In this blog post
Introducing Shriranga Mulay, Sr. Vice President, Engineering, NTT Global Data Centers and Cloud Infrastructure, India
- Tell us something about your childhood. What values had been instilled in you that helped you excel later in your life?
Born in a middle-class family, my father had the responsibility to not only bring us up, but also support his mother, younger brothers, and sisters. He and my mother did everything possible from their side to keep all of us happy and gave us everything timely without being required to ask for anything and at the same time never ever made us a feel the difficulty and the pain they were going through. But as I grew up, I realized this, and it helped me learn how to understand the limitations and still be able do things in an optimal manner within the given limitations. It also built in me a sense of keeping the cost low for everything I did, or I wanted to do and most importantly learning to think and keep an alternate path to reach your goals if required. Also, looking at my parents it also built the feeling inside me to care for people and do everything possible to assist them whenever required. Love and respect people and treat Human Resources as the Best Asset you build which in turn is the only thing that can effectively come to your rescue during testing times.
- What have been some of the biggest challenges in your life and how that has shaped you?
One of the biggest challenges I have come across till date is the Y2K threat. We all know the kind of threat it had posed to all organizations. Most of the Operating Systems, Applications and even the Development Platforms were impacted by Y2K and it demanded an upgrade and sometimes even a change in the code to mitigate it. Even some of the hardware was not compatible and needed a change. All this was leading to a huge cost escalation.
The challenges in our case were no different. In addition to that we were instructed to keep the cost as low as possible, and we did not have too much of time and resources available to make too many changes to the existing System if they came up. So, it was necessary that the new choice of components had to be such that there were minimal changes and impact. Also, most importantly it had to be time bound because it had to be functional well before 1st of Jan, 2000.
While we started this project with a lot of unknowns, but our planning and thorough evaluation and testing of the new Opensource platforms helped us achieve our goal of moving away from the Y2K threat with a very minimal cost impact and with minimal changes required to be done to the System. We also ensured it was executed timely and we had enough time on our hands to make the necessary changes to implement and rigorously test the same before going LIVE.
This entire exercise helped me learn how to Plan, Implement & Execute a Project timely and at the same time innovate to keep the cost low. It also taught me how to work in a situation and innovate when there are too many unknowns that can come across. There would be hurdles that may come your way, but your conviction and determination will always help you find a way through.
There also have been challenges while running operations to improve the Quality of Service and making it efficient in terms of cost both Manual Resources as well as Tools and the Platforms in use. The hunger to Innovate and Automate has always helped me find a solution whenever required and I practice that even today.
- When did you discover your passion for technology?
During my school days, while doing projects I got interested in working on some of them which used a Battery, a motor, and similar objects and make a working model. As I grew, this interest grew further. I also had built up a habit of reading. And this led to reading some of the electronic magazines at an early age. This built the curiosity and interest in Technology. Later, after schooling I took up the Electronics Stream academically. While learning that, Digital electronics was the Subject which I liked. And eventually it led to me choosing this career path over a period which nudged me towards IT. When I started working, it was an era of pre IT-boom that India as a country saw later. I feel fortunate enough to be a part of this transition and got an opportunity to work in diverse Areas all through my career and I took it as a challenge and effectively made the most of it. I feel fortunate not just because I found the passion early and nurtured it, but also got the appropriate support and opportunities at the right time.
- How would you define success?
Success to me is incidental if we are confident and convinced about what we are doing and at the same time have a strong conviction to do whatever we have planned for. Does not mean success will come to you always, but even the failures in between are a path toward the success if we keep our eyes and ears open and take the feedback candidly and improve. Also, one has to be calculated in terms of taking risks at the right time and we should take such risks and be prepared to overcome the challenges or the failures that may come our way. This helps one to innovate, do things optimally, error free, and ensure you develop something which is user-friendly and meets or rather exceeds the user expectation. That’s success to me and as said earlier it would be incidental if we have followed the Best practices and have a complete clarity on what needs to be achieved.
- How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
First and the foremost, one must clearly understand the difference between being a mere Manager Vs being a True leader. It’s important to keep a connect with the people and be clear in our own vision as a Leader keeping the people in the front. Apart from that I do believe and follow the practice of Teamwork and delegation, which is extremely important as per me. Also I believe in giving freedom to the team to think and design things initially and be a guiding force to fine tune things when required to get the best outcome and build accountability, responsibility and knowledge in the team members down the line for them to grow. Finally, I believe in the fact that there are things to learn from everyone in this world irrespective of their Qualifications, Age, Experience, or their Designations.
- Looking back on your journey and knowing what you know now, what is the one piece of advice you would have given yourself along the way?
Always Innovate, take calculated Risks and do not be afraid of failures. Instead learn from them and always have a contingency plan for everything you do along with a roll back plan if required. Always plan things in such a way that we try and anticipate everything in advance to whatever extent possible so that we are left with zero or minimal unknows to trouble us during the execution of the project.