Work and life are not two independent responsibilities standing in isolation but are one, says Srividya Kannan

Srividya Kannan
Srividya Kannan, Founder & Director at Avaali Solutions Pvt Ltd.

A proven business leader with more than 19 years of experience across diverse functions, Srividya Kannan is the Founder & Director at Avaali Solutions Pvt Ltd. Srividya founded Avaali Solutions Pvt. Ltd. that began operations in January 2013. Avaali is a professional service and consulting company focused headquartered in Bangalore. The vision behind the company is to support the creation of a connected enterprise where information and networks are highly leveraged to drive profitable revenue growth.  She has extensive experience in creating and managing high-performance teams working in large matrix organizations such as Wipro, Oracle, and SAP. In her five year stint at SAP India, Srividya managed various roles including heading their Business Operations, SAP India User Group, Partner build organization, and their competitive intelligence team. Prior to SAP, she was with Oracle in their Alliances & Channels team. She spent over seven years between Wipro Finance and Wipro Infotech where she managed various roles including heading their Business Finance for Enterprise Products, Sales for Banking & Finance vertical, was a key member of their Innovation team and managed the Western Region for Wipro Finance. 

Srividya has a passion for incubating functions and successfully integrating them within larger businesses. She brings strong process orientation, work ethic and integrity coupled with an ability to create and orient teams for long term success. 

Here are a few excerpts from the interview where Srividya unfolded her entrepreneurial journey with HelloPost Team:

Tells us something about yourself.

I’m passionate about delivering significant cost reductions and process transformation for large enterprises. I’m also passionate about being an active contributor to the start-up ecosystem in India. I love my family (including my extended Avaali family) and enjoy spending time with them.

What motivated you to start your own venture?

I like to challenge myself and believe that the biggest learnings come from the toughest experiences. Entrepreneurship has been on my list for quite a few years. It is also very exciting to work with the best minds in the industry who I can proudly say are our customers as well as internal teams at Avaali. Learning from them and working with them is both energizing and a lot of fun. Had I been in my corporate job, I wouldn’t have got the kind of learning opportunities that I continue to get.

What were the challenges that you’ve faced while starting your own venture?

As we started Avaali operations, the challenges were many – we’re a bootstrapped organization and it is not easy to juggle the multiple facets of finances, customer acquisitions, and talent attraction all the same time. Getting across as a trusted partner to large enterprises was a huge task. These organizations already have various large incumbent vendors and in addition, had no dearth of large and mid-tier vendors who wanted to work with them. Building something from ground-up in such an environment and winning the trust of large enterprises has been one of the toughest things that my team and I have done.  Today we have over 90+ large customer accounts with ongoing engagements across India, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. We have supported enterprises to set-up and transform shared service centers and automate various business processes. We have subsidiaries in Dubai and Singapore and have customers globally.

Which was the moment in your journey when you felt that it’s not working but still you didn’t lose your hope and kept it going?

The first 18 months were really trying. We were meeting many, many customers but it took 18 months to close the first deal. That period was grueling as we had to make a choice to either persevere or pivot. After the first win, the subsequent years have been good with many wins.

What was the biggest achievement during your entrepreneurship journey?

It is very heartening to see enterprises realize significant cost reductions and process efficiencies with the technologies we enable them on. Being a part of a highly energetic and passionate team also makes me wake up every day feeling purposeful.

How do you maintain a good work-life balance and mental health?

I strongly think that work and life are not two independent responsibilities standing in isolation but are one. By its own definition, work means an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result. Work is a core part of life, and work entails our professional responsibilities as well as personal ones. We work on our personal relationships to make a strong connection with our families and friends.

Even before making a commitment to either, we must be sure that we can keep time for it.  I try to outsource common tasks that don’t really matter so much.   For instance, I’d rather sit with my daughter while she is studying, even while I read a book, and outsource the cleaning tasks. Even if we are both engaged in our own activities, the sheer presence of each other gives peace and calm. I try to have back up plans in place.  Having a supportive family is also important, and I’m very fortunate in that regard.  Without support from my family, I wouldn’t have been able to get this far. My husband Kannan is my pillar of strength, who has not only provided immense encouragement but also kept me in good spirits.

Who is your role model?

My mother. She was a strong independent woman who lived by strong values that molded my core and make me who I am.

What is your secret to success?

Success means different things to different people. Success to me means being able to keep my commitments to myself and to the people around me. I focus on managing my time and continuously prioritizing what may be important in the immediate and mid to long term. I work on getting better at believing in myself and believing that I can do anything as long as I have a strong sense of commitment towards it.

What’s one leadership lesson that you’ve learned in your career?

I’ve learned that walking the talk is non-negotiable. Trust in any relationship is crucial to existence, and that can only come when I consistently do what I say.

What are your future plans?

Avaali has a clear path ahead for scale and growth. We’re investing heavily in our Velocious Platform, that is the next generation platform which converges various technologies to significantly accelerate the pace to business process transformation for large enterprises. Our unique solutions like the Supplier Portal combine innovative ways of leveraging technologies to significantly increase process agility for enterprises.

Any advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

I think life is short. Take the trip, buy shoes, eat the cake. Whether woman or man, it really doesn’t matter so much. I think living life fully, pursuing our dreams relentlessly and having lots of fun along the way, is what entrepreneurial journeys are about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *