Wipro undertook a company-wide transformation in 2020. If you measure the success of the transformation through the growth and margin lens, it appears to have failed to deliver.
I don’t see any underperformance. I think everyone was clear a few years ago about the need to transform this organization. And that’s what we did. And transformation is deep and radical and requires significant leadership mobilization. I think I’m proud of where we are. We are focusing on our priorities and what is needed for the company is to come back stronger when the market improves.
You spoke about a deep internal transformation. What worked in Wipro’s favor?
One: focus on the most important markets. For years, America was the only market where we saw growth. In recent years, Europe has changed dramatically in size. And we are seen as an important player in Europe. In terms of the growth strategy, we said that we would focus not only on the key markets, but also on large accounts, rather than on many small accounts. Large accounts – over $100 million – have doubled from 11 to 22 in the last two years. The types of deals we do with our clients are dramatically different from what we used to do. We are more visible, more strategic and more impactful. We have made more acquisitions and advised companies like Capco and Rizing, and this will transform us in the long term. Consulting companies are hit harder during growth slowdowns. And we continue to work on our business model to reduce the number of layers and inject more technology and automation. You probably don’t realize how much we are transforming as we focus on performance every quarter.
Wipro’s revenue has fallen for three quarters in a row. Will this be a year of contraction for Wipro?
It will not be a year of enormous growth, that much is certain. I don’t think it’s a growth market. I see it as a moment of adjustment after two to three years of huge investments from many of our customers. It will resume because technology is crucial for every sector.
Most Indian IT companies quote big figures on total contract value (TCV). But it is not reflected in sales growth…
All these larger deals are turning into revenue. Sometimes it takes more time. What has decreased is the volume of discretionary expenditure. The smaller deals – one-month, three-month, six-month deals – have been the bread and butter for our business in the past. This type of income has been dramatically reduced in the industry today.
You’ve closed two $500 million deals. What have you done to increase Wipro’s strength in big deals?
It clearly wasn’t the focus before. If you don’t focus on big deals, you’re unlikely to win big deals. We started creating teams, we are developing relationships with advisors, with market analysts and people close to the market. We have also brought in many new account managers who are having a different kind of discussion with customers, more strategic, forward-looking and thinking about where customers’ priorities lie and looking at how we can shape them. We have strengthened our teams of commercial managers and pricing experts and deployed them in every region. It’s a muscle we created that we didn’t have.
S Is there resistance to internal change? Many old leaders have resigned in quick succession.
I believe that when you drive a transformation of that magnitude, it is disruptive. It will make some people consider something else, and that’s okay. I think the organization is much stronger than any individual. My mission is to rebuild Wipro for the next 3, 5 and ten years. Deliver quarter after quarter, but never at the expense of a deep transformation that will make the organization stronger in the long term.
Are you hiring on campuses this year?
I don’t think we’ll go to campuses. We’ll wait and see how it turns out. We have become more flexible to adapt the staff volume to the evolution of the market. The market has slowed and we have consumed the bank. Last year we invested more than ever in first-year students and new employees. We are cautious about hiring due to the current market environment. I think you’ll see this continue until discretionary spending picks up again.