Meet Senthil Devarajan, SVP, and Global Head of Strategic Business Growth. Senthil is based in the United Kingdom; however, his professional and personal aspirations take him all over the globe. He is a passionate business leader with a strong track record for fostering long-term strategic relationships with Ness’ customers.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your role and what you do.
A: My role has evolved over my 5+ years at Ness. I started out focused on helping grow our European business, which led to heading up the UK new business sales team for over 2 years. My current role as Global Head of Strategic Business Growth is very exciting. The team, which spans Europe, Asia, and North America, is responsible for developing strategic relationships and partnerships to accelerate our growth.
Q: How did you end up down this career path?
A: Interestingly enough, I received a master’s degree in automotive engineering and have always been passionate about the automotive industry. I’ve even dismantled cars and put them back together. I moved into technology early on in my career, starting as a mainframe developer. I then moved into leadership roles over time, and specifically, delivery management roles where one role included overseeing an IT team of over 700 people worldwide for a large UK-based retail leader. My attitude throughout my career has been that if I get too comfortable at what I’m doing, I need to challenge myself to do more. So, I took on account management roles and ultimately, sales. I’ve also been very fortunate to have the opportunity to live and work in multiple countries such as India, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. All in all, it’s been an amazing journey.
Q: What do you keep on your desk?
A: Mostly, I keep a clean desk (or try to). I keep my notepad with my to-do list handy to stay on track and realign as needed. I’m re-reading 2 books, “The Magic of Thinking Big” and “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind”. As for my physical laptop desktop, I have a photo of my wife and son. I also keep market research and other information I’ve collected over the years focused on what keeps CEOs and CXOs awake at night. I use this as inspiration for my conversations and the basis to develop concepts that help me think differently.
Q: How do you take your coffee?
A: I’m allergic to coffee, so I drink tea! Most of the time, I take it black with no sugar. Whenever I go to India, I prefer to take Indian tea on the motorways in a traditional way – a small glass tumbler. This brings back great memories from my time in India and my travels with my father. We used to drive 8-9 hours from the south of India to the middle of the country, making plenty of stops along the way for tea to keep us going.
Q: You mentioned you have plenty to do given your new role. What’s on your to-do list?
A: My to-do list is long, but my priority list is simple. It’s centered on strategy, focus and growth. My new role involves defining the global go-to-market strategy and driving a global team to successfully execute this vision. Working with analysts and developing strategies is a top priority. I’m proud to have generated an opportunity through Ness value-added positioning, providing leadership and being a part of the team that recently won one of the largest legacy modernization deals in the company’s history. It goes without saying that I’m very focused on customer success and replicating this type of strategic business value-adding engagement with future Ness customers.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Ness?
A: Ness has a strong heritage in product engineering and supporting our customers to succeed with their business outcomes. There are many golden nuggets of our unique capabilities and track record that we can use to elevate our conversations. I love identifying these market differentiators and map these to our customers’ challenges. To bring in double-digit growth, it takes strategy and the right capabilities to solve business problems and deliver value. I also love partnering with customers across the entire globe – different leadership teams and different industries. I have a unique experience and I’ve enjoyed working with customers from San Francisco to Singapore.
Q: What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
A: Let’s just say, I love food. Prior to the pandemic, I took many trips with my family. I always sample the local delicacies, and I also like to try something new on each road trip. In Norway, I had a reindeer stew, which was delicious. In Dubai, I sampled kangaroo and crocodile at an Australia-themed restaurant. I guess you’d say I’m adventurous when it comes to food.
Q: What motivates you to work hard?
A: Naturally, I’m a hard worker. Early on in my career, I thought success was just about working hard, but what I’ve come to realize over time is that focus is key to achieve better outcomes. Over time, I adopted the mantra to work smarter, not harder. The way I work is doing a lot of whiteboarding to formulate my thoughts and then converting this into a structured idea, messaging, or solution. I’m also conscious of taking breaks and spending quality time with my family. I think it’s important to come back with a fresh mind and perspective.
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