There's an age-old Chinese philosophy that says, "Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself." Now you know why we have so many politicians in our country. They can possibly do nothing even if they have to do it themselves. Napoleon too believed that nothing was impossible. True, he met his Waterloo but not before he fought a hard battle leading from the front and not go home to roost.
Doing the impossible comes easy to T.S. Ushasri. Mind you, she's just like any other housewife. As concerned whether the dhobi has ironed the clothes or the cooking gas guy has replaced the empty gas cylinder, as your next-door neighbor is. There's a family to manage and kitchen fires need to burn. Just a slight difference, though. She's infinitely attached to technology. Like Napoleon, the word 'impossible' has no place in her dictionary. And elementary deduction points to the fact that she isn't a politician either. Incapable of being one, considering her exceptional talent. Which is good news for IT.
T.S. Ushasiri is Chief Technology Officer at Digital, who heads the Advanced Technology Group (ATG). To stay focused on the future, the ATG develops competencies in emerging technologies, synchronizing these with emerging business opportunities for the company and for their clients. Now, you might ask, "What's a charming woman like her doing in a place like this?" Well, you asked for it. Here goes.
Those were the days my friend, when most girls ended up at the "Kalyana Mantap" tying the knot after completing a B.A. or B.Sc degree. Five years later they were full-fledged mothers with kids in tow. Ushasri had other plans. In those days one heard of lady doctors but rarely, lady engineers. She qualified as an engineer way back in 1979. In 1981 she added a management degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. And then began the Ushasri saga.
She joined Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited in 1981 at Bangalore. Not in PR or in some dreary administrative role but work like strategic planning, systems planning, shop floor scheduling, etc. "It gave me the kind of launch pad to look at how large organizations work. It was very interesting," she says. Her longest stint ever was at NIIT. "It was a small company, growing and quite informal. It was a like a family and lovely to work with," points out Ushasri. She thought she'd never leave NIIT. But eight years later she did and joined Ashok Leyland Information Technology (ALIT) where she spent 4 years. Then, from 1998 - 2000 came the opportunity to do some interesting work with Wipro, one of India's largest IT companies, in those tough days of competition.
Her love for technology has seen her through 5 organizations and each time she opened the window of opportunity, there was a new challenge looking up at her from out there. And all she wanted was to be there, through thick and thin. Emerging technologies, complex technologies, ERP, CRM, new applications, integration, interactive voice response systems, consulting - name the cluster and Ushasri has been through it.
And then came Digital. "Here, we are into new technologies all the time," she says. She's all charged as she explains, "Technology must bring value to the customer and if the customer gets value, the company gets value. If the technology doesn't make sense to the customer, it is useless. I'm not going to do patents for patents sake, technology for technology's sake when the company doesn't get anything out of it." The atmosphere at Digital is special to her. "It's extremely friendly and has a strong element of trust. Trust and humility are woven into our fabric," she points out. "None of us have airs. We don't throw our weight around. We believe we need to learn a lot."
Knowledge, it's said, makes the crucial difference between a leader and a follower. And that holds true of Ushasri. Besides her love for technology she loves learning. "Learning of any kind and not limited just to technology." Be it a book on impressionistic painters, poetry or just about anything. She'll read it.
At home, of course, things are different. The kitchen has some ground rules. No tech-talk. For, no amount of technology can make thin, crisp Dosas without a woman's personal touch.
Note: This story was written when the company was known as 'DIGITAL'.