Professional women and businesswomen are usually often bound to the time frame of personal obligations and social prejudices, making a leadership role look like a hurdle in the race. Often ascending to executive roles takes shattering the glass ceilings to make it seem like a cakewalk. What people fail to understand is that leadership requires a sturdy determination and a will to move forward, and that gender identity is nowhere even near it.
Featuring The Enterprise World’s this issue of The Most Empowering Women in Business is Ramya Parashar, COO of MiQ Digital, who is driving business excellence with impeccable leadership.
A Leader of Her Word-
Ramya heads the operations for MiQ Bangalore CoE, which includes creating a vision, strategy, and people-first initiatives at scale. This spans from designing and implementing business operations, managing the bottom line, and establishing policies that promote company culture & vision.
Being a graduate in Electronics and a Certified Digital Business Strategist and Organizational Performance expert from IIM Bangalore, Ramya’s journey has been all about grit, courage, and determination.
As she grew into the role of a leader, gaining exposure to a breadth of portfolios was important. This meant, not just growing within the expertise of her domain but also picking new skills.
Ramya has steered the technology, operations, and business applications divisions at many global organizations such as JCPenney and FireEye. Apart from that, she has also held various leadership roles in the technology industries, leading Talent and Operations functions in companies like Unisys and Monsanto.
Ramya’s career journey has been about ‘Experiences’ and ‘Risks’ she chose to take when she first tried to move from a non-technical background to understanding the technical landscape.
“Today when I look back, this definitely was one of the key decisions that helped me learn the complete eco-system of technology and step up to any new challenges.”
The Journey of Many Accolades-
“Though there are many instances that I cherish as milestones, one of my noteworthy accomplishments include delivering around $3M of Cost Savings by Implementation of various ‘Real-time business analytics’ dashboard focussed on Process and Technological Transformation in the Collaboration Space, Network, and Infra optimization.”, says Ramya.
Apart from that, Ramya has managed to reduce the cost per hire during the competitive market/external landscape. She has also played an effective role in enhancing employee engagement as well as manager effectiveness during external global changes and ensured the digitization of our Talent processes for building a more people-centric and sustainable process.
Enablement of a data-driven and sales intelligence mindset with the teams is another achievement of Ramya because understanding the customers better and responding, rather than reacting, to the quickly shifting market demands was paramount. Along with that, she has also succeeded in driving bottom-line efficiency and enhanced operational rhythm through the right set of enterprise objectives and KPIs.
Ramya’s Journey at MiQ Digital-
MiQ was incepted on 1st Oct 2010 in the UK. MiQ Digital launched Bengaluru CoE in April 2012.
The initial challenge was to drive deeper market connections between CoE and commercial teams, thus enabling business performance and growth. MiQ Digital designed unique programs around secondment, global mobility programs, and future leaders’ programs and ignite, people across the globe to come together, build team spirit, and collaborate to solve some of the most challenging business problems.
“The vision our co-founders Gurman Hundal and Lee Puri always had for MiQ Digital is to be the leading programmatic media partner for agencies and advertisers. They wanted our employees to learn the best, earn the best, perform the best and make the best connections!”, says Ramya.
As of today, the company has a diversified customer base of >2000 advertisers, <30% revenue from Top 20 advertisers 2021, and 89% Net revenue retention.
The Next Big Thing-
MiQ Digital is a proven, growing, profitable and sustainable business of significant scale. Increasing industry complexity, new channels, formats, and technologies as well as rising digital advertising budgets combine to fuel persistent demand and growth for managed service providers.
MiQ, with stronger regional coverage and greater depth and range of relationships than its peers, is best positioned to capture a disproportionate market share.
For MiQ Digital, future-proofing the business and being a Future Ready Organization is all about building capabilities, enhancing agility, and resiliency, and finding new sources of business growth. The team continues to find ways to allow employees to take radical approaches and be the catalyst that pushes the organization in the right direction.
