When it comes to the expectations of the leading telecom enterprises, it is no surprise that they can be very demanding, primarily due to the number of subscribers supported and the critical nature of communications services. It is something that the Director of Client Engagement, Santosh Lengade, is reminded of on a daily basis. In our latest LotusFlare employee interview, Santosh shared how he deals with these challenges and gives advice on how to manage and navigate clients’ expectations effectively.
Santosh, thanks for joining us today. What led you to this point in your career? Please tell me a little about your background and how it led you into the IT industry serving CSPs.
I started my career as a C++ developer and worked in various positions as a solution architect, delivery manager and client operations. I was lucky enough to work for almost 20 years in telecom with exposure to small and large CSPs across various continents mainly on the network and packet core domains.
Can you tell us more about a recent project and what makes it unique?
The current project I’m working on with the tier 1 operator in the APAC region has many unique aspects both in terms of capabilities required and the overall outcome desired. There are multiple work streams that are in play and there are a significant number of end-users that will be migrated to the LotusFlare DNO Cloud, which makes this project both exciting and challenging to lead.
When managing a project for a large enterprise, what are some guiding principles that you try to apply?
Large enterprises have very demanding expectations obviously because of the scale of the end users they are supporting and critical communications infrastructure. Some of the guiding principles I follow are effective communication and timely responses to the customer so as to build trust over the course of the project. The guiding principle is always being accountable and having the willingness to confront issues by looking at the data, making decisions without undue delay and taking action. I always try to think of ways to unblock by weighing the pros and cons and moving ahead with upcoming milestones.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role? What would you have said was the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
The most challenging aspect of my role is managing the client expectations, project scope creeps and always negotiating positively with a shared goal in mind. The biggest challenge ever I faced was managing more than 10 projects at one time with different types of operators. Also, challenging is navigating expectations with various stakeholders and adopting different styles of project management based on the needs, processes and cultures of different CSPs.
Looking over your career so far, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
One of the best pieces of advice I received was to empower my team members so that, in the process of delivering a project, I was helping to build more leaders within the company. And right behind that, it was stressed to me that I should always align with the company's vision and growth plan at the start of every project.
What do you like about working at LotusFlare?
The culture mainly - LotusFlare has strong leadership and open culture. I find that the company leadership is always approachable and brings a wealth of experience in engineering expertise and management. Also, having with and around a number of telecom software systems over the years, I believe that LotusFlare has a powerful 3GPP-compliant converged charging SaaS component within its cloud-native LotusFlare DNO Cloud. Charging is still a huge challenge for CSPs and LotusFlare's all-cloud charging approach is particularly important especially as 5G really takes hold.
How would you describe LotusFlare to someone that is considering joining our team and which advice would you have for them?
LotusFlare is a great place to keep learning and hustling and there are a lot of opportunities to learn and grow here.