How have you evolved as an SI in India over the years?
Achuthan Nair : Twenty years ago, India had only two companies covering the whole market – Wipro and HCL. Today, you will see that IBM has grown as number one player, while Wipro is at the number 2 position. We are always in the top-two circuit over the years. If you look at the last two or three years’ data, you will find that revenue difference between Wipro and IBM in services has reduced drastically. Our year-on-year growth has been 20 percent for services. If we continue with the same pace, and if IBM doesn’t boost its growth rate, then it is just a matter of time before we overtake them from the revenue perspective. We are bullish that we will be able to maintain our growth pace and will gain more market share. We are confident that, within the next few quarters, we will leave IBM behind.
What are the challenges that you’re expecting while trying to be the number one player in the market?
Achuthan Nair : Definitely there are challenges. For instance, most of the private sector customers, with large complex transformational deals, eventually shortlist Wipro along with IBM. The challenge for us is that IBM has decent market coverage and we will have to fight with them in many places. So, if we want to beat the competition, we will have to win more deals than they do and that’s not a very easy job.
Secondly, customer’s decision making has to be fast. For example in the last quarter we did not win even a single large deal. Third key challenge is to retain and nurture the talent in the company. India is now a lucrative market for everybody. While our ability to attract the best of talent and retain them has gone up, we still have to put in a lot of effort.
What are your focus areas in India, in terms of technologies and market segments?
Achuthan Nair : Our focus is essentially on the enterprise segment. However, we may target the SMB sector also in the days to come. We have started business around Cloud Computing by building more datacenters and will be looking at offering these services to SMB customers. But the SMB segment is a new market for us with no big story to tell yet. We are already present in tier-2 cities but that is only for a few of our businesses namely PC selling and maintenance. Tier 3 will be a prospective market in the future.
Wipro has partnerships and alliances with vendors including Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.com, among others. How challenging is it to represent competing vendors in the market?
Achuthan Nair : Partnerships are a key factor of our success in India. but we position ourselves as a systems integrator and hence our approach to the customers is technologically neutral. We will integrate what is best for the customer. Most of the customers like this approach, because if they go to IBM for messaging, for instance, they will only get a Lotus solution. But if they come to Wipro, they have more choices including Lotus along with Microsoft or Google or even some open source solutions. They can make the right choice based on their requirements. We are one of the largest partners for almost all our principals in India and they are happy working with us, even though we have competing offerings
What are you doing differently from your competitors, considering that the Tier-1 systems integrators in the country are really aggressive currently?
Achuthan Nair : We have our own approach to deal with competition. The nature of the IT industry is such that you compete with somebody in morning and you collaborate with them in the after noon. Infosys, which is a very strong competition for us internationally, is our partner in India. while we compete directly with HCL in the government sector, they don’t compete with us in markets such as enterprise and telecom sectors.
What would drive the next phase of growth for you in India?
Achuthan Nair : We need to generate more revenue in the area in which we are really strong. At the same time, we will also have to renew our focus towards growing markets, especially the SMB segment. The enterprise segment is in fact moving towards saturation. The drive need for automation will also drive our growth in the future.
But the SMB space is very competitive too, with a huge number of existing players.
Achuthan Nair : Yes, I completely agree with you. It’s going to be a tough task for us as we have only been working with enterprise-class customers so far. But we are planning to form a different team for the SMB market. We already have about 30 customers for our public cloud offerings that include Dealer Management Systems along with some SAP and Microsoft offerings. Though there will be other players as well, we are hoping to have the first mover advantage in this market.
Is being an Indian origin company helping you to get the mindshare?
Achuthan Nair : Being an Indian MNC has its own advantages as we are aware of the best practices and technologies that are implemented in other matured markets like the United States. We are able to bring back the best learnings to India.
How do you see the next few quarters in terms of business? When will you see yourself as number one?
Achuthan Nair : The future seems to be quite bright as purchase decisions are happening. However, it is difficult to project numbers
We will be able to maintain our growth pace and within the next few quarters, we will leave IBM behind.