Bimal Khandelwal, CFO, ST Telemedia Global Data Centres India, writes on invitation and exclusively for our special series BRIEF22, where industry stalwarts, thought leaders, industry captains, business heads, brand custodians and other C-suite heads share their learnings from 2021, and guidance and inspiration for the year ahead.
With an experience of more than 26 years, Bimal Khandelwal is a seasoned leader in the finance space. He joined STT GDC India in 2017, prior to which he has handled the financial portfolio of major brands such as Reliance Communications, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, Birla Sunlife Insurance etc.
Bimal joined STT GDC India when the organisation was in the process of transitioning the whole business from Tata Communications to the STT GDC group, and in less than eight months the company had managed to setup the E2E business processes, transition the IT applications and setup new offices for the company while maintaining a 20% per annum growth.
He has been instrumental in juggling stakeholder expectation by balancing both the business objectives and financial goals. A pass out of the from the ICAI batch of 1994, Bimal remains an integral part of the company’s leadership decisions and overall functioning.
This year the entire country was tested beyond its limits with Covid 19’s second wave and other natural calamities. And the very nature of STT GDC India’s 24×7 mission critical business amplified those challenges even further, but STT GDC India has been able surpass all such challenges.
STT GDC India has been able to execute the business plans resulting in new launches and smooth functioning of the existing facilities. Despite the various challenges the organisation encountered it was able to complete the new facility additions to Chennai and Pune and launch the site for the new campus in Noida.
It is now delivering design capacities worth 190 MW of critical IT load, through 21 carrier neutral facilities to its customers, across 9 cities. STT GDC India has retained its position as the market leader, with the largest data centre footprint (current & expanding) in the country and holding over 33% revenue market share, it has also acquired new customers, expanding both in terms of infrastructure and revenue.
STT GDC India is a people centric organisation and believes in fostering a positive work environment that drives employees towards higher efficiency and motivation by not limiting its service-excellence to its external customers but also to provide best in class employee experience to the internal customers who are the core drivers of the organization.
The HR team rolled out several initiatives such as proactive COVID testing tie-ups, Wellness Wednesdays, Monthly Time Off, E-Learning programs, webinars on physical and mental well-being along with the Medical Assistance Policy to provide financial assistance to employees for managing medical emergencies for self, immediate family members or dependents over and above the Health Insurance coverage provided to all employees.
It is because of this fervour that STT GDC India has been certified as a Great Place to Work consecutively for two years in a row exemplifying its culture and team of fantastic individuals, as well as the many initiatives, processes and perks that STT GDC India continues to add for all company stakeholders, including employees and the extended workforce.
STT GDC India’s customer base reflects the unflinching trust they place in the organization, particularly in terms of security, privacy, and exceptional service standards. It strives to create the best customer journey through monthly reviews and reports, studying and analysing its customers’ ever-evolving needs.
Beyond strict compliance and safety rules, STT GDC India is also committed towards creating a safer environment for its communities and Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) is a group-level priority as well and the targets and reporting frameworks are being drafted by the HQ in Singapore.
This year the STT GDC group launched the ESG inaugural report providing a comprehensive overview of the Group’s approach, programmes and performance across these three key pillars. The report also highlighted some of STT GDC India’s achievements in terms of ESG.
In its effort to promote sustainable development and low-carbon business practices by increasing use of renewable energy, STT GDC India started procuring additional 99MUs/annum (99 Million kWh) of renewable energy under a captive structure, that would cater to the company’s facilities in the state of Maharashtra.
Today, as part of its sustainability initiatives, 34% of power for all STT GDC India’s facilities comes from renewable sources, making it one of the largest users of renewable energy among data centre operators in India.
One of its bigger achievement in terms of its community development programs has been the launch of the Experience Centre as part of the Centre for Skill Development in STT GDC Bengaluru facility. It is the company’s premier initiative under its CSR activities and is aimed at providing career pathways for local students and upskilling industry talent to bridge the skill gap.
STT GDC India has been able to execute the business plans resulting in new launches and smooth functioning of the existing facilities. The company has been able to secure land banks in varius cities for the expansion plan and will further consolidate its position. Despite the various challenges the organisation encountered it was able to complete the new facility additions to Chennai and Pune and launch the site for the new campus in Noida. It is now delivering design capacities worth 190 MW of critical IT load, through 21 carrier neutral facilities to its customers, across 9 cities.
STT GDC India has retained its position as the market leader, with the largest data centre footprint (current & expanding) in the country and holding over 33% revenue market share, it has also acquired new customers, expanding both in terms of infrastructure and revenue.
The pandemic fast-tracked digital adoption across the world including India, for business that wished to remain functioning and later profitable. This increased the demand for flexibility regarding reliability, redundancy, resiliency, and scalability among third party data hosting services like colocation services has to facilitate business continuity. While this coupled with factors like automation, AI, 5G etc. became the trends that support the massive expansion and adoption of the data centre industry; the future is green.
Sustainability has already become a central theme for a number of larger players, including STT GDC India, where it has now become a group level priority. STT GDC Group recently released a global ESG report highlighting the measures factions across the world including STT GDC India, are adopting, to ensure sustainability as a core tenet of the business goals.
Advent of 5G network along with a growing submarine cable connectivity system, will also affect the bandwidth and experience a DC provider can help the customers with. Beyond these factors, several merger and acquisitions of smaller players and consolidation of the industry is on the horizon, along with growth in edge computing and a sharp focus of infra providers shifting towards tier 3 & tier 4 cities.
Priorities, Going Ahead
As we head into the next financial year, STT GDC India aims to take its formidable spirit and dynamic outlook to its future agenda is balanced between an agile approach and experience, as a thought leader in the industry. Building on the momentum of its growth in 2021, it has already laid down ambitious plans to double its capacity every 3-4 years for the next 10 years; while it has started working on new greenfield facilities/expansions in Noida, Pune, Chennai, and planning for Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and other cities.
The company is also evaluating expanding in Tier 2 cities beyond the 9 cities which we are already present. This is to cater to the growing demand of the customers for Edge sites.
STT GDC India is also working on expanding its customer base and leveraging the Global Centre of Excellence (a department established by the STT GDC Group to ensure knowledge-sharing of the industry’s key growth drivers and challenges); to identify key global trends ensuring it retains its leadership position and remain one step ahead of the competition.
The company is also working on developing better systems for Talent & Skill growth within the organisation.
Advice for Young Professionals
I am sure all your readers are well-informed but I am humbled to share a couple of things they may find useful. Firstly, solutions to most of the problems in our life and businesses, may be much simpler than we think and most likely reside within the ambit of common sense that we all already have handy, but don’t apply or relate on time.
Secondly, the internet, cloud and now AI and machines have brought in significant advantages in both our lives and the way we do business. However, we need to be able to learn to use these technologies and tools to our advantage and not let them undermine the most important assets in this world – that is the people.
We must continue to nurture and upskill our people and keep them motivated. Successful businesses in the future will have highly skilled, competent people who will use technology effectively and efficiently to deliver exceptional outcomes.
Lastly, dream big, chase your passions, remain steadfast in your convictions and stay consistent in whatever you do. Discipline and consistency can go a long way and enable people make a mark.
Learnings and Realizations Across 2021
We all need to be taking care of our Health. Though it may sound very basic , but goes a long way in leading a happy life, if all in the family and around are healthy.
Source : https://mediabrief.com/?p=92507
At STT Global Data Centres India, encouraging and fostering a highly positive work environment is a key differentiator that drives employees towards higher motivation and productivity.
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