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Women In Analytics: Shamala DN Of InMobi Believes That Gender Diversity Leads To Greater Creativity

Published on March 09, 2018  •  Analytics India

As we are celebrating women leaders in analytics and data science sector, we bring to you a candid conversation with Shamala DN who is the global head of Research and Insights at InMobi. She believes that driving actionable insights from data has been her true calling, and that she has been drawn towards research and analytics ever since her first job. “Analytics has been a great mix of both business and technology and that is what has really drawn me in”, she says.

Today in the information age Data drives everything — every business decision, big or small, is backed by it. Throwing a light on why she chose analytics as a career option she says “for InMobi, Data and Analytics are literally the backbone of the organisation. Sifting through huge volume of raw data, structuring it, identifying patterns and providing insight to construct business solutions that guide key decisions is really challenging”.

The fact that InMobi is leading the march into AI & ML to redefine the mobile ad tech space is incredibly exciting and keeps her motivated. “There is also continuous learning on the job, and the proliferation of new tools and technologies is overwhelming and hence it keeps me at the forefront of all the development”, she adds.

Here are Shamala’s views;

On how career in analytics looks like for a woman:

Today analytics and data sciences have become ubiquitous in several industries, and we are starting to see more women in critical leadership roles.

Analytics is a key fabric for any organization, and it provides a great entry point for women to enter leadership roles within any organization. Every organization is craving for fresh thinkers who are more data-driven with emotional intelligence to strike a balance in this age of automation and women are making significant strides in this field. Their innate intuition, high emotional quotient, adept storytelling and excellent analytical skills make them invaluable contributors to solving complex business problems

On her growth story so far:

It has been a great journey thus far. I have over 11 years of qualitative experience in devising & managing innovative consumer & marketing insights/ analytics space ranging from start-ups to global conglomerates. I have built on my expertise in areas such as business development, branding, sales, consumer research, business strategy, product management, innovation and communications – in both B2B & B2C organisations across different markets. I’ve had the privilege of working both in-house and in consulting firms for some of the world’s most inspiring and ambitious companies spanning across multiple sectors.

I started off my career working as an Industry Analyst in a renowned global growth consultancy firm, Frost & Sullivan for ICT-Europe. And so far have conducted extensive quantitative and qualitative market research using customised econometric and forecasting models to analyse industry drivers, chart out technology trends, assess market size, forecast market potential, and identify emerging opportunities and key challenges.

Then I joined AOL advertising as a Strategic Insights manager within the analytics division to support major fortune 500 brands and was responsible in delivering consumer insights and data that creates demand, supports revenue targets and helps to build AOL’s brand equity in the digital advertising world.

Now at InMobi, I head the Global Research & Insights team acting as a strategic partner to our global product development and product marketing teams, providing insight-driven thought leadership for driving strategy and innovation

On incorporating more women in new tech sectors:

Gender diversity benefits companies. The tech industry needs more women. Today they remain severely underrepresented in the world of technology and entrepreneurship. Only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women. This may be unsustainable in the long run and could harm technological development, holding back societal and economic progress. According to various research reports it has been proven that gender diversity leads to greater creativity and better decision making.

Some reports suggest how girls are less likely to study STEM subjects, as shown in the graphic below.

On her struggle to maintain a work-life balance:

Working smartly should be the theme, with technology as the enabler. Given that there are multiple online collaboration tools it really doesn’t matter where you work from these days. Time management and prioritisation will be critical. InMobi supports great work life balance by allowing people to be responsible for what they deliver and not just barely office presence.

On the key changes in education/career choices:

  1. There needs to be a systematic and sustained effort, from schools to universities and workplaces, to encourage women into technology careers. Especially when they are young to get involved in STEM programs and internships.
  2. Within the Organisation, arrangements should be made around issues such as maternity leave, flexible working hours, and mentoring, to encourage women to work in tech careers. As part of ensuring a greater percentage of women in leadership roles, organizations should deliberately train or groom women, and assign them responsibility over technically challenging assignments. Organizations should also embrace a culture that does not make women feel like they have to work harder than a man to get the same job.
  3. Mentorship is important. Many people bring different perspectives to collaborate and learn.
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