DR. DURGA PRAKASH DEVARAKONDA: A HIGHLY-EXPERIENCED PERSONALITY PIONEERING AND CREATING DIGITAL SOLUTIONS

Business Magazine

Success is a byproduct of experience. What matters is visualizing every experience as an opportunity for growth and self-mastery. Dr. Durga Prakash hails from a small town located in the Southern Part of Andhra Pradesh. Right from his childhood, he knew no boundaries can stop him to turn his dreams into reality. He wholeheartedly threw himself in the direction of pursuing his endless dreams.

Today, Dr. Durga Prakash has become a dignitary in the business world. Starting his career as a Managing Principal Consultant in Capgemini Invent to working for big tech giants like Accenture, Oracle, and Tech Mahindra, the journey of Dr. Durga has been a fascinating one. 

He has specialties in Digital Leadership, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Big Data, and Healthcare. He is currently working as a Member of the Senior Leadership Team and Staff Vice President -Technology at Legato Health Technologies. 

EDITED EXCERPTS

Q1: What was the path you took to get to where you are today? How does it feel after serving 25 years in the business community?

I began my journey from a small village in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh. I studied in government colleges and completed my MIT from Manipal Academy of Higher Education. I started my career in 1996 when I was appointed as the Managing Principal Consultant at Capgemini Invent. In 2000, I joined Oracle as a Senior Consultant where I played an instrumental role right from executing the Business plan to growing the team to 300 people with revenue excess of US $350 Million. 

Thereafter, I worked with different MNC companies. I also worked as a Vice President in Accenture. After 3 years, I joined Tech Mahindra in 2013 as a Global leader in Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, & Cyber Security. I also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Karvy Analytics, India’s leading Financial Services firm. Currently, I am working with Legato Health Technologies as a Staff Vice President- Technology. I am also a board member of the Global Cyber Security Forum. 

My journey has been really exciting yet challenging. In this journey of 25 years, I have met many new professionals. With more than half a Billion Mobile phones, 1.35 Billion Aadhar Digital Identity Cards, and GenZ young stars, India has become Digital Natives country. In the Digital Adoption, India has emerged as a Global Leader. I see in the Digital space India has all ingredients to become global superpower, happy to be part of this journey while partnering with global majors in shaping their Digital Future.

Q2: What similarities and differences did you find while working for big companies like Tech Mahindra, Accenture, Oracle, and other MNCs?

All MNCs work on a culture of meritocracy and encourage people to take risks and learn and grow faster. I went to the Boston Harvard Business School through Accenture and completed my Advanced Management Program. While we work in the MNC culture, there is an opportunity to understand the bigger picture of industries, and how technology can help them excel and perform better in the market.

Q3: Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are in a lot of talks right now. According to you, how powerful are they?

New technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain are helping to automate and expedite the economic cycles. Every day we are losing people in India because of different heart diseases. In many parts of India, we have a healthcare affordability crisis. These new technologies are helping healthcare service providers to make better decisions on patients’ diagnoses.

Additionally, the machine learning algorithm can treat infectious diseases, personalize medical treatments and help build the process of preventive healthcare. It is always difficult to create synergies between doctors and patients. In India, there is always a dearth of doctors. To reduce this problem of patient-doctor ratio, machine learning and Artificial intelligence can really help India. To put it in simple words, AI & ML are the future of healthcare.

Q4: If we look into the future, is Digital India the next big thing?

Definitely! India is on its way to becoming one of the greatest superpowers because of the digital transformation. Today, India ranks 43rd on the Institute for Management Development (IMD)’s annual World Competitiveness Index 2021. Aadhar is the single biggest identity project due to which 1.35 billion people have received their identities. Digital health commission is starting health passports for all Indian citizens now. Digitalization is reducing corruption and bringing transparency to the country. Digital India is a success story. 

Q5: You’re currently working with Legato Health technologies. Can you explain what roles and responsibilities come under your profile?

Legato Health Technologies is a Global Inhouse centre for Anthem Inc (a Fortune 23 company), USD 130 Billion US Health care Payor. Legato is committed to transforming healthcare. The company brings innovative capabilities and a depth of experience across all functional areas for health insurers. I work closely with the Chief Digital and Chief Technology officers. My job is to understand the problems & create digital platforms and to channelize the best brains of the country to solve the emerging and existing healthcare problems of the world. At Legato, we partner, design, develop, build and operationalize with digital platforms from India, which is solving complex problems of the US healthcare industry. 

Q6: What role has teamwork played in your profile? 

The fundamental of success is to work closely with the teams. In a successful team, you find skills, accountability, and commitment. In a team, different people are proficient in different skills, for example, some may be good at problem-solving, while some may perform well in technical and functional departments. But, just having skills may not help us to succeed. There is also a nature of accountability that matters a lot. 

Q7: You must have faced a lot of roadblocks in your career. How did you overcome those challenges in order to succeed?

Every challenge is also an opportunity to learn, team up with a new set of people, new mentors and assimilate yourself with an attitude towards learning and contributing. In any company I work for, I always find a good mentor. I am able to approach the right professors and right mentors to seek guidance because of the ecosystem of great education in India. I believe in lifelong learning. I read books and enroll in different programs. The biggest characteristic that I have developed in the competitive world is that there is always a person who knows better than you and I’m lucky enough to get some of those mentors and take the guidance to grow up to this level.

Q8: As a source of inspiration for many, what would your advice be for young professionals?

Build self-confidence and try to invest the time in building yourself. Take time for yourself, be very clear, invest in yourself and build the culture of learning so that your earning is already taken care of. 

Q9: Can you mention some awards and honors you have received so far?

I was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi International Leadership award for 2018 at Commonwealth nations HQ London. I received this award from the British MP and Minister at British Parliament, House of Commons, and Lords, Preet Kaur Gill, MP, Baroness Verma, and Viren.

I was also awarded a gold medal from the International School of Protocol, Washington. I have also received multiple performance awards from Oracle, Tech Mahindra, and Accenture. 

In 2004, the Hyderabad Software Exports Association gave me an award for establishing the best ODC for Oracle in India. 

I also entered the Guinness Book of the World Records in 2018 for organizing the world’s largest digital event where 100,000 people came together on a video conferencing application, Zoom to pray Lord Hanuman.

Q10: Name some books that have impacted you deeply.

Books that have really helped me transform into an informed person are Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, The mindset by Carol Dweck, and Beyond the Last Blue Mountain: the Authorised Biography of J.R.D. Tata.

In the end, Dr. Durga said, “What I believe is working in healthcare is a blessing. I think my dream is to really address the health of humanity with all emerging digital technologies and to contribute in making the Earth a healthier planet.  

 

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