After the management rejig in January 2011, Wipro’s information technology business has completed four financial quarters under the leadership of T K Kurien. He talks to Bibhu Ranjan Mishra & Pradeesh Chandran, on the company’s performance in the March quarter and the way forward. Edited excerpts:
You have completed 12 months as CEO. How do you see the journey?
For me, the glass is still half-filled and there are plenty of opportunities for us to grow. In the last 12 months, we have taken care of our basics. In the second phase, the big step for us is to drive differentiation. I believe we have not yet reached the second stage. The foundation has been laid and now we have got the basics right. Now, we have to figure out to differentiate ourselves.
Which are the key areas where you can become a differential player?
Broadly speaking, if you look at the trends, it is related to three major things — cloud, mobility and analytics (big data). Our endeavour is to be a strong player in all these segments. For example we did around 40 cloud projects last quarter. Our analytics business alone grew almost 33 per cent last year. We are among the top four companies in the analytics space across the globe today and we want to be in the top two players.
You have given a muted guidance (expectation), despite meeting the upper end of your guidance in Q4. Why?
There are two main reasons. The primary one is the India business, nine per cent of our revenue. Last year, our India business was not strong in order wins. The second reason is the slowing in the telecom and government segments, quite important for us. However, we will see performance coming back in the second quarter.
Most Indian IT services companies have not done well in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) segment? What is really holding back the BFSI segment?
The BFSI market is a mixed bag for us. The investment banking side continues to be a cause of worry. Besides, we do not have a significant presence in the insurance segment. However, in the retail banking space we continue to see opportunities. The BFSI business grew in Q3 (December quarter), but in Q4 (March quarter), it declined marginally by 0.8 per cent. If you look at our top 10 clients, our biggest customer is in the BFSI segment and that account has declined 7.8 per cent sequentially. But when you look at the full year, BFSI has grown 24 per cent.
What about the wage rise? One of your larger competitions has decided to delay it.
We are giving a wage hike with effect from June 1, roughly expected to be six to eight per cent. We owe to our employees and need to reward for the work they have done. That is very fundamental to our beliefs. If as a management we can’t do that, we shouldn’t be here. We need to build this culture in hard times. You never build culture in easy times.
The macroeconomic environment remains challenging. How do you read the trends?
Though there are concerns in biggest markets like the US and Europe, there are always opportunities at the end of the day. It all depends on how you react to those opportunities. It would be our endeavour to see what we can do in being able to go out and make an impact.
Your consulting business did not do well last quarter.
It declined but I wouldn’t read too much into it. We have moved a lot of consulting works to offshore, which is why our profitability has gone up significantly in consulting.
Your strategy for the coming quarters?
We need to be more aggressive in the market place in terms of winning better deals. We will try eating into others’ shares, not only the Indian players but also the global companies.