Shreekala Jaydeep’s life has been punctuated by a quest for knowledge and a love of learning. She holds a Doctorate in Physics and has nearly 20 years of experience across a range of professional areas, from research, program management and telecom processes to Business Process Management (BPM) and Automation.She seems to have found her rightful place as Practice Head at India-based information technology and business consulting leader, Tech Mahindra. She brings her inquisitive nature and passion to head the firm’s automation consulting, encompassing Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Automation (IA), and COE (center of excellence) automation consulting engagements globally. It’s clear that Shreekala has more change to create and innovation to bring forward.
Why did you choose RPA/Intelligent Automation as your career path?
I believe my path unfolded as a natural progression. I was a researcher and consultant before taking up a management role. So, innovation and process orientation have been an integral part of life for me. As a business consultant focused on enabling our customers on their digital journey, I saw automation as an effective lever to bring efficiencies - a critical first step. At that time, the market was beginning to explode with newer technologies to enable this change. My interest in exploring automation and creating change is what led me to pursue RPA and intelligent automation (IA) as a part of my career.
What enabled you to succeed in this field?
Tech Mahindra has a deep focus on digital and automation, and the company’s AQT (automation quality time) framework is well established. There is also a strong focus on adapting automation internally and serving our clients’ automation needs. For me, the excitement to build a consulting capability around RPA and Intelligent Automation as a new service set the foundation for success. Developing an automation consulting practice with well-defined frameworks, tools, questionnaires, processes, with a team that is passionate about automation is at the core of my success. Learning is a continuous process and we must be aware of new technologies in the market. I constantly adapt to meet new requirements from clients, who themselves are striving to understand and adopt automation, building on best practices and learnings from each automation consulting engagement. This has all helped me achieve success in this field.
How do you see the market developing in the next few years?
We at Tech Mahindra saw this new wave coming early on. We’ve been at the forefront of the change to adopt and drive digital transformation and automation forward. The technology market has been flooded with newer products and more functionalities joining existing, more established products. The rate of new releases has gone up exponentially recently. We also see that from the time of initial curiosity in these technologies to the present, the needs of businesses have been changing rapidly. In the last year in particular, clients have moved from exploring and adopting RPA to demanding ‘intelligent’ solutions to problems. AI has become the need now, whether stated explicitly or not.
What do you love about your job?
I love the opportunity to explore and learn, understand new technologies and services. It’s even more gratifying to bring these benefits and experiences to clients and colleagues.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
I would say that keeping up with the changing pace of new technology and offerings, and ensuring we are abreast of the latest developments across the spectrum of our offerings is most challenging. We want to ensure that we’re advising our clients and helping them stay ahead, so they can be as successful as possible.
How has being a woman impacted your professional journey?
I don’t believe I have really faced a gender bias being a woman and it has never impacted my career. Throughout my professional journey, I have been considered an equal. I’ve never felt otherwise. I think if you are professional, follow proper work ethics, and are committed to doing your best, there is no place for any gender bias. In fact, I believe women have the added ability to multitask and shoulder responsibilities easily.
What is your advice for young women who are interested in or entering the RPA space?
We definitely need more women to enter the RPA arena. Those aspiring to join the automation space need build the required skills through training and certifications in RPA and IA technologies, and also expand their business acumen. Today, there are many avenues to learn and pursue opportunities in RPA and Intelligent Automation. My advice to young women interested in entering the RPA space? Seek mentors who can guide you and colleagues who can help you. If you have the interest, focus on acquiring the right skills, not just technical capabilities but soft skills as well. Keep up the passion for learning and adapting and adopt a business mindset to look at the big picture. If you do you, will definitely have a successful career in RPA. There will be competition, and you have to be ready to compete.
How can we inspire women to pursue tech careers and in RPA specifically?
Women are definitely committed and dedicated professionals. We just need to encourage and recognize talent and give women access to opportunities. With the right skills, mindset, and attitude, women can build successful careers in RPA and IA. In fact, it’s very encouraging to see a lot more women associates participate in RPA/IA training and hackathon events these days. The creativity that they bring to solving problems is amazing. It also helps that various forums are publishing and promoting information on women leaders, which also serves as an inspiration to many budding young women to pursue a career in this field.
Technology is still male dominated. Since RPA is fairly new, do you see it differently or evolving more quickly to include more women?
There is no longer a hesitation for women to enter the technology field or any other field, for that matter. I definitely see many more women entering RPA programs now, not just developing solutions, but across the spectrum, from sales to developing solutions to bot configuration/development. Multiple avenues are available to build and enhance skills. RPA is no longer new, and women are taking up Intelligent Automation as well. I agree the numbers are still small but they’re growing. We need to encourage and mentor more women to develop and grow in this space.
Only 5% of today’s tech leadership positions are held by women. How do you think more women in leadership roles will change the tech landscape?
We can definitely contribute creative solutions in the tech landscape. We are limited only by creativity and the dedication to achieve or create change in any field. It’s true for RPA too. As women, we need to set examples and enable more opportunities for more women to take up RPA and grow in the space.
Kryon’s Women in RPA series honors the contributions and personal stories of female leaders in RPA. Do you have someone to nominate? Get in touch to help us share more inspirational stories.