When PV Puvvada was a student at Indian Institute of Technology, a premier university in India for up and coming engineers, he knew he had the academic record to land a great job in the IT field one day, but wasn’t so sure he had the skills to make it as a leader. Fast-forward to today and Puvvada has more than risen to the challenge. As vice president and chief technology officer of federal systems for Unisys in Reston, Va., Puvvada oversees a team of 500. So, how does he do it? A key to his leadership, he says, is emotional intelligence. In the following Q&A, Puvvada offers this and other tips on ways to leverage one’s team and rise to the challenges and rewards of leadership.
Any tips on providing a team with strategic direction?
PV Puvvada: Typically, people on a team may have the idea that technology is great because of cutting edge features. But “cutting edge“ in and of itself isn“™t enough; the product has to offer tangible benefits. So, from the start, I get my team to ask themselves, “How will the technology reduce costs for our client and make their operations more efficient and secure?“
Let me give you an example: We implemented a groundbreaking system called Call Data Report (CDR) for regulating the health of more than 7,000 financial institutions governed by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of the Controller of Currency. We came up with a very innovative solution for these agencies to monitor financial institutions, which is a very critical function given the current financial turmoil. We leveraged an innovative technology called Xtensible Business Reporting Language, which dramatically altered the outcomes for our clients by giving them accurate data right at the source and the ability to approve financial reports much faster. These days, more than 90 percent of CDR reports using the new technology can be processed and certified in days, not months “” as was the case before.