In our new series, we talk to our experts about how to navigate what’s next in their industries or fields.
Aakriti Kataria is a Senior Consultant for our Centric India Data & Analytics practice. She has expertise in business data analysis, QA strategizing and product implementations. Before joining Centric, she worked with Aon Consulting Pvt. Ltd. for eight years. She is based out of Gurgaon, India. Her hobbies include reading and exploring new places, and she often takes an interest in gardening and cooking, too.
What’s your story?
My professional story began when I started my career back in 2011. It has been one of the most exciting journeys I have had so far. I started as an ETL developer, which I was excited about in the beginning and content with later. Then one day, about four years down the line, I received a year-long opportunity to lead Operations for a high-profile client in the same business. The strategic move of re-building the client relationship and creating a team of armored warriors for them brought me into the world of client-facing roles. So once my work was done in Operations, instead of moving back to my comfort zone, I chose to work in business data analysis. This kept me connected to data and gave me the new thrill of client and stakeholder interactions. I worked on honing my soft skills that came along with the territory of my new career path, and, now, here I am!
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received?
Of all the pleasant and constructive feedbacks that I have received so far, I have two favorites.
- The first: In adverse situations, one should remain the calmest.
- The second: Don’t be harsh on myself.
I am still practicing these two. We live a very fast-paced life, trying to accomplish everything in a small frame of time. For someone who is quite passionate about their job, it is easy to tip the balance at times. I found myself in a similar situation in the past, where my passion and pace drove me towards unhealthy working hours, at times, filled with panic. Owing to this feedback, I learned how to slow down when needed. I took a step back from my career only to take a leap forward, which led me to Centric. One of my best decisions!
Why did you decide to become part of your field?
At the beginning of my career, working in data was a choice I made because I realized it runs throughout an application, just like veins and nerves run through our body carrying impulses and blood. Later, adding business and data analysis to the technical knowledge, I created an embodiment for myself that made way more sense. I now compare it to the air around me — it is everywhere.
How are you guiding clients right now?
I follow my all-time mantras:
o Asking open-ended questions
o Listening to them
o Seeking clarifications and confirmations
o Taking back the problem statements and giving some time to assess
o If possible, come up with at least two solid solutions
o Present these solutions.
If it is just a discussion, I provide inputs and ideas per my expertise and offer them any help they might need.
What, in your opinion, do companies need the most help with right now?
I believe a lot of the companies need help with adopting a mindset that is more open to changes. I have had my fair share of lengthy discussions where companies insist on continuing to follow many handheld operations. Even if they are ready to sunset their old platforms, they are not open to re-engineering the process to make it smart.
Also, upgrading the underlying technology is an area that requires the expertise of either a third party or an existing employee base up to date with the market trends. Many organizations haven’t upgraded their products to use the latest tools or tech in years, for various reasons like cost, lack of resources and guidance.
What do you think they should be thinking about next?
With the resource pool companies generate after doing the above, I believe they should drive innovation. With a smarter group that is up to date and eager to apply their learnings, they can start exploring new products either in the business line or different, creating a new revenue stream and healthier workforce. They can venture into other Service Offerings, too.
What are you looking forward to in your industry?
I am a fan of techno-functional roles and cannot express their importance enough. Bridging the technological world with the functional needs and understanding, which are so human and grounded in nature, is so beautiful. I look forward to the industry coming to value these as much and generating enough opportunities for them to grow.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and why?
If I could, I would be in Hawaii. It is the perfect blend of natural beauty and industrialization. Given that during the pandemic we are restricted from traveling internationally, now would have been a perfect time to be there to enjoy nature, without having to travel.