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Vidya Laxman, Director, Tesco Technology: A bag full of opportunities will soon overflow with AI

July 2, 2020

TechGig presents a woman in tech who firmly believes that leadership is a position where you own up to influence and impact people which further drives organisational changes. Her style of leadership is very ‘people oriented’. The trait of being a positive and passionate leader has always allowed her to connect better with people.

We spoke to Vidya Laxman, Director, Tesco Technology about her undaunting professional journey as a woman in the tech space. Here’s what she shared.

How has your unique background prepared you for success in the tech industry?
At a time when technology was not a preferred domain for women in the country, I opted to break the odds by enrolling in Computer Science Engineering and my family heartily appreciated that. Coming from an army background and growing up at multiple places has enabled me with the agility in disruptiveness and made me learn to respect different people and cultures. This, according to me, has created a strong foundation for my career in the technology sector which undergoes constant change. The process of uprooting and starting all over in different scenarios is my biggest drive in the world of technology.

What was your most interesting job?
I believe that every job that I have done or am doing is interesting. There are mainly two aspects that I look at when I take up a job – Am I learning? Am I having an impact? If you look at my career graph, its diverse, I have worked in different industries from finance to retail to supply chain to name a few, also worked at startups and big companies and finally started my career as a software engineer and then took different roles like being COO of a product development company to now being Technology Director. I ensure to push myself out of my comfort zone and I am extremely glad that all my organisations have been very supportive and also encouraged me to do the same.

What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of technology?
I believe “If it doesn’t challenge you then it will not change you”. I remember after completing engineering, I was the only woman developer amongst 50 men. It was my sheer luck that I have had wonderful male colleagues, and they have always made an effort to make me feel comfortable. However, they get used to the same environment and do not know how to handle diversity. So, a woman willing to be in the industry should have that zeal and passion to combat any adverse challenge.

Secondly, believing in yourself and your potential is a must. The booming industry can provide you with an ecosystem to be successful. Nevertheless, it is up to how you want to use this as an opportunity for growth. Each of your colleagues and peers you meet in your career will be competitive and learned. Therefore, being mediocre is not an option here. You have to earn your place in the tech landscape.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?
Digital Transformation coupled with Technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the greatest inventions which are transforming the industry.

This has vitally influenced the industry I currently contribute in too. Virtual shopping experience, in-store robots, AI-powered recommendation engines, bot managed billing counters etc., have altered dynamics of retail drastically. In fact, the most visible transformation is of the buyers into digitally empowered people.

What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?

In an automated, AI-driven NoOps computing setting, changes and upgradations are automatically taken care of by the intelligent system, preventing the possibility of human error. With AI into the organisation, it can be implemented for many diversified things, such as advanced analytics. According to me this is just the beginning and soon a bag full of opportunities will overflow!

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