Tech titans discuss successful leadership traits and tips in a rapidly evolving landscape
At TechSparks 2023 Mumbai edition, tech leaders discussed the characteristics of technologically advanced organisations and the changing responsibilities of tech leadership.
Tuesday April 18, 2023,
5 min Read
The intersection of technology and leadership has become increasingly crucial in today's fast-paced and ever-changing tech landscape. With innovations and trends constantly emerging, it's more important than ever for tech leaders to stay ahead of the curve and guide their organisations toward success.
To dissect the strategies of the most accomplished technology leaders of the present time, YourStory hosted a panel discussion at TechSparks 2023 Mumbai edition titled ‘Tech Titans: Unveiling the Secrets of Today's Most Successful Tech Leaders’. The panel explored topics such as the hallmarks of technologically-forward organisations, the evolving role of tech leadership, and the importance of finding synergy between talent fitment and business needs.
It featured eminent speakers like Ravi Chhabria, Vice President Engineering and Managing Director, NetApp India; Saket Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Onnivation Ventures; and Deep Ganatra, CTO, Good Glamm Group.
Hallmarks of tech-forward organisations
The discussion began with speakers identifying common traits that successful tech organisations possess. Ganatra said one such trait is the constant need to challenge and push people to develop innovative solutions.
“At work, I challenge people across all hierarchies to solve problems and give some kind of solution. That has helped us a lot because we don’t have an innovation team. We only have people who we feel can innovate,” he said.
Agarwal highlighted how collaboration and the ability to assemble different solutions from various sources can make an organisation more agile and efficient in delivering products. He emphasised how a tech leader needs to be more of an ‘assembler’ than a ‘creator’ because of the existing ecosystem.
A key trait that Chhabria spoke about was the importance of learning and adapting to evolving markets and customer needs. He said technology is today seen as an enabler to build successful businesses, giving the example of a clinical data company that shifted from providing data sets to offering insights and data science services, becoming a cloud-enabled data science business.
“To succeed in today's business world, continuous learning is crucial, even for those not directly in the tech industry. Building a business on technology means keeping up with the latest tech developments and learning new skills,” he said.
Attracting and nurturing talent
Talking about attracting and nurturing the right talent, Chhabria spoke about NetApp’s global start-up programme, NetApp Excellerator, which partners with deeptech startups working on cutting-edge technologies and puts them on the global map by providing access to NetApp’s customers.
“NetApp Excellerator is all about innovation and we have leaders that understand modern tech well. If you're looking at technology architecture for the future, we’re there to encourage you. If you're looking for access to a global market and credibility when you approach investors, we’re there for you,” he said.
Chhabria also discussed the ExcellerateHER programme, a subset of the NetApp Excellerator that focuses on enabling women entrepreneurs to succeed. He emphasised the existence of global biases against women and the need to acknowledge them. By nurturing brilliant women entrepreneurs and providing them access to NetApp's market, the programme seeks to address women's hurdles in a male-dominated world. He stressed the importance of spotlighting the positives and nurturing talented people who need assistance to succeed.
Building morale in organisations
The panel also discussed how tech leaders could build morale in their organisations, especially in the current scenario when major tech players have had to announce mass layoffs.
Ganatra emphasised the importance of valuing employees and keeping in touch with them, especially during difficult times, to maintain high morale. He suggested avoiding over-hiring and maintaining a close relationship with employees.
Agarwal focused on the importance of continuously evolving business strategies and finding better ways to generate revenue to sustain the business during tough times. He highlighted the significance of mental health and shared that their company has a life coach so every employee can work towards their betterment.
Chhabria advised that during fast-moving times, it is essential to focus on what one can control, and the focus should be on retaining talent for an innovation-led company. He encouraged leaders to show their teams the enormous opportunities in the tech industry and inspire them to work towards achieving success.
Tech leaders also need to focus on keeping up with the ever-changing tech landscape.
With over two decades of experience in this fast-paced industry, Ganatra advised, “The biggest roadblock for innovation is the fear of failure, and as technology leaders you have to create a balance of fear.” He suggested leaders work towards mitigating failure whenever something new and innovative is introduced but never give in to the fear, or else they’ll find it difficult to stay agile.
Inspiring future tech leaders
Concluding the panel discussion, Agarwal, who is leading the growth of the India-Israel tech corridor, highlighted some of the key trends he observed in the Israeli startup ecosystem that could inspire future tech leadership.
“Israeli startups are always thinking about the global market from day zero. They launch their companies focusing on the global market, which gives them an edge in developing solutions that can cater to a wider audience,” he said.
Additionally, he emphasised that Israeli startups tend to solve must-have problems. Living in a country that has been at war for a long time, they are always seeking ways to solve critical problems that can save lives. This approach results in high-value offerings that customers are willing to pay for.
Agarwal also stressed the importance of spending more time on the problem to create better value for the customers.