Akbar Kamal: An Technology Doyen Leading Technology & Digital Transformation For Businesses | CEOInsights Vendor
Akbar Kamal: An Technology Doyen Leading Technology & Digital Transformation For Businesses

Akbar Kamal: An Technology Doyen Leading Technology & Digital Transformation For Businesses

 Akbar Kamal,      CIO

Akbar Kamal


A successful business depends on delivering the appropriate information at just the right moment, and, especially when influenced by technology several trends have emerged in the industry in the last few years and artificial intelligence has disrupted business models and reshaped competitive landscapes, the roles of CIOs have extended to do more than simply manage IT. They are required to harness technology information to generate value for the organizations. Making this a priority is now a business imperative. As technology is what drives business today, companies must be technophiles, and CIOs the efficient guides.

Akbar Kamal, Chief Information Officer at ZIM Laboratories Limited (a leading innovative drug delivery solution provider) has dynamically emphasized this, implying it in his role is leading the company.

Akbar Kamal engages in an interactive session with the CEO Insights Magazine, let’s hear from him.

Throw some light on your professional background and experiences. What drives you today?
As a child, I was always fascinated by technology, which ultimately led me to pursue higher education in engineering from BITS Pilani and Texas A&M in the US. During my early career, I spent several years solving complex engineering challenges at organizations such as GE-BEL in India, Dell in the US, and Flextronics in Taiwan. As time went on, I became increasingly passionate about how IT could be utilized to enhance transparency and throughput in small and medium sized businesses, particularly those in India. Presently, I am thrilled to be spearheading digital transformation initiatives within the pharmaceutical and process manufacturing industries working with ZIM Laboratories. The combination of innovative IoT and IIoT solutions, along with cloud-based AI-driven analytics, is leading to a paradigm shift in optimizing resource allocation and improving efficiencies.

You possess about two decades of experience, how has your path to
success been? Also, mention your success mantra.
Achieving success is rarely an easy journey, in fact, it can often feel like a roller coaster ride. However, when you find yourself at rock bottom and yet still have the fortitude to persevere, you're on the path to success even if progress may at times be slow or seemingly out of reach.

Successful implementation doesn't always equate to successful utilization, so be wary of your approach

Define ZIM Laboratories as an organization and its current position in the market.
ZIM Laboratories is a research-driven pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and supplies differentiated generic products in oral solid dosage forms, both as pre-formulation intermediates as well as finished formulations for certain key therapeutic segments. We offer both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products, as ZIM has inhouse R&D capabilities to offer a range of non-infringing drug delivery solutions based on process technologies that bring patient compliance thereby reducing the cost of treatment. We are one of the few firms committed to developing new drug delivery systems.

Tell us about your leadership approach, and the guidelines or methodologies you follow to lead your team.
Today's teams, particularly those comprised of Gen-Y and Gen-Z members, often require a variety of approaches in order to remain motivated and engaged. There isn't necessarily a one size fits all formula for success in this regard. However, I firmly believe that it's essential to constantly remind team members of the broader goals and objectives, even in the face of immediate or short term challenges. Additionally, maintaining open lines of communication with each team member can go a long way toward fostering a positive and productive working environment.

Reflect on some of the major challenges you have encountered so far. How did you overcome them? Do mention the learnings.
As a CIO, the primary responsibility is driving technological change within an organization. However, implementing change often comes with significant challenges. As the saying goes, ‘Change and Challenge are two sides of the same coin’. Having worked with both global majors and industries in India, I've found that change management can
be a particularly daunting task.While some organizations have well structured, albeit time consuming, change management procedures, others lack them entirely, resulting in haphazard implementations and technology failures.

Additionally, the successful implementation doesn't always equate to successful utilization it's not uncommon for users to have been left out of the input process early on, leading to unnecessary complications. Lastly, aligning user requirements with technically and financially sound vendors can be challenging, especially when resources are limited.

Over the course of my career, I've learned the importance of clear communication and documentation throughout every stage of digital transformation projects from user requirements to impact evaluation within the organization. This has been a crucial lesson that has helped me successfully navigate the challenges that come with implementing change through technology.

What would you say are the top ingredients to the success of a CIO?
Achieving success at a C-level position often boils down to one key factor people, people, and people. It's essential to focus on hiring the right talent, retaining those individuals, and providing them with the space they need to grow, innovate, and yes, make mistakes. At the same time, it's important to recognize when it's time to let go of team members who are no longer a good fit.

Akbar Kamal, Chief Information Officer, ZIM Laboratories
With over 20 years of professional experience, Akbar is a seasoned leader in digital transformation, collaborating with medium to large-scale organizations to deliver innovative solutions that align IT strategies with business goals. His areas of expertise include business data analytics and implementing digital transformation projects related to ERP, CRM, QMS, DMS, HRMS, cloud adoption, IT security audit and validation, large-scale systems integration and CXO BI reporting. Before ZIM labs in India, he worked internationally with Hitachi in Japan, Dell in the US, Flextronics in Taiwan, and SMB’s in the UAE.

Hobbies: Gardening, Cycling & Hiking.
Favorite Cuisine: The Bohra Biryani
Favorite Book: Warren Buffet's The snowball effect, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish, Books by Osho etc.
Favorite Travel Destination: Goa & Dubai
Awards & Recognition:Trescon Big CIO Innovator Award received on 9 Mar 23

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