In conversation with Mr. Amit Agrawal, Vice-President of Development (HSGBU), Oracle
Please tell us about your professional & academic background. Can you also shed some light on your role and responsibilities at Oracle?
I have done my Masters in Computer Applications from NIT Tiruchirapalli. I have been in the Industry for close to 25 years with half of my career being in the US, leading development / delivery teams of both services and product development organizations. For last 14 years, I have been leading the development teams developing products for Pharmaceutical Industry, focusing on Pharmacovigilance and Drug Safety. Currently as Vice President of Development in Oracle’s Health Sciences Global Business Unit (HSGBU), I lead the global development teams developing products in the area of Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance. Products we develop are Empirica and Argus Safety suite of products.
Can you please describe what a typical day at Office is like?
Since I run a global team with my teams spread across both East and West Coast of US, Bangalore and Noida, my days usually start early and end late in the night around 10:30 / 11:00 PM. I try and take some time away for my family during the afternoon.
With a hectic work schedule and unpredictable hours that I need to spend at work, it becomes a bit challenging to find quality personal time but I try and manage to do some Yoga in the morning and a walk post dinner.
What has been your greatest product success story? What, in your opinion is the determining factor in the success of a product?
I joined the Argus team in mid 2003 when the product had less than 10 customers. Today Argus Safety Suite of products are leading the market with 10 out of 12 world’s largest pharmaceutical companies using the product and the total number of customers reaching close to 300 across the globe.
Key determining factor in success of any product is deep understanding of your customer’s need and being able to deliver a software that meets / exceeds their expectations and makes it easier for them to perform their role. If a customer is happy and successful using your product, they will always embrace you. Argus in its history of about 18 years, has not lost a single customer to a competitor. This has been possible because we are always willing to make sure we meet / exceed our customer’s expectations at all times.
What are some of the challenges associated with developing Cloud Services in Health Sciences?
Since the Industry we cater to is very heavily regulated and our applications use patient privacy data, customers are very sensitive to data privacy and security issues. In addition to this, customers want the flexibility to customize the applications on demand to make sure they can tweak the application to meet their way of interpreting a specific regulation. This desire to be able to make these custom tweaks makes it harder to provide a true cloud based solution. The industry is slowly evolving and is coming to terms with the changed landscape and is working towards convincing the user community to start using out of the box configurations and functionality and avoid customization.
What drove you to choose a career in Product Development?
Passion to solve a problem that makes a difference to human life and be able to contribute to a cause in a meaningful way.
Could you elaborate on any changing trends that you have personally observed in this industry?
Drug Safety Industry is traditionally a very conservative industry because of its regulatory framework and data privacy issues. However in the last few years, the Industry is rapidly moving towards Cloud and most importantly is looking at options to automate the processes of capturing adverse events, processing these adverse events using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques. With the growing complexity, desire to bring safer drugs to market, AI and Machine Learning will play a major role in transforming the entire Pharmacovigilance process.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
A Doctor, maybe.
What has gotten you this far?
Hard Work, Integrity, Focus on solving customer problems in simplest possible way, strong team building capabilities.
A tech gadget you can’t live without?
How do you unwind and relax?
Listen to music, spend time with family
Favourite/Most relatable movie character and why?
I watch movies and forget the story before I am out of the theatre, so hard to remember a character, but as such I am a big fan of Amitabh Bachchan. I admire how he has shaped his career and created an unmatchable aura about him.