An all-round interview on the occasion of International Women’s Day with MotorK’s Head of QA Seema Prabhu, a professional who, after graduating in STEM disciplines, has put her talents to good use and now plays a strategic role in the company.
At the heart of innovation and digitisation is the call for change from anyone, anywhere. The digital revolution is radically changing many economic sectors, the needs of businesses, and the skills required of workers. Today, according to the World Economic Forum Report The Future of Jobs, 84% of employers have already set the company’s digitisation on their agenda: STEM skills (acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are and will therefore be indispensable for the future of companies that want to manage change. Yet, the latest She Figures 2021 show how women who decide to undertake scientific paths are still under-represented. And a report by AAUW noted that workplace environmental factors are one of the main obstacles.
STEM WOMEN AMONG MOTORK MANAGERS
Promoting a corporate culture that is open to diversity and inclusion represents a key issue in MotorK’s strategic plan. Seema Prabhu testifies to this in an interview where she walks us through her career path and the challenges she faces on a daily basis as Head of Quality Assurance.
You took a STEM study path: what led you to make this choice?
I have a degree in Chemical Engineering from Bangalore University, India. At the time, I had keen interest in semiconductor technology and its applications. This gave me the opportunity to experience a variety of aspects of engineering, including electronics and software. Following my degree in engineering, I also completed a diploma in E-commerce and found my first role in healthcare information systems. During my career in the software industry, I gradually progressed from hands-on roles in multiple areas such as development, testing, business analysis to one in management.
Digitalisation of automotive retail: how does the engineering profession fit into this sector?
The automotive industry is in a state of disruptive transition and the pace of change is faster especially after the pandemic. The challenge that automotive manufacturers are facing is the demand for customer needs. Digital customer experience is now fundamental for automotive retail. This digitalisation of the entire sales process through the use of e-Commerce tools has influenced the adoption of new technology and tools. Use technology allows the process to be fast, flexible and efficient. Inevitably, companies will need to shift from their traditional methods of sales to connected and digitised methods of remote sales.
Customers are looking for online quotes, negotiations and purchases, with a major push towards the digitalisation of the entire sales process.
Engineering teams solve real life problems and the ability to look at events from the big picture. Engineering can boost efficiency and effectiveness. Collaborative and open environment leads to innovative ideas and solutions.
As Head of QA, what are the challenges you face on a daily basis?
Quality has a direct bearing on customer satisfaction. Poor-quality products and services can have a significant impact on the business. It is therefore critical not only to build our solutions at speed, but with least risk and focus on reliability, scale, privacy, and security.
It is not just individual performance, but also team performance is very important. Leading remote teams and multicultural teams is challenging and requires different skill sets. To promote creativity, collaboration and improve output within teams, the challenge is to build and maintain mutual trust, strong communication and teamwork.
Which professionals make up your team and what is your goal?
I work with teams of engineers who are not just culturally diverse, but also talented and ambitious professionals. We have a good mix of experts who coach and mentor junior team members.
Our goal is to deliver software products of a high quality in a fast and efficient manner leading to improved customer satisfaction. This effort is a shared mindset and all of our practices will support this goal.
An international and multicultural context, what in your opinion is the aspect that differentiates MotorK?
At MotorK we have culturally diverse, multi-lingual and international team members. This has created an atmosphere where different viewpoints and ideas are welcomed. Continuous learning is encouraged at MotorK. Sharing knowledge, celebrating success and an environment where everyone is accountable and no-blame culture bring out the best in teams.
Innovation and customer centricity are at the heart of everyday action and decisions.
What advice would you give to women who are starting a career in the tech and digital world?
As the Head of QA, I had the opportunity to build a QA team, define strategy to achieve quality, bridge the gap between business and technology, work alongside very bright minds in a culturally diverse environment and best of all to work in an environment that promotes continuous learning and improvement.
Career in technology is awesome! You will be part of teams that build things. Creativity and innovation at its heart. There is always room to learn, improve and grow. There are many super women around us who are ready to support, help and mentor, all you need to do is ASK!
In a period of profound change, job opportunities in the areas of digital innovation and new technologies will continue to grow in the near future, and well-educated and necessarily specialised figures will be increasingly needed. Even in automotive retail, where dealerships and car manufacturers are having to carefully consider what digital investments to implement in order to optimise the customer journey of potential buyers, the opportunities for new talents with new skills are becoming more numerous, especially for those – men and women alike – boast a career in STEM disciplines.
Everyone who works at MotorK can make their mark in our company while setting the vision and trajectory for the future of EMEA’s automotive industry. The work we do requires the brightest and the best people in the industry, true ambassadors of change who actively support the company to bring about the changes they believe in.