During a career spanning close to 25 years, Bimal Khandelwal has worked in key financial roles with companies such as Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices Limited, Birla Sun Life Insurance, Aircel, Reliance Communications and BILT. He joined ST Telemedia Global Data Centre India (STT GDC India) in 2017 and currently serves as chief financial officer. “Since we are in an expansion phase, most of my time gets deployed in identifying and finalising greenfield sites, and ensuring efficient capex and timely completion of projects. Another significant part of my responsibility is supporting the business functions and managing the growth phase,” he says. Over and above the core functional responsibilities, he also takes care of corporate social responsibility initiatives of the organisation and green energy use.
Khandelwal notes that the pandemic has accelerated technology adoption for companies. Research has testified to the fact that for countries such as India, technology adoption surged five years ahead in a matter of eight weeks during the initial phase of the pandemic. For the data centre industry, data generation during the pandemic has increased the demand for data storage. This, coupled with government initiatives around data localisation and state-level incentive programmes for data centre expansion, is benefiting the industry.
He further notes that with more data being transferred in real time, especially with the emergence of technologies such as 5G, AI and ML, a robust infrastructure is needed to handle the load. This makes data centres the bedrock of the telecom industry.
In India, the data centre co-location market is poised to grow exponentially and reach 1,000 MW in operational capacity by 2025. One of the key trends that will lead this expansion is sustainability and a superior focus on ESG. “At STT GDC India, we have already implemented a sustainable growth strategy and the existing sustainability initiatives will lead to an annual reduction of 456,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2025,” he says.
Khandelwal is a certified chartered accountant. He likes to lead a simple life, taking long walks, sharing home-cooked meals with his family, and listening to old Hindi music by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. A foodie, he loves traditional vegetarian specialities from all over India. His family includes his wife, a baker by profession, their two children, and his mother. His daughter works with Microsoft in the US and his son is pursuing a graduate programme in computer science from Melbourne University.