Shirish Purohit, Head of Sales, India and Emerging Markets, Tejas Networks

Shirish Purohit has 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and networking domain, and has been involved in international sales and general product life cycle management in this space. Currently, he heads the business development and sales functions at Tejas Networks, which sells products to all Tier I carriers in India as well as in over 75 countries around the world.

In fact, Purohit recalls taking the business into the international markets as one of the most challenging assignments of his career so far. “You are competing with the very best in the world. I vividly recollect our entry into the Southeast Asian and the Mexican markets – both very open markets and one had to be on the top of the technology curve as well as remain price competitive with a visible product life cycle management track record,” he observes.

According to him, scale is the biggest challenge for the business, but this can be overcome by more market wins. Cost competitiveness depends significantly on volumes. Purohit believes that Tejas’s biggest strength is its software capabilities. “We implement most of the functionalities and features in our products in the software domain; it makes our products flexible. Also, we are a very nimble-footed and agile organisation, and hence respond to customisation and the special needs of customer networks very effectively.”

Purohit remains extremely bullish on India’s telecom story. “The appetite for reliable, 24×7 high speed data connectivity is unending, given the fact that more and more of our day-to-day chores and activities have started depending on data connectivity,” he notes.

As for his management style, Purohit strongly believes that team members must be allowed and encouraged to take decisions on their own. In sales, it is important for the frontline sales personnel to be enabled and empowered to make decisions and commit on behalf of the organisation, with senior leaders only playing a “value additive” role.

Purohit is an electrical engineer by training. As part of his daily fitness regime, he plays badminton and cycles. He is also fond of music. “I follow popular Indian music, play the piano accordion and enjoy singing.”

His family comprises his wife Jyoti, a telecom and networking engineer, currently working as a freelance product designer, and their son, who is pursuing electrical engineering from IIT Madras, “in the very same department where I earned my master’s”, he says with obvious pride. Both his parents were teachers in a town called Wardha in Maharashtra, he adds.