IBM Leader Shares Her Mantra For Success

Nabanita Khan, Director, ADM Innovation, GIC IBM, leads the Application Development, Management and Testing practices in all of IBM’s Client Innovation Centers across the globe. In this #WomenAtIBM series, Nabanita shares with us her career journey at IBM and her mantra for success.

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What does your role as the Leader of ADM Innovation Group at GIC IBM encompass?

I lead the Practices of the Application Development, Management & Testing at IBM’s Global Client Innovation Centers. I am responsible for delivering the workforce strategy; this includes talent/sourcing mix, re-skilling initiatives and building new capabilities in Custom domain, SAP, Oracle & Microsoft.

It is my charter to develop world-class practices so as to drive an agenda of innovation & continuous improvement. The ultimate goal is to deliver superior & value-added engagement experience to IBM’s Global Clients.

How is IBM helping Clients in India transform Customer Experience? How is ADM Innovation supporting Industry Solutions?

We are focusing on reinstating IBM’s market leadership for ‘Innovation in Application Development and Management Services.’ And we are doing so by creating a distinct competitive advantage for our services in the Application Development & Management (ADM) space.

The standard approaches to ADM no longer suffice as the message to be more agile and deliver solutions faster with higher quality outcomes at a lower price—is now stronger than ever. Our clients’ demand profile is predicated on four key shifts –

  1. Speed as the new currency – Application services must set the pace for business transformation by leveraging Agile and DevOps.
  2. A new normal for productivity & effectiveness – Cognitive & Automation are enabling new levels of expertise & effectiveness of  the IT workforce.
  3. Digitalization and New Business Models – by unlocking domain-specific data embedded in the systems of record.
  4. Complexity of the portfolio -Rationalization & Modernisation of the Application portfolio.

To address these client priorities and transform Customer experience, we have –

  • CreatedOfferings in the context of client and industry problem statements that have simple, yet compelling value propositions
  • Built Practices with the objective of responsively addressing emerging client needs, with an ability to incubate as well as scale capabilities
  • Developed Methodology with a focus on simplicity, usability and tooling to enable new ways of working (agile and DevOps) and,
  • Designed and deployed Automationto push the frontiers of new levels of efficiency leveraging both cognitive and robotic automation technologies

Tell us about the high points in your career at IBM.

The best thing that I have experienced at IBM is the freedom & encouragement to experiment – be it learning newer technologies or taking up different & challenging roles. At IBM, we’re continually innovating, creating a future most can only imagine – we take knowledge leadership & innovation seriously – and that is permeated to every IBMer.

It is this knowledge driven culture, that allowed me to take up many leadership roles in Business Development, Consulting, Practice Building & Delivery Management; where I had to work with Global Clients. I have led the Distribution Sector, the Pharma & Life Sciences Industry and the SAP Competency to name a few key roles.

Each role came with its learning curve & experiences that made me a better professional. Throughout my career I have continuously developed my skills-set & capabilities and have worked on a myriad of technologies &domains. I enjoy challenging assignments; particularly where my strength in leading large teams across multiple locations can be leveraged to the fullest. IBM keeps me current and hungry!

As a woman leader what is your one piece of career advice to women in technology – both students & professionals?

Women represent half the global population; and we have a responsibility to fulfill. The responsibility of building the society! I strongly believe that women must take up professional careers and have a say in the economic context, wherever they are. We need more women who can lead so as to make long-term corrections to the inequalities in the society.

Here’s my mantra for success – Be Present, Be a Leader, Take charge & Be Available.

It is our individual responsibility to ensure we are successful. Success never comes easy and calls for personal commitment in terms of efforts, time & flexibility. Always focus on giving your best performance and you will eventually celebrate the rewards that come of it.

My single piece of career advice to women is – Take pride in the work you do and take charge of your career! Be confident of the difference you are making and understand that each one of us are influencing and inspiring someone out there in the society.

And, finally your message those aspiring to pursue a career with IBM on #WhyIBM?

If you are curious and hungry for challenges and you like to experiment, IBM is the place for you. IBM will empower you to spread your wings, unleash your creativity and explore your potential to the fullest.

Connect with Nabanita on LinkedIn


IBM takes great pride in harnessing a Diverse & Inclusive work culture. It is not what we do but who we are. Follow more stories on #WomenAtIBM

To keep up to date with IBM career opportunities in India, connect with us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Discover what you could do at IBM http://ibm.co/jobsin

#WhyIBM #LifeAtIBM #IBMCareerCoach #CareersAtIBMIndia

4 thoughts

  1. Dear Mrs Nabanita,
    I have found several similarities on your professional record and the career I would like to develop. Because we both are women, we share the belief of technology and design as the power of innovation and India and South America face similar problems and needs.
    That´s why I would like to make you a couple of questions in order to understand better how I person like me could add better value to clients, company and society as an IBMer:
    How do you think that being women can help us to give our teams focus on what is really matters for the users we are designing for?
    How difficult it has been to implement agile methodologies in your team and in the Indian companies that your team is attending for?
    Based on your experience in India, what do you think could be the biggest challenge in South America when we trying to explain our customers (intern and external) the importance of invite real users to participle in the design process?
    Thank you very much for your support your advice,

    #WhyIBM #WomenAtIBM #IBMCareerCoach

    1. Dear Mairimqui,

      Thank you for reading my blog and for your thoughtful questions. Here is my response – hope you find it useful …..

      # 1 – How do you think that being women can help us to give our teams focus on what is really matters for the users we are designing for?

      Women, more often than not, embody Facilitative leadership. They encourage interaction and support contributive, consensual decision making. By emphasizing on both process and product, and by sharing power and information, women can help transform people’s self interest into common, collaborative goals. This lends very well with iterative and creative processes like designing.

      # 2 – How difficult it has been to implement agile methodologies in your team and in the Indian companies that your team is attending for?

      Working with the Agile methodology is a mindset change, apart from other factors. That is why awareness, education, evangelisation became a very important facet of the whole Agile adoption movement. We also started small, selecting the right pilots and learning in the process, before scaling out rapidly. Since going Agile also involves working closely and collaboratively with our clients, that is also another consideration to keep in mind when selecting projects – how ready and open is your client?

      India is undergoing a digital revolution and Agile way of working has blended well with this change. We find our clients keen to work with us.

      # 3 – Based on your experience in India, what do you think could be the biggest challenge in South America when we trying to explain our customers (intern and external) the importance of invite real users to participle in the design process?

      I can state with conviction that every Design Thinking workshop we have had in India, with participation of real users, has been a huge success. Our clients have acknowledged how transformative and useful the experience has been and how it has directly resonated with their business imperatives. I would like to believe that the experience would be no different in South America

      1. Dear Nabanita,
        Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions.
        I found your words really useful and valuable, not only for me but also for every woman who wants to be a change maker taking advantage of her genuine talents and using design thinking and agile methodology to inspire their team mates to be more aware about each other (and also about clients) and more open to collaborate in order to achieve their shared goals. Also, the experience of your team in India, considering the local differences, could serve as a guide for future implementations all around the world.

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