They lead three of the largest IT companies in the country—with a combined market cap of around ₹12 lakh crore. It is rare to find the three of them together. But to have Wipro chairman Rishad Premji, TCS managing director and CEO Rajesh Gopinathan, and Infosys MD and CEO Salil Parekh sitting next to each other on the dais is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity. This is what happened at the Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum 2020 this year.
They often compete for business from global clients, and may not agree on everything. “But we are friends,” Premji said. And one thing the ‘friends’ agreed on: The sector had changed completely.
“Over the last couple of decades, we were always in catch-up mode. The start of the technology wave was typically much earlier before we got up to it but the last few years if you take the elements of what we call the digital transformation and even more so when we are coming at automation, we are the originators of this change,” Gopinathan said, something Parekh “absolutely” agreed with.
“I think we are at a stage where globally technology has become so relevant and the critical mass that collectively India has … all of the companies here have … is just driving this change. So we are absolutely at the forefront of the change and the good news is there is so much new that is going on in what people are calling digital transformation and that is driving all of the change that we are putting in place,” Parekh said, citing the cloud ecosystem as a case in point.
Premji said it was time one broke the idea of Indian companies versus global companies. “The reality is some of the global companies today have more people in India than some of ours have here. So the concept is not about whether you are global or Indian, the reality is we are all multi-national companies. Indian companies began with Indian heritage, so they can have more Indian talent compared to global companies. I think that philosophy has completely changed,” he said.
He said that Wipro was doing “productisation” of services. “Collectively, if you were to think about Indian companies, we have not yet mastered the art of productising and exploiting it. But that is just a capability and that will come through,” Gopinathan said, adding that it would happen within a decade. “In fact all of us here, we have had phenomenal success in productising the automation side capabilities, all of us have had very good success productising on the domain side. In fact, the top three banking and financial services software all over the world belong to one of the three of us. So we are not just talking about local products, we are talking about global dominance in specific niches.”
Parekh was even more upbeat. “Here we are the tech centre of the world—there is no technology which is developed which we within India don’t have a leading view on. So if you just put those two things together we have a one-way ticket to growth,” he said.
Gopinathan said that if the Indian economy touched the $5-trillion mark, the IT industry would be worth $1.5 trillion. India has built up an enviable talent pool and is on the cusp of a transformation led by technology, which will be akin to that driven by industrialisation in Europe, he added.