what a great feeling to start the day with. With Sakshi Malik and P V Sindhu both winning medals for India in the Rio Olympics after a long painful wait and with Deepa Karmakar, Aditi, Phogat giving their best and making a mark on the world level, I feel like shouting at top of my voice to say more power to Indian women.
Once someone asked Swami Vivekananda, "what can men do for uplifiting women". Swamiji smiled and responded back "men should just let the women be. She will anyways do her own uplifiting".
So its with these feelings, I start penning my thoughts on 2nd edition of "SAP Women in Tech Summit" held on 18th September 2016 and some of the sessions which I really liked. (Please check last year's edition thoughts and musings here. )
Just like last year, SAP won the "India's Best Companies to work for" award this year as well. And with immense pride SAP hosted the 2nd edition of the event in collaboration with NASSCOM. The event was a full house with heavy attendence from SAP, our partners and customers, students and women from companies across Bangalore. The agenda for the day can be checked here.
Anka Wittenberg, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, SAP SE, kick-started the day with her keynote on how technology drives inclusion. Melissa Gates once said "Technology is the catalyst for change".
And I definitely agree with Anka. Its indeed with technology we could achieve so many things, who would have thought instantaneous communication to someone sitting miles away in another time zone would have been possible, or you could operate all your finances with just one click, or track your shipping orders, or get to know where a future prospect is, or what does your customer need, or diagnose the right ailment and prescribe medicine accordingly, or a machine beating the best of chess genuises, or a machine doing your routine jobs. Its all possible thanks to technology. And its with technology we can achieve higher inclusion in any organization, be it gender specific intelligence, cross-generational intelligence, cultural/ethnicity/races or differently abled people.
Technology helps in providing better insights, helping detect unconscious biases. I can share an incident which happened recently when I was on a flight back from Singapore to India and I am not particularly proud of the same. So far in all my international travels, I have heard always a male captain announcing the outside tempetrature, altitude at which we are flying, time to destination etc. So it was a very welcome pleasure to hear a female captain at this time. During the course of the flight, we had some turbulence and my first thought was whether the female captain will handle it. I immediately corrected my thought process as the lady in question has been trained, has got air experience behind her years of service, is being assisted by all technological equipments, and is equally capable as any other male. Anka shared a similar incident. This is nothing but unconscious bias. And the same unconscious bias comes into picture in our work life as well.
I recently read an article from MIT on how their is hidden sexism in the language and how vector space could be used to detect and correct the same. It's very interesting, do check out the same from the link. SAP is working towards creating solutions that can help prevent the bias before it occurs. Do check out the blogs from my colleagues Brenda Reid (click here) and Daniela Lange (click here) on how machine learning could be used to prevent such biases.
The next keynote was from Pankajam Sridevi, Managing Director, ANZ. And what a keynote it was, I was so impressed with the way she delivered her speech, the conviction behind and the expertise. She shared one very interesting incident where she attended an award function where she was also one of the recepients. And each of the woman who got the award somehow dedicated the award to her family, her husband, her kids, her parents and so on. One even went to the extent of dedicating the award to her son-in-law. She was the only one who dedicated the award to herself. Yes, to yourself ladies, we have worked hard for it and we have earned it.
She shared her insights on robotics process automation. Whether it really means that robots will replace humans in long run, whether we will all lose jobs, or robots will rule humans in the long run. How the same can be achieved, supervised and unsupervised algorithms.In the end its all upto the upskilling and ensuring robots can dance to humans tunes. But the routine jobs can definitely be done by robots and could lead to some cost saving as well.
There were other good sessions from SAP Speakers Sadaf and Bhanu on Top technology trends, Cyber security as well.
All in all, a great day of learning and networking. In our routine day to day jobs, its important to take care of our own learning, important to meet and learn from other experts in the field, important to upskill ourselves else we can be very sure that robots will replace humans one day.
Looking forward to the next edition of SAP Women in Tech Summit. And last but not the least, more power to us ladies. May our tribe increase and may we become more successful than ever. Aameen
Your comments and feedback welcome as always.