Gender doesn’t matter, your knowledge and experience does — says SAP’s Sindhu Gangadharan.

When Sindhu Gangadharan started her journey twenty years ago as a developer, women in technology were far and few and had to face many challenges. However, things have changed today, and the biggest contributing factor is that there are more women entering this field, bringing about a change and creating a lasting impact. Sindhu, in September 2019, took over as Managing Director of the SAP Labs in India. The R&D facility of SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software. Sindhu, the first female MD of SAP Labs India says that one of the core aspects of being a successful leader is to be an expert in your field.

“Since the beginning of my career, I’ve always believed in really understanding and knowing the smallest of detail about my work,” Sindhu says. “According to me, whichever field a person chooses, they should be really passionate about it; it doesn’t matter what their gender is. For me, technology has always been my passion and keeps me on my toes to know more,” she adds.

And naturally, she’s never felt the years go by. The continuous organizational support and encouragement played a big part in this. Sindhu throws light on this and says, “Undoubtedly, SAP is a great company to work for. And it also stems back into the cultural aspect — the open culture, the focus on learning, the focus on self-development and free-thinking”. She adds, “The company provides immense opportunities for professionals like me to grow both on the career front and the personal front, which helps me evolve holistically as an individual. The culture of gender positivity at SAP is exemplary. We encourage equal opportunity, irrespective of the gender, age, faith or orientation that one belongs to or chooses to adopt.”

Sindhu follows the belief that innovative ideas flourish when people embrace their differences and foster collaboration. As a leader, she encourages the entrepreneurial spirit that is within every employee and asks them to break away from silos and pursue an open innovation approach Sindhu highlighted some initiatives which defines SAP as an innovative technology leader – Entrepreneurial Sabbatical provided to employee to pursue their ambition, an in-house startup accelerator program called the SAP Startup Studio, a crowd-sourcing platform called SAP Blue, and the Intelligent Enterprise Summit aimed at bringing employees from different lines of business together to work on a common set of issues and challenges.

Drawing attention to the collaborative phase of innovation, Sindhu says, “Co-innovation was just the first step and over the years, it has evolved. Now we have moved to the next phase where we are co-locating with self-select customers, through co-location of our experts and our customers working hand in hand and in real time.” SAP’s Co-Innovation Lab (COIL), a global network of SAP innovation labs in 15 countries, helps customers and partners create high value, co-integrated business solutions, Sindhu points out. “We focused on identifying the transformational areas in India business, identifying those outcomes that are relevant and by partnering with them, we bring out the right product that will help them run intelligently and more successfully,” she adds.

SAP Labs India being a Great Place to Work consecutively for two years is matter of great pride and a testament of its diverse culture, says Sindhu. Hence it makes it difficult for Sindhu to choose one aspect which she thinks is the best. “SAP has brought so many difference experiences and given me a chance to interact with unique individuals as we operate out of more than 180 countries. It’s almost impossible for me to zero down on a single factor, there are so many of them. The culture, the people, the leaders, the innovation, the way we use tech for the larger benefit of humanity, our relentless drive toward sustainability, our products, solutions; the list is endless, and I can go on. All I can say is that I am fortunate to contribute to this wonderful organization and be a part of its growth story”, Sindhu concludes.