Vijayashree Natarajan, SVP- Head of Technology, Omega Healthcare

Ms Vijayashree Natarajan has always been in the technology industry, having done her BTech Electronics from Anna University. Over the last 22 years, she has worked hard to make a name for herself in her field. Starting out as a Java developer in BFSI domain, Ms Vijayashree has a distinct passion for technology and the cloud divisions across her career and across industries. Her will to continuously learn has helped her be a hands-on leader and collaborate better with clients and colleagues.

After completing her BTech that laid the foundation for her career in technology, Ms Vijayashree continued to learn and completed an Executive Programme in Artificial Intelligence, specializing in the Implications for Business strategy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management. “A key lesson was to grab opportunities that come your way. When stepping into any industry and aspiring to grow, do not leave any stone unturned. One should not miss any learning opportunity that will help showcase your capability. These are essential for becoming a leader and necessary to practice early in life,” says Ms Vijayashree.

As a woman in the field, Ms Vijayashree says, “In the tech. field, work is in front of the laptop/computer, can be done from anywhere. I feel this gives certain flexibility and ease of work to the women when compared to other domains like core engineering, manufacturing or automobile, etc. Certainly, these advantages can help strike a better work-life balance. One challenge common to the technology field is the rate of advancement and changes in technology. One has to continuously learn and update in order to stay relevant. I would however look at that as a positive challenge that would help us to strengthen our skills.”

Continuously Learning

When Ms Vijayashree started her career as a java developer and lead architect, every program she compiled saw 0 errors, and has been a great milestone that she cherished. She had the opportunity to lead many re-engineering projects in the financial domain for BNY Melon, earlier called Credit Suisse. The Asset Movement platform that Ms Viajashree did as part of Inautix was another milestone she is proud of. Later, she joined Cognizant, where she led the product development for one of the information media customers, building practice management systems for law firms. The complete platform was built using Microsoft technology. Soon enough, she became the head of mobile product and launched a product called TrueMobi as part of Cognizant’s product venture in SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud) technology. Ms Vijayashree also got into the RPA practice as an Intelligent Process Automation practice head, where every bot release was a great milestone. “We have done it across multiple customers across various domains, so every bot go-live has been a great milestone,” she shares.

Today, at Omega Healthcare, she considers every bot that goes live for her clients to be a great milestone. “We could transform more than five or six accounts in the initial one year where digital transformation helped strengthen our position with the clients. Last but not least, our in-house proprietary platforms using AI and ML have been memorable. Every sprint release of these platforms have been a great milestone for me,” she shares.

Ms Vijayashree believes that the tech field is an ongoing process of learning and relearning. With her vast experience, she considers being blessed to have many mentors who shaped her into being the woman she is today. Starting from her early days pursuing a career at Inautix Technologies, she had two leaders who believed in her and identified her passion for technology. After moving to Cognizant, she came across several leaders who had a positive influence on her, who identified her capabilities to be a technology leader. Many of her close family members who are also part of the tech community have also been a great influence on Ms Vijayashree professionally. “Though I was inclined to get more into the business side of work, there have been those who spotted my technology passion, wanted to see me as a technology leader, and have groomed me to become one,” she shares.

“What I draw as inspiration from others I would like to pass it on to everyone as well. If I suggest something as a leader to my team, I would ensure that I am doing the right thing so that I don’t influence negatively,” says Ms Vijayashree. Some of the qualities she would like to pass on to others to inspire them are continuous learning, grabbing opportunities, taking bold decisions, and taking calculated risks. By converting failure into success, Ms Vijayashree believes that one can cherish the result of it when it becomes a success. Instead of seeing them as failures, one must take them as learning opportunities. “As a technology leader, experimentation becomes a way of life, without which one would be unable to get the desired result. Hence, calculated risks are required, and you need to be bold enough to experiment,” adds Ms Vijayashree.

Looking into the Future of Medicine

As the Head of Technology at Omega, Ms Vijayashree has the vision to bring Digital Transformation for the organization and its clients. “Any technology or digital transformation has to start with innovation – with innovative ideas in delivering the solution differently for the customer. We serve our clients by leveraging automation, primarily Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML)-based technologies. Our focus on helping our clients reap enhanced benefits has been helping us push our boundaries. As their consulting partner, help improve the top-line and bottom-line using the various automation technologies, build automated platforms and workflow solutions, help them leverage the benefits from this automation, be it AI, ML, RPA, and more,” explains Ms Vijayashree.

AI and ML are the two areas of technology that are driving transformation and innovation across industries and not just healthcare, having several innovations, technologies, and solutions. Today, it has become so advanced that it can mimic a human being – thinking like humans, decision making, predictions, whatever has been unique to humans. For Omega Healthcare, these have been helping bring about digital transformation and optimizing costs while helping grow the business, both for the organization and its clients.

With 20 years of expertise in the Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) space, Omega Healthcare has grown to become the leader in the US Healthcare RCM market today. Omega’s uniqueness lies in providing depth of domain services to clients, strengthening the digital solutions – all of which enable us to provide more domain-centric technology solutions. Omega’s in-house solutions using AI, ML technologies, are all very unique to the organization. Through the amalgamation of technology and domain expertise, the organisation has been successful in bringing a greater domain flavour and thus providing best-in-class solutions for their clients. This has been a unique positioning for Omega and has been a differentiator as well. “Some of our significant projects cover the digital transformation of the way we serve our customers, increased adoption of a digital workforce, adoption of platform-based solutions in the delivery of our RCM projects. We have a five-year goal with a definite target of digital transformation using RPA and other platform solutions,” Ms Vijayashree says.

Although the presence of women in the STEM industries has been rising gradually, the numbers are relatively low. Though women enter this field, several women quit their jobs, unable to sustain their careers for a very long time. Ms Vijayashree feels that it is comparatively easier for women in the tech industry than for women in core engineering industries.  In the tech. industry, it is easier for women to achieve that work-life balance, thanks to the flexibility in work that comes because of the ability to execute this job from any laptop/computer. “Historically, we would have heard that boys/men are more suitable for Math and Science and are more intelligent than women. A lot more needs to be done and achieved in breaking this stereotype. We need to encourage more women to come into the tech and other STEM industries.”

Today, technology is in the driving seat and is influencing every other vertical. Be it healthcare or any other industry, everything is now tech-driven. Technology has prominence in every domain, and Ms Vijayashree feels that women have better opportunities to scale their careers in this space. “Greater longevity of a career in the tech industry is yet another factor why I would suggest every other woman consider this as their career path, as tech has several advantages to help women sustain their careers,” she shares.

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