Sujit Unni with his Jack Russell

My Working Day: Sujit Unni

11 May 2018

Sujit Unni is Managing Director and Head of Cards and Payments Technology at Barclays’ Global Service Centre in India. He tells us about his relocation from the US to Asia – and how adopting a dog has made the transition easier. 

My alarm goes off… at 5am. I have a fairly regimented morning schedule as I normally go out on a 3km run and also spend time at the gym. I then walk our two-year-old Jack Russell, Bowie. I leave home at 7.30am and I’m usually at my desk by 8am.

My job involves… overseeing technology delivery for cards and payments platforms supporting the US, UK and German markets. Travelling with my role offers me the unique opportunity to support multiple areas and business lines including card issuing, merchant acquisition, partner finance and consumer loans. It also gives me a chance to interact with with various CIOs throughout the business.

Our colleagues in India have been the nerve centre for operations and technology delivery for Barclays in the last 12 months. Since the start-up of the transaction cycle model we have seen our teams take the lead on several key group-wide initiatives.

Sujit Unni

I got the job… because of my background in leading large teams in the transformation of payments technology systems and nimble extendable platforms that can support a fast-changing business effectively. This, coupled with my experience in the rollout of products like partner co-brands, and the set-up of e-commerce in my last role, gave me unique insight in terms of leading the delivery of engineering teams in India.

My best day at work… my role here in India allows me to be a part of the great work we do as a firm every single day – be it the rollout of the first integrated customer journey supporting our UK strategy, the launch of the Uber co-brand in the US, or the implementation of the re-usable cards process across our cards and fraud agent desktops. Every win is memorable and a cause for celebration.

Personally, I find every instance when we are able to demonstrate the business ability of our colleagues to become thought leaders – with a deep understanding of the business and the passion to build and deliver great products – to be very satisfying. It makes me proud to be part of such an awesome team.

The most difficult part of my job is… I don’t see difficulties as much as I see opportunity. We have a committed team, an industry-best product suite, strong senior management support and everything that is needed to build and deploy best-in-class solutions. I keep myself and my teams focused on thinking about the customer first in everything we do, and we usually find effective solutions for everything in that mindset.

The thing I love most about my job is… the potential that this organisation offers. In 2017 I was able to contribute to our digital transformation agenda in the UK, rollout great product launches like Uber in the US and work on the implementation of a whole new acquiring platform for merchant services.

Our 2018 priorities include the launch of a brand new retail banking platform in the US, as well as some noteworthy traction on the rollout of cutting edge automation and machine learning capabilities within our contact centre and fraud transaction cycles. Very few organisations can offer such a wide spectrum of business and technology opportunities.

Sujit Unni with his Jack Russell

After work… We like to work hard and play hard. We have a vibrant team here in India who contribute more than their fair share to the community and I try and contribute to the extent I can (woefully less than the rest, unfortunately).

I am also proud that my colleagues and peers are good friends who helped me and my family settle in when we first moved here, and I often grab a drink with them after work.

This is also the first time in my life that I’ve had a pet and I’m finding it very therapeutic. I had my reservations but now it’s hard to imagine life without him. Taking him for a walk in the evenings, along with my 10-year-old daughter, so she can give me a play by play account of her day, is a great way to unwind.

In terms of sport, I’m really into squash and am a golf enthusiast – but I have a long way to go in terms of becoming a good player. I can also more than hold my own in a ping-pong match!

My most recent passion has been zip-lining. I got into it when I was living in the US and did it as part of a team-building activity. Since then I’ve zip-lined in Utah, Colorado, Austria, Sri Lanka and here in India. The most recent one was across a very interesting terrain 600ft above the ground. I’m still scared of heights, but have realised that it’s easier to deal with after the first time.

Since relocating to Pune, my wife, daughter and I have also started to take painting classes as a family. We found that doing something together in a new city – that allowed us to interact with a wider group of people ­– was a great way to make new friends and settle in.