DQ Channels

A Super-Intuitive Solution

- B SWAMINATHA­N

NATASH JETHANANDA­NI

CTO Kaleidofin

Natasha Jethananda­ni, CTO, Kaleidofin, talks about her organisati­on in this interactio­n with us. Kaleidofin is a wealth-tech start-up that offers simple, well designed financial solutions to address the needs of the 600 million Indians. She handles an efficient IT backend for her company by constantly drawing inspiratio­n from the road blocks that her users experience. She built an app that was compatible with multiple devices and operating systems, accessible at low internet speeds, available in regional languages, and conducted multiplele­vel checks to avoid over-selling

HOW CAN MORE WOMEN JOIN THE PRIVATE SECTOR?

If we look at leaders such as Roshni Nadar Malhotra, CEO & Executive Director, HCL Corporatio­n and Vanitha Narayanan MD, IBM, one would tend to disagree that women are not represente­d in the Indian tech industry. There are other industry reports that point towards the changing trend where more women are taking on leadership positions in the tech industry in India. For instance, according to forecast made in the Women and IT Scorecard launched by NASSCOM, half of firms will have over 20% women in the C-suite level and increasing numbers of women at the senior level.

That said, it remains a reality that many women feel compelled to exit the work force at critical points in their career, predominan­tly to provide childcare. Organisati­ons that prioritise gender parity can do a lot to stem this. HR policies are being adopted in many Tech organisati­ons to ensure a more diverse culture. Options such as flexi-work, work-from-home, parental leave, anti-harassment etc. are just a few examples of the changes that corporates are adopting to make workplaces inclusive and diverse. These need to become the norm and be adopted across industries. CAN WE EXPECT MORE WOMEN TECH LEADERS FROM INDUS TRY LIKE FINTECH, AUTOMOBILE, MANUFACTUR­ING ETC? The sectors mentioned above are increasing­ly adopting advanced technology such as AI, ML, cloud computing to create speed, precision and cost effectiven­ess. Manufactur­ing industries for example use predictive data analysis to reduce their investment in stock products. Similarly, at Kaleidofin we have been able to bring down the distributi­on cost of our financial services by using an integrated tech platform. This enables us to provide financial services, irrespecti­ve of the quantum being saved. With an overall increase in demand for technology profession­als in these sectors, we will perhaps also see a more balanced representa­tion of women. WHAT ARE THE KEY INNOVATION­S THAT YOU BOUGHT ABOUT AFTER BECOMING A CTO?

Like in any other fintech company, technology takes the centre stage and plays a strategic role. Our focus has been to use technology platforms and tools to bring Kaleidofin to the doorstep of the customer in a super intuitive and easy-to-use manner. The tech team interacts constantly with the sales and marketing team of Kaleidofin as well as the customers to understand the needs and concerns of the last-mile customers and innovate on existing systems and processes. For example, for an agent working in areas with low internet connectivi­ty or on lower end smartphone­s, the ease of completing onboarding formalitie­s on the app is vital. Uploading a KYC document or picture is time consuming for agents in a low connectivi­ty zone. We recently introduced a partially offline mode, wherein the agent verifies documents real time and uploads them offline which is later saved into the system as soon as the agent finds better connectivi­ty. HOW DO YOU SEE THE RECEPTION FOR MORE WOMEN TECH LEADERS?

In recent years, women have been making their presence felt in STEM. 34% of India’s IT-BPM (Informatio­n Technology- Business Process Management), industry that employs 3.97 million people, now comprises women. This is a significan­t increase from 28% in 2016. This trend should continue into related sectors such as Core Technology as well.

I would like to attribute these changes to three fundamenta­l changes that the role of CTO has undergone – a) The CTO role is now strategic in nature

A majority of successful online players in India today have a mobile-first approach and use technology to create key differenti­ators. Traditiona­l sectors like manufactur­ing are also adopting tech for business benefits such as better customer engagement and reducing cost. The CTO role has thus changed from an earlier perceived ‘support’ role to a mainstream function. This combined with the emphasis on diversity, across sectors, should lead to more women taking a lead in many organisati­ons. b) People management is the key

The tech team of organisati­ons are increasing­ly integrated with the other business units and teams of the organizati­on. This results in a need for a diverse talent pool within the technology team as well. With large tech teams becoming a common phenomenon, people management and multi-tasking are important traits to have for a CTO/CIO. Women often credited for being better multi-taskers have an upper-hand in managing the CTO’s role. c) Empathy and understand­ing customers are the key

Like at Kaleidofin, customer experience and ease of use is now the focal point for most technology teams. Backend integratio­n and functional­ities are tuned in to support the adoptabili­ty and usability of end-users. Better understand­ing of customer’s behavior and a problem-solving approach are imperative for CTOs. The interviewe­r is a Contributi­ng Columnist with DQ Channels

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 ??  ?? NATASHA JETHANANDA­NI CTO, Kaleidofin
NATASHA JETHANANDA­NI CTO, Kaleidofin

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