Wipro’s CEO-designate Abidali Neemuchwala seems to have set his priorities clear. Neemuchwala, who is looking to transform the organisation’s culture, told FE’s P P Thimmaya in an interview that he wants Wipro to become as nimble as a startup. He will officially take over as CEO from February 1. Excerpts:
What will be your key priorities as the new CEO of Wipro?
My priority is to stay the same in terms of customer centricity, building talent, financial metrics and execution of the strategy. These are the four major buckets. There are also others like account mining, customer satisfaction, creating IP, revenue, margins etc. The priority will also be to spot talent for leadership. We will also be retraining a lot of people in digital technologies.
How do you see the overall demand environment?
I do not see anything negative, except in some sector specific challenges. It is little early right now to talk about the IT budgets especially in the US. We will get clarity only by the end of January. We had a good third quarter with a few good wins. The demand environment remains the same as I do not think the overall spend will go up. This is the new normal.
How is the deal pipeline for Wipro?
The number of large deals in the market have come down. There is more demand creation rather than capture. What I mean by this is that rather than deals coming from big RFPa, there are lot of digital customers with whom we are intensively engaged and these are smaller in size. The nature of business and how enterprises are giving out the work is significantly changing.
What will be the growth drivers for Wipro in 2016?
In terms of geographies US will continue to be important. We have invested in Latin America which will add to the growth drivers that we have. In Europe there is a lot of cross currency challenges. India has been doing well while Middle East is soft because of oil prices. We are focused on Asia Pacific, Japan, where we will see some upside. We are focusing on South Africa, Canada too. From a vertical perspective, some volatility and uncertainty will continue in energy vertical. We will continue to focus to building our share in BFSI. The others like manufacturing, retail, communication are doing well. In the service lines we are investing heavily in building capability so that we are ready before the customers are.
Do you see any upside on margins?
In the third quarter we had headwinds and also lower utilization. We do not have those head winds going forward. There is always the aspect the growth and utilization which will help in improving the margins. Though the absolute cost of delivery has been coming down there has been pressure of pricing. We will be working in the narrow band on margins for now.
What kind of cultural changes are you planning to bring within Wipro?
The large part of what I will be doing is to transform the behavior of the company. This is to make it faster, ambitious, flexible, agile and nimble like startup. All this will be added on the top of the present culture of, internal transparency, customer and technology focused.
Will 2016 be a defining year for Indian IT industry?
Yes. This is an important year, mainly because the model is changing significantly both on demand & technology and also people movement & the supply side. With automation coming in, it does not matter where the people sit. All this is coming together and driving change. Today competition is also coming in from newer companies. The advantage we have is our corporate venture fund, where if we find a suitable entity, we can make an investment.