I recently had a great discussion with TK Kurien, the CEO of Wipro Technologies, at the company’s campus in Bangalore, India. During the discussion, TK shared his thoughts on Wipro’s future. He sees the following as critical to success:
Addressing segment leadership challenges. There are limits to labor arbitrage, automation overriding cost advantages, and the increasing complexity of client requirements. Wipro knows that it has to move beyond showcasing technology capabilities to focus on addressing the challenges that CMOs, CHROs, and other business leaders face today. The first step in this direction is to ensure that the company’s messaging gets aligned to the different ports of call (CMO, CFO, CHRO, etc.) and how this helps to address the challenges for customers.
Developing a culture of performance. TK aims to develop a culture of performance based on improved employee efficiency and productivity. Within a few days of our discussion, the company announced that it is planning to undertake its biggest-ever restructuring exercise to become learner and make the organization look more like an hourglass than a pyramid. The company will take 12 to 18 months to complete this mammoth restructuring effort.
I recently had a meeting with executives from Tech Mahindra, an Indian-based IT services company, which was refreshing for the both the candor with which they discussed the overall mechanics of a support and integration model with significant components located half a world away, as well as their insights on the realities and limitations of automation, one of the hottest topics in IT operations today.
On the subject of the mechanics and process behind their global integration process, the eye opener for me was the depth of internal process behind the engagements. The common (possibly only common in my mind since I have had less exposure to these companies than some of my peers) mindset of “develop the specs, send them off and receive code back” is no longer even remotely possible. To perform a successful complex integration project takes a reliable set of processes that can link the efforts of the approximately 20 – 40% of the staff on-site with the client with the supporting teams back in India. Plus a massive investment in project management, development frameworks, and collaboration tools, a hallmark of all of the successful Indian service providers.
From a the client I&O group perspective, the relationship between the outsourcer and internal groups becomes much more than an arms-length process, but rather a tightly integrated team in which the main visible differentiator is who pays their salary rather than any strict team, task or function boundary. For the integrator, this is a strong positive, since it makes it difficult for the client to disengage, and gives the teams early knowledge of changes and new project opportunities. From the client side there are drawbacks and benefits – disengagement is difficult, but knowledge transfer is tightly integrated and efficient.