With over two decades in the industry, seasoned leader Harmandeep Singh has been spearheading IT transformation for leading Healthcare Institutions, enabling them to offer improved services and better patient experience by creating successful infrastructures and implementing new technologies with the support of technology partners like CtrlS Datacenters.
What have been some of the highlights of your journey in the IT Industry?
My career in the IT Industry started as a Desktop Support Engineer for a Desktop Support and Services company working for the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar. Then in 2002 with Technical Call Centers coming up, I shifted my base to Delhi and joined a company called vCustomer catering to US Customers as Tech Support. Initially I was into printer support for HP Printers before moving to Linksys which was the SOHO division of Cisco. After working for a mere 10-15 days, I was promoted as a Team leader managing a team of 16 people and being solely responsible for handling their technical queries, mentoring and motivating them as well as handling escalations that they were not able to resolve. After three years at vCustomer, I moved to Orange Business Services, a doable network service provider catering to the airlines industry. Orange Business Services was the commercial division of France Telecom with all the airlines running on the Orange’s Network. They had three support centers across the globe in India, Cairo and Rio. I worked as a Team Lead in Network Services and Support taking care of the backbone network of Orange all across the world right from undersea cables and network connectivity to last line of each and every customer Orange had in almost 220 countries. It was there that I jumped into the big boat in terms of my experience leapfrogging from SOHO to ISP level networking. It was a critical learning curve moving from a LAN network to Ultra WAN where we were taking care of the connectivity pipeline across the continents.
“CtrlS has helped us in understanding the basic infrastructure requirements of Healthcare IT enabling us to proactively plan ahead rather than just wait for things to happen.”
Group Head IT
Rainbow Children’s Hospitals
After working with Orange for a good three years, I got the opportunity of working in a Hospital called Medanta Medicity in Gurgaon who were looking for an Infrastructure Head to manage their mammoth infrastructure for a 1250 bedded facility in the heart of the city. At Medanta, I was the person responsible for designing, procurement, and implementation of the complete IT Infrastructure and also designing their Datacenter, network connectivity, storage requirements and IT Helpdesk Support. Setting up the infrastructure from scratch at Medanta was one of the biggest projects I have ever undertaken which took around two years to come up and be operational. After that I was pushed to the Application side where I was asked to lead projects related to different applications in the hospital, thus getting my first experience implementing any application. From Infrastructure my role shifted to setting up the complete IT in the new facility at the same time aligning it with the processes and procedures of Medanta.
From Medanta, I joined Rainbow Group of Hospitals, where I work in the CIO role leading a team of about 25 people handling 10 units. Being the lead decision maker for the Rainbow Hospitals’ technology landscape, my job is to decide what is the scope of any technology, what all technologies can be adopted to improve patient healthcare and better customer experience, and at the same time looking at how we can use the current technology deployments in order to reduce downtime in between parts of the business.
Tell us about your technology partnership with CtrlS Datacenter?
My technology partnership with CtrlS started 4 years back. At the time, Rainbow was expanding and we wanted to set up our own datacenter. CtrlS came into the picture and helped us in understanding the requirements of setting up a datacenter and key elements like Security, Uptime and SLA. After discussion that with the Management, it was decided that instead of building our own infrastructure, we will be co-locating with CtrlS, wherein CtrlS will provide the DC facility as well as DR, an area where they had a good expertise. The key deciding factors were CtrlS’ knowledge and experience managing their own Datacenters, easy availability of the required infrastructure for an organization like Rainbow and a readymade setup of Datacenter Managers to manage our infrastructure, leveraged on a pay as you go model. This meant we didn’t need to spend money on setting up the complete datacenter.
Over the period of time, this relationship with CtrlS has grown. When we had started this relationship, we had presence in Hyderabad and Vijaywada and after that we have setup facilities in Bengaluru, Delhi and now Chennai as well. In this journey, CtrlS has helped in understanding the basic infrastructure requirements on the server side of IT enabling us to proactively plan ahead rather than just wait for things to happen. We have also started working with CtrlS on security and data compliance aspect over the last year wherein they have helped us understand the criticalities of cyberattacks and identifying gaps and vulnerabilities in our infrastructure. With their support we have been able to adopt and implement certain solutions which have helped us in mitigating such attacks.
What is your expectation from CtrlS Datacenters as a technology partner for your future IT projects?
The first and foremost expectation is availability of the infrastructure, which is something we can depend on them for. We are also moving to Cloud infrastructure where with Cloud4C, they can come into the picture. Secondly, CtrlS have the access to the knowledge and the skill set to help us understand the new technologies and how we can implement them and leverage them to meet business goals.
What are your thoughts on the criticality of Data Security and Regulatory compliance in the Indian Healthcare Industry?
In India, there are a number of regulations governing the clinical side of healthcare like JCI, NABL and NABH but the healthcare industry is very much deregulated from the information technology standpoint. There need to be certain guidelines and standards which any healthcare provider like us has to follow like in western countries like US. Certain protocols and tools do exist, but that are not done to the core but only on a superficial level. Going forward, hospitals and healthcare providers should form a consortium and come up with certain guidelines and then ultimately form a regulator which can regulate both clinical as well as the information and technology part of the industry. We are the custodians of healthcare data of patients and need to ensure that we have the proper ways, means, procedures and technology in place to ensure that the data is secure and available forever.