Comfort to choose over Comfort
Date: Monday , July 02, 2007
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. Meet Jyothi Joshi who has made critical choices leading to worthy achievement. She has dialed ‘T’ for Telecom as her career choice and as the days go by her career line is only getting busier.
Currently Jyothi, Senior Manager, Telecom Service, Huawei, is heading the Unified Access Platform (UAP). It is called ‘unified’ because it is a platform for mobile technology, fixed lines, and even next generation VoIP solutions. She is responsible for the complete project delivery of UAP’s products including the version planning that comprises handling the customers’ expectations and people management. An important lesson in people management that she practices is not to micromanage and to avoid communication loopholes. “I talk to my team members for at least an hour daily,” she says. She has been with UAP for two and a half years. The platform is compatible with any telecom network. The UAP product cannot be sold independently but is part of a solution. Reliance is a client in this respect. Hello Tunes is a mobile application which UAP supports for Reliance where for example when one dials a number and music is played it is done upon activation by the platform. Tata Indicom is another customer.
Prior to UAP, Jyothi was with NGN – VoIP Softswitch at Huawei for four years. This was the company’s first product in India. “We broke new ground in the Softswitch solution somewhere at three in the night,” Jyothi recalls gleefully. The move from Softswitch to UAP was smooth because both were part of the same solution. She moved on to new pastures because she wanted to have a round about knowledge of the whole solution which consists of five components. Jyothi has played two roles while working in both the components that is, Softswitch and UAP. Initially she was a Project Manager with Softswitch and later became a System Architect. Then a reverse process was done with UAP. Her interest to move back to UAP was due to technical considerations.
Jyothi joined Huawei as a Project Lead and graduated to become a Project Manager – Call Control. This was the heart of the call operations. Interactions with customers for Softswitch enabled her to become a System Architect. The challenges were many and excited her; these included deploying the solution at the customer site and customizing different versions for them. With the lateral move to UAP later, she chose to climb the technical ladder and move on to management as she was comfortable taking decisions which were customer centric. Her horizontal moves may surprise many, especially those working with service companies as it may seem hara kiri to career growth to switch between ladders not once but twice. However, in Jyothi’s words, “I am very fortunate to be with a product company like Huawei where the technical and management realms are so intertwined that they cannot be mutually exclusive. My double switch between them was of no undue concern to the management or me.” Incidentally she has a total of eleven years of varied experience in the telecom field.
The next logical step is to progress to be a Senior System Architect wherein the decisions to reuse a product from one solution to another can be decided on and also how a solution can be deployed is taken. Here the challenging task is to use the technical knowledge gained over the years to ensure a quick delivery. “My managers would have been so much happier if I had continued in the technical line, as technical people are valued in any product company and are difficult to find. However I wanted to do more challenging tasks based on my technical expertise within deadlines to ensure customer satisfaction which certainly shoots up the adrenalin. Thus my foray into the business side at Huawei,” elucidates Jyothi.
Jyothi is in love with the telecom domain and is undeterred by the bust in this sector a few years ago. “At the bottom of the career pyramid for techies the understanding of the big picture is limited to languages like C++ or Java. However as one grows, the domain dominates and the vastness is experienced. For me personally every day is a new learning experience,” she says.
She started out as a fresher in switching R&D at ITI for one and a half years, eleven years ago. Upon her choice on how to decide the telecom domain as her playing field she states, “One may be in telecom for two years initially and still not know much. To decide whether you want to choose, let’s say finance, after a foray into telecom depends on the individual. Much of the thought process on deciding will be based on the inquisitiveness to learn which helps make crucial conclusions.”
Inquisitiveness was a key component for Jyothi during her early days at ITI. The activities there helped her to have an idea of all components involved in the making of the system – plainly, it taught her to look at the trees while not missing out the forest. This helped her in her next stint at Robert Bosch for three years, where she moved into supplementary services after her signaling stint at ITI. Here she worked on the PABX system wherein new features were being developed like call forward and conferencing which stimulated her techie mind.
Fast forwarding the reels of her telecom journey to Huawei, Jyothi has not given up her urge to experience the unusual. It explains her involvement in the bidding process at the BSNL offices – a tourney that techies don’t often experience in their careers. “As a techie I cannot rest in my techno comfort zone. I need to know the business side of cost and value creation for the customer as well as exhibit leadership traits pertaining to gauging the big picture for the company. I feel this is manna for career growth,” voices Jyothi.