How Univeris’ technology model fosters team building with empathy
Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Toronto, Univeris has more than $450 billion in assets under management in 12 countries. With technology as a central enabler, Manas Khanna, associate vice president of the company’s global technology operations, has a complex, dynamic, and constantly evolving portfolio to manage, including all aspects of infrastructure and operations, SaaS site reliability, DevOps, and IT implementation. Cybersecurity measures and support compliance efforts.
“My time at Univeris has been marked by a mix of challenges, opportunities and compelling innovation projects,” says Khanna, who has been with the company for six years. “Building a versatile team has been a particularly beneficial aspect of my journey.”
He traces this importance to a diverse, collaborative and capable team through his professional experience, and continually building on his passion for technology.
“One lesson I’ve learned recently is the importance of connecting with my team on a human level and ensuring their mental and physical well-being is a top priority,” he says. “In the current climate, health is a priority, and it is essential that leaders support and nurture it. Additionally, on a personal level, I am working on my health to set an example for my team to follow as well.
With the advent of the new generation of artificial intelligence and all its capabilities, he eagerly anticipates more growth opportunities.
“It represents an imminent technological revolution,” he says. “When harnessed properly and ethically, it has the potential to contribute significantly to positive business outcomes.”
Khanna recently spoke with Lee Renick, CIO, about diversity in business, the trilingual approach to leadership, and what it takes to manage a large portfolio. Below are some edited excerpts from that conversation. Watch the full video below for more ideas.
In humble beginnings: During my college years, I embarked on an entrepreneurial journey to support myself. I managed several projects, assembled computers, ran Internet cafes and IT in a few offices. In my third year of college, I got my first job at Tata Consultancy in India, where I started my career as a developer working in Microsoft technologies like ASP.Net and C#. Within a few years, I jumped at the opportunity to work in Canada in an application development support role. During this time I gained invaluable insights into the importance of operations and how important innovative solutions are to ensuring reliability practices. One lesson I learned was the importance of productivity, which I put into practice when I was leading a major technology upgrade of platforms. From there, I moved to Toronto and built a DevOps practice and delved into cutting-edge principles that brought development and operations closer together in the software and service delivery process. I then joined Univeris as a Site Reliability Engineer, pioneered the implementation of reliable technology practices inspired by Google’s approach, and provided observability and process automation platforms that enhanced the reliability of our SaaS operations, reducing the need for heroic efforts, which many of us go through at the end of operations. Eventually done.
On building diverse teams: When I immigrated to Canada, I personally faced the challenges of underrepresentation and the difficulties of integrating into a new environment. Fortunately, I was part of an inclusive organization that valued diversity. As a leader, I am committed to helping others facing similar situations and providing opportunities when needed. When I hire a team member, I prioritize objectivity by eliminating biases and offering equal opportunities based on skills and qualifications, especially to hard-working immigrant applicants looking for an opportunity to excel. In my role as a technical leader championing DevOps practices, I stress the importance of fostering a collaborative culture where teams collaborate to drive innovation and problem solving. In today’s landscape, siled teams can create process bottlenecks that hinder productivity. Aligning with business goals to deliver value has become a major focus in all aspects of technology these days.
About being a leader: When the idea crossed my mind that being bilingual meant understanding both technology and business, I was truly impressed. This led me to think about the importance of adding a third dimension to being a trilingual leader. In addition to our technology and business responsibilities, we are also responsible for the well-being and growth of our employees. The landscape has evolved significantly due to factors such as the pandemic, rising costs of living, and other global influences. So, as a leader, I prioritized the mental and physical health of my team, realizing the knock-on effect on overall health and productivity. Operational teams in particular face the constant challenges of delivering service amidst many unpredictable factors. My approach to supporting emotional empathy as a leader includes leading by example to develop a culture of empathy. I create a space where team members feel comfortable sharing their emotional concerns, and foster open channels of communication.
We are the generation of artificial intelligence: Although it is still in its infancy, it is essential that we proactively upskill and prepare for the transformative challenges it will bring to the technology industry. Embracing change, although challenging, is essential, and AI integration is inevitable. So adopting AGI revolves around three key points. The first is to understand its moral aspect and basic principles by developing strong moral political orientations towards possible biases and hallucinations. The second is application development, looking at using AGI application builders based on an existing knowledge base for internal use. This is a key use case that many organizations are exploring. The third is to explore the advantages of artificial intelligence to leverage the technology advantages and business aspects of the organization. By adhering to these principles and focusing on skill improvement, ethical considerations, application development, and feature exploration, we are poised to harness the potential of artificial general intelligence effectively and responsibly.