A Pragmatic Leader, Intrigued by Technology
Always fascinated by the impact technology can have on how people live, society, and the planet, Vivek Luthra quickly learned that the application and adoption of technology were equally essential. With his first job at Schlumberger, he developed smart meters, which opened his eyes to the impact of technology on people’s lives. This helped him chalk a path for himself where he has always focussed on solutions and their adoption, whether in Internet Technologies, Digitalisation & Automation or, more lately, frontier technologies like Distributed ledger technologies, AI / ML technologies, and Virtual / Augmented Reality. “This has resulted in my specialisation in planning & executing S curve adoption models for new technologies and maximising its impact”, he claims. The pace of introducing new technology has only increased over the years, and several of these have come together, creating the perfect opportunity to reimagine the future differently.
Today, one of the biggest challenges for companies has been their supply chain management. Business volatility and disruptions in recent times have exposed the vulnerability of supply chains, resulting in empty shelves and a short supply of critical goods like medicines. That’s why at Accenture, Vivek Luthra has focussed on strengthening the Supply Chain and Operations business to work with our global clients making their supply networks resilient, customer-centric and sustainable, using cloud data and AI technologies. He shares that Accenture is an amazing powerhouse of human ingenuity and technology. He is lucky to be part of an ethical firm that invests in its people’s development and leads by example to help businesses become more sustainable. He has had the opportunity to play different yet interesting roles in transformation deal shaping and running Intelligent Operations P&L for its South East Asia business before his present portfolio of Supply Chain & Operations.
Vivek Luthra strongly believes that both luck and hard work are essential. Born and raised in a typical Indian middle-class family with a strong value system, there was no alternative to hard work. “At 20, I worked in a global product development team with Schlumberger in France. It was hard initially and a defining time as it widened my professional and personal outlook. I now wanted to work in different parts of the world, but first, I had to equip myself better. The right breaks came along. I went back to business school, IIM Calcutta.” The opportunities came along, but great mentors made a difference for him. At Pricewaterhouse Coopers, in their management consulting services, N Suresh showed him the importance of integrity. The late CK Prahlad, an advisor with Ramco, gave him invaluable lessons on the impact of technology on people. While IP technology was unfolding with the rise of the internet, he had developed expertise in internet and e-commerce disruptive plays. Later he moved to a financial internet services start-up, but when that went belly up, he realised the importance of strong cash flows. This led Vivek to go back to what he did best, Consulting. What followed have been long stints with Infosys Australia, Ramco Systems in the US and Accenture Australia and Singapore. For him, hard work, great mentors, pragmatism, family support, and luck all add a dimension!
Using technology to change lives is Vivek’s driving passion. The world is full of challenges, but the technology, intelligence and ingenuity to solve them is all available. For instance, the climatic change is due to the global supply chains that produce more than 60% of the total carbon emissions. Still, he claims that harnessing, shaping, and deploying them in addressing this challenge must be done, even though it won’t be easy and has several other impacts. Vivek shares how his mother was his biggest inspiration growing up as she fought against her family to be educated, endured hardships, became a working professional, and was an award-winning Vice Principal. “My father struck a great balance of work and family, something I still aspire for. I am equally inspired by my wife, Shilpa, who gave up her media career when we had kids and gave me the opportunity to still keep chasing my dreams. She can frame any problem and solution eloquently.”
Lastly, he says it is ultimately important to understand the ‘moments that matter’ in our personal and professional journey. Understanding what those moments are and ensuring that you are best positioned to seize them and make the most of them is key to an enriching and satisfying life. As Edward J Stieglitz said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years”.