Once, during an interview with Business Today, Vanitha Narayanan, the Chairman of IBM India Private Ltd, segregated her career into three decades. She joined the company in 1987. Her first decade was about building domain expertise in the telecom industry in the US; the second was about building organisational capability; the third (and beyond) has been about leadership - in different cultures, environments. "Now, there is no looking back, because I have realised that I can be challenged and be very happy in any job," she told this writer. Narayanan was the Managing Director of IBM India between 2013 and 2016. She became the Chairman in early 2017.
Her success as a leader goes beyond IBM - which is also why she has been part of Business Today's Most Powerful Women in Business list multiple times. She is a member of the NASSCOM Executive Council, the governing body of India's IT lobby. She was appointed a member of the CII National Committee on Financial Inclusion 2016-17, is Chairperson of NITK- Suratkal, and is a member of the Digital India Council, which is shaping India's digital transformation.
India, meanwhile, continues to be a key market and one of the top performing and fastest growing regions for IBM globally, say company officials. Narayanan has also been able to align IBM with India's digital agenda. "IBM's Cognitive Cloud platform is designed to deliver better citizen services, governance security, etc. We are leveraging our deep industry expertise and cognitive capabilities of Watson (the company's Artificial Intelligence platform) for building expertise in health care, education, financial services, talent management and many other areas," a spokesperson said.
The company has also been nurturing start-ups, developers and academicians while strengthening its presence in Indian Tier-II and Tier-III cities, setting itself up for any windfall from small and medium businesses.