Ankita Behl is a product engineering manager at MMIT, a Norstella company, first joining the data services team in 2018. She works with leaders across MMIT’s product, operations and technology teams to review new product designs and features, analyze cost implications and oversee that every requirement for MMIT’s products is met and vetted as supportable by MMIT data.
Tell us a little bit more about your role.
I began my journey with MMIT in the data services team, where I learned about health care data for the first time. In this role, I gained visibility into our data and the products we offer. After more than four years of working on data solutions and analytics, I gained immense knowledge on how we could use our data for other promising product offerings. I am a solution-oriented person and recently got a fantastic opportunity within MMIT to meet both of my passions — product solutions and technology at the center — with my new role as a product engineering manager. In this role, I partner with leaders from the product and technical teams to build exciting, scalable products in a fast-paced environment, bringing out the best of both worlds by aligning the product needs with engineering capabilities and limitations.
How did you join the company? What in your background brought you to pharma?
Data is my first love! It intrigues me in a way that nothing else does, and finding solutions to business problems through data excites me. I have always explored industries that allow me to do this, and MMIT was a perfect match. That’s how I was first exposed to health care. I worked as a business intelligence developer at my previous company, where I worked on designing data warehouses, analytical solutions, reports, etc. I have been playing with datasets and creating data-related solutions and products my entire career path. When I learned about this opportunity, I realized that this was a win-win for both me and MMIT.
What does your day-to-day usually look like?
I am a middleman between product and engineering, so my primary role is to ensure alignment between both work streams, and ensure we are all marching toward the same vision. I provide clarity between different teams, remove roadblocks and help set expectations while I look at business problems with an engineering lens. Additionally, I work with multiple scrum teams to ensure the solutions and features we are building are designed in manners that best leverage the data and technical ecosystems already in place. I also work closely with product owners to ensure requirements are fully defined, adequately prioritized, scalable, maintainable and in line with MMIT’s available data. Finally, I ensure these requirements are aligned with our technical capabilities while working closely with tech leads and developers for end-to-end delivery of the product.
What are some of the larger projects you’re working on?
Right now I am very excited about my new role and I’m growing into it. I’m currently working on three products —contract validation, bridging and Analytics 4. They are all big projects for MMIT and they are in different phases of the product lifecycle.
What are some of the common challenges of your role?
The main challenge is also something that keeps me excited and glued to this role — I must quickly change gears between different products with entirely different scopes and requirements. While I am learning a lot in this role, I have to find time to coordinate with diverse teams working in different time zones, which I believe is a challenge for many of us.
What’s been your biggest win so far?
My biggest win has been the streamlining and process building of the client configured fields team within data services. The project is template-driven and extremely easy to onboard. Despite its wide scope and ability to provide many customization capabilities to our clients, we have never compromised on the engineering values of fast delivery and high efficiency. It is a highly scalable and efficient product, and the turnaround time is incredible.
What would you say sets Norstella apart?
There are two things I feel set MMIT and Norstella apart from other companies. The first is our team culture. I have been fortunate to have found an exceptionally skilled and highly motivated group of hardworking people who make work fascinating and fun. The second is our company vision, to help patients gain access to life-saving therapies. Norstella’s vision is highly motivating for me and my career goals. It always keeps me interested in which directions we are growing, what exciting things will happen next and where can I make a difference.
Which company principle resonates most with you?
That’s a thought-provoking question for me, as I feel I have been working on inculcating most of the MMIT principles into my day-to-day life. I feel they are essential to have for not only professional, but also personal growth. The principle I most connect with is resiliency, mettle and grit. I believe every problem has a solution, and I approach solving each issue with that in mind.
Where do you see Norstella’s growth in the next few years?
We are growing exponentially. Our company has already crossed the goals of where I thought we would be 10 years from when I joined in 2018. With the current growth curve we are on and the new products we are building, I can only imagine us defining our health care expertise and becoming an industry leader in market access. Not only that, but I feel we will also be setting a new standard in health care terminology.
What do you like most about working at MMIT?
I like the freedom to think and explore while also having opportunities to work with other very talented individuals and learn something new every day. Growing into this role, I feel MMIT provides a fantastic platform, great mentors to learn from and ample opportunities for an ambitious individual like me.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy not being at home — a lot! So that can be anything from grocery shopping to long drives, vacations and cruises. When at home and not working, we play a lot of board games, and it’s tough to win against me. I also have a little bit of a creative side — I am a trained dancer and painter, which I have wanted to get back into since the COVID lockdown, but I haven’t yet. You can call me a jack-of-all-trades.