Sree hails from Kollam, a beautiful city on the Malabar Coast of India bordering the Laccadive Sea, which is a part of the Arabian Sea. He completed his Btech in Computer Science Engineering in 2009. He has been working in the IT industry for almost 11 years. He has worked with top MNCs like Dell, Cisco, Innova Solutions, and Infinite Computer Solutions. Currently, he is working with CloudQ as Salesforce Practice Manager. He loves being part of the CloudQ family.
How do you prefer to start your day?
I always try to start my day on a positive note. I like to meditate every morning for 5 minutes which allows me to visualize the rest of my day and helps me stay prepared. Next comes my cup of coffee.
At work every morning I have a meeting with my team where we share any new work requirements, client satisfaction survey, happy news, congratulate new career achievements like certifications achieved, etc. It normally helps me set the right tempo for the day. I also write down a to-do list.
If it’s not a working day I prefer to go for a walk and catch up with my friends in my hometown.
What’s your go-to productivity trick?
For my job role, it’s all about talking to my clients and understand their requirements, and finding solutions. I normally record the calls with my clients and hear the recording a few more times. Then sleep over it and the next day I will have solutions to tackle the requirements. That’s the magic of sleeping over pressing issues or uncomfortable situations. Give some time to revisit the requirement or the problem at hand and for sure you will come to a solution. I practice this both in my personal and professional life. I believe it makes one stronger and more clear-headed to phase the situation with confidence.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I wish to be an early bird but with the type of clients we work with who are mostly based out in the USA or the Middle East, our days normally get extended to late nights to maintain a better overlap and real-time communication. My job makes me a night owl.
Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?
There are a couple of people I look up to. Here at CloudQ, I would say my boss is my inspiration or a mentor. Niyas always looks out for us and he helps us find out if we are lagging in any aspect. He advises you on what needs to be done internally or externally. Another important person would be my first manager Mr. Nyjil Joshy who introduced me to Salesforce. He was the delivery manager for Salesforce in Dell. He introduced me to this cool and fun platform and the magic has never left me since and the rest is history.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
Being transparent, being yourself, and not bossing around. Be approachable to your team, be it your seniors or juniors. They need to be comfortable with you to come to you with their problems. A leader is as good as his team. I learned all these through Mr. Nyjil Joshy who is my savior.
What was your first job?
I worked as a System Administrator at Infinite Computer Solutions which is based in Bangalore. I worked mostly with healthcare clients.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had, and what did you learn from it?
There are no worst jobs but during the initial phase of my career, I had to work in these rotational shifts which drained me out. I missed out on a lot of things which my friends enjoyed at that young age because I was working even on weekends. I learned the importance of work-life balance. I learned that it’s important to work at jobs that give you satisfaction professionally and personally.
What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, and what did you learn from it?
With the kind of job role I have, I always try to set realistic goals for the client’s requirements to enjoy better satisfaction in the long run. But, once we start the work, it backfires on you if these high standards of expectations are not met within the timeline the client wants. However, if we can convince the clients of the benefits of taking time and traversing the right course of problem-solving, we leave them happy with a high-quality product. So it’s always about keeping it real and being humble.
What energizes you at work?
Here at CloudQ, I get to work with a very young and energetic team. I start my day by talking to this young team which gives me the right kind of vibe to lead them and motivate them to do their tasks. Keeping in mind that if you do not finish your task at hand, you may get an earful from your boss which also keeps me energized and focused at work, lol!!
What’s one thing that surprised you about working at CloudQ?
In CloudQ from top management to junior developers, everything is transparent. It is very clear how every department works and how the overall skeleton of the company functions. It is very new and cool to me which I have not experienced in larger MNCs I have worked for.
What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re proud of?
Not happened yet and it will happen soon at CloudQ. The project which we are doing currently for Budget Saudi which is based in the Middle East is nearing its completion and we are working tirelessly to deliver the project on time. This is a project we are working with our young team members for the past 10 months which is a very short period for such a big project. If we pull it off within the proposed timeline, then it’s a huge achievement. It is worth noting that larger MNCs take more than 18 months to complete a project of such scope.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?
My job roles come with different responsibilities like team management, technical architect, client management, etc. It can be sometimes confusing to the team members and they may not understand my job role.
How would your colleagues and team describe you?
I am very close with my team and I am free and open. I am very hands-on with my team.
What techniques have you used to motivate a team?
I tell them whatever tasks that you are assigned, complete those on time. If they are facing any issues or they are stuck, reach out to me and let the management know the whys. If you are getting your task done, I assure my team that I will take care of the rest. I always ensure my team members feel included and never left out.
What are your preferred methods of communication and why?
We did have face-to-face communications when we were working from the office. Now we use video conferencing applications like Google Meet, Zoom, etc. We also use WhatsApp groups to communicate with different clients. I also use Zoho which allows me in various aspects of client and team management.
Explain a project where you led your team to success.
When I was working for Innova Solutions based in Chennai, I had to build a team from scratch. I hired the team, talked to clients for requirements, etc. There was no project manager, BA. I was assigned the role of team lead to implement a call center application for a huge healthcare business in the USA. I feel this is one of my huge accomplishments.
What is Salesforce Practice Manager?
As Salesforce Practice Manager I need to focus on increasing the number of people who practice salesforce so we can build a larger team and get more projects so that we can move the junior developers from non-billable projects to billable projects. Another responsibility is to help upgrade the Salesforce partnership from Ridge to Crest Partnership so that CloudQ can enjoy higher benefits from Salesforce.
What type of SalesForce projects have you implemented the most?
I have mostly worked on Service Cloud and HealthCare Cloud projects.
Explain to me as if I am a client, why should I choose Salesforce products?
You get all the advantages of a cloud-based platform. All you need to do is go online and sign in with your credentials from anywhere and anytime. You can even access your account through your mobile phone. Salesforce is very reasonable cost-wise as you need to only pay for the license. Salesforce is extremely user-friendly and offers you limitless features and functionalities only salesforce can offer.
What certifications do you have that prepared you for this position?
I have System Admin certification Platform Developer I and II certifications and Architect certifications.
What are the few tricks and tips you would like to pass on to aspiring Salesforce executives?
You need to be patient and persistent when you work with Salesforce. Ensure you are updated with the latest features and updations related to Salesforce. Keep yourself informed and get your basics strong.
How do you prefer to end your day?
I prefer to end my day on a high. I prefer to complete all my tasks on the checklist and never drag my work for tomorrow. Striking out the tasks I listed out on my checklist makes me happy.
Thank you, Sree for letting us get to know you better and being part of this wonderful series.