Bhumika P. Balani

Leader, Global System Integrator Lab, IBM India Software Labs

Bhumika Balani is the Global Lab Leader for the Deloitte-IBM relationship. She is responsible for driving cyber, data and AI, sustainability and hybrid cloud technology solutions and accelerators jointly with Deloitte in the market. In her previous role, Bhumika led the Global System Integrators business for the India/South-Asia market, growing it by double digits

Bhumika has great relationships with her partners and customers at senior leadership levels. She led the P&L business for IBM IOT Expert Labs, which has grown significantly. Earlier in her career, Bhumika led the global development of a key IBM Lab product. She won the Zinnov 2022 Next Generation Women Leaders – Business and Technical Award. She has also won a major Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for her contribution to transforming an Indian Telco giant’s DevOps transformation journey. Bhumika is viewed as a great leader and has won the “Best People Leader ” award twice.

She leads the “GROW” chapter of IBM’s Equal Council (a diversity and inclusion initiative) at IBM India Software Labs. Bhumika focuses on creating a pipeline of women to take on business and client-facing leadership positions. She has mentored more than 300 women in her IBM career. Bhumika is also the first leader at IBM India Software Labs to be selected for the prestigious IBM Corporate Service Corps program. Show more

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

A typical day for me begins with thanking God for my blessings. Every day is different after that, but I focus on connecting with my partners, team and leaders at IBM in order to grow business at scale. I constantly think about and act on elevating our business outcomes and people’s growth. I am also passionate about building the next generation of leaders at IBM, so also my own backup.

What aspects of your career journey have taken you by surprise?

The fact that I spent nearly 30 percent of my career performing various roles in product development, despite my heart being in customer-facing business roles.

Tell us about your first job (can be anything!) and one lesson you might have learned from it.

IBM is my first and current job. My first project at IBM involved porting MQSeries from Windows to Digital Unix. I realized I was in the wrong role as I didn’t know the ABCs of programming and porting. But I learned how to bounce back and picked it up from there.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self about getting started in cyber?

Don’t get lost in the cyber jargon. Get on stage and start talking about it, that’s the fastest way to learn!

Tell us about the cyber project you're most proud of working on in your career.

I’m most proud of Deloitte’s managed security services platform. I had a chance to partner with Mr. Anand Tiwari and understand the nuances of handling a security operations center (SOC) business in India. That was a huge learning.

How has public perception of cybersecurity changed over the course of your career, and how do you predict in the future?

The public perception of cybersecurity is that it must be ingrained into the DNA of building a business and not just an afterthought! The price an organization pays for not thinking about cybersecurity from the beginning is humongous.

Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped shape your career.

Gaurav Sharma, Vice President, IBM India Software Labs. He always empowered me to run IBM’s business and scale it in the way I thought was right. He helped me reach great heights, tap into my unseen potential and bring out the maverick in me!
Soumitra Limaye, my ally and current manager who teaches me something new about leadership and how to be a better person every day.
My husband, Joe Vinod Mascarenhas – who has been my rock and guide. He’s given me wings to fly.
My son, who teaches me the best way to resonate with today’s millennials and keep myself up-to-date.
Last but not the least, my parents who have sacrificed a lot and coached me to make me what I am today.

A meeting gets canceled and you have a surprise 30 minute window of free time — how do you spend it?

I would connect with someone to discuss a thought or seed new ideas on how to grow a business or help a fellow IBMer.

What are the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?

I look around me and try to learn something from everyone around me. Everyone brings their strengths to the table. I remind myself constantly of how blessed I am and the need to reach out to people who need me.

When you think about your personal legacy as a leader, what do you hope people will remember?

That I instilled a maverick spirit in them to break boundaries, challenge themselves, and march forward, no matter what. Also, that I give back to people more than I take from the world around me.