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BW Businessworld

The Nxt Of Everything

Among Mahindra Group’s specifically identified ‘core businesses’, Tech Mahindra’s focus continues to be on new-age technologies such as Cloud, 5G, AI, data and analytics and Blockchain, which the company’s MD & CEO, CP Gurnani, believes have enabled consistent and significant growth. Gurnani discusses this and more in this interview with BW Businessworld’s Group

Photo Credit :


Editorial Director Noor Fathima Warsia. Excerpts:

It has been growth across metrics for Tech Mahindra last year. While the technology sector per se is growing but what are some of the levers that you think especially worked in driving this growth?
Technology is the key that has unlocked the doors of opportunities, allowing us to soar higher and help people to experience the ‘Nxt of Everything’. We witnessed an all-round performance and growth across all our key markets and all the industry sectors. We delivered 4.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth with 58 new accounts, 60-plus new wins, and the highest Rs PAT in Q1, delivering excellence and overall growth, working from all vectors. I think overall the company is in good shape.

I believe, the growth Tech Mahindra has witnessed is the result of all our associates, clients and stakeholders working together. In a world that is moving so fast, if you continue to stand where you are, you are actually moving backwards. Hence, we have made it our mantra to deliver the future right now. Our continued focus on cutting-edge technologies even during the pandemic has enabled us to cater to the strong demand from clients and has ramped up acquisitions and deals as well. New-age technologies such as cloud, 5G, AI, data and analytics and blockchain have helped us to grow consistently and significantly and build new, improved capabilities in the customer experience and customer management space. We expect to further rise in the value chain of the BPO (business process outsourcing) services.

Please do elaborate more on some of the specific growth drivers for the company, some aspects that perhaps guide you in your acquisitions decisions or similar investments?
At Tech Mahindra, growth is a never-ending journey; we may face adversities on the path, but we overcome them and continue on the growth path, which leads to a sustainable future. Nurturing the technologies of the future, such as cloud competency, 5G and investing in blockchain has helped us to loop in large deals in healthcare and BPS sectors and allowed us important acquisitions. These, along with investments in the high-tech vertical have acted as the propellant of our growth story. While ensuring the wellness of employees and maintaining business continuity under all circumstances still continues to be our priority, we are now endeavouring to engage in collaborative disruption with new-age partners and ‘FutuRise’ together.

BPS, cloud and digital engineering are all driving growth. We expect double-digit growth from the cloud adoption business, while 5G and blockchain will bring new growth frontiers. The key focus will be on the following blockchain-led initiatives such as digital payments, government to citizen services, digital identities. Recently, we announced around six acquisitions in the cloud and digital space. That remains at the core of our business. Tech Mahindra formed a Cloud Advisory Board of 30 members divided across EMEA, America and the APAC regions. We have moved beyond trials on 5G; we are doing deals and continue to involve in conversations with the customers. The company will be investing in branding and marketing activities this fiscal.

With the efforts and investments that we have made, particularly in the last two to three quarters, in our client engagement programme, we have a greater potential to get a tailwind and we continue to build a pipeline across all our theatres. Whether it is APJI, EMEA or Americas, our funnel continues to evolve into a healthy trend.

Even though technology is disrupting every sector, is there any sector in particular that you think will continue to transform in the times to come?
The market is becoming flatter by the day, and we have to go back and understand what the market today is. For example, some sectors may be stuck for the smallest of components due to supply chain disruption. Market dependencies have become much more. If you were to ask me, verticals are overlapping and this only means that we have to focus more on digital transformation. Against this backdrop, our strategy is a digital strategy, our talent is digital talent and our differentiator is how we apply that into sectors. So, it does not matter which sector we speak to, we have to speak that specific sector’s language. When I look at our customer’s customers, every vertical is becoming digital, and the boundaries are reducing.

We are focusing on the high-tech verticals. We will now be formally reporting every quarter on this.  For us, it is hyper scalars, product engineering companies, and some of the unicorns. This vertical has now shown us the highest growth. Over the last five quarters, and this quarter particularly, it grew over 8 per cent. We have also seen good results in BPS. Business processes as a service and platforms is a new business unit. This will become one of our high investment areas. We are back on a strong growth track with a focus on profitability and operational improvement.

Our areas of the future are connectivity, digital experience enhanced by design and ESG. Connectivity is the area of strength, globally. For example, Tech Mahindra designed, built, tested and operated the world’s first 5G end-to-end cloud native platform for a Tier-1 carrier in Japan. Customer behaviour has changed fundamentally; physical space is being replaced by digital space, and this is where our focus on digital experience and design comes in. All our investments have been in 5G, cloud computing, data management through AI and more on human experience management.

Let’s speak more about what you define as human experience management. How do you look at this at Tech Mahindra?
There are three parts to human experience management as we see it. The first part is about the sentiment. When you looking at this, how do you ensure that emotion is equal to a relationship, which in turn is equal to trust. The second part is about technology as an enabler. All of us use technology to do the same thing and add value to what we are doing. We use technology, as its consumers, to continue and enhance our experiences. And the third part is what is called feedback. We may believe that we provide the best service or product in the world and we may be engaging the customer as well but if we don’t have the feedback loop, how do we build on that.
I believe we do a decent job of bringing all of these three together. This approach is more scientific now because the world around us has changed. It is no longer one method but several things that happen. In addition to this, there are also external stakeholders. These are all part of customer experience management. And we need technology to enable, measure and continuously improve it. This is why we took this a step forward and call it human experience management.

How much does being a part of Mahindra Group help in achieving some of this?

As a part of the eminent Mahindra Group, we are continuously innovating and challenging conventional thinking to enable customers to win through digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions. We deliver seamless and integrated experiences across digital, physical and convergent dimensions. With more than 126,200 employees across 90-plus countries, we are serving the needs of 1,058 global customers including several Fortune 500 companies.

As a company with a purpose, we have always endeavoured to build a connected world where all can enjoy connected experiences. In tandem with this view, we aspire to enrich the Indian tech ecosystem through collaborative efforts while striving to generate innovative and customer-centric digital experiences. Everything I read in science fiction is now a reality and today I feel proud to be at the helm of one of those organisations in the tech ecosystem, who have been creating this reality.

As you just said, much has changed and at a very fast pace no less. What keeps you going personally?
I salute the values and vision set by the founders of Mahindra 75 years ago. They were just about setting up the company but their values, a reflection of which can be seen in the company’s first ad in 1945, had an orientation towards people, society and business. Every time I look at that advertisement, I feel I am among the custodians of these values, who must nurture and pass this dream forward. This is what keeps me going. In many ways, this is what I call the spirit of Mahindras and Tech Mahindra.

At Tech Mahindra, we spend a lot of time trying to understand the organisational vision, the individual vision and how we fit into society to deliver these. No vision is complete without goals. Hence, what is the organisational mission, the individual mission and how does this anchor into society?

The third part of the same equation is organisational values and culture. Culture is the collective sigma of 13,000 people. When you convert strategy to culture or the other way round, you have defined the organisation and individual. This is why we go back to the 1945 ad. It has been refined over time but the basics have not changed. Our purpose is bigger than our service offerings or the technology because it answers the basic question of why we exist.