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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 114

December 9, 2020

#114 Parul Patel: Digital Innovation, Disruption, & Customer Love

Chip interviews Parul Patel, Managing Director, Customer Love at Slalom, about partnership trends and wins this year.

The meaning of partnership has changed over the course of this year. Without trust, empathy, and the right perspective about a problem, you aren’t going to be able to cooperate, much less innovate, to make a difference in the world.

In this episode, Chip interviews Parul Patel, Managing Director, Customer Love at Slalom, about partnership trends and wins this year.

Parul talked with Chip about:

  • How a multi-way partnership built an innovative solution to help women access fertility treatment around the US
  • The new meaning of business transformation
  • How the disruption of COVID has changed the way we think about partnering

Multi-Way Partnerships Going Beyond Tech: Helping Women Access Fertility Treatment

When Parul and her team were engaged by AWS to help Ferring Pharmaceuticals innovate, it was a standard ask that was square in Slalom’s wheelhouse. But as they thought more about the opportunity, Ferring saw a vision where they could break through barriers and help women overcome the challenges of access to fertility treatment. But this was no longer just a technology solution, it is about creating a patient journey that eliminates fear. 

To create a solution that addresses these complex challenges, Parul worked with AWS, the Center for Reproductive Medicine, and other partners to solve the collective problem and ease the customer journey. What resulted was a digitally transformed solution that solved problems not only for Slalom’s customer, but for their customer’s customers. The key ingredient that brought them all together was empathy - allowing themselves to imagine what it’s like to be at every step of the patient journey. Each partner leaned in on their particular strengths, and had to trust that the other partners would bring their strengths to the table as well.

The New Meaning of Business Transformation

In the past, business transformation meant Slalom would be tasked with allocating hundreds of millions of dollars toward investments that would fundamentally change the business. However, especially as we’ve seen during the pandemic, businesses cannot predict what will happen 2 years, 12 months, or even 3 months from now. Instead, Parul argues, businesses need to figure out what is their “North Star” and work toward that goal through smaller chunks of work that slowly build resiliency into the business. 

What that looks like at Slalom is smaller investments in opportunities that will provide value right away, while also allowing for the ability to pivot should future conditions change. In this way, Parul builds in the resiliency to withstand whatever new challenges remain undiscovered ahead.

How COVID Has Disrupted the Way Partnerships Are Thought About

Like business transformation, COVID has disrupted how all business decisions are thought about. Gone are the days of 5-year or even 3-year roadmaps to guide your business. The time it takes to provide value to customers, and in turn the time it takes to bring partners together, need to accelerate to keep up with the ever-changing environment.

COVID has also driven an increase in partnering, especially with smaller players in the cloud computing space. With more options, the smaller players that band together will prevail based on this trend of required agility. 

From a macro level, this helps with economic recovery by allowing smaller companies to innovate and thrive. With this in mind, Slalom aims to provide these smaller groups a chance to partner and do more in the market. Parul and her team choose the right partners again with a key tool: empathy. She works to step into their shoes and understand where they are coming from, and where they want to go.

To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about alliances, he can be reached by: