Director of Engineering, Mobile Analytics
Dharani has fond memories growing up in Erode, India. Located in the southern part of India, Erode is home to sprawling paddy fields, mango orchards, and coconut groves.
It also has best-in-class educational institutes with highly passionate teachers, which gave Dharani an opportunity to excel in her studies and provide a better life for herself.
As a child, Dharani always imagined herself growing up to become an architect and designing beautiful buildings. She was very introverted and shy, and avoided large crowds at all costs. She found comfort in a small group of friends as well as her family, and mostly kept to herself.
She lived in a joint family with her grandparents and uncle’s family. At any point of time, there were at least 12-15 people in her home. Living in this environment, everyone needed to have high levels of trust and understanding of each other. Dharani actually credits this experience for teaching her about relationship management and social awareness, which later helped her in her career.
Dharani always loved to challenge the status quo and go beyond family and societal expectations. While her family encouraged her to study hard, they were quite wary of her taking a job in a big city like Bangalore, mainly because at that time there weren’t any single working women in her family.
With so many people warning her of the perils of being a working woman, working mother, etc., she wasn’t sure what do do. Fortunately, she received unconditional support from her husband, which she credits as the main reason she was able to establish her career.
She relocated to Coimbatore, a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu and studied computer science and engineering.
While her dreams of becoming an architect were short-lived, she ended up studying computers and software. In many ways, it wasn’t that much of a departure from what she had envisioned all those years ago. Instead of designing beautiful buildings, she works as software engineer and builds beautiful products.
It’s meaningful work that provides her a lot of joy.
Can you describe your current role?
Currently, I’m leading mobile analytics and am responsible for the end-to-end delivery of the mobile suite of applications for analytics.
Since mobile has become ubiquitous, we’re striving to provide best-in-class mobile applications so customers can access their business information and insights at their fingertips, anytime and anywhere.
The mobile applications we’re providing offer strong features that are very compelling and competitive in the current market.
How many years have you been with SAP?
I’ve been with SAP Labs for the past fourteen and half years. I’ve enjoyed every bit of my journey as it has provided me with unique opportunities that allowed me to grow both personally and professionally.
You’re a certified Design Thinking coach, what does that mean?
The idea behind SAP Design Thinking is to create a culture of innovation where employees with diverse backgrounds are empowered to collaborate and solve real-world problems.
I’m a part of Design thinking (DT) rapid coaching camp in which I was trained to be a DT coach. This allowed me to become familiar with coaching practices and DT methodology, which helps to create value for customers.
Since I was a certified DT coach, I had the opportunity to conduct many DT sessions both internally and along with customers as well.
When you define product strategy, what’s your process?
Whenever we have an idea that we want to productize, we first brainstorm amongst ourselves to explore and get the most out of the idea. We encourage a very open exchange of ideas. It’s also a meritocracy so the best ideas rise to the top.
Once we refine the idea to a point where we’re all satisfied with it, the next step is to build a prototype and showcase the sample to our internal stakeholders as well as external customers.
After receiving their feedback, we incorporate those comments into the sample and then proceed with productizing it.
This process helps us not only fine tune the idea, but also to co-innovate with some of our customers, which is always a wonderful experience.
How do you envision the future of mobile analytics?
Mobile analytics is going to radically change the way end users consume analytics. It will go beyond just accessing stories and dashboards through mobile devices, it will allow users to access their business data and insights through all connected devices in a natural and conversational way.
Users can leverage smart digital assistants on their phones, smart home devices, car dashboards and other connected devices to get contextual analytics powered by machine learning and predictive capabilities.
The future is coming and we’re all really excited for what’s in store. I feel fortunate to be a part of SAP, leading such a talented and motivated team in mobile analytics.