“Similarly, our strategic priority is to drive diversification of geos/client channels/product + Efficiency through technology = This is what drives Scale”
MiQ Digital’s defined vectors of growth building on a strong track record consist of organic and in-organic streams and sustained diverse commercial strategy. This includes leveraging its global delivery platform – deploying the backbone of tech, partnerships, data, and people assets globally.
The Pandemic Paradigm Shift and Technology-
Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are often at the mercy of macroeconomic factors. The years 2009 and 2020 are the only two periods in the last 14 years where the number of economies with a drop in business entry was higher than those with an increase.
With COVID-19-related restrictions in place, economic activity slowed down temporarily in many economies. However, Digital Technology had never been more important for new business creation. There has been a huge cultural shift towards entrepreneurship. The crisis has had a catalyzing effect.
Younger businesses are highly innovative, put competitive pressure on mature businesses, and lead to productivity growth. True entrepreneurs are taking the situation they’re in, the cards they’re dealt, and figuring out where the new opportunity is. In the post-pandemic world, understanding the essence of digitalization and applying it in the real business scenario are the two aspects that would dominate successful entrepreneurial efforts in the future with a continuous focus on clients satisfaction and employee engagement.
Automation and the pandemic have both changed the workplace. The pandemic pushed many away from the office. Although most restrictions have been removed or reduced, a growing number of organizations are continuing with remote work.
MiQ has 37% of its employees focused on Tech, DNA, and DS solutions. The team is able to deliver superior campaign results through superior technology, better-connected marketing, and advanced media solutions. Their technology solutions connect data, platforms, and inventory – converting raw materials into business-changing results.
Increasingly difficult to track user behavior as tech giants have been enhancing privacy for users. At MiQ, audience targeting connects datasets using proprietary technology to create audience segments and enhance MiQ performance.
“While we believe remote collaboration is here to stay, innovation and collaboration are crucial for success.”
Throw into the mix AI and we have a structurally different workplace. Ramya’s future plan is for the CoE to have the best digital operational framework. This means, focusing on finding the right technologies to boost growth, moving with the times, and implementing new skills needed for the business.
“Building the intelligence for CoE through internal analysis and external insights will be my priority. Understanding the dynamics of our organization can be just as important as understanding cash flow or strategy planning.”, says Ramya.
Building an Efficient Team-
“We believe in building a ‘people-centric’ and ‘customer-led’ culture.”
Today, young professionals are acutely aware of their options and are unafraid to take advantage of them. For MiQ, employee well-being is at the core of its operating model and MiQ values. The team believes in creating an environment and culture where employees bring their whole selves to work and do the best work in their careers. To that effect, overcommunicating and staying transparent with the employees is paramount.
A few things the team ‘walk the walk’ are:
Driving a culture of recognition, enacting initiatives that appreciate smaller contributions of employees going above and beyond, and making them feel valued.
Creating a welcoming atmosphere for employees both in-person and virtually.
Continuous Performance Model – Providing direction, resources, and common goals to the entire team with regular monthly feedback from Managers
Drive transparency and trust with Management – Modelling the way employees should act and providing them the needed support and work lifework-life has helped MiQ prioritize mental well-being vis-à-vis business performance
Building an inclusive work environment where cultivating a healthy and positive corporate culture is paramount.
Fostering learning and Innovation by providing custom-curated L&D programs, accelerated growth opportunities, and enhancing their career experiences
“We believe in building a sense of community and driving inclusive high performance, where employees thrive.”
Ramya’s Message to the Budding Entrepreneurs-
“Being successful often means learning from those who have already achieved their goals. There was a time when you build it and the customers would flock in. However, the market has become saturated enough to offer strict competition in every niche.
My advice for budding entrepreneurs:
Don’t let limited resources keep you from getting started. Entrepreneurship can be a trial by fire; one of the hardest things about starting a business is working without a safety net. Look at entrepreneurship as a never-ending learning experience, and while you may not succeed the first time, you can’t succeed if you never start.”