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New Delhi: Debashis Chatterjee, the current CEO and managing director of IT firm Mindtree joined in August 2019 with the company in significant turmoil. L&T had just completed a hostile takeover, resulting in a loss of leadership. Over the next several months, Chatterjee stabilised the business and now, the focus is back on revenue acceleration, he told Mint during an interview. Edited excerpts:

Where do you see Mindtree in the next five years?

I don’t look at a five-year strategy — it is too long these days. If you can think of the next three years, it is good enough. From a next three years perspective, I wanted to build on the strengths of Mindtree, bring in focus and excel in areas where we are good.

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Mid-tier IT firms have found it tough to differentiate. How do you plan to differentiate?

In the old Mindtree, we sold services such as testing or application maintenance. Now, we have tried to club our capabilities in four service lines. We have ‘customer success’ (the interactive, digital marketing etc.); ‘data and intelligence’; ‘cloud’ and ‘enterprise IT’. The company is now participating in a client’s digital transformation journey end-to-end. In customer success, you are not selling to the traditional chief information officer (CIO). You are selling to the chief marketing officer. In data and intelligence, you are selling to the chief digital officer; cloud and enterprise IT is sold to the CIO organization. You can always cross-sell capabilities. The solutions we can do at the intersection of these four service lines—that is what will differentiate ourselves.

Is it a classic large-tier organisation thinking being replicated at Mindtree?

This is the right way to do it. I don’t know if any of the other mid-tier organisations have thought about it in terms of a service line strategy. Your strategy should be robust, your solutions should be robust, the way to deliver should be robust.

Are you comfortable with nearly 30% of the revenues coming from one customer — Microsoft?

Mindtree is a Microsoft shop—we help each other. I don’t look at it as a problem but as an asset that we have, from which we can leverage much more. But the plan is very clear. The 30% you see in an aberration because revenues from the travel vertical disappeared. If my strategy works well, that 30% must start coming down because most of the other accounts would grow given the focus.

Apart from Microsoft, Mindtree has very few large deals…

There are two aspects of large deals. One is the revenue and the second is the continuity with the client. The second aspect is very critical. There are quite a few deals where we converted one-year contracts to multi-year contracts. Right now, we are getting into relationships that are for four-five years.

Why are you incubating a healthcare vertical?

Recovery in the travel vertical will take a bit of time. However, healthcare is getting disrupted with technology. Many of our tech clients are getting into health-tech or in areas adjacent to health-tech. We will be happy to incubate some of those capabilities as we go on. It is a huge market.

From a longer-term perspective, does it make sense for L&T to have three IT companies within the same group?

Analysts are asking the wrong question to me. But the reality is that many other conglomerates have run IT companies independently. There is nothing on the cards right now. Everyone has their own strategy and as long as they can execute and demonstrate profitable growth, nothing is lost. But what happens in the long run, I don’t know.

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