Tell us briefly about your journey with Cognizant?
I joined Cognizant in early 1998 from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), when Cognizant’s revenue was under $50 million and it just had about 1,000 employees. Cognizant then was preparing to take the company public on the Nasdaq. I initially took on the responsibility of building a dedicated corporate marketing and communications function as well as supporting the chief financial officer with investor relations. The rapid growth of Cognizant presented each one of us with abundant opportunities to spearhead newer initiatives.
The first new opportunity that came my way was to build out the company’s interactive business (then called Content and Design Services).
Likewise, when knowledge management became a competitive advantage, I was appointed Chief Knowledge Officer to evangelize a culture of knowledge sharing within the company and build a knowledge management platform. I then went on to incubate and handle several other portfolios including Market Research and Intelligence, Public Affairs and Purpose. Two years ago, I was elevated as executive director to provide strategic direction to all of Cognizant’s business-enabling functions in India.
What are your immediate priorities as the new head of India operations?
I have three key priorities. The first is to build a management committee and an operating committee in India to further strengthen our operations across 13 cities, drive greater diversity and inclusion, and extend our corporate citizenship efforts. The second is to strengthen all corporate functions in India to enable the most admired delivery engine in the world, blending efficiency and innovation, while driving high levels of client satisfaction. And given the digital disruptions happening across industries, the third priority is to sustain our position as an employer of choice in campuses and the lateral market, and extend our recruiting engine beyond engineering and management to data science, artificial intelligence (AI), information security, internet of things (IoT), and human sciences.
What are the key trends in the market? How does the demand environment look?
With digital technologies impacting every industry, clients are eager to become the disrupters and not the disrupted. Given this situation, clients are looking to re-imagine their business, operating and technology models.
Given our ahead-of-the-curve investments in digital, Cognizant is well positioned to capitalize on this substantial market opportunity driven by AI, IoT, Augmented Reality, Digital Engineering, and Blockchain, among others.
For example, Digital Engineering is a large, attractive market, with growth rates of more than 20%. Our 2018 acquisition of Softvision cemented our position as an industry leader in Digital Engineering.
As part of our Digital Engineering business today, which generates revenues of approximately $800 million, nearly 12,500 professionals are delivering a powerful combination of software product development and application modernization services to clients across the globe.
Give us a sense of the nature of deals and sizes. Which markets are you focusing on?
As investments are shifting to digital, client engagements are becoming more project oriented, which means more contracts with lower total contract value. To win in this new model, Cognizant account teams are building relationships with the broader C-suite, as budget owners, decision-makers and influencers extend beyond the CIO. Likewise, we are building more consultative selling skills, more digital talent, more intellectual property and thought leadership aligned by industry vertical.
In the last 18 months alone, we have reskilled and upskilled more than 140,000 of our employees.
On geographies, while we will continue to focus on and invest in North America, we have also been increasing our focus on growth markets including the UK, Continental Europe, APAC, Australia, Japan, the Middle East and India. Today, markets outside North America are contributing approximately $4 billion in revenue and continue to grow faster than North America.