Women in Tech: Ever-learning with Cloud ERP Pillar Lead Shilpa Proddutur

UNDP People for 2030
4 min readJun 6, 2024


The Women in Tech series puts the spotlight on women who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital innovations across UNDP. By sharing these inspiring individual stories, we hope to encourage others to choose this path and spur gender equality in the digital sector.

As a Cloud ERP Pillar Lead, Shilpa Proddutur works in UNDP’s Quantum Team, which leads management of the organization’s new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform globally. Although she has spent two-decades with the United Nations, starting as a consultant in 2003 helping implement Atlas, UNDP’s first-ever ERP system, working for the UN was never part of her plan.

“I graduated as a Computer Science Engineer from India in 1999, at the boom of the IT bubble. It’s not like I had a great passion for technology, to be honest, but I think at the time I graduated, this is where everyone was going.”

Immediately she moved to America to work as a consultant with major technology companies. Her expertise lay in the technical implementation of large ERP platforms, operational systems that allow businesses to manage day-to-day activities such as finance management, procurement and project management.

After a few years she applied for an ERP position at UNDP: “I remember heading to work for my first day, looking at the address of UN headquarters in New York thinking, am I really going there?

“It’s not that I had always dreamt of working for the UN. It was only after starting and experiencing a work environment that was very different to other American companies that I have worked at that I came to cherish it. I have worked at other great places, but there you only see the same kind of people. Here you can really practice your culture and be yourself,” Shilpa explained.

She points out that she was fortunate to end up in the ERP field, as this is something that involves all parts of a business. While an ERP system is an inherently technical product, it must be adopted by people across an organization. As a result, a lot of the implementation work is happening outside the technical arena.

“In my previous work I had more technical roles, but at UNDP I got the chance to really understand the business and operations. I have had a lot of exposure to the organization, working with our finance and accountant colleagues to better understand their work and our organizational policies,” she added.

Shilpa together with UNDP colleagues during a mission to Kuala Lumpur

Interacting with colleagues across functional areas and locations has allowed her stay curious and helped her better understand the organization. “Before I joined, I knew what UNDP’s high-level objectives were, but this work has really helped me to see how we implement programmes, what our focus is, what the policies are.”

In her current role, Shilpa supports a procure to pay track, helping Country Offices throughout their payment circle. Being heavily involved with finance and accounting made her realize that she had a passion for numbers, which eventually led her to complete accounting studies.

“I had the technical skillsets when I started this job, but on the business side, I had to pick up a lot of knowledge. Every day presents new things, every project has a new element which we can learn from, right? I mean, if we stop learning, then what will we do?”

Seeing life as an opportunity for continuous learning means that while Shilpa has worked with ERP implementations for over twenty years, no projects have ever looked the same.

“Before Atlas, UNDP never had an ERP before. This meant people didn’t have anything to compare it to. With Quantum, introduced in January 2023, we faced the challenge that people had been using the old system for nearly 20 years! Transition has been difficult for everyone.”

Looking forward, Shilpa will continue to support colleagues globally to adapt to the new system, however, being exposed to teams across the organization has opened her eyes to new opportunities and challenges that she may explore in the future.

“I have never felt out of place at the UN. There’s never only one kind of person here, and that is one of the things I have found unique here.”