“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” - Bill Gates

So how did SapientRazorfish bring out the leader in me? Let me share some personal experiences at the company over the last few years and you will find it out yourself.

Already 7 years into my journey at the company, I am responsible for the Data Engineering team. Since I joined SapientNitro (now SapientRazorfish), the organization had gone through several phases of transformation. It transformed from a major technology player to a leader in the digital agency space, earning recognition from industry analysts like Gartner, Forrester and IDC. I am glad the company empowered me, as a leader, to be a key player in its transformation.

“Leadership isn’t a title, it’s a mentality”. That’s how Sapient defines ‘Leadership’, one of its core values – something that’s been practiced through leadership empowerment across all levels.

The evolution of a leader in a company rests upon a few pillars. So here’s how SapientRazorfish fuelled my growth as a leader:

MAKING AN IMPACT TO THE COMPANY:

The concept of a centralized data engineering team arose purely from the lack of data technology skills. Naturally, building a Data Engineering team as an enabler of other functions at the company was a significant tactical ask. Once we embarked on this journey, we realized the potential of data, and data-driven decision making. Driven by this realization, we started building our own point-of-views, proofs of concept, go-to-market strategies and offerings, besides solution accelerators and frameworks. We tapped into our vendor landscape, client partners, industry experts and clients to build a sustained model. We even brought in external talent to the organization, working with us towards this goal.

The last 4 years have seen us evolve from being a ‘key enabler’ to a ‘mainstream business’. Today, we have a dedicated data service line as a major revenue stream, playing a pivotal role in delivering great customer experiences for our clients. Behind this phenomenal journey have been our empowered leaders, who created the right environment for us to pursue our vision for the organization.

GROWING THE TEAM:

How successful you are as a leader has a lot do with your team’s growth. The company gave me the opportunity to build a team of a few hundred people in the first 3 years – starting from scratch. People who began their journey with us made great strides in terms of roles and responsibilities while handling major and impactful client engagements.

As an engineering organization where DevOps and Automation are mission-critical practices, we were able to change the way data projects are executed. This has enabled us to shift from a tool-driven approach to a programmatic approach. Keeping ourselves up-to-speed with new, relevant technologies in Big Data has enabled us to change the way we implement solutions, which has been a great unlearning exercise for many of us in the team.

I strongly believe that this growth is the result of continuous leadership empowerment that runs across all levels at SapientRazorfish - something that enables its people to navigate their careers in the right direction. Many of them came out of their comfort zone and emerged as thought leaders in the Data domain.

KEY LEARNINGS ALONG THE WAY:

Coming from a non-Data background, it has been both a challenging and exciting journey for me personally. The company gave me opportunities to sharpen my Data skills and learn from great people around me. Marketing technologies, which are closely associated with Data, are one of the key learnings I acquired in the past few years. I also got the privilege of being a part of CMTOu – an internal leadership development program to grow some of our best technologists.

I was also able to leverage the opportunity to work with various stakeholders like vendors, sister organizations, industry analysts and other practices within the company. This empowered me to sharpen my abilities in terms of solution offerings and go-to-market strategies. Of course, this required me to work with various other elements of Data like analytics, engineering and science functions. This holds even greater significance since Data-driven marketing, including customer data platforms, data management platforms and marketing clouds are altering the marketing landscape. It’s imperative to bring personalized experiences to customers and is relevant to any client conversation today.

CREATING IMPACT TO CLIENTS:

If your vision as a leader is not making any impact to the company’s clients, it is not worth pursuing. I am glad that the work we do for our clients are directly impacting their top or bottom line. It encompasses the domains of operational analytics, customer or marketing analytics, and reaching the right customer at the right time with the right solution.

This mandates a strategy to leverage the client’s data to enable customer experience through personalization, 1:1 targeting or 3rd party reach out. Every member of the team plays a key role in optimizing our offerings based on the client’s requirements and where the industry is headed for, irrespective of whether they are holding a leadership position or not.

IN A NUTSHELL:

To create a positive impact, one needs organizational support, guidance from empowered leaders, their encouragement to take the right decisions and even to fail. Therefore, it’s critical that each one in the organization needs to be empowered, irrespective of their title and grade, and this should be an integral part of the company’s culture

Suresh

SapientRazorfish

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About Sapient

Sapient, part of the Publicis Groupe, is a global services company that helps clients transform in the areas of business, marketing, and technology. The company operates three divisions that enable clients to gain a competitive advantage and succeed in an increasingly digital world. SapientRazorfish, Sapient Global Markets, and Sapient Government Services fuse insight, creativity, and technology to drive innovation and to help clients navigate complex business problems. Our approach is the subject of case studies used by MBA programs at Harvard and Yale. The company has operations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit http://www.publicis.sapient.com.