Milap Wadhwa is on his second stint at Grab. Here he tells us that the decision to rejoin Grab was one of the easiest…
More than the backbone of Grab, the Grabber Technology Solutions (GTS) team steers the technological solutions that empower our Grabbers to excel in their roles.
Information Technology teams are often deemed as backend roles that support a company’s operations, but at Grab, our GTS team is at the forefront of enabling Grabbers to succeed in their roles, all for the common mission of driving Southeast Asia forward.
The GTS team prides itself on empowering Grab employees in their everyday work through technology, backed by a deep understanding of working in the technology service organisation.
Adam Seyer, Head of GTS and APEX says: “GTS is part of the TechInfra organisation, providing the tools needed by our engineering community to build next-generation platforms to drive Southeast Asia forward. We take an engineering lens to solve problems. If you are frustrated by what a traditional IT organisation does to support others, GTS is the place for you!”
For Adam, who is celebrating his fourth year at Grab, the opportunity to be a part of building the community in Southeast Asia was extremely appealing to him. He says: “I had long been a fan of the ride-sharing ecosystems in the United States, and to be a part of this type of transformative technology in a region of the world I’ve always enjoyed was a no-brainer!”
Also sharing a strong sense of purpose is Quinny Lei, Head of Business IT Solutions, who feels strongly passionate about serving the Grab community. Close to two years in her role, her zeal has become stronger. She says: “Being able to learn from mistakes and great people is a daily joy that helps.”
Her solid job commitment stems from the fact that “GTS plays an imperative role to serve fellow Grabbers, enabling them to serve the communities in the region”.
“We are the root that provides minerals and water to groom the plant to its fullest potential,” she quips.
Echoing this sentiment is Jeremy Chin, Head of IT Governance at GTS. Following Grab’s decision to be listed in NASDAQ, Grab was required to be in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). It was this opportunity to establish the team and lead GTS to comply with SOX requirements that spurred Jeremy to join Grab two years ago.
Reflecting on his role in GTS, he says: “My team provides the enterprise systems and tools, including laptops, to enable Grabbers to perform their work and maximise their productivity.”
Similarly, Daniel Foo, Head of the Service Management Office, says: “GTS provides the tools and devices for Grabbers to serve our driver and merchant partners and consumers. We are the backbone that ensures Grabbers enable our everyday entrepreneurs across Southeast Asia.”
What makes a job at GTS rewarding?
Looking back on his time at Grab, Adam says that he derives great satisfaction when his team “brings joy and excellence to our driver and merchant partners and consumers.” This is why the internal engineering conference has been crucial in helping brainstorm ideas and solutions.
Adam has been a driving force behind Tech Island: Live – an annual internal conference amongst tech Grabbers. This annual virtual conference, which is in its third edition this year, regularly discusses new technologies, key learnings, and helps troubleshoot issues. He reflects: “Delivering the first conference in 2020 was a tremendous milestone for me. It was the culmination of 12 months of hard work and working with teams throughout the organisation, and the team made it happen during the pandemic to great success.”
For Quinny, she gains job satisfaction from “bringing the best of our very own creativity and the spirit of #OneGrab” to resolve problems with her colleagues across the region.
Her one significant memory is working with her team to negotiate a contract renewal, just days before Christmas in 2021. She recalls: “Despite working in different time zones across the region, the team was so committed to pushing the negotiation process forward.”
Getting a stamp of approval from other departments which take reference from his team’s work is rewarding for Jeremy. He adds: “It is satisfying to see how the output of our work drives other initiatives for better IT regulations and risks postures.”
For example, his team implemented new and updated policies and processes following the COBIT (Control Objectives for Information Technologies) framework last February. It was one of the key projects for GTS to be SOX-compliant. He shares: “It is memorable as we managed to get GTS policies and processes organised in a single repository with the owners properly identified. In addition, my team’s function in IT Governance is now supported with formal processes”.
A purposeful and caring culture at Grab
What makes Grab different is the far-reaching impact of its work and the strong company culture, says the GTS leaders. Adam shares: “The scale and impact of Grab’s work put us in an elite group of companies.” Agreeing, Daniel adds: “The impact of our work has a great multitude on millions of lives in developing countries”.
In testament to this positive work culture, Jeremy shares that “the leaders are transparent and have active dialogues with the employees regularly, such as during the monthly Global All Hands sessions.”
Cementing this view is Daniel who says that Grab is a company that cares for its people. “Our senior leaders demonstrate that quality every day, and they are feedback junkies. They are happy to listen to any Grabber that goes to them,” he enthuses.
Qualities to excel in GTS
Adam says: “Self-starters who communicate effectively and concisely. They have to be willing to listen and learn from mistakes, but aren’t afraid to make decisions.” To that point, Jeremy says that there has to be “strong accountability in walking the talk’’.
Quinny and Daniel quote Grab’s four core values — Honour, Humility, Hunger and Heart. “They must have the heart to serve, and the humility to learn,” emphasises Daniel.
The GTS leaders also share tips on how people can be successful during their time with Grab.
Jeremy’s advice to new joiners is to be open to experimentation and uncertainty. He notes: “Grab is still a relatively young organisation, with evolving processes and controls. It is also a fast-paced environment, where you will need to decide which is the best direction forward. This is good because the culture encourages good leadership and collaboration among teams.” Quinny sums up: “Take in the different views at every step you take and enjoy the ride.”