As strategic technology officer at Working Solutions, Ashok Narayanan gets under the hood to engineer client solutions. He begins by studying the inner workings of a system. With hands-on insight, he creates software and platform engineering, development and delivery to advance the business.
He’s done this time and again for more than 20 years before joining Working Solutions. First, optimizing flight reservations at Sabre, back when it was American Airlines’ technology division. Next, groundbreaking e-commerce at start-up Travelocity.com. And most recently, leading supply-chain disruption for Vizient, Inc., a healthcare entity of nonprofit hospitals. In all instances, business transformation underpinned his work.
Always a student of the business, Ashok likes to delve into the details. He became certified in Sabre, known for its green screens and cryptic commands. With this know-how, he and his colleagues engineered a friendlier interface for travel agents. Their work, in turn, simplified the reservations system’s ease of use industrywide.
As customers gravitated away from traditional agents to self-service on the internet, Ashok and team championed web technology, launching Travelocity.com. Later, when the business moved call center operations and software development to India, he led the transition. In 2015, then in charge of application development at Vizient, Ashok introduced supply-chain efficiencies, seeking breakthrough opportunities to reinvent healthcare delivery.
“Engineering has always been my passion,” says Ashok, who holds a bachelor’s degree in the field from India’s Osmania University and a master’s in industrial engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Ashok’s move to Working Solutions, a private company, is opportune. After working at large corporations for decades, he now prefers a tight-knit, nimble organization. “At this stage of my career, I wanted to get back to my engineering roots. Be agile, transformative, impactful. I can do that here.”
In sports and at work, Ashok sees himself as a utility player. In cricket at college, he fielded, bowled and served as captain. In the 1990s, he served on a 15-member team pioneering e-commerce for the travel industry. “I had a start-up mindset. Did whatever needed to be done, from developing technology to marketing and selling it.”