Cognizant, the US-headquartered IT services major, finished 2014 on a strong note — it crossed $10 billion in revenues and gave a guidance of 19% growth for 2015. The company, which has the majority of its over 2 lakh employees based out of India, will keep making investments to ensure high growth, said R Chandrasekaran, executive vice-chairman, Cognizant India, in an interview with PP Thimmaya. Excerpts
How do you view your performance in 2014?
We had some setbacks in early 2014 with client-specific issues, but they are behind us. We won several large deals during last year. The investments that we are making in terms of helping customers with their business transformation are actually creating demand for our services. Overall, we remain optimistic on growth opportunities. That’s why have given a healthy guidance for 2015.
What are the factors contributing to your growth momentum?
There are many. One, our ability to understand the customer’s pressure points. In the last couple of years, we have been talking about customers’ dual challenge— helping them increase operational efficiency at a time when they are looking at differentiating themselves. They are looking at business transformation by leveraging digital technologies.
We have been making a lot of investments in offering services around SMAC technologies for the last several years. We have taken a lead in the marketplace. These types of capabilities, built over a period of time, are helping us get mindshare as well as marketshare. We have a strong positioning in the market and many of the deals we won last year are going to generate revenue in 2015. The pipeline is also healthy.
Is Cognizant setting a new benchmark for Indian IT?
We remain committed to the business in terms of getting newer capabilities, which are going to differentiate us. That will keep us in good stead. Our goal is to be a high-growth company and we remain focused on that. We will continue to invest in the business to maintain the trend.
How are the US and Europe, your biggest markets, looking?
From a macro point of view, demand is good in the US. IT budgets are either flattish, or have a slightly upward bias. There are encouraging signs as far as demand for our services is concerned. However, Europe is weak compared to the US given its economic scenario. Europe is a long-term bet even in a weak environment.
The customers are looking for efficiency and there is pressure on their business to do something different. We feel our services will come in very handy for our European customers. Even in this environment, growth for us in Europe (in terms of reported currency) was 0.6%. In constant currency it grew almost 5%. We remain optimistic on the long-term prospects.