The upbeat mood at Wipro, India’s third-largest IT services exporter, is hard to miss after it posted healthy growth for two consecutive quarters in FY14 and issued strong revenue guidance for the next three months. In an interview with PP Thimmaya and Debojyoti Ghosh, Wipro CEO TK Kurien says the company has enhanced its execution ability over time and now plans to move more of its top talent to the markets they serve so that they face customers directly and keep the momentum going. Excerpts:
What do you think of the overall macro environment?
It is fairly positive. Discretionary spending in industries like hi-tech is coming back. Typically, what we see is that once the US starts picking up, two quarters later the UK picks up and then continental Europe follows suit. This year, we are in a better position than last year, when there was softness in demand. That isn’t the case today.
Are you confident of maintaining the current growth momentum?
Yes, more or less. In one quarter, we may see a particular service doing better and I cannot predict quarter-to- quarter change but, in terms of secular growth on a full-year basis, the momentum is there.
As CEO of Wipro’s IT business, what has been your experience over the last three years?
I think a lot has been done within the enterprise in terms of bringing in speed and agility, but there is a long way to go. It really boils down to getting people who are competent — that is the challenge and it’s a work in progress.
One must realise we are a big organisation where meritocracy has traditionally been based on how many years one has served in the company and not necessarily on the impact they would have on the customer.
The appraisal process has been changed to bring those to the fore who have made an impact. We started the process of identifying such people last year and, today, we have a fair idea of who they are. These are people who, over the long term, will move into positions of responsibilities and in front of markets — they cannot be in India.
All my business units’ heads have moved and are sitting in the market. Most of our vertical heads, client-engagement managers, delivery heads and key account managers are in the market. It has been a big change and people understand the customer better. Now, the next big thing