What does it take to build award-winning products and teams? In this episode of the Product Leaders to Watch series with Cognizant Product Director Chenny Solaiyappan, Expedia Group Platform SVP of Product Archana Arunkumar shares her insights on evaluating award-winning products for the 2024 Product Awards and leveraging generative AI. As a seasoned product leader, she discusses the skills that make great product managers, such as empathy, listening, and removing roadblocks. Archana also offers her perspective on navigating growth phases strategically and transforming business models successfully.
- Generative AI has the potential to solve problems at an unprecedented scale by leveraging large amounts of data.
- Access to data and ethical frameworks are enabling more practical applications of generative AI
- 3. Finding problems to solve, rather than searching for solutions, is key to building products and teams.
- Truly understanding user needs, even if problems aren’t clearly stated, leads to the most impactful solutions.
- Great product managers are curious, empathetic listeners who can execute well by enabling teams.
- Removing roadblocks before they arise and clearing paths for teams is important for product managers.
- Soft skills like influencing others and problem-solving are as important as technical skills for product managers.
- Great product managers can adapt to new domains and industries by focusing on fundamental skills.
- Competing priorities, limited resources, and time crunches are constant challenges product managers face.
- Delivering value without shortcuts requires balancing goals, resources, and timelines skillfully.
- The AB awards showcase a wide range of solutions to problems from nominations.
- Understanding existing pain points thoroughly leads to intuitive, easily adopted products.
- Products should solve real needs rather than search for issues to address.
- Engaging users and resisting preconceived solutions aids understanding of true needs.
- Influencing teams without direct authority relies on soft skills and empathy.
- Recognizing unstated problems is key to capitalizing on opportunities.
- Scaling products successfully requires strategic thinking and navigating growth phases.
- Visionary leadership generates multimillion dollar revenues through transformation.
- Advising organizations on innovation and guiding high-growth requires strategic foresight.
- Building products and teams across enterprise business models is an asset for product leaders.
About the speaker
Archana Arunkumar is a global technology and product strategy executive, who delivers multi-billion dollars in revenue by identifying and building new markets while strengthening the platform foundation and gravitas of organizations. She brings value to Boards, the C-Suite, and Shareholders through her 20 years in B2B, B2C, and B2B2C markets, by strategically transforming business models, being an industry thought leader, acting as a change agent, creating new product offerings, and building enterprise platforms that both scale up and scale out. She is recognized for her strong ability to strategize, conceive, develop, promote, and deliver her product vision to drive business in high-growth phases of Fortune 500 companies. She is also passionate about education and believes in empowering today’s youth. To that effect, she leads non-profit organizations in the education sector and is also an active Scout Leader with Boy Scouts of America. Archana holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Biological Sciences from California State University, East Bay; a Master of Science in Computer Science, also from California State University, East Bay; and an MBA from the University of California, Davis.
About the host
Chenny Solaiyappan is the Director of Product Management for Cognizant Trizetto's Government and Quality Solutions, and a founding member of the ClaimSphere suite of products, encompassing quality, HEDIS ®, CMS Stars, and clinical solutions. An accomplished Intrapreneur and Lean Startup Practitioner, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the overall product strategy and serves as the HL7 DaVinci Business Co-chair. With a notable track record, Chenny has provided consultancy to over 30 health plans across the nation, consistently raising Quality and Star ratings in Medicaid, Medicare, Federal Employees Health Plan, and Commercial health plan sectors, collectively supporting 30 million lives. His outstanding leadership and innovative contributions have earned him prestigious awards, including the 2023 Top 20 Global Product Manager Award by Products That Count, as well as the 2021 and 2019 Product of the Year awards by Cognizant Trizetto.