In a recent interview Wipro joint CEOs, Girish Paranjape and Suresh Vaswan, talked about how the customer exceptions are changing.
Is the nature of demand from global customers changing?
They are talking a lot more about business transformation projects. Earlier, global customers would look at the likes of IBM and Accenture for the big transformation projects, and considered Indian IT companies for some offshoring. Today, IBM, Accenture, Wipro, TCS, Infosys are on par as far as options are concerned. We have to provide everything — consulting, business advisory services, IT and BPO. With one big customer, we had a five-hour discussion, of which only about half an hour was spent with the CIO. They wanted us to look at every aspect of their business to increase efficiencies.
How are you adapting to this environment?
The new environment requires that we have more specialised talent, greater expertise in different domains, and become more efficient. Clients are not saying, give me 10,000 people more; they are saying, what more can you do. They are looking at newer technologies like cloud computing, which requires understanding of these technologies.
Earlier, the big focus was on how many people will we hire. Revenue growth and headcount growth were completely correlated. We are breaking that correlation, which we call our non-linear initiative. We started this two years ago. In the year ended March 2010, we think about 8% of our revenue was non-linear. We call it nonlinear when the revenue growth is at least 15% higher than the corresponding headcount growth. We think that 8% can double in the next 12 to 18 months. We are using a lot of training, tools, technology, frameworks, etc to drive non-linearity.
How is this impacting employee profile?
Having lots of people just writing codes is not good enough. We need people with different specialisations. One initiative we have is to give technical inputs to employees and try and elevate them to a new level each year. Under this initiative, called Unified Competency Framework, every person has to take a test and only if he qualifies is he eligible for a promotion, irrespective of his experience. We have been implementing this rigorously over the last one year.
Earlier, it was always ‘how soon can I get promoted’, ‘I should be a manager by the age of 28’. We are changing that mindset. Initially, there were concerns. We had to do a lot of cajoling and pushing. When we took stock of it last quarter, 90% of the people had passed the exams. So it was just about getting used to the idea.
It will be interesting to see how this translates to small and mid size offshore companies that have largely depended in coders for revenue growth.