On Wednesday, Cognizant stunned the IT industry by cutting its revenue growth guidance for the year to 14% against the earlier projection of 16.5%. The IT services major has, however, made it clear that client-specific issues had led to this situation, and it was not a reflection on the sector. Expressing disappointment over the lowered guidance, R Chandrasekaran, executive vice-chairman, Cognizant India, told PP Thimmaya that the outlook remains positive given the healthy deal pipeline. Excerpts
How do you view your second quarter results?
We are quite pleased with our performance as revenues grew 3.9% sequentially to $2.52 billion, exactly in the middle of the guidance range. Second, we hit the $10-billion revenue run rate milestone, the fastest for any IT services company. Last, we added 8,800 people this quarter, a healthy indicator of our business. Overall, we are very pleased.
Is the outlook positive despite the lower revenue guidance?
We reduced our full-year revenue growth guidance to at least 14% mainly because we saw general weakness in certain client situations and where demand wasn't what we originally anticipated. Also, some of the large transformational deals took far more time for closure than anticipated and some of the ramp-ups have been pushed to subsequent quarters. Having said that, we have been awarded three large contracts, totalling $3.5 billion, which shows the opportunity that is ahead of us.
Our pipeline remains very strong and the investments that we have been making in our businesses in terms of broad-basing our capabilities, building technology and domain specialisation is helping us win many end-to-end contracts.
Could Cognizant have anticipated these client-specific
We have guided for at least 14% growth. We feel disappointed to have reduced the growth guidance, but it is healthy by any standard. Today, our base is also increasing as we are talking about a $10-billion revenue run rate, so growth percentage will naturally come down unlike in the past when we were smaller in size.
How is your deal pipeline?
Our pipeline is very healthy. More and more customers are feeling comfortable in giving large end-to-end deals, which is a combination of many services. For example, in case of the $2.7-billion deal with Health Net, which is already our customer, it expanded into much larger scope. In many other large deals, some of it are completely new while, in case of others, the scope has expanded.
Continental Europe posted modest growth for Cognizant while there was a sequential