Wipro’s in a 2D transformation, and results take time: Abidali, CEO, Wipro


BENGALURUR: Amongst India’s top IT services companies, Wipro has seen the weakest growth rate now for many quarters. Abidali Neemuchwala, a TCS veteran who joined Wipro last year and became CEO this February 1, is attempting a turn around. The challenges are immense given that the IT business itself is fundamentally transforming moving to greater automation, to an as-a-service cloud model and to new digital technologies and new end devices such as mobile.
You sound optimistic but it’s not reflected in your revenue guidance. When will Wipro step out of the work-in-progress mode and catch up with peers?
The market is transforming -what customers were buying in the past is not what they are buying today, which means every company in the industry has to transform. It is also no secret that we have had Wipro-specific challenges in the past, whether it was our business mix, focus on certain verticals which have had headwinds, or the way in which we sell. When you are undertaking a two dimensional transformation, it takes time. One of the strengths of our organization is we take longer term views, so measuring any transformation on a quarter on quarter basis will create this level of impatience that you’re talking about. I have articulated a clear strategy as to what will happen in 2020 including six strategic themes.Margins declined 200 bps, revenues from top customers have decelerated. Where’s the bright spot?
We are investing in the strategy, so a slightly lower margin should be seen as a positive. And the strategy is not just a conversation, but real investment that has gone into it. Also, some clients we have are in industries that are de-growing, like oil & gas. Some large deals, when they close, customers are not renewing their spends. This is one full quarter I have been the CEO, and one quarter is not a trend.Excluding revenue from the energy & utilities vertical, your annual growth was higher than that of your peers in the last fiscal. Do you see energy as the primary cause of your low growth or are there other factors that are more internal?
I think it’s a combination of both. We were growing faster than the industry when energy was growing, so this is part of the business cycle. The good comes along with the bad. I would not pin down on one factor. While ENU (energy & utilities) is a major contributor to the headwinds, there are other factors where we made some strategic choices which are not relevant now. And the new ones take time to show results.You spoke about six growth engines including digital, client mining and non-linearity. How are these playing out?
We have put internal markers for each of the growth engines. Digital will be the key growth engine. We have had a good deal flow, and the size of the digital deals have become bigger. We have differentiated capabilities amongst our peers we are the only company that brings design along with technology and we have added consulting and advisory to it. In non-linearity, we have seen a number of pilots with Holmes (the artificial intelligence platform) but getting large projects will take some time. In hyper-automation, it’s more a cost efficiency play than a revenue growth play. This quarter we released 1,100 people from projects and replaced them with bots.

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