December 1, 2023 9:34 AM

Wipro: My mission is to rebuild Wipro for next 5-10 years: CEO

BENGALURU: Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte spoke to TOI after the September quarter earnings announcement. Excerpts

Wipro undertook a company-wide transformation in 2020. If you measure the success of the transformation through the growth and margin lens, it does not seem to have paid off. Wipro is still underperforming its peers?

I’m not seeing an underperformance. I think everybody was clear some years ago about the need to transform this organisation. And that’s what we’ve done. And transformation is deep and radical and requires a lot of mobilisation from the leadership. I think I’m proud of where we are. We are focusing on our priorities and what’s required for the firm is to bounce back stronger when the market improves.

You spoke about a deep internal transformation. What worked in Wipro’s favour?

One, focus on key markets. For years, the only market where we were seeing growth was America. Over the last few years, Europe has dramatically changed in scale. And we are seen as a key player in Europe. In terms of growth strategy, we’ve said that we would focus not only on key markets but on large accounts as opposed to many small accounts. Large accounts – over $100 million – have doubled from 11 to 22 in the last two years. The type of deals we are closing with our clients is dramatically different from what we used to do. We are being more visible, strategic, and more impactful. We’ve made more acquisitions, consulting businesses like Capco and Rizing, and this will transform us in the long-term. Consulting businesses are more impacted during slowdowns. And we are continuing to work on our operating model to reduce the number of layers, inject more technology and automation. You probably do not realise the magnitude of how much we’re transforming while focusing on performance every quarter.

Wipro’s revenue has declined for three quarters in a row. Is this going to be a year of degrowth for Wipro?

It will not be a year of massive growth, that’s for sure. I think it’s not a growth market. I see it as a moment of readjustment after 2-3 years of massive investments from a lot of our clients. It will resume as tech is key to every industry.

Most Indian IT firms call out large total contract value (TCV) numbers. But it’s not reflecting in revenue growth…

All these larger deals get converted into revenue. Sometimes it takes more time. What has reduced is the volume of discretionary spending. The smaller deals — one month, three months, six months type of deals — were the bread and butter for our business in the past. This type of revenue has dramatically reduced in the industry today.

You called out two $500 million deals. What did you do to build Wipro’s strength in large deals?

It was clearly not the focus earlier. When you’re not focusing on large deals, it’s unlikely that you win large deals. We’ve started to create teams, we are developing relations with advisors, with market analysts and people who are close to the market. We’ve also brought in a lot of new account executives who have a different kind of discussion with clients, more strategic, forward looking and reflecting on where clients’ priorities are and see how we can shape these. We’ve reinforced our teams who are commercial managers, pricing experts, and we’ve deployed them in every geography. It is a muscle that we have created that we didn’t have.

s there resistance to change internally? Many long time leaders have quit in quick succession.

I believe that when you’re driving a transformation of that size, it’s disruptive. It will push some people to consider something else, and that’s okay. I think the organisation 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 organisation stronger for the long-term.

Will you hire from campuses this year?

I don’t think we will go to campuses. We’ll wait and watch how it pans out. We’ve gained agility to adjust the volume of hiring to the evolution of the market. The market has slowed down and we’ve been consuming the bench. We invested in freshers last year and in next gen associates more than ever before. We’re being careful about hiring because of the current market environment. I think you will see that continuing until discretionary spending bounces back.

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