I was initially working for Fujitsu in Pune and then moved to US for 6 years where I worked predominantly in Telecom sector. I then joined MindTree initially as a part of DW group with BI Solutions, then moved on to pre-sales and consulting along the way.
Decisions that mattered
There were a couple of important ones in hindsight. The first important decision I took was to relocate from US to India in 1999 time frame. Those were days when the market was at its peak and people were wondering if I had made the right decision.What triggered that move was a powerful statement I saw in Fast Company magazine which read as "Instead of people moving to where the work is, in the next coming years work will move to where the people are". It really hit me hard that the shift would happen and I wanted to ride the wave by relocating to India. As I began my search for India based organizations, I found Subrotos articles where his points of view resonated with me and I applied to MindTree and have been with them for the last 11 years.
The second major decision I took was to move from BI to Analytics. Over a period of time the needs of the customer started changing and I completely exited BI and started diving deep into advanced analytics with a lot of focus on solutions for CPG /Retail and Banking. It was a nice move from selling to the IT/CIO organization to selling business solutions to the CMO/CXO organization as the rhythm is completely different
The turning points
The first major inflection point in my career was the shift from US to India. The Second inflection point happened when we started selling analytical solutions to business in addition to the IT organization (DW/BI to Advanced analytics)
Work and Role: Then and now
There are two major differences between my present job and the previous one. Firstly we are now delivering services primarily to the business organization but earlier we were primarily servicing the CIO/IT Organization,also currently most of the time we end up solving problems which the customer was never aware of or as we call it "fuzzy" but important issues whereas earlier the problem statement was well defined.
Two years down the line
I am a big-time subscriber of Harvard Professor Vijay Govindarajans concept of reverse innovation from emerging markets where frugal solutions conceptualized/designed in emerging markets will change the game in Advanced markets. I want to be a part of this tectonic shift in any way in the field of ‘frugal’ and innovative domain based analytical solutions which are developed in emerging markets and find their way into advanced markets
What I learnt along the way
There are a couple of important lessons I’ve learnt along the way. Firstly Compassion/Empathy: Both for your employees and the customer.It makes a lot of difference when you try to get under the employees skin and the customers skin. The issues will look completely different when we wear their lenses. Sometimes the issue may not be resolved in a manner which is amenable to all parties concerned. But the fact that you were able to demonstrate empathy for the other side would go a long way in building trust which is a huge currency with customers and employees. Secondly Becoming "T"shaped individuals: Having breadth of knowledge as well as depth in one sliver. Today’s jobs require an analytics professional to activate both the right brain and left brain. Right brain skills to creatively shape scenarios from information assets, left brained skills to run a mathematical model and right brained skills to interpret and put the insights in business context, thirdly celebrate mistakes but don’t repeat them: Most of the successes I encountered were preceded by huge failures. We never learn to cycle without falling down or learn swimming without drinking water. Why can’t we create an environment for people to fail so that they learn to get wings and fly.
Trends to watch out for
The key trends which I am seeing from my vantage point are Increased spend in Digital analytics as opposed to traditional media spend analytics, Combination of Engineered platforms and domain solutions is a force multiplier, Open source analytics–R, Pentaho, Weka etc, Reverse innovation of domain solutions where solution developed in emerging market is successfully applied in advanced markets – Areas like trade promotion analytics and customer scoring models
My advice if you are starting out
Become a "T" shaped individual with breadth of knowledge of business process, statistics and
Books/Websites I recommend
Personally I love IBM red books. I believe they are crisp and to the point.
Last but not the least
BI/DW/Analytics is reaching the tipping point and about to take off in a big way. It would be a good idea to develop specialist skills and enjoy the ride.