If Shanti Pi’s colleagues at Danaher’s India Development Center (IDC) hadn’t encouraged her, she might never have applied for her role at HemoCue. More than two years later, she’s leading a team of engineers—and helping the IDC itself grow as well. Below, Shanti explains her day-to-day work, what’s hard about her job, and why she finds it all so rewarding.
There are two parts to my role. The first is as an engineering manager for standalone software solutions, including our HealthTrender Anemia product. When a health care provider inserts a blood sample into a HemoCue analyzer, it displays the results for them—and those results can also be transferred via Bluetooth to an application on a mobile device, where they can add demographic information. That data is then added to a central repository, so governments and NGOs can monitor and evaluate their screening programs at the population level.
My team is responsible for software deliverables from end to end. As a medical device company, we’re of course subject to rules and regulations, and we reach out to headquarters for guidance on that. But otherwise, we’re set up to be completely independent in planning, building, and deploying releases. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s exciting for us and it gives us lots of opportunities to learn.
I’m also the HemoCue site lead for the India Development Center here in Bangalore, which is an umbrella organization that’s home to teams from multiple Danaher operating companies. I help promote support and collaboration between OpCos. Sometimes, in terms of career growth—if one of our team members is interested in a certain role, for example, and there’s a Beckman Coulter associate at IDC currently in that job, I might connect the two of them. We also work together on technology and solutions, helping each other grow and expand. And we seek and provide help from other OpCos for participation in and facilitation of Kaizens, which are weeklong problem-solving workshops.
Health care has always been close to my heart—seeing how my day-to-day work affects people’s lives is really important to me. I started my career with Allscripts, which provides electronic health record systems, then moved to Siemens as a product analyst before joining Beckman in 2016 to work on cloud projects. Back then, the IDC was just getting started. I’ve been able to see the whole journey, from a single OpCo to now.
When this position with HemoCue initially opened up, I didn’t think I’d even apply. They were looking for someone to establish the company’s first R&D team outside of Sweden, for both software and hardware—software development of mobile, web, and cloud applications had been outsourced up until that point. I didn’t have any experience with hardware, and I’d never been a people manager. But the IDC leadership had faith in me, and they explained their top priority was finding someone who was transparent and trustworthy. They encouraged me to just apply and see what happened.
I remember telling my husband after the last round of interviews that I didn’t think I’d get the job—I felt that just getting to the point where I was interviewing with the president of the company was an achievement in itself. But they ended up offering me the role, and I jumped at it. Two years later, I’ve been able to handpick 12 team members, and we’re on track to add two more this year.
I’m extremely grateful the universe gave me Magnus Tunklev, who is such a supportive manager. From the start, I’ve always felt like he trusts me, and I can tell him about anything that is difficult or a pain point. He suggests possible solutions and helps me see the big picture. And—this was an eye-opener for me—he never forgets to ask how I’m actually feeling. It’s not just about me as a leader, but as a person.
He’s also made sure I’m plugged into the right meetings and connected with the right mentors, and everyone at both IDC and HemoCue has been so supportive. I’ve tried to carry that forward for my own team, as well. Each of us—including myself—starts out with a “buddy” from the company who’s in a similar role to our own; they help us not only learn the logistics of working at HemoCue but really immerse ourselves in the culture. It’s given us a foundation that makes day-to-day decisions much easier.
One challenge for me is balancing the HemoCue and IDC perspectives. We need to belong in both organizations, and that can sometimes be tricky. What works for our team in terms of working style or flexibility, for instance, might not work for another OpCo’s IDC team.
Another interesting challenge is identifying how we can best support the Hardware and Firmware teams in Sweden. Because we work remotely we’re somewhat limited in how we can contribute from IDC, but we’ve found creative ways to collaborate on new product development, sustainability and firmware projects. And we’re learning and getting better with each experience.
But the most interesting of all challenges is expanding HealthTrender—adding new features, rolling out to existing and new markets, improving connectivity, and extending HealthTrender to other solutions. We work closely with Marketing and Sales, and it’s hard to overstate the sense of accomplishment we all feel as key players in achieving something meaningful to human health and wellbeing.
Continuing to take our solution global. We started out building specifically for India, and that’s wonderful. When I talk with candidates, they’re thrilled about the idea of building for people in this country and contributing to the Indian government’s health missions, because so many of us have previously only worked on products for the U.S. or Europe. But it’s also exciting to expand. Last year, we took our solution global, moving into Mexico and Egypt, and in the coming year we’ll be adding a few other countries. Of course, each country comes with its own challenges in terms of languages, governance, and regulations on data privacy.
We’re also expanding our platforms later this year—we already have the web portal, which is written in Java, and the Android product, and we’ll soon have the opportunity to launch on iOS. We’re also exploring potential cross-OpCo collaborations, which is one of the benefits of the IDC. Is there something another company is doing that we can tap into at HemoCue, or a solution we can provide to them?
Finally, we’re thinking about expanding beyond HealthTrender to other software solutions. I really look forward to seeing the things we build today in the market tomorrow, helping those patients and providers, and I feel very fortunate that I’m able to be part of it.