February 19, 2022

Venturing beyond your comfort zone with Jacob Kurian – part 2

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Venturing beyond your comfort zone with Jacob Kurian - part 2
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Show Notes

In this episode Shiv continues the conversation with Jacob Kurian, an Indian IT industry veteran and presently Hon. Secretary, The Association of People with Disability, Bangalore.

In the previous episode, Jacob talked about a cold-relationship with a senior executive at Unisys and how that changed. He mentioned a call received from GE to explore the possibility of getting software developed in India.

Jacob shares:

  • What happened to the GE opportunity and how that was a significant event for the Indian IT services industry
  • His personal decision to return to India in 1993
  • Joining Titan Industries as CMO and CIO
  • Learning how difficult it is to get users to converge on IT requirements
  • From a software services company to in house IT services, where production issues can be seen to impact core business
  • His answer to the question: What does it take a techie to become an entrepreneur
  • Need for short release, validate cycles and not making good the enemy of perfect

Jacob Kurian was an unintentional entrant into the fledgling Indian IT sector in 1984 and had a front row seat, as it transformed from a largely augmented staffing model to the global powerhouse it is today. Tata Burroughs, later Tata Unisys as the largest MNC in the sector, played a pioneering role in establishing offshore development, turnkey end-to-end software projects and even India’s first financial sector products, decades ahead of Finacle and others. After great success in leading the largest business group for software services in Tata Unisys, he returned to India in 1993 with the intention of leaving the IT sector and looking for new career challenges. He made the radical shift to watches and jewelry at Titan Company. While he rose to CMO and later COO at Titan, he was also tasked with revamping the information systems at Titan. In four years as CIO of Titan, he gained some invaluable insights into the challenges that large end users face in a rapidly changing technology environment. Post retirement, as the Hon Secretary of an NGO, he is wrestling with the challenges of bringing technology to the development sector where tech talent and budgets are non-existent.

What do you think?

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