Digvijay Sharma, Senior Director, Global Carrier Sales, Ciena India

An experienced telecom professional, Digvijay Sharma started his career with Airtel and later moved to Nortel and Tellabs. He finally joined Ciena in 2011. Currently, he is senior director, global carrier sales, Ciena India, and is responsible for various territories including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, besides India. Before moving into sales, Sharma had worked in engineering and operations. But he clearly enjoys this role. “I like the challenge of addressing customers’ needs and offering them the most appropriate solutions,” he says. Network automation is crucial for 5G to meet SLA requirements, bring down operational costs and enhance efficiency, he notes.

Sharma notes that there has been a massive growth in data consumption over the past year with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the use of online platforms for both personal and professional needs. To meet these dynamic new requirements, the network infrastructure needs to adapt and evolve rapidly. Moreover, with the government recently issuing 5G spectrum for trials, the indications are that a spectrum auction will be held soon. “Service providers have already started investing in preparing their networks for 5G-enabled use cases,” he says.

Sharma’s most memorable assignment was the project he and his team undertook about a decade ago to assist a telco in building a solution that is efficient from both a capex and an opex perspective while being scalable, yet simple to operate. “We came up with the idea of a photonic control plane, and it had seemed technically very ambitious back then to the customer. The telco wanted to be cautious as this network would be carrying high priority data. So we started with a small network and were able to convince the telco that our technology would meet its requirements,” he says.

In terms of management style, Sharma says he likes to give his team a lot of autonomy – brief them on priorities and then give them room to find solutions and execute a plan.

Sharma counts his perseverance, technology expertise, problem-solving skills and his natural ability to build relationships as his key strengths, all of which come in handy in his current role. “Growing up, I moved around the country a lot since my father was in a government job. This helped me build a better understanding of people from different backgrounds,” he explains.

Sharma is an electronics engineer by training. He lives in Gurugram with his wife and their two children. He is passionate about building projects at home and spends a lot of his leisure time doing so. “It could be a DIY project or an art and craft project with my kids – this helps me learn how to think more creatively,” he says.