On the lighter side of things, we asked Atisha Raghunanan, Director, Cleeks Cloud, about what makes her tick inside and outside the office.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
I founded this business; so, my response is that the ability to ease into starting a business while balancing family life with the demands of the technology industry and getting a start-up off the ground. I think that would qualify as one of my most memorable achievements. I think many working women find achieving this balance difficult. It requires the ability to push oneself out of comfort zones.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
I never specifically thought of a career in technology, but life often leads one in uncharted and unplanned waters. I started off in sales and I enjoyed the people contact and helping clients, which often led to assisting with technical support. I enjoyed the fulfilment of solving problems for customers; assisting them with the implementation of solutions that gave them the ability to grow their businesses and ultimately elevate the experiences of their customers.
I have to say that having a client report back to say that the solution was a success and their business was enhanced by it – yielded and still does, a great sense of self fulfilment.
We grow with our customers and want to be the instrument of their success through the implementation of technologies that helps them to outstrip their competition. I believe in partnership with our customers with one end in sight – their success, and of course, in turn, we travel the road with them.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I do not procrastinate – it is not a recognised management tool. Business is not about problems not arising, it is about how they are handled when they do present. I do not believe in dawdling over an issue. I would rather try various solutions to solve the problem. So, I think the straight answer to this question is that a management style grounded in good decision making and leadership works best.
All business owners are required to wear different hats. So, I would say that on any given day my management style differs depending on the situation and personality types I am handling. Therefore, at times I am required to be a business leader and on other occasions a coach to either our staff or customers in need of assistance.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
Well, the answer to that is clear: cloud, cybersecurity, AI and Blockchain. I think SA employers have been hit with a wave of technology terms over the past few weeks and they have now decided to get on board and familiarise themselves with these technologies and avail of them.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
Again my feeling is that many women in business learn early and quickly, how to manage stress really well, due to the number of hats they wear, whether they be: business executive, technology adviser, financial analyst and, of course, wife and mother. My attitude or management style can also be said to be part and parcel of how I unwind. I examine issues and strive to resolve them as quickly as possible for clients enabling them, and me, to find ‘unwind time out the office’. I enjoy walking, reading and viewing interesting programmes on TV – when time presents itself.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
One? I can think of a few. However, I believe that no matter which path you choose your passion will steer you to where you want to be. Regrets are a waste of time. Life is about living and dealing with the matters in hand, not what might be.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Cybersecurity is a major area of investment in the technology/cloud industry. If we invest more in cybersecurity, we help empower businesses to move to cloud.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
My role has become more strategic, more focused on new technology to help businesses grow and adapt. We live in the age of Digital Transformation – the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Remaining abreast of the technology innovations that can assist our customers to move their businesses to the next level – is front and centre of customer experience goals. Really, the major change to my role as business leader has not taken place in the past 12 months, it is an on-going challenge – that is remaining abreast of the technology developments that can best serve the growth of our customers’ businesses and in turn our own sustainability and growth with them.