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Chief Digital Officer, Mahindra Finance
When faced with tough career decisions, women often make choices that lead to or maintain stability in their families,” rather than ones that would advance their potential, says Tina Singh, chief digital officer of Mahindra Finance.
Singh (43) recalls she has been no exception to this line of thinking—at least not in the earlier part of her career, when, as the oldest of three siblings in Chandigarh, she refused jobs in Singapore and Hong Kong and chose to stay closer to her family.
That, however, hasn’t come in the way of her rising to her current position, where she is leading a project that could not only radically alter the group’s supply chain, but also set a benchmark for the industry.
Using blockchain technologies, she is looking to bring transparency and efficiency to Mahindra & Mahindra’s supply chain, as well as gain information about vendors and partners several tiers removed from original equipment manufacturers.
“Even though I started my career as a marketer, I’ve always been interested in technology as a great enabler,” says Singh, a graduate from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. “And the internet was a big hook because it was a means to providing benefits on a much larger scale.”
Being proactive in tapping technology yielded an award-winning retail consumer banking product at ICICI Bank— iWish is a variable recurring deposit that allows users flexibility and gives better rates of return—where Singh worked from 2003 to 2016.
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At Mahindra Finance, Singh and her colleagues started looking at blockchain technologies 18 months ago. “Now we are going for a full-fledged production system, and will be the first ones in South Asia to do an actual implementation in a business.”
The initiative will bring Mahindra’s multiple businesses onto a common platform so that invoices raised by suppliers can be processed sans paperwork, and Mahindra Finance can analyse and financially assist vendors where necessary.
The flip side is that “it’s a nascent technology, so we have to do a lot of advocacy and evangelising. We think once people see the benefits, they will come on board,” Singh says.
Jaspreet Singh Bindra, head of digital transformation at Mahindra Group has known Singh for close to 14 years. “In the banking-financial services-insurance space, Tina has always been a star in tapping the potential of digital,” he says. “And she has incredible people skills, which is vital in digital transformations at companies that aren’t necessarily technology companies.”