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‘In every disruptive change there is an opportunity’: Anant Gupta, CEO, HCL Technologies

Zafar Anjum | Dec. 12, 2014
“You have to cannibalize to survive in the future,” says Anant Gupta in this freewheeling interview with CIO Asia online Editor, Zafar Anjum. “If you don’t cannibalize your own business, someone else will. In every disruptive change there is an opportunity. It is a question of watching it and cannibalizing it.”

In his role of President of HCL Tech's Infrastructure Services Division, he led the company's brilliant foray into global markets through its pioneering Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) Services. He led the Division to become a US$1 billion business for the company growing its contribution to HCL Tech's revenues from 10.2 percent in 2005 to almost 30 percent today (the figures are according to the company website).

I met Gupta in late July when he was presenting his company's financial results. The mood was upbeat in the company's headquarters in Noida, in India's New Delhi Capital Region. The company had posted robust growth in the quarterly and annual revenues. The company had posted 14 percent YoY growth in net income and revenues had crossed the US$5 billion mark.

"I think it has been a satisfying year," he told me during an interview after announcing the results in July. "The year in perspective has been good for us. I think we had three significant milestones in the year: first is net income growth; second is, we booked significant amount of business (the beauty is that it is well-balanced across service lines, geographies, etc), and third is that our revenues also crossed US$5 billion dollars. Those (milestones) would be the financial parameters."

Strategy in Asia

When I asked him about the company's performance in Asia Pacific, he said, "From the APAC point of view, the numbers might not be as high as it should be from an overall perspective but from what we want it to be, it is OK".

"We have a very selective strategy in Asia-Asia, Middle East and Africa, all put together. In that market, where we want to play is fairly defined. We are not going all over. It is a huge geography and by no means culturally similar," he added.

Gupta is realistic about the challenges of being a player in such a huge market. "We can't just have a few leaders who will just go and create magic-that's not going to happen," he said. "We have a very targeted strategy-Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, and a very select strategy in Middle East. We are not going after everything.  I think in that area we are doing well."

According to the latest HCL Tech figures, APAC contributes about 12.7 percent to the revenues of HCL Technologies.

"In terms of growth, it has been pretty good. Last quarter it was 15 percent. This is significant after this region suffers from a currency impact-because you have so many currencies in play that your growth gets eroded," he said.

In terms of verticals, financial services have been a growth area for HCL Technologies in the APAC region. "It is one area of growth that continues to drive our growth," he said. "We also see a significant drive in the stock exchanges. Third is the mining and minerals segment that is driving growth for us."


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