Get to Know: Haran Shivanan, CEO, iviva

Get to Know: Haran Shivanan, CEO, iviva

Technology and putting things together captivated Haran from an early age – and it helped having a dad who was computer programmer.

Here’s what Haran’s time in tech so far has taught him.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

One achievement that stands out is when our platform got selected as the core city-wide smart platform for a major tourist destination in the Gulf.

Having the opportunity to oversee the successful digitisation and integration of systems in a large city was quite the challenge.

In spite of that, our team was able to direct an improvement in data management, increased engagement and stakeholder-led innovation, as well as enhanced customer visibility.

The fact that these results helped authorities realise more effective and efficient city management was a validation of the work we’ve been putting in for years.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

Technology and putting things together have captivated me since I was seven, I couldn’t really imagine myself doing anything else. My father was a computer programmer back in the 80s and that, too, shaped my interest.

I found that, through technology, I had an outlet for my creativity, which has fostered my passion for improving lives and driving positive change.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

I believe that talented people should be allowed to fulfil their potential to contribute to wider business goals.

That’s why I see my main function as putting them in a position where they can flourish.

My style focuses on giving direction, providing room for experimentation, and most of all, empowering my people to take ownership. I find that this level of trust spurs teams to find solutions and work toward common objectives.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?

Without question, Generative AI is the single biggest innovation since the internet. Changes are already being witnessed and this looks all but certain to continue.

Every single field of work will continue to be transformed, possibly in ways we can scarcely imagine without questioning the fundamental assumptions that businesses are built on.

We are only scratching the surface of what is possible and the breakthroughs we’ve already seen will likely pale in comparison to what will come in the future.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

I usually spend time with my family.

I play cricket and basketball, while my seven-year-old and I often square off in chess matches.

But really, I don’t try to separate work as something that only happens in the office. I would rather minimise work stress than find ways to unwind from it or shut it out. The key is to always find joy in what you do.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

Accelerating towards a low carbon economy is probably the biggest one. We’re not merely talking about energy savings and optimisation here, but reporting, and overall, just better, more comfortable working environments.

There’s been ample interest as far as investment goes and at iviva we’re buoyed by the enthusiasm from the built environment industry to be agents of positive change.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in APAC?

Unlike the North American and European markets, where there is a lot of consolidation of technology and services into major players, the Asia Pacific is far more fragmented, but also more vibrantly diverse.

Every sub-region has its own culture, its own priorities, and, therefore, its home-bred solutions.

Many companies encounter challenges when attempting to establish a presence in this region due to the intricacies of integrating into the diverse ecosystem present in this area.

Simply put, providing tools and integrations is more challenging, requiring different technologies and methodologies.

Since iviva is basically born in this region, that gives us a competitive advantage to be able to alleviate the pain points of customers with managed services.

We help customers with what they need – end-to-end solutions. iviva’s low-code/no-code composable platform caters to the different needs of these stakeholders via a drag-and-drop interface.

It also comes with a marketplace to source use cases pre-built with our partner network, unlike other major equipment vendors whose technologies building owners must adapt to. So, in essence, the platform is easy to deploy and gives building owners and operators a wealth of options in choosing what works best for them.

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?

The top end of the industry is moving away from technology that is heavy on features and functions to being more about outcomes.

A large reason for the rise in end-to-end managed services is because of this paradigm shift.

Naturally, some recalibration in how technology is built and solutions are delivered is necessary, which is why iviva wants to equip businesses with tangible results through composability so that they can utilise templates to build tailored and sophisticated solutions.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?

Hold on to the core of your domain expertise and don’t lose sight of it. There is a tendency to become hands-off as you move up the ladder. However, being able to thrive at a higher position, while retaining that eye for detail and subject matter prowess is like a superpower; it will serve you well anywhere you go.

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