IT Life: Flying High

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Cyient’s Bhoopathi Rapolu tells us about how big data and engineering can be the best of friends

Tell us about your current role, how long have you been in IT and what are your areas of expertise?

In my current role, I am responsible for customer engagement and business development for analytics solutions across a number of operations and asset intensive industries such as Transportation, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Communications, and Utilities. Within this, I create customised advanced analytics solutions using emerging capabilities from Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) and provide consulting services to my customers.

I joined the mainstream IT industry after finishing my business school degree over a decade ago. Before that, I worked in manufacturing and academic research.  My expertise lies in understanding the boundless capabilities of disruptive technologies across multiple industries and applying them to business problems, going beyond what is dictated by traditional solution development architectures.

What motivates you right now?

ARMI am excited by the possibilities that the IoT and Big Data can bring to everyday people like you or I, and the ways in which we can ride this wave of disruption. Apart from applying these technologies to business problems, I also find my passion in helping people to adopt them and transform their careers.

What’s the favourite IT project that you’ve ever worked on?

I can name at least half a dozen that immediately spring to mind. One is the Aircraft Engine Health Monitoring (EHM) solution we developed at Cyient for one of our major aero engine manufacturing clients.  EHM is all about mining sensor data from aircraft engines, along with other relevant maintenance records, to generate information on the engine’s health and performance as well as the likelihood of future failures. We have reengineered the existing solution using a big data platform and building advanced algorithms. The improvements compared to the previous solution took us by complete surprise – it was over 600 times faster and we can now analyse an entire fleet of engines rather than one at a time, which was the norm before.

How has technology changed in the last ten years?

IT has contributed to significant productivity gains both at personal and organisational levels in the last decade. It has also made many things, such as music, media and entertainment much more accessible to the masses. In fact, consumers can get many things for free or at near zero cost on the web.

While the positive effects of technology are apparent, the developments are impacting many individuals’ role in the workplace. These challenges can be navigated however, enabling people to develop new skills and enjoy rapid growth in their careers.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?

I expect to see the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the hands of the average Joe in a decade from now, enabling them to interact with machines in more natural ways. Cognitive computing assistants, like Apple Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana for Windows, will have many more capabilities and assume a broader role in our daily lives, as will 3D printing.

Who’s your tech hero?

I look up to Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, for his exceptional ability to use technology for building world class business. I also deeply admire his ‘Regret Minimisation Framework’ that helped me realise that you should really go for the things you are passionate about today – failure to do so will lead to much greater regret in later life.

What’s your favourite device ever made and what do you use the most?

bhoopathi cyientMy iPhone – I can’t imagine life without it!

Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?

I admire Amazon for its ability to use technology for business transformation and the impact it’s had on the world.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?

For the past three decades, IT has been a place of rapid change and has had a significant influence on other industries. Adapting to evolving technologies, both in terms of attracting market opportunities and reskilling employees, is the greatest challenge for most IT companies. Particularly in the last 10 years, we have seen the emergence of niche services that you can outsource for almost all business processes within an organization. This leaves severe competition for all the functional units/departments in most industries from third party services that are driven by IT.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

As a child, I wanted to get into Indian civil services, but towards the end of my in time college, I was increasingly attracted towards the rapidly changing information technology sector. By the time I was in business school, I was set on IT and started my career as a management consultant.

Bhoopathi Rapolu is head of analytics, EMEA at Cyient

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