Pankaj Jain, SapientNitro’s Director of Technology, loves working on his Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer, capable of doing everything that you would expect a desktop computer to do. Pankaj uses the device as an innovation tool, among a host of other game-changing technologies that are helping redefine the human experience.
Passionate about technology from a young age—Pankaj wrote his first code as a teenager in the eighties— he is driven by the passion of transformative work, turning complex technology problems into simple and elegant solutions for clients. When asked what motivates him, Pankaj says he is someone who 'simply lives and breathes technology.'
"I love finding the relevance of technology in business and SapientNitro has given me a great platform to do that," he says.
Pankaj returned to India in 2004 after spending about six years in the U.S. working for large organizations and startups. After a stint with entrepreneurship and several mobile apps under his belt, a close friend of Pankaj referred him to SapientNitro, a new breed of agency redefining storytelling for an always-on world.
Having witnessed the tech boom closely, Pankaj was drawn to the complexity and scale of projects at SapientNitro. One particular client – a large, multinational consumer goods conglomerate – drew Pankaj's interest into the pursuit of the project. The ongoing project includes helping that client roll out a digital marketing platform across the globe. The platform enables the client’s marketers in every geography – especially in countries that don’t have a lot of resources – to spend on digital.
"I saw the technology and digital platform scenario and was completely mesmerized by the kind of impact it has created across the globe. It gave me a rush of blood as to what I wanted to do," says Pankaj. "Technologists are emotional people. When an opportunity like this comes to you, it is impossible to say no."
The project gave Pankaj the opportunity to tackle robust and complex technical challenges. Pankaj, with the backing of his team, has been able to deliver a better and faster technical solution that encompasses a mobile-friendly marketing technology platform covering several countries.
"I am enthralled that our applications are touching the lives of millions," says Pankaj. “It’s the culture of trust and openness that takes you to challenging yourself and that culture is prominent in a place like SapientNitro.”
In 2015, Pankaj hopes to use more and more advanced data analytics in his work. According to him, technologists have a huge opportunity to garner valuable insights from the growing volume of data and using them to enhance digital marketing platforms.
"Every four days we are generating more data today than what has existed since the beginning of mankind," he says. "That is the size of data we are talking about. If you are just storing and not analyzing that data, you are incurring more cost to your own company."
For many brands, it will be increasingly important to become part of customers' stories. SapientNitro's CMTO University (Chief Marketing Technology Officer University) is a year-long intensive program that bridges the gap between technologist and marketers and helps both to complement the skills of one another.
Pankaj, who is one of the 20 chosen technologists pursuing this program says, "It's like going back to school and enriching my knowledge about technology and understanding the challenges that a marketer faces. The blend of both enables a scientist to become a full-fledged marketer."
Pankaj attributes his success to his team and SapientNitro's culture.
"It is very important to have the spark and zeal to make things happen," Pankaj says. "People need to set dramatic examples to translate their passion into impactful and transformative work and that's only possible if one is able to manage his or her confidence in extreme situations."
He also cites SapientNitro's culture of 'openness' as instrumental in his team’s success and giving SapientNitro's people the ability to challenge themselves.
"When you are competing with yourself, you are always going to excel," he says. "As a technologist, we are challenging ourselves everyday – how can we do it better and better?"
When not at work, Pankaj doesn't shy away from experimenting with his culinary prowess and interacting with entrepreneurs. One of his recent creations was "Peshawari Daal," which elegantly combined saffron with yogurt.