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'IT and telecom infra will get one in the future'


Bibhu Ranjan Mishra  |  Bangalore 

A L Rao "" who joined business as a founder member in 1981 "" today doubles up as chief operating officer and chief technology officer of Wipro Ltd, while simultaneously heading the
Also a member of the Corporate Executive Council of Wipro, he tells Bibhu Ranjan Mishra how he plans to keep driving innovation at Wipro. Excerpts from an interview:
What have you done to drive innovation at Wipro?
Our identify emerging areas. We have about 250-300 people working in each centre. We have also initiated innovation projects which are driven centrally.
We follow a systematic investment process. We have set up an investment council and innovation evaluation committee. Once the ideas are submitted to the innovation evaluation committee, they evaluate them and the sanctioned projects are funded.
Most of the projects undertaken as part of 'innovation projects' are aimed at developing an intellectual property (IP) or a specific solution for an industry. Last year (year-ended March 2007), 7.5 per cent of our global IT revenues came from services and solutions built around IPs from the innovation-funded projects.
We also have the 'Quantum Innovation' programme. It envisions that if you have a little aspiration, it should lead to a quantum jump in its impact. However, it's not necessary that every idea needs to generate revenue.
Please give us some examples
We have launched a 'quantum innovation' project to increase the employability of campus graduates. If we are able to do this, the related impact will be felt in our operations by a reduction in the training duration.
We are working on identification of new areas of opportunities within the areas we operate. For instance, we have initiated a project in the area of infrastructure.
Today, our infrastructure services mainly cater to IT. We are evaluating the other infrastructure needs of our customers. No matter whether it is a hospital or retail house""along with the IT, there is something else too. They all work in a network. So we are now examining the devices that come on to the network and are working towards providing services around them.
So, you plan to integrate your IT infrastructure with non-IT infrastructure?
Currently, we do desktops and server maintenance and monitor the entire network. We also provide security administration as a managed service. The IT infrastructure business today contributes about 11 per cent to our global IT business.
However, today, the network primarily comprises computers. In the future, we will see a trend when the IT and telecom infrastructure get integrated. It surely won't stop there. A number of other intelligent devices will come in individual business units.
For instance, a number of medical devices will get on to the network tomorrow and hook on to the IT infrastructure.
When do you think these investments will start making money?
We are not an independent IP vendor, but build solutions around IPs. The revenue comes from solutions and services. This year, our target is for individual business units to come out with a quantum innovation idea, specific to their business.
Our target is that in two years beginning this financial year,10 per cent of our revenues should come from innovations.

First Published: Tue, July 31 2007. 00:00 IST