The Journey to Leadership Success: Sureendhran Subramaniam’s Perspective

Sureendhran Subramaniam
Sureendhran Subramaniam

Today’s business climate is a whirlwind of change. Companies must navigate the complexities of cloud management ensuring secure and scalable data storage. Simultaneously, they face the challenge of digital transformation, adapting processes and workflows to leverage new technologies. This delicate balance between cloud optimization and digital evolution is key to staying competitive in a dynamic market.

Concurrent with these shifting circumstances, organizations seek leaders who possess a blend of expertise and adaptability to sail through the digital era.

Standing out as a seasoned professional in this realm, Sureendhran Subramaniam possesses a wealth of experience. With a distinguished background in senior management across global Fortune 500 MNCs, Sureendhran brings abundant knowledge and insights to the table. His journey is a reflection of his untiring commitment to excellence and innovation in the field of cloud management and operations.

Specializing in multi-cloud management, hybrid/cloud services, and digital transformation, Sureendhran is at the forefront of driving organizational change and efficiency. His expertise extends to disaster recovery solutions, IT operations and project management making him a versatile leader capable of tackling diverse challenges with precision and finesse.

Sureendhran’s passion for sharing experiences and knowledge highlights his dedication to continuous learning and growth. With a keen eye for opportunities and a penchant for collaboration, he embodies the spirit of innovation and progress in cloud technology.

In his role as Executive Manager – Asia & Africa Cloud Broker at AXA Group Operations, Sureendhran is poised to make significant contributions to the organization’s success, leveraging his expertise to drive meaningful change and propel the company forward in the digital age.

Prioritizing Clients and Teams

Being an experienced professional with 23 years in the IT technology sector’s infrastructure segment, Sureendhran has gleaned valuable insights from his tenure at esteemed global companies like Siemens, Dell, HPE, and Microsoft. Reflecting on his journey, he notes, “The solution stack offered to customers often didn’t fully meet their needs, emphasizing sales targets over genuine solutions.”

Recognizing this discrepancy, Sureendhran shifted his approach. “I aimed to add more value by evaluating solutions for clients, rather than solely focusing on sales quotas,” he explains. This transition marked a pivotal moment where he found fulfillment as a trusted advisor by prioritizing clients’ best interests.

Sureendhran’s journey from technical roles to a leadership position underscores the diverse skill set required in the technology landscape. “Becoming a Technology leader involved embracing new challenges, such as transitioning to a people manager role,” he shares. This shift demanded a focus on employee well-being and mental health ensuring longevity and resilience in their careers.

With a career marked by adaptability and client-centricity, Sureendhran’s journey reflects the importance of aligning solutions with genuine customer needs, while also prioritizing the holistic well-being of teams in the fast-paced IT industry.

The Versatility of Cloud Services

Drawing from extensive experience managing multi-cloud environments, Sureendhran emphasizes the significance of FinOps in cloud transformation. He asserts, “Cost is not the key decision-making element to moving to the cloud.”

In his view, cloud infrastructure offers a spectrum of advantages beyond mere cost efficiency including High Availability, Disaster Recovery on Demand, Scalability, and Enhanced Security. Sureendhran prioritizes educating stakeholders on the nuances of cost drivers in both On-Prem and cloud hosting environments, advocating for an informed decision-making process.

He advocates for an ‘apple to apple’ comparison urging organizations to align hosting choices with their technology strategy and objectives. While acknowledging the benefits of cloud services, Sureendhran emphasizes that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to IT challenges, but a versatile hosting platform offering a myriad of technology services for organizations to leverage as needed.

The Backbone of Corporate Success

Sureendhran reflects on his tenure in mature companies highlighting their robust management support, diverse culture and structured approach to challenges. He observes, “These companies invest heavily with consultants to evaluate their standing with global benchmarks.”

Central to these organizations’ ethos is employee empowerment and continuous education. Sureendhran underscores the importance of top management support in fostering a conducive workplace environment. “These are key areas of support a people manager/leader needs,” he asserts.

In his role, Sureendhran implements strategies like focus time and wellness activities during office hours. With management backing, these initiatives aim to alleviate work stress and promote employee well-being. “Shifting their minds to other fun activities,” he notes, emphasizes the importance of balancing work with moments of relaxation and enjoyment.

Driving Performance

Sureendhran emphasizes the importance of translating the organization’s strategic vision into actionable tasks for daily operations. He explains that the key here is to translate and group the strategic vision into smaller deliverables and associate them with day-to-day operational tasks.

For Sureendhran, operations entail overcoming challenges to ensure seamless service delivery while aligning with the organization’s objectives. He employs a methodical approach to keep his team motivated, leveraging clear KPIs and a mutually agreed RACI table. “My recipe in keeping my team motivated and driven is to define clear KPIs from the deliverables and assign them to the team,” he shares.

Regular performance evaluations, conducted quarterly through one-to-one sessions known as ‘PitStop,’ serve as checkpoints to monitor progress. Alongside these evaluations, Sureendhran fosters an environment of open communication and camaraderie through sharing sessions, gratitude moments and team-building activities. These initiatives continuously reinforce the company’s visions, objectives and goals ensuring alignment and commitment from the team.

The SCRUM Mindset

As a Certified Professional Scrum Master, Sureendhran highlights the importance of client satisfaction in project delivery. He states, “A project can be delivered on time, but the manner it is delivered is key to achieving client satisfaction and even client delight.”

Utilizing the SCRUM mindset, Sureendhran focuses on building high-performing teams capable of adapting to the evolving demands of clients and the dynamic advancements in cloud technology. He emphasizes the need for agility in accommodating market changes, ensuring that projects not only meet deadlines but also exceed client expectations.

Thriving in Change

Continuous improvement can only be achieved via continuous learning due to the continuous advancements in technology,” states Sureendhran. He emphasizes the importance of ongoing education by assigning personal learning KPIs to each team member. “Each and every one of them must complete at least one certification in their area of expertise annually,” he adds.

Sureendhran encourages participation in customizable learning programs through the organization’s Human Resources Learning Management Program. Progress is tracked where completion of certifications and courses must be followed by practical application. “They are required to show how the learning can be used to improve the current organization’s operations,” he explains. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and application, Sureendhran ensures his team remains adaptable and well-equipped to navigate the evolving landscape of technology.

Embracing Disruption

Sureendhran is an advocate for continuous learning and he emphasizes the importance of embracing change, stating, “We must disrupt to exist.” This mindset drives him to constantly seek improvement and innovation in managing cloud operations aiming for efficiency and cost optimization.

To stay updated on emerging trends, Sureendhran actively engages with the technology community. “I keep myself abreast of emerging trends by attending technology events and participating in conferences,” he shares. His involvement has earned him recognition as a cloud subject matter expert, with invitations to speak at local and regional conferences as a Keynote Speaker and panel discussion moderator.

Sureendhran’s participation in these events allows him to contribute to the technology community and bring valuable insights back to AXA Group Operations. “With the learning, exposure and participation around technology advancements,” he explains, “I am able to use and contribute to AXA Group Operations the learnings and sharing gained from these activities.” Through his commitment to continuous learning and knowledge sharing, Sureendhran remains at the forefront of technological advancements, driving innovation within his organization.

Preparing for the Unknown

Reflecting on a compliance risk raised a few years back, Sureendhran recalls the imperative of ensuring business continuity during potential disasters. He recounts, “My task was to ensure minimal business impact and revenue loss.”

To address this challenge, Sureendhran initiated a comprehensive risk assessment and planning phase. “We identified potential threats like natural disasters, human errors and cybersecurity threats,” he explains. This was followed by a meticulous Business Impact Analysis (BIA) to pinpoint the organization’s ‘crown jewels’—critical applications requiring safeguarding.

Subsequently, a High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) plan was crafted, outlining procedures to mitigate risks and ensure uninterrupted business operations. Concurrently, a secure, resilient backup and recovery solution was implemented, tailored to the diverse data types and classifications.

To validate the effectiveness of the plan, regular testing and scheduled drills for disaster recovery were conducted. “These steps and plan helped the organization be ready to address business continuity if a disaster were to occur,” he affirms, noting the importance of proactive preparation. Fortunately, the organization has yet to experience an actual disaster reflecting the value of robust planning and readiness.

Fostering Unity and Trust

Sureendhran stresses the importance of clear communication in fostering unity within a team. He emphasizes, “We must clearly communicate the common goals and objectives of the organization and make them understand their role and accountabilities.”

Transparency in communication is pivotal for building trust among team members. Sureendhran highlights the necessity of trust and respect as foundational elements for team cohesion. “For a team to be united, there must be trust and respect between them,” he asserts.

To promote collaboration and unity, Sureendhran advocates for team bonding activities and encourages collective effort towards shared goals. Additionally, he underscores the significance of leading by example as a leader. “As a leader, we have to be the model and a mentor to the team,” he explains. Demonstrating openness and trust along with fostering collaboration sets the stage for a cohesive work culture, driving the team towards success.

Resilience and Reflection

Setbacks and challenges are part of our career journey,” advises Sureendhran, emphasizing resilience and self-reflection as keys to overcoming obstacles. He suggests, “When faced with setbacks, take time for self-reflection to assess your strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement.”

Maintaining a growth mindset is crucial and helps enable individuals to view challenges as opportunities for growth. Sureendhran asserts, “Challenges and setbacks are a natural part of our leadership journey; we must accept them as valuable lessons.” To bounce back stronger, he recommends prioritizing self-care and seeking feedback from peers. “Stay resilient to come back stronger than before by focusing on maintaining a healthy work-life balance and practicing mindfulness,” he advises.

Above all, Sureendhran encourages aspiring leaders to believe in themselves and their abilities. “Always believe in yourself, believe in your talent and keep working on your personal as well as professional growth,” he urges. Indeed, investing in oneself is the most valuable investment one can make on the journey to leadership success.