493: A CFO for All Seasons | Vijay Kumar, CFO, Sify Technologies

Listen to the Episode Below (00:33:36)

At times, it must seem to Vijay Kumar that his 12-year tenure as a CFO has been spent not at one company but three. This must be a sense that most C-suite members at Sify Technologies likely experience in light of the company’s appetite for continuous reinvention.

Back in 2007, when Kumar arrived at the information and communications technology company, Sify was widely known as a consumer business–and one perhaps without the will or resources to attract business customers. As CFO, Kumar was part of a management team tasked with changing that perception both inside and outside of Sify’s existing world. More specifically, Kumar and his finance team were responsible for calculating and tracking the necessary capital expenditures that could provide the new business-to-business infrastructure that business customers would demand. Of course, no sooner was the infrastructure in place then Sify decided to super-size its business services menu, making it a bona fide provider of technology services. Looking forward, Kumar says that Sify’s latest innovation involves not so much its customer offerings but how customers buy its offerings by using outcome-based pricing. This is an approach that Kumar believes will empower Sify to open a new chapter of growth.

“I have one primary agenda for the next 12 months: to ensure that the organization has enough support available across all of the functions to enable scale. I want to ensure that every part of the organization is in a position to enable scale and monetize market opportunities,” explains Kumar.

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Company: Sify Technologies (NASDAQ) SIFY

Headquarters: Chennai, India

Connect: www.sify.com

CFOTL: When you consider your long tenure as CFO at Sify, do you think of it as different chapters? How do you view it, given the span of time?

Kumar: You actually put it very nicely, and probably one of the reasons why I’ve been able to motivate myself at work for so long is because within these 12 years, we have experienced three chapters. Each of them is quite distinct.

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The first five years were a period when we had to wind down our consumer business and build the enterprise business, largely an infrastructure-related business.

The second chapter of the business–this was a time when we had just turned profitable–was to build services on top of the infrastructure. That was a period of another five years. That’s chapter two: when we started building services on top of the infrastructure.

The third chapter, which we are now going through, is the chapter where we offer what we call converged ICT services. That’s a very unique positioning of Sify. As some of the thought leaders in the industry believe, the entire IT services market is moving toward what we call outcome-based pricing models. We are building our skill sets around how we offer services on outcome-based models. It’s a very complex one, but we are building capabilities. We have a few success cases as of now, but over time, we would like to be a company for which almost all revenues come from an outcome-based pricing model.