[Women in Tech] With over 23 years’ experience, Anandhavalli Krishnaswamy of Intuit believes every day comes with new learnings

Anandhavalli Krishnaswamy is Vice President- Product Development, Monetization Services and Experiences, Intuit India, leading a team that builds monetisation solutions to power the company’s growth worldwide. She is also passionate about mentoring women in tech.

[Women in Tech] With over 23 years’ experience, Anandhavalli Krishnaswamy of Intuit believes every day comes with new learnings

Monday February 14, 2022,

6 min Read

Born and raised in Tiruchirappalli (Trichy), Anandhavalli Krishnaswamy’s life was ensconced within the town in a family that encouraged academics and competition.

Her parents were teachers and that instilled in her a lifelong love for academics. Her mother’s sister was the first to leave the town to pursue an engineering course at the Indian Institute of Engineering and gain exposure to the world outside her cocoon.

Twenty-three later, life has come full circle. After stints in top companies like AOL and Thomson Reuters, Anandhi joined Intuit eight years ago. She is Vice President- Product Development, Monetisation Services and Experiences, Intuit India.

Her aunt convinced Anandhi’s mother to encourage her daughter to go beyond the beaten path of what used to be BSc in physics and chemistry in those days to explore computer science.

“I was also super-excited to watch a new technology emerge and enrolled for a BSc in computer science and later an MSc in the same subject from Bharathidasan University. Mine was the third batch in computer science in college. At that time, I did not know what the future would bring, but it was an exciting time,” she recalls.

After completing her master’s, Anandhi joined a small petrochemicals company in Chennai where she worked for six months. She moved to Bengaluru in January 1995, and answered an ad in the newspaper for a job at Equinox Solutions.

“I was impatient when the interviewer said he’d get back to me. I categorically asked him, ‘Am I selected or not?’ He asked me to wait outside and called me back in to give me an offer letter,” she reminisces with a laugh.

She moved to the US in 1998 and worked with Jamcracker, a cloud service brokerage and multi-cloud outfit. After a few years, her husband and she returned to Bengaluru and joined Aztec Soft. Within two months, she moved to Symphony Services.

At Symphony, she spearheaded a team of 120 QA professionals in six months to setup the Siebel CRM account.

From 2005-09 she put in a stint with AOL, heading a 60-member team in Bengaluru, working in close coordination with the QA/Dev Teams, and made regular contributions towards test architecture, test design, and implementation review for websites and related infrastructure and platform components.

She joined Thomson Reuters in March 2009 to supervise its QED (QA/CM/RM) organisation for the online search and content production platforms.

Quality with a difference

In 2013, she was approached by Intuit and selected as Group Development Manager to lead the transformation of Quick Books Desktop ecosystem products by enabling a high quality mindset.

“From an industry perspective, it was my first experience with a desktop product. So, it was a period of great learning for me even though people discouraged me, asking how could I move from a platform to desktop. I was very clear about one thing – as long as there are new learnings, the area in which you work doesn’t matter if it gives you an opportunity to bring change,” she says.

She explains it is important to determine the role quality plays while working on transformation.

“We attempted to bring a mindset change to the way quality is perceived. Unfortunately, what has happened in the industry is that people started using the word tested to what’s being coded, not identifying what is not coded…it got diluted in the process.

“We brought in a whole transformation in the quality journey across Intuit. I ‘provoked’ the engineers to think if one does a code change, what is the impact, can you come up with tools – why can’t you write a code to test a code… that’s how we started,” she says.

Anandhi says leadership is not about getting things done. “In the software industry, people are assets. So the question is how to make realise their own potential? Unless you push they won't know. They may think this is the right way to do things.

“You need to build trust, take the team along with you, and realise what we are doing is for their own good. I used to have open conversations because there was a mindset change we were bringing in a company where we had close to 70 FTEs doing the testing for a desktop product,” she says.

As the Vice President- Product Development, Monetization Services and Experiences, Intuit, Anandhi steers an engineering team with a mission to build monetisation solutions that power Intuit’s ecosystem growth worldwide. Her ensures delivery of strategic outcomes across verticals of business growth, compliance, and newer product onboardings to aid commercial innovations across Intuit product lines, to bring in significant annualised revenue year over year.

Drop the excuses

Anandhi agrees that not everybody is lucky enough to get mentors to push them to make things happen and become successful.

But she also disagrees with women using family responsibilities as an excuse for not aspiring to become leaders.

“I spend a lot of time with young women engineers and when they come up with different excuses, I tell them, ‘you decided to work, you know there are specific challenges to navigate, so don’t use them an excuse to compromise with things at work’. When you are in office, give it your full attention,” she says.

She elaborates on five factors that impedes women’s growth and hold them back.

“One is their mindset: will I able to do it, will I be able to compete; they are plagued by self-doubt. They also compare their work responsibilities and duties towards the family and think if it’s worth it. They want to be happy in a comfort zone. They don’t ask for help, and believe they need to do everything on their own to succeed. They also doubt whether their voices will be heard in a group where there are men… the list just goes on.”

This is where mentoring comes into the picture, an aspect Anandhi is passionate about.

“I spend a lot of time mentoring engineers, male or female, whoever shows potential. My focus is to bring diversity into the space. I conduct sessions for new joiners in an interesting manner so that they understand the impact of their roles better,” Anandhi explains.

In over 23 years of navigating the tech space, Anandhi has a lot of experiences that have shaped her as a techie and a human being. She recalls her quality transformation role, moving into transformations space, one she was wary about.

“There were times when I thought of quitting when I believed I didn’t have experience in a particular space. The leadership team assured me I could do it, and my team rallied behind me,” she adds.

Anandhi believes the monetisation space will never see a downtime, so the future will bring in new learnings every day.

“Despite the challenges and pressures, this space will offer innovation of different kinds. I want to continue learning and also mentoring more people.”

Edited by Teja Lele