A key architect of this heart warming journey , were a team of analogue copier maintenance engineers evolved into a digitally competent team , was R Balaji , the National Tech Support Head. I do remember when we had proposed to him to relocate to Delhi and take up a National responsibility post a successful stint as the Regional Tech Support Manager ( South ) , he was very hesitent, and unsure if this was the right thing for him to do .This has always been a trait of Balaji , he deliberates a lot before he makes a move effecting his career .
The earlier encumbant Ajay Dewan had painted a very poor image of the role and hence the hesitation. I used an anology then , and have since used it several times , to get Balaji to think of his role differently. I told him that his role was like painting a picture on a very large canvas .He can choose to paint a very small picture or choose to paint a very large one .The choice was his.Roles in HQ’s for such support roles are invariably like this .The value of the role comes out only when a big pictures is attempted to be painted. Balaji saw the wisom of this and went on to paint a very glorious picture.His role more than any one elses was pivotal in this transition as he provided effective leadership to the support team under his command.
The first key player in the drama was Sudhir Putran .Sudhir was languishing in the West Warehouse in Mumbai on a refurbishing assignment , when we choose him to come to Delhi to be the Product Support Manger for the desktop laser printers we were to launch. It seems so laughable how very seriously we had taken our ability or rather our inability to maintain printers as simple as the 4010 & 4011.Sudhir turned out to be an ideal Product Manager .He himself gained competence rapidly and was able to lead and guide the team well. He served as a very useful information source for product performance related issues not only for the service team but also for the sales team. He went on to take up higher responsibilities and more challenging products, including high end printing systems and was a key resource in the development of programmes and training that enabled the successful transition . Sudhir’s multi dimensional capabilities also got him roles in the Channels Sales team and in course of time he moved on to Compaq , then into HP on it’s merge with HP , were he was the Service Head for Channel Sales . He is currently the National Service Head of Lenova .Quite amazing for a copier refurb engineer.
With the initial inputs on PC’s and computer fundamentals provided by Balaji & Sudhir , the team’s thirst for knowledge grew by leaps and bounds.Those were days when laptops and PC’s were not so freely available ,and team members would return after an exhausting and tiring day maintaining copiers , to freshen up , then take over from the work controllers and other staff who worked on computers , to learn on their own .It was not surprising to find the eager beavers working had at it late into the night and some times into the early hours of the morning .The thirst for knowledge and upgradation of skills I guess is a fundamental part of the DNA of any good maintenance engineer.This zeal and the espirit the corp the team showered in sharing knowledge and working together to jointly build competency was another remarkable hall mark of this transition programme.
Another key enabler was the Digit training programme .This comprehensive training programme for IT & computing skills was put together by a core team of Arvind Nayan, Jagan , Bhargab lead by Balaji .Several others also contributed to this collaborative effor and the names that come readily to mind are Muruganandam & Nilanjan Sur .The programme went on to receive acclodes from across trhe Xerox world and copies of the programme were also sent to other countries , Egypt being one of them if my memory serves me right.
I am going to invite as many of the key players as possible to contribute and write about their recollections andthoughts about the Digit programme and also the transition as such