Seeta Hariharan, General manager & group head, Tata Consultancy Services Digital Software & Solutions Group- CRN Interview
Tell us something most people won’t know about you.
I read more than 100 books a year. All sorts of titles, on technology, finance, biographies – as long as it’s non-fiction. I’m motivated by the desire to continuously learn new things. I only wish I had enough time to read all the books that interest me.
What has been your highlight of 2018 so far?
After introducing the concept of channel relationships to TCS, which was well known as a global IT services player but not a software company, this year we’ve doubled down on our channel efforts, building out our organisation and structuring channel programmes. Our channel playbook has even attracted the attention of other TCS units, which are using it to design their own channel programmes.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
I would like to play myself. Leadership doesn’t come with a playbook. To act like a leader you have to write your own script.
Which tech firm (other than your own!) do you most admire?
I’ve always admired GE because its inventions have continuously improved the well-being of people everywhere. That should be the goal of all technology firms.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching golf tournaments – particularly when Tiger Woods is playing well.
What is the most irritating tech buzzphrase of 2018?
‘Digital detox’. Abstaining from technology isn’t practical or sustainable. The goal should be attaining balance, not unplugging.
What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?
Raise the salary of teachers. According to a recent poll by the National Education Union, 80 per cent of teachers in the UK said they have considered quitting the profession in the past year. We must make teaching one of our most desirable professions. It’s the only way to offer equal opportunities for everyone. If you can’t attract the best minds to teaching, how do you strengthen a nation?
What’s the biggest untapped opportunity facing the channel?
The biggest opportunity is helping customers speed up their march to delivering higher value. Across industries, their survival depends on it. This requires channel partners to embrace digital transformation as a business model and to learn the skills to implement it. Fortunately, selling digital transformation solutions hastens the cultural transformation required for partners to get there.
What is your most treasured possession?
Empathy, because it guides me as I make decisions and deal with people. You don’t need to have the same experiences as others, just be able to imagine yourself walking in their shoes.
What do your family think you do all day?
We’re a tightly knit family. They know exactly what I do.
Who has been your mentor in business?
I’ve been fortunate to benefit from mentors throughout every stage of my career, including the present. I believe it’s critical to have more than one mentor – not just from the business world, but family and friends, too. It really helps to continuously improve your career and professional development. It’s also key to be a mentor for others. Sometimes you learn just as much, or more, mentoring others.