Hello VOX Readers, how are you all? I hope all is well with everyone during these strange times. Last week, I caught up with Milly Sandeep. Did you see her #LifeAtVeritas interview? Today I’d like to introduce my latest employee interview with Sanjay Mathur, Senior Director of Technical Support, Pune & APJ based in our Pune, India office. During this interview, Sanjay shares insights into what it's like to be an engineer, troubleshooting customer issues and deliver customer success. He also provides excellent advice for those starting their first job, insights into his leadership style, and managing successful teams. Read Sanjay’s interview below.
Zoe: Welcome Sanjay, thank you for agreeing to participate in the #LifeAtVeritas blog series. What made you choose a career in IT?
Sanjay: Thank you so much, Zoe, for the opportunity to share my story. I was always good at Mathematics and Science, so naturally, I was drawn to Engineering. After graduating in science, I enrolled in a Master’s in Computer Science and Applications, which had been introduced in a few Universities a couple of years prior, and the possibilities fascinated me. Since it was new, nobody was quite sure of where it would lead, but I’m glad I took it up, and my parents supported my choice. The course was a mixture of hardware and software concepts, but I loved the business side and coding, so ultimately, I moved towards software, joining Tata Consultancy Services in New Delhi after my degree.
Zoe: Sanjay, you’re welcome, it is a pleasure to have you contribute to #LifeAtVeritas. Can you share a summary of a day in the life of a Technical Support Engineer?
Sanjay: A Technical Support Engineer’s (TSE) job is all about providing solutions to a customer problem. These problems are known as “cases” coming either via the web portal or via the phone. The TSE’s then, depending on the problem, would try and provide solutions – by looking into our knowledge base repository, seek help via collaboration tools from what we call the VHive, engage with their colleagues or senior engineers or Engineering, sometimes recreating the problem in the lab and provide a solution. Since some of these may go for a few days, the engineer needs to manage their work in backlog whilst taking new cases. Ultimately satisfaction for the engineer is when they solve the customer problem on time.
Zoe: What career advice would you give to those trying to secure their first IT role? Are you recruiting at the moment?
Sanjay: In India, for academics, there is a lot of focus on getting high marks. That makes the students work on their own. One of the first things I would say is that even though the engineers are academically very good, they lack an understanding of what roles are available in IT and what soft skills are required to succeed. During the graduate hiring process, which we concluded recently, we spent a lot of time explaining about the Support TSE role as the only roles the graduates seemed to know were coding roles. Besides, they need to be adept at working with others in a collaborative environment, have a fair idea of making presentations and how to present, and take the lead when an opportunity arises. These are some of the qualities which we look for in candidates apart from their technical abilities.
Yes, we are always looking for talented individuals for our teams, and we are currently hiring.
Zoe: In your opinion, what leadership traits make a good leader? And what’s your leadership style?
Sanjay: Since I did not go to Business School, many of my leadership learnings are from leaders I have reported to. I would say for a good leader the first thing is to define a vision for the organisation. This helps the team to know where we are heading and enables people to work together. The second is the ability to execute. This means having constant communications with the team at all levels and governance to ensure that things are moving in the right direction or take course correction if things are not going well. Identification of the stakeholders and working closely with them, having a diverse team, getting them to work together, leading by example, identifying key talent and keeping them motivated, looking for continuous improvement, and building trust between the team are key attributes of a good leader. My leadership style is a mix of coaching and directing, and depending on situations, I can switch. My style has evolved over a period of working in different organisations from Oracle to Cisco and now Veritas – where I do much more coaching with my team.
Zoe: To some extent, we have been influenced by others in our personal and work lives. Who are your role models and influencers?
Sanjay: To start with, my parents have been big influencers in my early days, seeing them work with one goal in mind to provide my brother and me with the best education and opportunities. We moved from a small town in India to New Delhi – and got educated in the best schools, which allowed us to get selected to the best colleges and then subsequently employed at the top technology companies in the world.
In my work, I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the very best leaders in the industry – whether it was Mr. L.C. Singh, Dr. N.K. Mehta at TCS, Chon-Phung Lim, Hoon-Juay Tan, Ravi Bhatnagar at Oracle, Joe Pinto, Ana Pinczuk, and Tom Berghoff at Cisco and now with Lenny Alugas, Jim Livingston, and Jonathan Pitone at Veritas. Each one has incredible qualities that I try and imbibe in my work and leadership style.
Zoe: How do you define success? And how do you build successful teams across your region?
Sanjay: Success meant different things to me at different stages of my evolution as an individual. Today success means to have a team working together and achieving results, and to create new leaders who can carry forward the mantle. I have always taken the approach of spotting talent within and providing them with the opportunities – of course, there may be instances where we need to hire from the outside if the talent is not available internally. Hiring the right first-line managers and being in direct touch with them is imperative to building successful teams. Challenging them to do more, making them think of ever-improving, thinking out of the box, and innovating are some of the strategies that I’ve used to build successful teams.
Zoe: What motivates you? And how do you motivate remote teams across India? Especially in these uncertain times.
Sanjay: I’m driven by the positive changes I can bring about in the work that I’m entrusted with and how I can drive towards continuously improving the team. You are very right that in these challenging times, where we are not meeting people in the office every day, it’s becoming increasingly challenging. However, we have tried to maintain a connection with our teams regularly. During the pandemic, as we got more information on what our teams were feeling, we, in partnership with HR, have organised several sessions for them on mental health, the importance of exercising and yoga, choosing the right diet, and the importance of sleep. These have been received very well by our teams.
Zoe: I love yoga! That’s great to hear employees are being encouraged to take up yoga in the Pune Office. Sanjay, why should people choose to work at Veritas?
Sanjay: Interestingly, we were doing a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis of the Pune site recently, and this is so fresh for me. We just celebrated 25 years of Veritas in Pune, a phenomenal achievement not many companies can boast of, and we have employees in literally all functions at this site. Our employee empowering culture while working on cutting-edge technology and lots of opportunities to give back to society are key reasons for folks to join us at Veritas. We have a spanking new awesome office also coming up very shortly in Balewadi, Pune in addition to our office in EON IT Park, which we all are looking forward to moving to.
Zoe: What’s your favourite Veritas solution or product?
Sanjay: NetBackup is my favourite, for the range of workloads it supports. Another product that I’m now getting to know more in-depth is InfoScale – it's complex but has some amazing capabilities.
Zoe: Sanjay, what do you like to do in your free time?
Sanjay: I am curious by nature, so just reading about “how things work” excites me, and they could be as random as the metro construction to bridge construction to steam trains to organic farming. I love exploring different places, and Europe is my favourite, with every city having a character of its own. Last year I was fortunate to be nominated for the VIP Club, which was held in Rome, Italy, and my wife and I had an amazing time, as it was very well organised by Veritas. I also like spending time with my family playing board games, it is a good way to have fun and bond with them.
Zoe: Congratulations on attaining VIP Club! That’s a great achievement. Finally, what technology can’t you live without?
Sanjay: I thought about the iPhone, but ultimately, it’s the Internet that has changed our lives profoundly – how we work, play, shop, research, and finding our way to our chosen destinations. When I started work with TCS, there was no Internet, no email, and because of the Internet, everything has changed around us, all in a matter of 25 years.
If you enjoyed this Life at Veritas blog post with Sanjay Mathur, then stay tuned as there will be more interview-style posts from other people at Veritas. And if this has inspired you to join our team, check out our job vacancies on LinkedIn and apply here.
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