Technology leaders should prioritize diversity and inclusion within their teams and organizations, as this can lead to a more innovative and successful workforce
This is an exclusive interview conducted by the Editor Team of CIO News with Aravind Raghunathan, AVP – Emerging Technologies at Netcon Technologies India
How did you plan your career path to be a successful technology leader?
I have enjoyed technology since early on. I began working in my last year of college at a specialised call centre for a US tech organisation (night shifts), and since then, my interest in learning technology and helping other people take care of their concerns has just expanded.
In my profession, I have an open door where I can either choose an everyday task job or become a part of the profoundly serious role of an implementation team, where I must deal with tight deadlines and travel to multiple countries on a regular basis. I responded to the call for a time-limited role because it will force me to look for better ways to streamline and increase efficiencies by automating a few errands.
This choice presented to me a tonne of learnings about various business processes, compliance necessities, and governance prerequisites of different industries and nations where I have architected and deployed various public and private clouds and network/security operation centers. I was adequately lucky to work at different levels in various associations and gain proficiency with numerous advancements throughout the last two decades.
All these years, I made sure I didn’t avoid learning new technologies and planning those advances to add business benefits. Each job that I dealt with gave me a lot of learning opportunities and made me track down open doors to upgrade my skills and add a little touch of innovation or automation.
My eagerness to learn new advancements and create business value from them gave me an advantage in my journey up to this point.
What challenges you faced in your career path and how did you overcome them?
I am an introvert by nature, and I don’t talk much about what work I did or how long I worked within the organization. Adding to that, I was always 10 years or younger than my peers who were doing the same job, and this combination resulted in some challenges.
In most of the organisations where I worked, my peers were elders, and I was frequently bullied for stating in such a short time what experience or expertise I could have in the tech field. Rather than arguing, I tried to ignore it and prove my expertise with my results.
Also, because I was younger, I was frequently assigned to night shifts and assigned to handle more Priority 1 (complex and business outage) incidents, which actually helped me gain more knowledge because most maintenance and technical and configuration changes occur during the night shift and weekends, and handling critical cases gave me a lot of insights into the technology that I worked with.
What are the challenges faced by technology leaders today while implementing digital technologies?
Technology leaders today face several challenges when implementing digital technologies, including:
- Keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change: Digital technologies are constantly evolving, and technology leaders must stay current in order to ensure their organisations are using the most effective and efficient tools and systems.
- Ensuring data security and privacy: As more and more data is collected and stored digitally, it is critical that technology leaders have robust security measures in place to protect sensitive information and prevent data breaches.
- Managing the integration of new technologies: When implementing new digital technologies, technology leaders must ensure that they integrate seamlessly with existing systems and processes, which can be a complex and time-consuming task.
- Managing the impact on employees: Digital technologies can often require employees to learn new skills and adapt to new ways of working, which can be challenging for some individuals. Technology leaders must be mindful of this and provide adequate support and training to ensure a smooth transition.
- Ensuring return on investment: Technology leaders must carefully assess the costs and benefits of implementing new digital technologies and ensure that they provide a positive return on investment for the organization.
How can technology leaders overcome the challenges they face?
There are several strategies that technology leaders can use to overcome the challenges they face when implementing digital technologies:
- Stay current: Technology leaders should make an effort to stay up-to-date on the latest technological developments and trends in their field, so they can make informed decisions about which technologies to implement and how to best use them.
- Adopt a proactive approach to data security and privacy: Technology leaders should put robust security measures in place to protect sensitive data and prevent data breaches. This may involve implementing encryption, installing firewalls, and training employees on how to handle data safely.
- Plan carefully: When implementing new digital technologies, technology leaders should take the time to carefully plan and test the integration process to ensure a smooth transition.
- Provide training and support: Technology leaders should provide employees with the training and support they need to adapt to new digital technologies, including access to resources and ongoing support as needed.
- Measure and track results: Technology leaders should regularly measure and track the performance of new digital technologies to ensure that they are providing a positive return on investment for the organization. This may involve setting clear goals and objectives, tracking key performance indicators, and conducting regular evaluations of the technologies’ effectiveness.
Any best practices, industry trends, or advice you’d give to fellow technology leaders to help them succeed professionally?
There are several best practises and industry trends that technology leaders can follow to help them succeed professionally:
- Embrace a growth mindset: Technology leaders should be open to learning about and adapting to new technologies and approaches, and they should encourage their teams to do the same. This can help organisations stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in a rapidly changing industry.
- Foster a culture of innovation: Technology leaders should create an environment that encourages creativity and innovation and should provide employees with the resources and support they need to test new ideas and approaches.
- Prioritize diversity and inclusion: Technology leaders should prioritize diversity and inclusion within their teams and organizations, as this can lead to a more innovative and successful workforce.
- Focus on customer needs: Technology leaders should prioritise the needs of their customers and strive to understand their pain points and challenges. By focusing on customer needs, organizations can develop technologies and solutions that are more relevant and valuable.
- Build a strong network: Technology leaders should seek out opportunities to build relationships with other industry professionals, as this can provide valuable insights, resources, and support.
- Stay up to date on industry trends: Technology leaders should make an effort to stay current on the latest trends and developments in their industry, as this can help them make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve.
Any other points that you would like to highlight?
Here are a few additional points that may be helpful for technology leaders:
- Develop strong leadership skills: In addition to technical expertise, technology leaders should also focus on developing strong leadership skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. These skills can help them effectively lead and manage their teams and organizations.
- Foster a culture of collaboration: Technology leaders should create an environment that encourages collaboration and teamwork, as this can lead to more creative and effective problem-solving.
- Embrace agile methodologies: Agile methodologies, which emphasise flexibility and adaptability, can be particularly useful for technology leaders as they can help organisations respond quickly to changes and challenges.
- Focus on continuous improvement: Technology leaders should encourage a culture of continuous improvement, in which employees are encouraged to identify and address areas for improvement on an ongoing basis.
- Seek out opportunities for professional development: Technology leaders should take advantage of opportunities for professional development, such as industry conferences, training programs, and networking events, as these can help them stay current and learn from peers and experts in their field.
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