Sumanta Ghosh: Leading The Organizational Change Through Wisdom & Empathy | CEOInsights Vendor
Sumanta Ghosh: Leading The Organizational Change Through Wisdom & Empathy

Sumanta Ghosh: Leading The Organizational Change Through Wisdom & Empathy

 Sumanta Ghosh,  Senior Vice President & Head - Technology

Sumanta Ghosh

Senior Vice President & Head - Technology

The insurance industry which was once predictable and stable isn't the same anymore. With the distribution needs that have become truly cross channel, customers expect products that are tailored especially for their needs. Through this all, technology has continued its advancements and as a result, industry leaders need to take array of strategic choices to succeed. It is important to keep oneself up to date with these changes, especially as a leader to command confidence and lead from the front. One such leader is Sumanta Ghosh.

Sumanta Ghosh is the senior Vice President and Head of Technology at Aegon Life, which is a digital life insurance company. Sumanta is National Institute of Technology (NIT), Rourkela alumnus and believes that one can be a successful leader by broadening their horizon of learning and knowledge and tries to in still the same in his team members.

In an indepth conversation with CEO Insights magazine, Sumanta shares with us his professional journey and the various lessons he has gathered along the way. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

Tell us about your professional background and expeience and what inspired you to join Aegon Life.
I completed my MCA from Regional Engineering College (REC) and started my career with a company called CMC, which later got acquired by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). After 3.5 years after joined TCS and worked at development, designing and architecture of software for 9-10 years. By this time, I had 13-14 years of experience and I thought of building up a technology platform or a software product from scratch and got this opportunity from a Telecom Software Product Company.

I was also the enterprise architect for the company and got the opportunity to architect Telecom BSS Software. After acquiring as much knowledge as I could working in various companies and verticals of the industry, I wanted a leadership role and was roped in by Aegon Life in 2018 wherein they wanted to do a digital transformation journey to convert the company from a traditional insurance company into a technology driven insurance company. Aegon Life wanted to have a core platform built on technology and Cloud.
I also set up a team from scratch for the same and in 2020, took over as the Head of Technology for the organization.

What is the motivation behind your daily routine as the senior vice president and head of technology at Aegon life?
One of the key motivations is learning. I believe in `stay hungry, stay foolish' kind of learning because in our field things are changing rapidly. As a technology leader, I should be aware of the changes and should also be able to mentor my team and teach them how to adapt to these changes. We have to be always curious, adaptive, up to speed in terms of knowledge in this era of fast paced technology that's ever evolving. Solving new problems and creating something new every day are some other motivations that drive me to do my work every day.

Aegon life envisions to transform life insurance in india by making it easy and accessible for everyone

Could you tell us about the unique experiences NIT Rourkela offers and what did you learn from the campus beyond academics?
Apart from the academics, one of the key things to learn is how to work as a team and how to be open to learning about different cultures and diversity, yet stay unified and come up as one team and batch. We meet people from different cultures, cities, states and backgrounds and we should be humble and kind towards each other. During our initial hostel and college days used to be difficult because we had people from different states in the country, but we understood that these differences are less important than the common goal that we had to achieve as a batch. Also, as a student, the hardships that come our way are the real learnings because it helps us to be steady and equips us for challenges that the world holds for us. It also teaches us to be humble, work as a team and how to handle pressure.

How would you define Aegon Life as an organization and its position in the market? What makes it different from other players in the market?
In comparison to traditional finance houses, Aegon Life is agile, nimble, flexible in applying changes and provides freedom at work for solving new challenges which every techie needs and appreciates. From the market perspective, we are at a transformation phase because we started as a traditional insurance company but around 2018-19, we decided that we would reshape ourselves into a technology driven insurance company. With a compact size of two hundred and fifty people on the team, we are India's only digital insurance company where every thing is digital. "We are doing data driven underwriting by means of artificial intelligence and machine
learning, so the customers don't even need to upload documents. We are also enabled to issue life insurance policies in the shortest time possible sometimes within one day because of novel technology and innovations”.

Going forward, what are the changes in market behavior that you anticipate and what are the opportunities that you foresee?
In the field of technology, Cloud has taken up the front but there are many changes that are coming up in cloudi fication as well. So, the future cannot be predicted because what seems new today has improvements to it tomorrow in technology. The future will see Digitalization, AI, machine learning in all the organizations but orchestration is as important because it will allow everything to be stitched together to facilitate smooth functioning.

In the insurance business, Indian Government and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI)are promoting insurance that is easy to understand, can penetrate rural areas and different sets of people including self-employed individuals by means of financial transaction, technology and internet. This will change the way people look at insurance, make them more aware and help insurance companies have a better market in places that couldn't be explored earlier.

In the light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to the budding industry leaders and what are your leadership and success mantra?
There are two principles I lead by, first is knowledge and another is empathy. Knowledge and wisdom are required to become a good leader because that's when people feel confident to approach you for problem solving. So, deep knowledge about technology is important in our industry. At a personal level, empathy is important to understand the team. What it takes for certain members of the team to deliver a service comes with empathy and to some extent I enforce empathy also because it allows us to learn from our mistakes. Trying to lead by knowledge and empathy is not easy but it is the only way to success because that is how it has been for me.

Sumanta Ghosh, Senior Vice President & Head - Technology, Aegon Life
Sumanta Ghosh is a leader who works with his team to achieve organizational goals. He is the senior Vice President and Head of Technology at Aegon Life and NIT, Rourkela alumnus and believes that one can be a successful leader by broadening their horizon of learning and considers his team as the most important stake holder.

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