This is an exclusive interview between The Times Blog and Mr. Satyajit Bandyopadhyay, who has recently taken over the reins at Edkal Technologies as Director and CEO.
Mr. Satyajit Bandyopadhyay is a veteran leader who has proved his mettle in strategic positioning for sectors such as digital platform engineering, application R&D in IT services and manufacturing industries. He has now joined Edkal Technologies as the firm's CEO and Director.
In your new role, you are required to build Edkal from the ground up. What prompted you to accept such a senior role within an IT services organization at this stage of your career, Mr Bandyopadhyay?
I have been working in the IT sector for the last thirty years, and I have been deeply involved in building multiple IT services companies in both India and the USA, spanning multiple domains. I have always felt that the work we do in healthcare and pharmaceuticals has the potential for maximum impact on our lives.
I was intrigued by the Sami-Sabinsa group's approach towards research, and their level of innovation in developing and selling nutritional products. All of these were factors that prompted me to build an IT services organization within the group, with a clear focus on innovation in the healthcare and pharma domain.
When did Edkal see the light of day, and what were its earliest challenges?
Edkal was an integral part of building IT applications for sister concerns within the group (Sami Labs, Sabinsa & Sami Direct), since as early as 2005. As a part of the journey, Edkal ended up developing various applications such as ERP (EdEAP) for R&D, inventory management, procurement, finance, and multi-level marketing (EdMLM) applications.
Based on these platforms and expertise, we were able to create and deploy multiple service offerings such as cloud computing, enterprise business applications, process automation and analytics in pharmaceuticals, and life sciences, and even extending into the financial and manufacturing domains. Edkal also offers informatics, scientific solutions, and services to facilitate discovery, research, and development with manufacturing and distribution through its EdEAP & EdMLM platforms.
The initial challenge (at Edkal) was to put together a proper go-to-market strategy, as we were going through significant challenges due to changes in the technology landscape, and the type of skills (specifity) required, combined with a unique duration of possible engagements. In addition, we faced significant challenges in acquiring our first customer.
On a lighter note, how did your family react to your transition into the new role?
My family was very happy to see me transition into this new role of building an organization from scratch. However, they were worried that I will spend less time with them going forward (smiles). I know that I will have to put in some extra effort to ensure that I spend that required time with my family.
Was there ever a time when you felt so overwhelmed with work that you just wanted to stop? What made you keep going strong?
It did happen a few times, when things don’t work out quite as planned and a lot of issues cropped up at the same time. However, a motivated team which is always unified and works together, helped me overcome these issues. When an organization is very small, it is critical to have team members who think positively and focus on achieving the end goal. This is what our team does best. At times when the situation had become very difficult to manage, the positive attitude of my team has always allowed me to motivate myself and to keep the momentum alive.
Are there any specific influences who have inspired you in your career? What advice from them would you like to share with our readers?
I was heavily influenced by the book "18 principles of Leadership" by Colin Powell, and I truly believe that “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.”
I think this resonates with my own thought process, and I feel that we should always aspire to seek a balance between theoretical and real-life scenarios. We should always listen to our team members, customers and investors, and take corrective measures as indicated, even if it comes across as tough love.
What are the top 3 business takeaways that you have learned in your journey so far, which you did not know when you first started?
- We exist because of our investors and customers, and we should keep this in mind while taking any actions.
- Employees are our greatest assets. If we can take good care of them, they will take care of our organization.
- Most of the problems that present themselves at a client's location, can almost certainly be turned into an opportunity.
What advice would you give to your ten-year younger self, if given an opportunity?
Dear Satyajit Then,
Spend more time in planning and ensure a higher quality of work at every stage of services being rendered to customers. Avoid situations where we have no time to work, but a lot of time to rework.
Any advice to people who aspire to reach where you are today?
Always stay positive in everything that you do. It is always better to find a mentor who can guide and support you. In my case, Dr. Majeed is my guide.
Is there a product or service that doesn't exist today, but you wish it existed?
I would wish for a really large incubation center for technology companies in Bangalore. I have witnessed such centers in Israel, which allows them to nurture innovation the way it deserves to be nurtured. Something of that scale is still missing in Bangalore, and India.
How much of a role does consumer marketing/publicity play in your business segment?
In our business segment (IT servicers), it (consumer publicity) clearly bridges the gap between the solutions/services that we offer, and the needs of our clients.
Is there someone whom you wish to thank on a public platform?
I want to recognize and thank Dr. Muhammed Majeed for the trust and confidence he has invested in me by inviting me to lead Edkal and realize his vision.
Name ONE book that you would recommend today, without blinking.
Answer: 18 Principles of Leadership by Colin Powell
Give us an original quotation for your customers.
Answer: I exist because of my customers.
Do you operate with goals or systems? Pick one.
Cricket, or no Cricket?
Print, or Digital?
Okay, now what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear ‘The Times Blog’?
Answer: Deep insights!
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