How Udaan empowers engineers to build a future-ready workforce?
Founded in 2016 by Sujeet Kumar, Amod Malviya, and Vaibhav Gupta,is a B2B (business-to-business) ecommerce unicorn that helps small and medium businesses in India.
The platform claims to use technology to transform the trading ecosystem in the country. It also brings retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and traders together onto the same platform. With the theme of “What’s Next? Rethinking the Future”, YourStory’s TechSparks 2021, Asia’s largest, most influential startup-tech conference, provided Udaan with a platform to discuss how engineering talent can be cultivated to build a future-ready workforce.
When asked how technology is expected to propel growth at Udaan, Kaushik Mukherjee, Head of Software Engineering at the company, said that broadly there are two aspects to software engineering — building or developing certain products and once developed, releasing those products to end-customers in a production environment.
Traditionally, there were a lot of manual interventions in the building part of software engineering which is now changing and getting replaced by systemic interventions with the evolution and commoditisation of technology.
“When we think about technology and when we think about the future, we also think about how we can reduce manual or human interventions towards this entire lifecycle when it comes to software engineering,” Kaushik said.
He added that the company is also trying to understand from a technology standpoint, how they can be one step ahead of the requirements that might pop up in the future.
“We live in a dynamic environment and there’s always some disruption around the corner,” Kaushik said. Thus, building systems that emerge with requirements is of utmost importance. Therefore, they are trying to ensure that anything that is repetitive is being managed by systemic interventions instead of human interventions.
Kaushik shared that even before the pandemic, Udaan was clear about certain aspects of engineering in which they would want to be remote-first. It is also their firm belief that there are enough collaboration tools available today owing to which there is no need for everyone to be at the same place at the same time for the work to get done.
“Software engineering is specifically an area where we not only have across the country on the techstacks at Udaan but also outside,” he said.
According to Kaushik, Udaan had imagined its structure in such a manner that in certain areas it tried to leverage the right skills for the right problems without the age-old constraints of space.
However, the company faced some challenges in a work-from-home setting. The company, Kaushik said, has used these challenges as opportunities. “We have been pretty happy with some of these initiatives that we have taken even before COVID,” said Kaushik.
Commenting on the innovations and solutions on Udaan’s end, Kaushik said that in a lot of organisations, engineering has been the means to an end in the sense that engineers are expected to find solutions to specific problems. But at Udaan, the company wants engineers to get exposed to real problems on the ground so that the best solutions can emerge. This translates into a lot of ownership and accountability. In that context, Udaan’s innovation is centered on problems which don’t already have a technology solution out there.
He mentioned that Udaan is full stack in terms of the services that they provide to the customers. There’s a lot of innovation that’s happening when it comes to being a lot more predictable in terms of their services. In addition to that, there is also a lot of innovation happening on the capital side of Udaan.
“By and large across the ecosystem there are solutions that are already in place and we are thinking of the next step that we have to take so that it’s as seamless as it can be for our users,” said Kaushik.
Commenting on the personal growth of individuals, Kaushik explained that human beings are naturally curious and at Udaan there are no artificial walls. If a person is interested in a problem area then they are more than welcome to try and find a solution.
“Udaan as an ecosystem has both depth, should you choose to go deep into a problem area and it has breadth, in the sense that if you want variety in different kinds of problems that you’d want to solve,” he said. Growth might mean different things for different people and at Udaan, the opportunity to grow is provided to every individual.
In conclusion, Kaushik said that technology has evolved to a great extent. He advised young entrepreneurs to choose the problems that are going to be very specific to their organisations which will create a competitive advantage.
“Try and leverage all the technology that’s on offer right now out there,” he said.
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Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti