CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Seeta Hariharan

General Manager and Group Head, Digital Software & Solutions Group, Tata Consultancy Services

Location: Raleigh, NC


Number of years in current position: 5

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 10

Twitter Handle: @seetahariharan

Fun Facts:

Can code
Sits on a company board
Has an advanced degree (a degree higher than a bachelor's degree)
Has an MBA
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Has studied abroad

Biography and Background:
Seeta Hariharan is GM and Group Head of TCS Digital Software & Solutions (DS&S) Group, where she oversees this new strategic growth software unit of the company with its own P&L. Recently named "One of the 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech in 2018" by MarTechExec, she drives DS&S Group product and channel strategy and ensures TCS software meets business needs. Hariharan is also responsible for equipping engineering with the staff and resources needed to execute against a visionary roadmap and drives sales and marketing efforts to establish TCS in the licensed software business. Prior to TCS, Hariharan held leadership roles in IBM's software, services, hardware, and microelectronics divisions. In her last role at IBM, she ran Information Management software channels, sales, business development and strategy worldwide for several industry verticals. Prior to that, she had worldwide marketing responsibility for IBM's Communications sector. She has also held sales leadership roles within IBM's services and microelectronics business units during which she drove successful engagements with CPG, Aerospace & Defense, Healthcare, Retail and Telecom clients. Hariharan holds engineering and management degrees, the latter from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. Her inventions have received 25 global patents.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Over the past 50 years, TCS has become well known as a leading global IT services player, not as a software company. Yet with more than half of the global economy expected to be digitized by 2022, customers have been clamoring for our help to survive and grow in the new digital world. Many are well established, incumbent leaders in their industries under intense pressure from challengers like born-on-the-web retailers and fintechs. To meet their needs, TCS brought me on board to build a digital transformation software product business from scratch -- the TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group. While I could tap the industry insights of TCS experts to build software for sectors like retail, banking, telecommunications and government, TCS didn't have a channel presence since we dealt with clients directly. So I introduced the concept of channel relationships to TCS and built a partner organization from the ground up. Now for the first time in its history, TCS offers channel programs for partners to sell licensed TCS software -- even to systems integrators we compete against. Our channel playbook has become so popular that other units are using it to build their own channel programs.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Without question, our number one priority for TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group is growing our channel business. Our goal is to have 85% of licensed software sales coming from partners. With such aggressive targets, we're laser focused on recruiting partners looking to transform their own business models by moving up the value chain, not just resell commodity products. Beginning with the first line of code we wrote five years ago, the design parameters for our products have literally been driven as much by the needs of channel partners as the retailers, banks, communications service providers and cities deploying them.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was proud to be named one of the "50 Women You Need to Know in MarTech in 2018" by MarTechExec. This accolade was given to me by MarTechExec CEO and Founder Lana K. Moore in recognition of our leadership in marketing technology. According to MarTechExec, this recognition is bestowed to women who render a true passion for marketing and marketing technology and who exhibit a desire to develop a community of strong, intelligent marketing executives.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Early in my life I was inspired by Anandi Gopal Joshi, one of the first women from India to set foot on American soil. Although education for Indian women was not widespread in the nineteenth century, she boldly decided to become a doctor after her first child died shortly after birth due to the lack of adequate medical care. In 1865 she became the first woman from India to graduate from a medical school in the United States. Upon returning to India she received a hero's welcome, inspiring future generations of Indian women like me to pursue their dreams.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
From an early age, I was very studious. Learning alone was my motivation and I devoured text books with abandon. But growing up is also a time for self-discovery and fun. So I would tell my 16-year old self that sometimes it's OK just to do things for enjoyment. That exploring new interests and hobbies can be just as important as academics to your development.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I'm teaching myself French and Spanish to help us win more partner deals in Europe and better understand the needs of local consumers who benefit from TCS software. Nothing can replace knowing a local language for better understanding the culture of people you're doing business with. Since culture drives behavior, it's essential.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
As a devotee of lifelong learning, I'm a voracious reader. Of the more than 100 books I read over the past year, my favorite was the 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow which inspired the Broadway musical. It contains a lot of lessons for "Founding Fathers" of new businesses. It taught me that creating a business from scratch often requires conceiving and building completely new institutions which are necessary for them to survive and prosper. Also, that leadership doesn't come with a playbook; you have to write it yourself.

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