Ram Kumar Mantena is the Senior Director of Engineering at Komprise India, based in Bangalore. He’s been with Komprise since 2017, beginning as a Senior Manager for Engineering. Today he leads a team of ~35 engineers responsible for ensuring on-time delivery and high product quality. “I enjoy working to ensure that customers get the features the way they want, while also making sure that our team gets opportunities to learn and grow on the job.” Ram spoke with us about his job role and keeping employees motivated during challenging times.
What are some of your day-to-day challenges?
We are a fast-paced organization with a small but highly skilled staff. We’re always working on new innovations that are a result of customer feedback aligned with our long-term vision for the platform. The continual focus is how we can accelerate delivery without compromising on quality. Like other organizations, we’ve had to work hard to help our people get through the past few years with the pandemic and remote work. We have come our stronger than before and the team grew significantly too.
Today we’re in the office two or three days a week and we’re starting to have more personal events like lunches, poker and team bonding exercises. We make a point to have regular meetings that don’t focus just on work tasks but connecting with others. This was helpful in the difficult times.
What are the hottest IT or software career tracks now in India? What do the new college graduates want to do?
Full stack and software development engineer in test (SDET) are the most sought-after tracks these days. Our college hires have a taste-it-all program, which means they work in most of the teams during their first few months. This helps them and us discover their interests and where they are the best fit in the organization. We conduct regular boot camps for new employees so they can learn about the organization, product, processes, culture and values. Finally, we help employees who are new to the city get settled and get their personal needs met. We are a very people-friendly team which really stands out. Komprise is the kind of environment where you can say, hey I’d love to work on this project! We try to accommodate that.
Are there any best practices you’ve learned over the years by working in leadership in India for a U.S.-based company?
Yes, located seas away from the United States, visibility and communication are critical and the Komprise team does a great job of engaging us with the overall mission. We have a quick 30-minute all-hands meeting every week to discuss what’s going on at headquarters. We share and discuss recent achievements, business updates and priorities, customer wins and hot escalations.
We are a very synchronous team; India experiments and learns from what’s working in the U.S. and vice-versa. We also create a matrix of mentors to new employees and that connection is important to help them get situated.
Our people have great attitudes and they are go-getters. When we interview candidates, we look for people who are super collaborative and passionate about what they do.
What keeps you motivated at work?
I enjoy the challenges here which are unique every day. Even after five years, every day is like day one. I get a lot of energy from my team and I love helping solve problems so they can stay productive and are happy working here at Komprise.
What’s fun about working at Komprise?
We are a little ahead of the market, which is an exciting place to be. Sometimes customers don’t know they even have the challenge that we are trying to solve. And that problem is something that everyone can relate to: managing all the data that is being created in the world every day. Data growth is exponential and we need to protect it and manage it well so that we can look back and analyze what happened and make better decisions. I believe that Komprise is a pioneer in unstructured data management and we are setting the future direction of this space.