“The aspiration to become a CFO was always there,” says Madhu Ranganathan, executive vice president and chief financial officer of OpenText, a leader in information management based in Waterloo, Ontario. “I just didn’t know what the journey would look like.”
Along the way, Ranganathan says, she learned that while technical acumen remains critical to a successful career, collaboration and a commitment to understanding business operations are what have ultimately propelled her leadership journey.Read More
Ranganathan launched her career as a public accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC and then moved to Liberty Mutual Financial Services. “I did make the decision very consciously to say, ‘I would like to explore multiple industries throughout my career,’” she notes. She also wanted to gain ownership of a business’s financial performance rather than remain in an advisory role.
After a stint as vice president and corporate controller with Redback Networks, Ranganathan moved to CFO positions with Rackable Systems, and 7.ai. As part of her journey, Ranganathan studied the careers of other successful CFOs. Collaboration had often been at the core, she observes.
While CFOs must remain independent custodians of their companies’ plans, they also need to acknowledge the business leaders’ command of their operations and work toward a solution that’s a win for the organization. “The word ‘collaboration’ has never been more important,” Ranganathan reports.
Aspiring CFOs also need mentors who will acknowledge their qualifications and experience and guide them toward their goals, Ranganathan says.
“Do your homework, understand the business, and read about the products and solutions,” she advises. When collaborating with other departments, be prepared, be respectful, set clear expectations, and allow others to hold you accountable, Ranganathan continues, as doing so fosters a similar response from the business side. “That’s really where collaboration happens,” she adds.
CFOTL: Tell us about OpenText. What does this company do, and what are its offerings?
Ranganathan: OpenText is a leader in information management. Think about it as moving, organizing, storing, securing, and analyzing data, as well as providing information advantages to large, medium, and small enterprises. We are a 30-year-old company. Content management is at the very core of OpenText offerings. In addition, we offer what is called the “business network,” which is a supply chain, manufacturing, and industrially oriented information management package. The security and protection cloud and cyber-resilience are top-of-mind for enterprises, along with the digital experience cloud. Thus we operate in content management, in business networks, in security and protection, and in the digital experience.Read More
OpenText is headquartered in Canada and has more than 16,000 employees. We operate in more than 50 countries, where we are one of the leaders in the infrastructure software space. Our primary benefit, the value proposition, is rapid innovation cycles. We are very mission-critical to the enterprises that we serve.
We have a very marquee installation base, with more than 75,000 enterprise customers and close to half a million small and medium-size businesses. Eighty-nine of the top 100 businesses in the world are on OpenText solutions. Twenty-one of the top 25 supply chain players use the business network. We have very broad verticals; financial services, CPG, technology, public sector, healthcare. And we have a very global footprint, being over 60% in the Americas, 30% in EMEA, and about 8% in Asia-Pacific.
“Personally invest more time and energy to work cross functionally in order to help business leaders understand the financial and business implications for the challenges they face and together collaboratively problem solve.” – CFO Madhu Ranganathan
OpenText | www.opentext.com | Waterloo, Ontario