Company News / 22.02.2012

The saga of an interesting Uniphorean

There are many factors that contribute to Uniphore’s fast growth and innovative solutions: we work with groundbreaking technologies, we have strong partnerships with industry leaders, and we truly understand our customers. However, the single most powerful factor that differentiates our business is our people. Uniphore encourages creativity and hard work, which brings in a dynamic combination of seasoned veterans, inventive intrapreneurs, and tech-savvy college grads. In this post, you’ll get an insight into Uniphore by hearing from one of our employees, Parthasarathy Krishnaswamy, in his own words.

 

Parthasarathy Krishnaswamy
Parthasarathy Krishnaswamy

 

 

 

 

Position: Senior Project Manager
Total experience: 20 years
Degree: Computer Science, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore

 

 

What is your passion?
Computers. I’ve been with computers since 1987. I remember being in biology class and they made us draw all these pictures – and I just really hated it because my handwriting was so terrible. So I figured out that typing was a lot easier than writing, and I decided that I better do something with that. I started typing, and I just haven’t stopped. Plus, computers were really catching on in India in the late 80s, so it was the right time to become an expert on them. Ever since then, computers are what I know and what I love.

What were you doing before you joined Uniphore?
I was at Citibank in New York for the last 10 years, working as the Assistant Vice President of the Investment Banking division. I was mainly into java programming — hard core java programming! I worked on creating systems for project management, where I designed a dashboard to keep a macro view what was going on. I also worked with asset management, collaborating with a team to see how we could save costs after the crash in 2008.

Why did you decide to join Uniphore?
I’ve always had this thing where I wanted my work to directly contribute to the development of India. On some level, I could contribute financially by sending money back from the U.S. But coming back and participating more directly was something I’ve always wanted to do. So I came here and I met Ravi and Umesh (Uniphore’s co-founders) and told them about my goals. They knew Uniphore could enable me to achieve them.

I think that people can participate part time in the development of this country, or they can do it full time. I wanted to take it on full time. So now I play a direct role in moving India forward, especially rural India, and this gives me a lot of job satisfaction.

What are you working on now?
Sub-K, what else? (Sub-K is Uniphore’s largest customer in the financial inclusion sector). Financial inclusion through mobile voice banking is a very new concept, so the product is still evolving. This means that we’re still in development mode, working to integrate with all the new banks coming on board. Eventually this will reach a saturation point, and we’ll move into maintenance mode. But for now, Sub-K continues to give us the business requirement, and then we provide the technical designs and offer suggestions and guidelines for implementation. We work with them on a day-to-day basis to monitor the progress of the solutions, and the evolution towards reaching targets.

What has been most rewarding about your Uniphore experience?
Working for rural India. As I mentioned, that’s why I took the job. I think you’ve really got to be proud of what you’re doing, and when I watch the video of Vijay Mahajan demonstrating the impact of our high-tech solutions on small village entrepreneurs and communities, I feel very proud.

How did your background or previous work experience prepare you for your current role?
Working in the financial industry gave me insight into banking processes and their technology infrastructure. This helped me to understand how we could integrate Uniphore’s solutions with the banks. But there are also major differences between my previous work at Citibank and my current work. When I worked in NY, for example, there was a huge bureaucracy – so getting anything done took a long time. But at Uniphore, I am able to define our processes, so we get things done quickly and on our terms. That’s the great thing about working at a startup.

It’s important that I thank my team, because they really helped me adjust in moving from one extreme of financial services at Citibank to the other extreme of enabling financial inclusion in an Indian startup. Their inputs and support were really important in making my adjustment comfortable and smooth.

What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on at Uniphore?
Moving our data server from Chennai to Hyderbad. CTRLS is the only Tier IV Data Center in India. It has been operating at 100% uptime for its 4 years in running, and it ensures application uptime and security moving. Uniphore wanted to guarantee our customers that we have the highest quality data server, so we chose to migrate to CTRLS from our previous data center. To do this, we had to move all the applications that were developed in the last couple of years. This involved coordinating with a lot of different people, getting certificates from different vendors, etc, etc. My team was probably here from 9am to 1am every day during that one month. But the good news is that it was worth it. Our systems have had a 99.95% uptime since we migrated, compared to industry standards of 95%.

What is the best piece of career advice you can offer IT people embarking on a technical career at Uniphore?
I would make sure to explain the complete supply chain with which Uniphore works. They should know that the end customer is often a villager, someone who has never had access to these products and services before. I think that he should have an understanding of the end customer as someone who really depends on our technology, and then he will feel motivated to do his best work always.

I would also tell a new person to try to envision their career growth at Uniphore. If they are proud of the work they are doing, they we will be successful, the money will come, and we will all grow together. Success is more than just a salary, its about taking pride in the work and the company. Doing these things will bring rewards.

What are most people like at Uniphore?
Everyone at Uniphore is easy to work with and easy-going. Starting with Umesh and Ravi, these qualities trickle all the way down through the company. That’s the culture of Uniphore. And like I mentioned before, Uniphore is a very supportive place. My team has been really encouraging in helping me to adjust to the Indian work culture.

Ok, last question. What’s the most interesting thing about you?
I make it a point to go to Disney every year. I love that place, because when you go, you become a kid again. A few years back, I went to the Grand Canyon in the U.S., and I thought: ‘It’s just a lot of rocks.’ Nothing as good as Disney. So this year I’m going to the Disney in Hong Kong with my family.

About Uniphore: Uniphore Software Systems is the leader in Multi lingual speech-based software solutions. Uniphore’s solutions allow any machine to understand and respond to natural human speech, thus enabling humans to use the most natural of communication modes, speech, to engage and instruct machines. Uniphore operates from its corporate headquarters at IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai, India and has sales offices in Middle East (Dubai, UAE) as well as in Manila, Philippines.