Ticking, For Sure

DQI Bureau
New Update

Not many know that Sanjay, who hails from Darjeeling in West

Bengal, has already trekked places in Eastern Himalayas like the Nathu La pass

among others. "You can call me a wanderer as I love trekking and, if given

an option, I would love to pack my bags and just wander off now and then to

unknown places," he says.


After completing his initial education at one of the Christian

missionary schools there, he went on to pursue his BSc from Government College

in 1986 and like most of the other youngsters hailing from business families,

joined his family business of transportation.

"Even though I had joined my family business, yet I yearned

to something different and I felt that my growth was getting stagnated in

Darjeeling." It was then that he joined a CA programme for engineers from

the Institute of Engineers in 1988 and after its completion took up his first

job at the Bureau of Data Processing in Bangalore where he worked for three


Sanjay Kumar Singh,

IT head at Timex Watches

Is that all? No...Sanjay is a total techno geek. He reveals that

since childhood he was fascinated by gadgets. "My room looked like a

workshop where I could try anything new." He admits that he loves to try on

any new gadget that comes in the market. "Yet...the bottom line remains

that the gadget should have its usefulness", he says. He is such a thorough

IT professional that he swears by his laptop, blackberry and his music system.

Innovative Mind at Work

"Since 1998, the time I joined Timex, I have constantly made an effort
to introduce new things. But, one which clearly stood out was the phase when we

were doing the transition to an open source Linux platform," he proudly

claims. Once the transition was successfully done from using proprietary

software to open source platform, it led to reduction in the company's

infrastructure procurement management costs by as much as about 50%. The

experiment was also a sort of a test for other Timex offices, which thereafter

successfully moved to the Linux platform once India had shown way.


Commenting on how far IT has moved on since the time, the Timex

CIO said that the role of a CIO too has also undergone a massive shift from its

earlier avtars. "From being just a caretaker of data center and networks,

the CIO has to be now carried along with business. Whereas a CIO was just a

utility guy earlier whose sole work was to provide IT related services, his

inputs now determine how well the business is conducted," he asserts.

Citing an example of how technology has made changes in the

manner, business is conducted, Sanjay says that Timex Watches India, a fully

owned subsidiary of privately owned company headquartered in USA, is in the

process of opening new retail stores across India which would facilitate

collection of sample data of consumer choice and other preferences. "But

simply getting and storing of this data would not suffice, we needed to arrange

for the data flow." One of the options available to Sanjay and his team was

to procure this data from the distributors but there was always the possibility

of it being fudged. "What we required therefore was backward integration so

that we could pick up the feed from the store itself and for this we required a

digital line."

For this to achieve, the erstwhile ignored IT guys were taken

into the loop when it came to making crucial decisions about the location of

retail stores as it became imperative to find out whether connectivity could be

made or not. "From being on the sidelines to center stage, we most

certainly have come a long way, and now we are consulted on location decisions

as it has become imperative for us to connect and integrate all these new

locations where we are opening new stores and manufacturing units thus

reinforcing the belief that IT has now become an imperative part of any

business," he adds.


Not a Meetings Guy

While most would agree that meetings are a waste of time, none would admit
it openly. Sanjay though stands out from the rest and admits gladly that

"meetings are most certainly a big waste of time and effort mainly because

there have been instances when I have had to sit through meetings where my

presence even though was required for a short duration." Meetings according

to him result in cropping up of new problems and issues.

Fast Facts


Do things that you want to

do, but not at the cost of others

Previous Assignments:

  • Initially worked with

    Bureau of Data Processing, Bangalore for three years

  • Joined IB Saxena, small

    time software firm engaged in coding for embedded systems

  • Joined Timex in 1998 and

    has continued till date


Can't live without laptop, blackberry and music system

Trekking, reading,

listening to all kinds of music and traveling

Personal Space:

it with his homemaker wife and two kids "who are the best in the


Future Plans:
Leaving behind the

corporate life and heading a startup in the telecom space


Political Management is another area of concern for Sanjay who

feels that for a "techie guy like me, political management is something

which I am not comfortable with and I am sure that many would agree with

it." For instance, if the e-mail of any senior executive is not working

then instead of calling for IT support, he would rather call for the CIO which

in turn puts a spanner in the work flow of the CIO.

Team Man

'Takes a licking and keeps on ticking'! No wonder he reflects the
durability meaning of Timex Watches' first tagline. According to Sanjay, Timex

India is a flat organization with no rigid hierarchy system in place for

day-to-day activities and perhaps that is one of the several reasons which have

made Sanjay stick with the organization even after 8 years of service, something

completely unheard of in the present scenario where job hopping is the norm of

the day. As the company encourages, free and informal work environment, like any

other organization, there have been instances when team coordination becomes

difficult in the wake of an individual restricting knowledge sharing.


It is to solve this problem that the company has a repository

kind of thing for storing new ideas and ways and means of solving problems. The

team members are encouraged to share their new ideas and if the person has

contributed to this repository it is taken into consideration at the time of


Revealing his success mantra when it comes to handling his team,

Sanjay says, "I allow them full freedom and also make them stakeholders in

every activity and at the same time give them opportunities to learn."

The team man that he is, on being asked about opposition from

peers about any new implementation, Sanjay reluctantly admits of skepticism, yet

diplomatically replied, "the best possible way out is undergoing dry runs,

presenting proof-of-concepts but since Timex is a very IT-friendly company, it

has made life much easier for us."


Likes Doing...

Unlike most of his other techno geek counterparts, Sanjay is a bookworm and
therefore feels that he "can never be bored or lonely." Science

fiction is what interests him the most, but he "can read anything that

comes his way from magazines to newspapers to any fiction book as well."

Whereas a

CIO was just a utility guy earlier whose sole work was to provide IT

related services, his inputs now determine how well the business is


A music aficionado, Sanjay swears by his music system and is

fond of hearing a wide range of music right from regional folk songs to heavy

metal, but a complete no-no for him are the Hindi songs.

And, what is his formula for distressing after a long day at

work? Pat comes the answer; "My kids who mean the world to me and even

though I know that those two are brats, I still feel they are the best in the


Future Plans...

Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Sanjay already has big plans up his
sleeve. "In another 10 years time, I see myself heading or at least being a

part of any big startup, preferably, in the telecom sector in the converged

networks and VOIP space," says Sanjay-triumphant-in IT profession. The

first step to his dream has already been achieved with the completion of the

initial phase of testing software.

Stuti Das