Careers

Beyond Technology – Improving Lives with the Philips Vision

beyond-technology

Name: Shivakumar KR
Position: Fellow Architect, Healthcare Information Technology

Location: Philips Innovation Campus, Bangalore

A company with purpose

When I was considering my career choices back in 1997, I was on the lookout for a company that built products and solutions within the deep technology space.

 

While Philips wasn’t the only such company that checked this box in Bangalore, it stood out for its rich tradition and more importantly, its sense of purpose. Thus began my journey with Philips that has spanned 20 years and diverse experiences, creating solutions with the intent of improving the lives of people.

 

Bucking the trend

Starting out as a Developer, my interests lay in the technical aspects of my job, despite the tendency in India at the time to work towards managerial positions.

On a work trip to the Netherlands in 1998, I was pleasantly surprised to observe colleagues who had remained in a technical role for a number of years. Philips was a company which bucked the trend, where one could focus on one’s passions without feeling pressured to scale the corporate ladder the conventional way.

 

It appealed to me that Philips was a company where one could continue to remain technical - you did not have to become a manager or strive towards similar leadership roles. There was a tendency for everyone to become a manager in the Indian ecosystem way back then (more than 20 years ago), whereas I was someone who said, “Great, if I can remain technical, I’m keen to remain technical”.

                                            

Diverse experiences pursuing technical leadership

From my initial role as a Developer, I’ve embraced all the aspects of my jobs. I’ve grown from strength-to-strength as a Designer to the present technology and R&D leader, having worked in practically all of the groups in Philips, and in the process growing in my responsibilities on the professional front.

 

Seizing the myriad opportunities in Philips, I’ve also had the chance to delve beyond the technical nature of my role to manage multiple teams, be part of the businesses leadership that’s giving me a good grasp of the business aspect of health technology. I was also part of a Philips business in its formative stage, an experience similar to that of a startup.

 

As a global technology leader focused on software, I get to be part of shaping the technology landscape of the company where software is seen as being key to its health technology journey.

 

Innovation is at the heart of everything

Creating solutions with the purpose of touching 3 billion lives is a tall order, so the drive to push boundaries and innovate is at the heart of everything I do. While my role is very much grounded in the technical aspect of the business, it’s a job that transcends technology to touch the lives of consumers.

 

One of the projects I’m working on now is rooted in what Philips is trying to achieve with its digital strategy - helping Philips businesses rethink and redesign their premises based solutions to run both on the traditional hospital premises as well as on the Cloud.

 

This is a case of Philips trying to drive a hybrid IT strategy as a company. Our responsibility as Architects is to drive the strategy to evolve today’s architecture to a next generation that can straddle both the cloud and the physical premises. Another project I’m proud of is what Philips did in the emerging markets for telehealth in the ICU space, a solution I played an integral part in conceiving and designing. The project was started five years ago with the intention of bridging the large gap between intensive care specialists who manage ICUs and are predominantly located in urban India and the limited and dispersed ICUs in this country. Today this has made care accessible in India and other markets, supporting patients in remote locations with tele-ICU capabilities.

It makes you feel good when you realise you’re able to touch a life, because you used technology in the right way to solve a customer problem in the healthcare space. That’s something that greatly appeals to me.

 

Keeping the fire burning

So what keeps me motivated after 20 years with the same company?

 

Just as I was inspired to join Philips over 20 years ago, I’m principally driven by the company’s clearly-defined purpose.

 

There also exists such a diversity of opportunity in Philips; it’s just one company, but there are many business groups to move across that results in an enriching experience. Philips also encourages you to be an entrepreneur by engaging with the start-up community or through its incubators. You enrich yourself through these opportunities while growing with the company and shaping your career.

The people I work with also bring with them an energy that keeps my own drive going.