Technology Leadership in the AI Era
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Technology Leadership in the AI Era

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Sakaar Anand, Vice President, India Country Head, BMC SoftwareToday, every business out there constantly asks how we can improve the business using technology. If data was an enabler before, today, data and analytics are increasingly becoming the cornerstone of business decision-making and leadership worldwide. Not convinced yet? Football lovers will definitely remember the German national football team’s unbeaten 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign. After destroying Brazil with a 7-1 victory in the semi-finals, Germany brought Argentina to their knees in a nail-biting final that went on to win 1-0 in extra time. However, the 12th man during their dream run was data analytics. Using SAP HANA, Germany recognized their average ball possession time and reduced it from 3.4 seconds to 1.1 seconds. If big data analytics can help a national football team win the World Cup 2014, imagine the limitless possibilities of data after a decade.

Talking about these possibilities through an exclusive interview with CEO Insights is Sakaar Anand, Vice President, India Country Head, BMC Software—an enterprise software company serving a broad range of clients in 131 countries. Joining BMC in 2020, Anand has global experience as a leader in HR, product, IT operations, and global delivery center teams across several industries. 

In conversation with Sakaar Anand, Vice President, India Country Head, BMC Software

In this rapidly changing digital era, how is BMC manifesting leadership in terms of aligning with the need for swift innovations and revolutionary digital transformations?

At BMC, we have achieved a remarkable transformation in the last four years. We have integrated artificial intelligence into every aspect of our business, enabling our customers to leverage cutting-edge technology

Over three years ago, we introduced an industry framework known as the Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE), which encapsulates our vision for the future of business technology usage. This framework aims to expedite business growth and enhance financial performance. Recently, we've expanded this concept with a new addition called Connected Digital Ops. This latest development is designed to assist customers in adapting to rapid changes and aligning their operations with future advancements.

 

A leader's approach should be anchored in fairness, honesty, and transparency, ensuring credibility at every step

 

What are the different aspects of this concept?

We articulated around five different categories of operations: AIOps, ServiceOps, DevOps, DataOps, and AutonomousOps. In other words, we serve as the conduit for digital operations throughout an entire enterprise, transforming traditional systems of record into proactive systems of action. This transformation is the driving force behind our clients' growth, as we enable them to harness digitalization effectively. We assist our clients in converting raw data into valuable insights, discerning trends to inform business priorities, and making strategic decisions based on these insights. These decisions are then executed through automated processes, ensuring security and facilitating a bidirectional flow of information within the organization. Ultimately, this elevates the customer experience to unprecedented levels.

AI now is an important part of this picture. How does BMC cater to this need and play that leadership role in the segment?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the entire industrial realm worldwide, engendering an era where its influence on technology and data is unparalleled. When it comes to enterprise software, AI's capabilities—including everything from machine learning to predictive analytics, computer vision, and natural language processing—are pivotal in enabling companies to automate operations and make data-driven decisions. Despite significant strides, the potential of AI remains largely untapped, offering huge opportunities for innovation. BMC has been at the forefront of this transformation, integrating AI across our product range to enhance customer experience. We've shifted our focus to eliminate support tickets, introducing ServiceOps as a new operational category. Gartner has recognized this approach (by adopting it as a category in their analysis), affirming BMC's leadership and vision in harnessing AI for operational excellence.

As a leader in the segment, what would be your advice to organizations wanting to leverage the potential of Data and AI? 

In today's data-centric business landscape, corporations are increasingly focused on finding ways to use data to drive strategic initiatives. The key lies in unlocking the inherent value of data to foster corporate uniqueness, enhance operational efficiency, and facilitate insightful decision-making that positively impacts both revenue and profitability. A robust data strategy, aligned with the overarching business objectives, is essential, emphasizing data integrity, governance, and cost-effectiveness. AI plays a pivotal role in navigating the complexities of data and unlocking its potential value. The synergy between AI and data is crucial for a holistic transformation across all business facets, not just IT. 

Tell us about your leadership approach. What are the guidelines or methodologies you follow?

A leader's approach should be anchored in fairness, honesty, and transparency, ensuring credibility at every step. It's essential to maintain an environment where leaders are approachable and accessible, recognizing that people are the most valuable asset. Leaders must be grounded in their values and principles, with humility at the core of their conduct. Prioritizing health, family, and work, in that order, is crucial for personal well-being, which, in turn, enhances one's professional performance. Ultimately, a leader's legacy is defined by their positive impact on others, and this aspiration should guide their actions and decisions.

How is BMC setting an example for people being the biggest asset?

At BMC, if the essence of our culture could be contained in a single word, I think it would be learning. Our commitment to the continuous growth and development of employees is the cornerstone of our mission to empower employees to make a significant impact—not only for our customers but also for their colleagues and the broader community we serve. We not only constantly encourage their pursuit of new skills but also support this endeavor by providing the necessary resources for learning and practical application on the job. It's not merely about knowledge acquisition; it's about creating opportunities for our employees to engage that knowledge with the real world. This philosophy is a key factor in BMC's recognition as a preferred employer by esteemed organizations, affirming our status as a great place to work and a beacon of employee development and satisfaction.

In other words, rather than attracting and retaining talent using traditional perks and benefits, BMC's philosophy is focused on the roles of our employees and their continuous skill enhancement. Our CSR initiatives are also dedicated to fostering continuous learning and adaptability, particularly through STEM education for the underprivileged, thereby increasing their employability. Our longstanding partnership with the Lila Poonawalla Foundation and recent sponsorship of STEM Robotics Labs for Robotex India are examples of our commitment to extending our culture of learning beyond our corporate boundaries to the broader society.

 

Favorite Movie: “I love the film 'Swades,' especially due to a personal connection. Having lived and worked abroad for a decade, I once held a green card in the United States. I decided to return to India driven by a desire to contribute to my homeland, reflecting the core message of 'Swades'—the importance of roots and the impact one can make in their own country.”

Favorite Travel Destination: “Any beach resort would easily attract me, whether it's India or abroad. Whenever vacation comes to my mind, it's a beach resort. I picture having a good family time out there.”

Favorite Book: Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

Favorite Cuisine: South Indian Thali