Making machines come alive
FULL CIRCLE IMPACT Product lifecycle management is a function that employs some of the best brains in the domain of software product development
Sourabh Verma is the quintessential techie. A programmer analyst, who is currently working for Teqtron Inc, a California-based company, he is passionate about the hows and whys of electronic gadgets.
“Software developers who are conversant with hardware definitely have an edge as the industry is increasingly becoming interdisciplinary,” says Arjun Sharma, a Delhi-based recruitment consultant who specialises in the information technology and telecommunications sector.
“For instance, if someone is developing a web application that involves a lot of security elements, it is vital for them to know the type of hardware they are using so that they can determine if the machine can actually handle the workload,” he explains.
Verma was interested in his subject much before he made a conscious choice to pursue it as a career. “As a child I loved to watch my dad make cool commonsense gadgets and repair our household electronic stuff,” he says.
Someone who started playing with LEDs and circuits when he was just 12 years old, Verma gradually started learning programing and hardware interfacing became his favourite pastime. “I used to read books, get help from my dad and discuss my learning experiences on the few online forums that were available in those days. One of my first major achievements was creating a laser- based chat application which required no internet, or wires. All it needed was two laser keychains (costing
50) and light sensors attached to the PCs.”
In his spare time, Verma loves to develop what he calls ‘boy toys.’ “After I managed to control an RC toy car using a computer, I ventured into this fascinating world of boy toys that let me keep the boy in me alive. Now I am trying to do the same to a toy drone,” he shares.
A large part of Verma’s work today involves consulting in the domain of product lifecycle management or PLM. In the context of the software industry, PLM has an indispensable leverage. Today the product portfolios of mega software companies are expanding at an exponential pace. “Given this context it is critical to have an infalliable system for managing product updates, vendors and inventory. Exports are also multiplying and there is a need for products to comply with the standards of various countries. This need is addressed by PLM, which is purely an IT function. Most software product companies have come up with enterprise level solutions to carry out this function and it is the job of consultants like me to select and customise PLM packages basis customer needs and their business specifications,” explains Verma. Have you ever wondered how Apple manage their product space of hunderds of Items like iPad, iPod, Apple watch, Apple TV, OSX, iOS, Safari, etc? They use the services of consultants like Verma to stay on top of their inventory, costing, engineering, documentation, quality management, compliance etc.
Explaining his responsibilities, he says, “When a software development project starts, we meet the business users and understand their activities. Sometimes, the client has clarity about the future state of his enterprise systems, else we create prototypes based on our experience.”