Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, John Rockefeller, Bill Gates and Azim Premji. What does it take to reach this level?
I don’t know the formula. From my own personal experience, I'd say it is
hard work, listening to your instincts, trusting the people around you and seeking help, taking risk, being unyielding on
integrity, and, of course, luck
There is just one Indian in the list of 30 all-time great entrepreneurs. What do Indian entrepreneurs lack in achieving this status?
Everything is right with Indian entrepreneurs. There could have been five or
six or seven more in the list. We are amazingly entrepreneurial, be it the small businesses or big. In fact, it’s a tribute to Indian entrepreneurship that despite many decades of very difficult regulatory and licensing hurdles, Indian entrepreneurship was alive and
kicking, and it has just flourished and grown over the past 15-20 years as the shackles were removed.
Indian IT sector is fast losing its cost advantage. Would skills alone be able to sustain it in the future specially when other countries are becoming competitive and also offering a cost advantage?
We must always be very, very watchful of competition. But I don’t think that the India advantage is just about cost and
skills. It's about creating higher value for customers. We do higher quality work and more
innovative work. The way we manage our Global Delivery Models is not easy to replicate. Also, we see emerging countries not just as competition but as markets and as a talent pool.
But the final reality in business is that every advantage is only a fleeting
advantage, and you have to constantly build new advantages and reinvent yourself.
A lot of big companies are looking to move away from established IT hubs like Bangalore and Hyderabad to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Wipro itself has gone to places like Chindwara in MP to train students. Do these cities offer the same kind of talent as the bigger cities? What would the next phase of Indian IT revolution be like?
We have found good people everywhere. It is inevitable that industry will spread across the
country, and that is very good. With our excellent telecom connectivity, we can do world-class work from anywhere in the country. The work ethic in smaller cities is often stronger; the urge to be successful, the desire to prove themselves often
burns more intensely in people from small cities. But we need to improve education at every
level--school and college--this is very critical, across the country-- in big and small cities and in rural India. And we must improve physical
infrastructure--roads, airports, civic amenities, again in big and small cities,
and in rural India.
There is a new trend of "reverse offshoring" where Indian companies are hiring Americans for their operations. Wipro, like other big IT companies like TCS and Infosys, is also learnt to be hiring Americans rather than sending its Indian employees to the US and other locations. How big is this and could this ultimately help in easing the US political issue of Americans losing jobs because of Indian offshoring activities?
We are a global company and a global industry. We indeed hire local nationals--not just in the US, but in nations across the world. It just makes overall business
sense from a point of view of knowledge of local market and customer needs, niche skills and availability of talent. This is not some overwhelming trend
though--it's a small percentage of our overall hiring. It will indeed become
larger, but will still remain a smaller fraction. Political issues are political
issues--very complex and difficult to deal with. But I think, overall, the economies that have used global sourcing of services and products have become more competitive, and eventually that is what helps.
Would Wipro go for an inorganic growth path in the future specially when a lot of acquisitions are being talked about?
Wipro has acquired 10 companies in the past 2 years. We have acquired the companies for specific niche skills and technology expertise. We do not acquire companies for revenue aggregation. Our acquisitions have been strategic and we will continue on the same path.