Building a digital legacy: Sanjay Chowdhry, CIO, Hamdard Laboratories (India)

Sanjay Chowdhry stands as a key architect, steering the technological evolution at Hamdard Laboratories (India) as their CIO

Supriya Rai
New Update
Sanjay Chowdhry

In the realm of digital transformation, Sanjay Chowdhry stands as a key architect, steering the technological evolution at Hamdard Laboratories (India) as their Chief Information Officer (CIO). With a wealth of experience exceeding 28 years, Chowdhry has played a pivotal role in building a digital legacy for the organization. His expertise spans diverse areas, including project management, ERP functional consultancy, business process re-engineering, and IT operations within the manufacturing industry. As the driving force behind Hamdard Laboratories India's technological initiatives, Chowdhry's leadership has been instrumental in navigating the complexities of digital integration and shaping the organization's path towards a technologically advanced future.


DQ: A brief introduction on your journey, and transition in Hamdard

Sanjay Chowdhry: I have been associated with Hamdard Laboratories (India) for the past 8 years, and it has been challenging in every aspect. From ensuring the lights stay on to spearheading the digitization of various processes, one of the most significant changes and transitions at Hamdard has taken place. Alongside the foundational ERP, there was a necessity to embrace the latest technologies in the market.

During my tenure, we implemented Sales Force Automation (SFA) and HR Mobile tools, ventured into online marketplaces, introduced Business Analysis through analytics tools, and, last but not least, established a ticket-raising tool to support internal and external customer queries. These technological advancements have transformed the perception of Hamdard, a company with a history of over 100 years, from a traditional to a digitally savvy organization, particularly in the eyes of the younger generation.


DQ: As a technology leader in a large organisation, we are sure you face challenges on a daily basis. What is your approach to overcome these challenges? Are there any use cases that you would like to share?

Sanjay Chowdhry: Any change will lead to challenges, as the saying goes, "Change is the only constant." Whether the change is small or big, it always poses challenges in terms of adoption by the employees. Change management is the best way to overcome this. Adoption of any new tool becomes easier with multiple training sessions covering each and every concept. Hands-on practice by employees is of utmost importance to overcome resistance to change.

DQ: The IT world is changing every single day. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in technology, and how do you ensure that your team is also keeping up with these developments?


Sanjay Chowdhry: It is an important aspect of a technological leader's professional journey to keep up with the latest technological trends. There are various ways to achieve this, such as reading IT magazines and articles on social media platforms and various media house websites. In today's world, the best way is to stay engaged and network with your technological friends by attending various IT events, seminars, and social get-togethers, in addition to one-on-one discussions.

We have a weekly IT team knowledge-sharing session where everyone in their domain showcases or presents new products, trends, and technological tools in the market.

DQ: How do you foster innovation within your organization, and what processes or strategies do you use to encourage your team to come up with new ideas?


Sanjay Chowdhry: As mentioned earlier, we conduct knowledge-sharing sessions among IT members, which not only facilitates cross-domain knowledge gain but also aids in resolving some of the existing teething issues. Due to the demands of daily routine jobs, team members often work in silos. The best way to overcome this is through bonding with each other, in addition to sharing new ideas. It has been observed that sometimes, issues related to IT infrastructure are resolved by the Application team after discussions in these sessions. Hence, cross-functional knowledge-sharing sessions prove to be highly beneficial.

Regarding the organization, feedback is received regularly from all departments and locations. This feedback serves as a driving force toward innovation or the adoption of new practices, contributing to making IT more flexible, robust, and scalable.

DQ: Would you like to talk about a project or initiative that you are particularly proud of, and what impact it had on your organization?


Sanjay Chowdhry: There have been many big and small projects implemented in the current organization, but one that is very close to my heart is the Ticket Raising Tool for internal as well as external customers.

Our organization has more than 500 stockists, and they use retail software for secondary sales. They typically call IT personnel for day-to-day issue resolution, which became problematic as the designated person was unable to address or even answer all calls, leading to dissatisfaction among customers. Some issues even reached the highest escalation, tarnishing the organization's overall image.

To address this, it was decided to implement an issue tracking web portal accessible to stockists from anywhere at any time. They could submit complaints through mobile devices, and a ticket number would be automatically provided with a resolution time period, eliminating the need for extensive phone calls and ensuring no complaint was missed. This project was completed in-house, covering design, requirement specifications, and desired outputs.


DQ: What do you see as the biggest opportunities and threats facing the technology industry in the next few years, and how is your organization preparing for them?

Sanjay Chowdhry: In my view, AI and RPA represent the biggest opportunities in the technology industry, which need to be harnessed properly; otherwise, they may have adverse effects.

Before adopting either of these technologies, one should thoroughly examine their applicability in your industry and assess use cases, considering both benefits and drawbacks.


Cybersecurity continues to be the most significant threat in the industry, similar to a virus like COVID, where no one remains untouched and has to endure the pain of security breaches. Although it cannot be permanently eliminated, measures should be taken to control it as much as possible. The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle is the mantra that needs to be employed, checking your network health using various vulnerability assessment tools available in the market.

DQ: How do you balance the need for innovation and experimentation with the need for stability and reliability in your technology solutions?

Sanjay Chowdhry: In any technological solution, stability and reliability are the topmost parameters that define its quality and adoption rate in the organization. If innovations and experimentation are deteriorating the quality, stability, and reliability of the solution, then it signifies that the break-even point has been reached and further enhancement should be halted. This is the time when the focus should be on delivering the best to users without compromising quality and reliability.

DQ: What qualities do you believe are essential for a successful technology leader, and how do you cultivate those qualities in yourself and your team?

Sanjay Chowdhry: In my view, soft skills, as mentioned below, are more crucial than technical skills for a successful technology leader. Technical skills can help you reach a certain level, but after a point, they become less relevant, and how one manages things becomes the focal point.

(Good listening and learning skills, remaining a lifelong student, always being ready to learn new things.)

The Human Resource department plays a vital role in imparting soft skills to the employees of any organization. As a leader, one has to continually coach team members in terms of their professional development and sometimes even in their personal lives.

DQ: What advice do you have for aspiring technology leaders who want to follow in your footsteps?

Sanjay Chowdhry: Life is unpredictable, so always remain humble, whether the tide is in your favor or against.

DQ: Finally, how do you see technology evolving in days to come, and what role do you see yourself and your organization playing in that evolution?

Sanjay Chowdhry: Technology is evolving in both good and bad ways, moving in both negative and positive directions. As a leader, it is our prime responsibility to choose what is best for the organization, promoting growth for both the leader and the organization professionally. When an organization chooses any product or brand, it is essentially endorsing them, implying that they can be used safely by other organizations. Products, solutions, or brands should be chosen wisely, as one poorly implemented product endorsement can have a cascading effect in society.