Tarun was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 13th February 1971 to Dharampal and Surekha Sharma. His father later moved to Poona (now Pune) to work at Raja Bahadur Motilal Poona Mills in the engineering division. Tarun grew up in Pune since kindergarten with very humble beginnings.
As a boy Tarun went to several schools, but the ones that shaped his persona were the Spicer School in Aundh and the Shri Shivaji Preparatory Military School. Tarun’s skirmishes with leadership began when he was very young. As the youngest-ever prefect at SSPMS, he took on responsibilities reserved for much older kids. He got promoted to the post of assistant head prefect by the time he was in 10th standard. This led to Tarun developing his people skills very early in life. He learnt to neither be intimidated by large crowds, nor by people larger than him. Tarun played a little bit of cricket, volleyball and basketball in school.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION
Tarun then studied at the Nowrosjee Wadia College of Arts & Science for two years before getting into Pune Institute of Computer Technology to study computer engineering, which was in nascency during those days. PICT was the place where Tarun developed a passion for technology and gained dexterity in computer science. Tarun paid great attention to physical fitness during youth. He cycled, swam and did strength training.
During his final year at PICT, Tarun did a project at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing on 'Artificial Intelligence'. His work involved getting computers to understand Sanskrit. This exposed Tarun to complex technologies which would become relevant in the future. Shortly thereafter he took up teaching at NIIT. There, Tarun mastered the art of simplifying complex ideas by making students understand the essence of the problem & the method of solving it, instead of getting stuck in theory.
MEETING OF THE MINDS
Tarun met Reshma while he was at NIIT. After teaching there for two years, he moved abroad and did various projects in the United Kingdom, Barbados and Jamaica. Tarun and Reshma had already been dating for three years, before he returned to India in the Summer of 1996. They got married during this time and then moved to the United States, where Tarun started working as a software architecture consultant for GE Capital in Stamford, Connecticut.
At GE, Tarun met who he thought were some of the smartest guys on the planet. They were building a business-to-government procurement platform. Six months later, they all quit GE to go and start a company called EC Cubed. At GE, Tarun crossed paths with Faisal Hoque, the founding CEO of EC Cubed, who would become Tarun's first mentor and shape his thinking. He also met Harsha Kumar who would remain Tarun's best friend for life. EC Cubed was then funded by Gartner, who had a strong belief in their value proposition.
EC Cubed was based on the philosophy that the internet would allow companies to share information across the entire value chain at a much lower cost, with small to medium businesses participating in that value chain. This could create an environment where value chains would compete against other value chains and there would be no single ERP vendor who would be able to meet the demands of the entire chain. Hence software components would be used to assemble applications which could integrate across multiple enterprises. This would be the way enterprise commerce applications would be built. EC Cubed did very well while it was growing and raised 54.5 million dollars in venture capital with some big venture capitalists like Battery Ventures and Boston Millennia Partners.
EC Cubed proved it's value proposition by servicing large customers like GE, American Express, Mastercard, and Transamerica Leasing. However, due to unfortunate market conditions, it went bankrupt during the dotcom bust of 2000, as many of their customers were dotcoms who became insolvent.
THE WRITING STREAK
During his first year at EC Cubed, Tarun wrote a book called Programming Web Components with Reaz Hoque. It was a programmer’s guide to software components like JavaBeans & ActiveX and was published in December of 1997 by McGraw-Hill.
Shortly thereafter Tarun wrote Enterprise Ecommerce with Peter Fingar & Harsha Kumar. It talked about the philosophy of inter-enterprise process engineering, and the use of software components in that architecture. It was a generic guide to anybody getting into the B2B E-Commerce space and included many use cases from their experiences at EC Cubed. The book became a bestseller, and a part of the mandatory reading list of many MBA programs. A key measure of it's popularity was that it got featured in the top 25 books sold on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
During his tenure at EC Cubed, Tarun was recognised as a thought leader in technology. He was a prolific writer and a speaker at top industry conferences on developing applications using component based architecture.
After the sad demise of EC Cubed, Tarun's new chapter in life began at Virtusa in February of 2001. At Virtusa, he played multiple roles; right from institutionalising the delivery processes to incubating various practices and overseeing P&L.
A large part of Tarun's success came when Virtusa transformed from being a pure play OPD vendor to an enterprise software services company. This shift in strategy brought in exponential growth. Tarun stayed at Virtusa for eight and a half years. He was part of the early management team which helped Vitusa go public in August of 2007. Tarun ran the largest business unit for Virtusa, which focussed on banking, financial services and insurance. He also had the pleasure of working closely with Kris & Tushara Canekeratne who gave Tarun opportunities for career progression. Tarun also met John Gillis who became Tarun's second mentor and who helped him grow exponentially.
Tarun was recruited by BMC from Virtusa for his technological prowess and entrepreneurial spirit. He became the CEO of their Indian operations and had the unique privilege of becoming the first general manager running a large global P&L from India. He was recruited specifically to lead BMC India through different phases of maturity. Tarun drove change and initiated a process of transformation which would one day make the company, best amongst peers of all software GICs in India.
Tarun took unconventional approaches and bold steps to improve products and services. He brought to bear a focus on customer centricity, employee engagement & innovation. This led to BMC India becoming one of the best companies to work for as recognised by Great Place To Work® and boasts of one of the best ergonomically designed offices in Asia. Best practices and methods designed in India were soon being replicated across other worldwide locations. Under Tarun's guidance, BMC became one of the first companies in India to develop a Customer Experience Programme, to give an immersive experience to customers on best-in-class practices enabling lean & mean operations.
Tarun is responsible for creating the culture of innovation at BMC. He leveraged the incubator and pushed hard on improvement & use of disruptive technologies to create highly differentiated products. Tarun wanted Indian GICs to be known for innovation and customer value realisation. This push towards change resulted in the development of customer centricity initiatives which resulted in formation of strategic relationships with customers & partners.
Tarun built confidence amongst engineers for innovation by driving research & development. BMC Software India is now the second largest country operations for BMC Software, and houses 60% of its worldwide software engineers out of India.
Tarun has always strived to raise the bar not only in his own company but across the industry. In recognition of his efforts to innovate through incubation programmes, Zinnov named BMC the Best Place to Innovate in 2011. Tarun successfully changed the role of BMC India from a centre for cost arbitrage to a value centre leading innovation and research. Zinnov applauded these efforts by bestowing the Center Transformation Award upon BMC India.
Tarun envisioned an office of the future with state-of-the-art facilities and an open, digitally enabled architectural design that would take care of all the needs of a millennial workforce. This design proved to be so successful that it got replicated in other BMC offices across the world. APAC Property Awards recognised BMC India to have the Best Office Interiors in Asia.
Under Tarun's leadership BMC India won awards for Customer Centricity & Customer Centric Culture, Most Effective GEN Y Engagement and for being one of the Best Employer Brands to work for. Great Place to Work® named BMC India amongst the Top 14 Tech Companies to work for in India in 2017.
Tarun also won the Intrapreneur of the Year Award from Zinnov in 2017 for transforming BMC India into a company pioneering cutting-edge technology with the resources of an enterprise and agility of a start-up.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Tarun plans to continue his journey using technology to solve large-scale social problems in India, while promoting an entrepreneurial culture within large companies. He is also working closely with his alma mater, PICT, to ensure that the engineering curriculum prepares young engineers in mastering relevant technologies in today's highly disruptive environment.