Sharath Bharadwaj: Marching Ahead With A Customer Centric Approach | CEOInsights Vendor
Sharath Bharadwaj: Marching Ahead With A Customer Centric Approach

Sharath Bharadwaj: Marching Ahead With A Customer Centric Approach

 Sharath Bharadwaj,   Head of Engineering

Sharath Bharadwaj

Head of Engineering

The Fleet industry is going through a transformation from track and trace GPS to a value-based ecosystem in terms of Vehicle IOT, Safety and Sustainability. Azuga is the largest player at the intersection of fleet management and Insurtech in North America. Azuga is leading this transformation from the front with unique differentiators in the market.

An engineer by profession, Sharath Bharadwaj is playing a key role in building these solutions and differentiators in the market.

Sharath Bharadwaj engages in a one-on-one interaction with the CEOInsights Magazine.

Throw some light on your professional background and experience. How has your journey been so far with Azuga, and what drives you today?
After completing my bachelor's in engineering, I started my journey in Software Quality Assurance. I then joined Azuga, a disruptive Fleet and Insurtech company, ten years ago, and the journey has been incredible. I was fortunate to have had a great startup story three of us in a five seater room with no internet, that's how the journey began. I have worn multiple hats throughout my journey, and my primary contributions have been towards product management and engineering. A significant milestone was when Azuga was acquired by Bridgestone for $391M. Azuga's entire engineering and most of its product management teams are located in Bangalore, India. I am very proud that all of the Azuga products are built out of Bangalore at this scale.

Reflect on some of the major challenges you have experienced in your journey so far. How did you overcome them and what did you learn from them?
I am primarily responsible for the
people who are responsible for technology. I need to ensure that I unblock these leaders to progress on a daily basis. But in the broader scheme of things, I bring in the business alignment and customer/ user focus in engineering teams and bring that balance to people, process and technology. Azuga spans fleet management Insurtech and Data Science, hardware(IoT), and software, where the span of control on what happens in the field once IoT devices are installed is more complex. Monitoring and defensive techniques in IoT engineering are 10X what you will see in software only companies.

If you are ambitious, starting your own business or otherwise, you have to spend more hours in the early days of your career. I see this as an investment in yourself and your career progression and not think of it as a compromise

When you are part of a startup journey, the challenges are multifold, from simple things like optimizing servers on weekends in the early days to saving a few dollars to the scale we've achieved. As a startup, you are tuned to think in certain ways and when you start snow balling, scaling the company becomes a big challenge in all aspects of people process and technology. I have had great mentors during this phase, especially my CEO Ananth Rani who immensely helped.

It's impossible to share detailed experiences and learnings in a few words. If I were to summarize it in a sentence.

Mistakes happen. Today’s leadership is measured based on how well we manage it.

How do you maintain the perfect balance between your personal and professional life? What is your success mantra?
It is not practical to achieve work life balance, especially in the software industry, where you are catering to
customers in different continents/time zones and always catching up with the fast changing industry trends. Work life integration is the mantra and the way forward. Azuga has always practiced it, even in the pre-covid era, before the term became famous. Work life integration is critical the more you try to separate the more you get stressed.

As the Head of Engineering, how do you encourage your team of engineers to participate in the growth journey and contribute more?
I focus on inclusiveness, context setting, and empowerment. The Azuga engineering teams and individual leaders have visibility into their impact on customers the company, and the business. They are empowered to make decisions to ensure positive outcomes. Individual engineers are also encouraged to voice their points of view and opinions that contribute to the overall decision making.

What will be your advice for budding professionals in this domain?
While I agree with some of the cliché advice, such as being adaptable, staying relevant in the industry teaching yourself to teach yourself etc. I want to add a few things. Embrace failure, be disruptive and be accountable for your actions and own them. Most know it already, but Full Stack is the way to go, even though this is less likely in Java environments. Try to understand the customer pain point. For us 10K miles away it is much harder but the best engineers are closest to this either by company design or personal curiosity.

Sharath Bharadwaj, Head of Engineering, Azuga
Sharath Bharadwaj completed his Bachelors in Engineering, Telecommunication from Visvesvaraya Technological University. He worked as a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer at Xora Inc. for six years. Currently, he is serving as Head of Engineering at Azuga Inc

Trending Stories