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Putting people skills at the heart of process automation

March 13, 2020

Shital Neralkar: Master of motivation

Connecting people with opportunities and bringing them together to develop solutions has been a defining theme of Shital Neralkar’s time at Capgemini. That might not seem surprising for a project manager, but a people focus has always come instinctively to her. Here, Shital talks about the opportunities she’s had with Capgemini and how she’s vying to become a master of motivating people in an increasingly automated world…

Before working in CIS (Cloud Infrastructure Services) I worked in a technical role, and then joined the Application Development Module (ADM) factory, which gave me an insight into the non-technical, management side of operations. That inspired me to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Having gained a high-level knowledge of how to run applications, I was keen to explore deeper into the infrastructure that supports those apps – and so I moved into CIS.

I became a Change Agent in the Automation Development Center (ADC). There was a lot to learn, but the team really helped me to understand the ways of working and the different technologies and tools involved. The ADC is a pivotal team at the forefront our efforts to win transformational deals. It’s an environment that relies on the combination of advanced technology with the talents of our people to develop business-enhancing automation solutions for customers.

Becoming an agent of change

My role as a change agent for the Benelux region is a fascinating responsibility that perfectly unites my technical skills with my people and project management talents. It involves looking out for opportunities to automate processes and systems to improve productivity for our customers. It means talking to lots of different stakeholders, including ODMs and SDMs, to understand their operations, to collect and analyze data, evaluate opportunities, and provide information to our automation team so they can develop solutions.

I’ve been involved in some challenging projects since I joined CIS. Most recently, I helped deliver a project which involved implementing a change ‘Chase’ bot to manage and streamline change-request processes for more than 45 customers across six regions. Planning started in November, and we had to deliver by mid-January. I’m very proud that we achieved this in such a short time, and the leadership really appreciated the speed and effectiveness of our delivery.

Making positive connections

My work brings together my strengths in communication and in connecting people from different areas of the business. It requires strong leadership too. I’m a firm believer in leading by example – demonstrating behavior that other people want to follow. In an increasingly technology-driven world, these soft skills are a vital element in maximizing the opportunities for automation.

I apply these skills in other areas of my life too. In March last year, I was an active volunteer at the Capgemini Diversity & Inclusion event in Bangalore. It was linked to International Women’s Day, with sessions covering everything from women’s safety to yoga. We’ll be doing a similar program this year as well.

Refreshed by reaching out

It’s in my nature to help whenever I can, and I like to take part in social activities. I find that any small changes in my routine, such as volunteering, gives me renewed energy to take back into my work.

Outside work I have helped to set up the Marathi community foundation in Bangalore. As a board member, I help to arrange outings and activities for families from the Marathi community who have migrated to Bangalore for work, and consequently miss out on traditional events and family gatherings back home. It’s another way in which I combine my skills in communication, leadership and reaching out to people to bring about something positive.

Staying motivated in 2020

In summary, I’d say that I’ve learnt that there are a few things each of us can do to harness and grow our motivation.

  1. Keep learning. The world in which we work is changing fast, and there are new opportunities around every corner.  Capgemini has a comprehensive directory of online and face to face learning opportunities and these are great for supporting my professional development.
  2. Grow and utilize your network. Capgemini is a global business, and growing your network not only creates new opportunities but also means that there is always someone you can learn from.  Take time to nurture it.
  3. And finally, I’d say that it is as important to find activities that you love to do both inside and outside of work. For me it’s important that I’m able to support the community in which I grew up and this work keeps me motivated in my work life.