Indian IT no longer playing catch-up: Rajesh Gopinathan

Times of change are opportunities for IT firms, but fall in IT spending and economic slump act as headwinds, chiefs of big tech cos open up

BCCL
Tata Consultancy Services chief executive Rajesh Gopinathan
MUMBAI: Indian technology companies have become originators of innovation over the past decade and are no longer playing catch-up as in the past, Tata Consultancy Services chief executive Rajesh Gopinathan said. “The big shift is that we had always been playing catch-up … not anymore,” Gopinathan said during a panel discussion with Wipro chairman Rishad Premji and Infosys CEO Salil Parekh at a Nasscom event on Wednesday.

Indian IT firms have over the past few years invested in building capabilities in new digital areas and developing platforms, helping their clients transform their business.

“The starting (point of) discussion from our client CEOs is, ‘Will you help us transform the company?’,” Parekh said.


Premji said since most global companies now have huge resources deployed in India, the concept of Indian technology companies versus global technology companies had changed dramatically and now all companies were considered largely multinational due to their presence in several geographies.

“I would not pile Indian companies and global companies separately because we have all taken a similar calibration,” he said.

Among headwinds for the IT industry, Gopinathan of TCS alluded to the changing landscape for services for customers in the BFSI and retail sectors. Both sectors have been changing the way they allocate funds for technology, with a considerable slowdown in spending in the past year, analysts said.
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The TCS CEO, however, added that “times of change are opportunities for IT (industry)”.

On a question on the trend of activist investors holding companies accountable in developed economies, Parekh of Infosys said it was inefficiency in a business that could be brought to attention by activist investors or others, but if the leadership or management was “constantly paranoid” and improved performance, then they would not face issues.

Premji said the high promoter ownership in Wipro allowed the company to be protected against such challenges, but added that it was conscious of any concerns. Gopinathan said an “activist chairman” (N Chandrasekaran) kept such concerns at bay at TCS.

Premji said the ability to use data smartly would be a key opportunity to tackle, while Parekh said the general slowdown in macroeconomic scenario was the only main concern.
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