At 52, Suresh Vaswani, the new president of Dell Inc.’s $8.3 billion software services and outsourcing business, faces the toughest assignment in his over 25-year career, much of which was spent at his former employer Wipro Ltd.
Vaswani will be reporting directly to Michael Dell, the second founder chief he is working with after Wipro Ltd’s founder Azim Premji.
“They (Dell and Premji) are great people, icons to work with, you learn a lot from them, they also learn from you,” Vaswani said in a phone interview early Thursday.
Vaswani’s promotion to lead Dell’s biggest bet to transform its business globally is a reflection of how multinational firms are increasingly tapping into the pool of experienced Indian outsourcing leaders as they push for a bigger share of the market. Last year, Capgemini SA promoted its India chairman Salil Parekh to lead the European firm’s North American, UK and Asia-Pacific businesses as the chief executive.
“Indian service providers have created an impact on outsourcing models, but that’s happened and everybody does it now,” said Vaswani, who will be relocating with his family to Texas, US, in a few months.
At Dell, where Vaswani joined last year as chairman of its Indian operations and executive vice-president of Dell Services, is putting the lessons learnt from his previous assignment at Wipro in terms of doing more with less. But that’s not enough, he says.
“You can’t drive looking at the rear-view mirror. The world is changing fast and it’s no more only about outsourcing,” he said. “It’s not about scale but also looking beyond just managing customers’ past.”
Vaswani, who will turn 53 on 2 January, resigned as Wipro’s joint chief executive in January last year, after investors raised concerns about the company’s performance that lagged Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS).
An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Vaswani joined Wipro in 1985. After spending six years working in Wipro’s computer hardware business, Vaswani was made executive assistant to Premji.
Dell, the world’s third-largest maker of personal computers (PC), has been attempting to grow a proportion of its revenue from the lucrative software and outsourcing business, a market dominated by multinational rivals such as International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Accenture Plc, and Indian firms including TCS, Infosys Ltd and Wipro.
As Dell attempts to transform its business, it faces challenges in the computer segment that still accounts for nearly half of its total revenue. With top enterprise customers such as Wells Fargo and Co. shifting to newer computing devices including Apple Inc.’s iPad, time is running out for Dell to reduce dependency on its traditional PC business.
“We (at Dell) are building private clouds and are doing more standardized solutions, so as I look forward, it’s a very exciting future,” Vaswani said.