Bangalore: Wipro Ltd’s information technology (IT) business chief executive officer (CEO) T.K. Kurien believes the company has got its strategy and execution right, and it is only a matter of time before the effort and investment start showing in its financial results. Edited excerpts from an interview after its first-quarter results announcements on Tuesday:
Clearly, all is not well in the IT services world.
The secular bull run is over. The question now is, do you have the organizational agility to see beyond corners and then react? Getting hundreds of people’s minds behind a thought, an idea, and getting them aligned is tough. That is the biggest issue that all of us face. Listening to the customers, sensing what they want, and responding quickly, that is what will separate the men from the boys. In the past, it (IT outsourcing) was ‘produce and toss over the wall’. Now it is conceive, think, develop, design in target markets, and throw it over the wall for India to produce. It is a fundamental shift.
Wipro CEO T.K. Kurien. (File photo)
So in terms of execution, there is a talent gap in the front end?
Massive talent gap. The kind of people you want at the front are those who can connect the dots. Understand what the customer wants, and then also to connect back and get it delivered. It is also a different kind of customer. Earlier it was the CIO (chief information officer. Now, the business side says, do you know newer technologies, can you teach me, can you manage change in my organization? It is a different conversation.
And is delivery keeping up?
What has happened is that the world has moved from certainty in software to ‘how do I cut cycle time and get it right the first time out’. A big auto company in Germany was telling me, ‘You guys say your projects work 98% of the time. Can I say, 98% of the time our cars will have doors?’ And he is right. It is that 2% which makes the difference. The level of what people perceive as quality is going up, and the cycle time is coming down. The challenge for Indian IT, and it includes us, is we have to lead rather than be led.
So when will your investments, your strategy start reflecting in topline growth?
We are confident about our strategy and execution as we live and breathe it. My own sense is that we are seeing the early signs of success. The first big sign is pipeline. There are enough conversations going on, both proactive and reactive. The pipeline has substantially changed. By a factor of many. And that is a big thing. And we are rebalancing our portfolio, for the short, medium and long term. In the short (term), our top 10 customers are showing good growth. The second tier, expanded to 137 accounts, is growing. And for the long term, our 134 strong ‘hunter team’ is going after new logos.
Why is the organizational restructuring, besides other changes, not bearing fruit?
Give it time. This is a 20-year-old organization. You can’t change 20 years of culture in one year. But are they changing? They are, absolutely.
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