We want to mine customers deeper, says Wipro CEO

Balaji Narasimhan Bangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on July 20, 2011

Mr T.K. Kurien, CEO, Wipro, at a press conference in Bangalore on Wednesday.- Photo: - G.R.N. Somashekar   -  Business Line

“We have identified customers who we feel we should have as logos within Wipro. That is why we are rapidly expanding our client base.”

Though Wipro reported only a marginal increase in its net profit during the quarter, its CEO for IT Businesses, Mr T.K. Kurien, sees a lot of potential and wants to mine the company's customers deeper. In an interview with Business Line, he speaks about the importance of analytics and the strategy that Wipro uses for acquisitions.


You talk of offering services to fewer clients, but you are rapidly expanding your customer base. Please comment.

These are two different things. We want to mine our existing customers deeper; but in parallel, we want to get more real estate. We have identified customers who we feel we should have as logos within Wipro. That is why we are rapidly expanding our client base.

What will be the long-term impact of the H-1B visa case? Will the industry stop relying on them because of all the hassles involved?

I don't think this will ever happen. Architecture will happen onsite, while development will happen in factories in low-cost countries.

There will have to be mobility — maybe not in thousands, but at least in hundreds.

You talked of three engines of growth for Wipro, namely consumerisation of IT, variabilisation of IT and analytics for a constrained world. How long will these focus areas sustain Wipro?

Let me answer this question differently. By 2050, the estimate is that oil consumption will touch 100 million barrels per day from the current amount, which is hovering in the mid-80s. Over the next 30-40 years, oil fields in places like Saudi Arabia will dry up, while ones in Africa and Brazil will start producing.

Therefore, the people in places where oil is scarce will have to rely more and more on analytics to get every drop. That is why we are hiring more and more people who are different from the type of people who are traditionally hired in an IT services company.

For example, we now have anthropologists and statisticians working for Wipro. We even have a five-star hotel chef cooking food on micro-wave ovens that Wipro has worked on, so that we can test the quality of the food cooked. This is because usability is as important as technology. The man-machine interface is a critical component of the future.

One of the analysts we spoke to said that Wipro should possibly look at an acquisition in the BPO space. Is this something you are in agreement with?

I believe that you should do acquisitions in areas where the acquisition can take you to a better place than where you can get to organically. Otherwise, it is a bit like tying two donkeys together and then pretending that you have a horse. We should be shedding assets that we are not scaling.

Your restructuring is over, but there are always bound to be some loose ends. What are they?

There are no loose ends from a strategic perspective. Everything is in place. We have a portfolio and some of them perform well in certain quarters and others in other quarters. The question that we are interested in is with respect to our leaders; are they there for the short term or the long term? We want long-term leaders. The IT services industry is a marathon. In fact, to drive this image, we are having a marathon in the US during the end of this month.

Published on July 20, 2011
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