the bigger picture of FlexPLM, we have added a “Spotlight” piece to our blog to highlight different employees and their efforts within the Retail Business Unit. Now to introduce our first Spotlight, Kiran Kari.

ER: Hi Kiran, thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule today and speaking with us. We’re excited to have you as our 1st Employee spotlight.  

KK: You are very welcome and thank you for choosing me as the 1st employee spotlight. I feel special (lol)

ER: You should and on that note let’s get started. What is your official job title?

KK: I am the Director of Product Management for FlexPLM.

ER: Ok, how long have you been an employee at PTC?

KK: I have been at PTC for about 13 years now and have been working with Windchill and FlexPLM for about 17 years.

ER: Wow, so you really are a FlexPLM expert. Besides being a FlexPLM guru, what is a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know?

KK: Though I spend most of my time on a computer, I actually like using my hands – wood working and DIY is a passion of mine.

ER: That’s really interesting and something I would have never guessed. Tell me a little about your position and what you do on a day-to-day basis.

KK: As a Product Manager for FlexPLM, I’m primarily responsible for the technical underpinnings of how our PLM system works.  I am also responsible for certain processes and how they are supported in FlexPLM – like Costing.  I am very much involved in driving some aspects of how we incorporate various technologies – Thingworx, Thingworx Analytics, Integrations – FlexPLM Design Suite, partners and other capabilities/initiatives like Connected Store Management to address the Retail Journey.

On a day-to-day basis my activities can be classified as development, partner, customer, and innovation focused. 

  • Development – Working with Development teams in the US, Europe and India the focus is on trying to ensure desired features are implemented and the teams have the clarifications they need to succeed.
  • Partner – Partners are a force multiplier but being aligned is also important.  Many partnerships are technological and I’m involved in supporting these partnerships so together we deliver value to our customers.  I also collaborate with partners inside the company especially product managers who manage Windchill capabilities such as security, Type Manager, Workflow, and much more.
  • Customer – Pre-Sales or Post-sales customers from time to time have issues, escalations and support needs.  Besides FlexPLM customers, others I consider customers include our services teams and partners as well.  Reviewing their concerns and helping customers is a high point of my day/week.
  • Innovation – As a technology company, being abreast of the latest that is happening in the company and the world is key.  As part of the Retail Journey we are actively working in several areas to incorporate different technologies and approaches to address the ever evolving Retail landscape.  This is usually how my day/week ends and innovation while scary and unknown is always the most interesting aspect of my job.

 

ER: Who are your coworkers, meaning what type of people do you work with? Are you in a team environment? Do you work independently?

KK: As outlined above there is very little I do that doesn’t require the co-operation and commitment of PTC and Non-PTC team members.  The folks I deal with have a variety of backgrounds – functional, technical, business, end-user and others.  Having worked in this industry for a while now, I’m lucky to be equipped to wear the relevant hats and communicate effectively but without teamwork I wouldn’t be able to address any request effectively.  I work in a remote office but I am in virtual contact with all of the team via IM or conference calls.

ER: What keeps you motivated to go to work each day?

KK: The Retail business is very dynamic and the scope of Retail PLM is pretty broad.  The opportunity to directly impact a business and in a broad fashion using technology is a challenge that I have cherished in my various roles over the years whether it was in consulting or now in Product Management.

ER: What do you like best about your job?

KK: I like the ability to influence change and act upon it while delivering customer value.  I’m part of the Retail Business Unit where customer focus and action has always driven us to do more – We have transitioned from a 1 or 2 product updates a year to multiple product updates a year.  This year we are on track to release 5 product updates in addition to FlexPLM v11.  The pace of product development and release is accelerating per Eric (General Manager of Retail Business Unit) and Tony’s (Executive VP of Renewal Sales and Retail Business Unit) mandate.  Being a part of this is an exciting opportunity.

ER: Reflect back from Day One to now. How have you evolved in your current job? How have you maybe evolved as a person?

KK: In the fast paced world that I inhabit, week to week, day to day, hour to hour the topics and the focus changes.  To be able to balance this, one is forced to compartmentalize as well as focus but realize that we are all here because of a customer/end user and impactful change cannot be achieved without teamwork. 

I have always been very individualistic and never risk averse but in this role I have grown balancing that with teamwork, communication and focus.  It has also helped that my daughters are not shy about demanding their fair share of attention as well.

ER: It’s great to hear how even with the demands of your job you still remain a family man and a devoted father to your girls. I know personally that this isn’t an easy task.

KK: It is not but I find a way to make it work.

ER: That’s great to hear. How has the needs of the retail industry changed since you started in retail product development?

KK: When I started in Retail, Amazon was still just a book seller.  Mobile internet did not exist; Fast Fashion was likely to something associated with FedEx. The ubiquity of connectivity and the ease of cross-border trade has opened up a world of opportunity where every manufacturer, brand owner and designer can try to address an opportunity anywhere else and also a threat, in every industry.  With information now at their finger-tips, customers and consumers are able to make decisions in real-time transforming the marketplace into a “winner take-all” world where second-place might as well be last.  Data has become the “secret-sauce” that will decide the winner and losers of this new era.  Companies that can collect, analyze and make the right decisions with the data will succeed for they have everything to understand and address their market.  The new generation of global companies will be companies that can effectively mine their data for better decisions and also efficient so decisions made in real time can be operationalized as such.  

ER: Where do you see PLM in ten years?

KK: The arms race to master data about customers, products, markets is here to stay and the next 10 years is going to be characterized by hugely successful companies that can harness this data to make better decisions in.  While the first generation of PLM was characterized by trying to have “one source of truth” and subsequent years characterized by process efficiencies, all driving incremental efficiencies, the real game-changer is the ability to make better decisions.   Four things that are nascent today but will transform the world of tomorrow including PLM. 

  • Connectivity – Smart things and devices will be able to thing, sense and report enabling data to be collected about almost everything.
  • Artificial Intelligence powered by Machine Learning
  • Automation:  Not just physical but mental tasks and decision making as well
  • Digital (Virtual/Augmented) Reality: Interfaces of the future will not be just screens or menus but will feel personal – visual, sensory and immersive.

When all of these trends converge on a particular area – you will see tremendous advances in just a short time.  Today transportation is general is being transformed – Think Driverless cars and Trucks.  But soon, all aspects of our life work and home will be impacted by these trends. Think Internet of Things – where virtual assistants combined with home automation allow you to truly live like the Jetsons. 

PLM in ten years will reflect systems that will not just give you a range of choices but actually crunch the data and provide decision options and predict outcomes as well.  In many cases these systems will be able to take over routine tasks so we are focused on the tasks that truly make us human -- creativity.  Data and visual content will unify impacting areas such as sampling, line management, I’m proud to see that PTC’s Retail Journey is aligned with this vision -- embracing the internet of things, real-time connectivity to systems and data sources, predictive analytics and customer focused product development, all enabling the right decisions to be made improving top and bottom-line performance. 

Wow! This was a lot of great information Kiran and I’ve learned so much therefore I know our readers have as well. Like he mentioned earlier in the interview, impactful change cannot be achieved without teamwork, and that is what this is about. Our goal is for readers to become familiar with the bigger picture and recognize every individual that helps drive the change and success of FlexPLM. This is the first of many spotlights to come, so look out for our upcoming posts!