Back in the early 2000s, the use of videoconferencing to conduct job interviews remained rather rare in most parts of the world—and India was no different.
What made Manish Dugar’s interview experience still rarer was the fact that he had participated in 18 different video calls over a period of 3 months for a single job opportunity.
Says Dugar: “Over that span of interviews, I became almost as knowledgeable about IT services as any professional in that sector.”Read More
Nonetheless, Dugar recalls, he had some reservations about Wipro Technologies, a tech services company based in Bangalore, India, that had recently begun to distinguish itself in a number of areas—including its thorough vetting of job candidates.
“It did not seem so exciting for me to leave a big name company in the north of India and relocate to the south to become part of an industry that was not as well known,” explains Dugar, who at the time was working for Coca-Cola India in Delhi.
What’s more, the Bangalore of 20 or more years ago was far different from the dynamic technology hub that it is known as today.
“Those who are familiar with India know that the south is much more cosmopolitan today and people can move around freely—but back in those days, the north was the north and the south was the south,” observes Dugar, who ultimately joined Wipro and quickly advanced upward into a series of financial management roles in which he observed firsthand the financial and operational levers required to scale the business to accommodate explosive growth.
“From 2001 to 2008, $150 million in revenue grew to become $8 billion,” reports Dugar, who—after several promotions within the company—was named CFO of Wipro Technologies roughly 7 years after his arrival.
Reflecting back on some of his early reservations about joining Wipro, Dugar says that he turned to his father, who had thus far seemed reluctant to possibly influence his son’s decision.
Remembers Dugar: “He told me, ‘If the company has done so many interviews, the position must be very important to them. It’s one thing to work for a company that has a big brand, but it’s another to work for a company that really values you.’” –Jack Sweeney
CFO Manish Dugar’s Action Steps for CFOs
- Get people, process and technology sorted.
- Prioritize what adds maximum value to enterprise.
- Convert risk into opportunities.
- Work out alternatives instead of saying “no.”
- Achieve balance between “outside in” and “inside out”
CFOTL: Tell us about Mphasis. What sets this company apart from its competitors?
Dugar: Mphasis is what has traditionally been called an IT services company, but I would say that we are today a disrupter in this space. There are quite a few things that we are doing differently, which is why we have probably been able to do much better than the whole industry, so to speak. Those familiar with the IT services industry over the past 20 years know that it has been built on the fundamental labor arbitrage of good-quality, less expensive resources in India who can work faster, cheaper, and with better quality. This is where the whole IT services model began. Then it went beyond just a labor arbitrage to better quality—so much so that you were able to get not just less expensive, but even better-quality engineers in India.Read More
This moved from just building applications to maintaining large infrastructures to creating new applications and new technologies altogether. Even now, it has morphed into helping companies such as those being supported by Mphasis in their transformation as they go through their journey of digitization—without which not just competitive differentiation is impossible, but also mere survival. If you just go back to when the pandemic had just hit, I’m sure that most of the largest of the large corporations and the banks would have been planning for an eventual virtualization, saying, “We don’t need customers to come to us—they should be able to interact with us from wherever, and they should be able to do banking or whatever virtually.”
However, when the pandemic hit, they had to go virtual overnight because there were no branches or offices open. There was nobody to manning the offices. No customers would come to the offices, but they still needed the banking facilities, right? Some banks were prepared and some were not. Everyone kind of did bits and pieces that were put together so that somehow skeletal work could continue. At the beginning, the assumption was that things would go back to normal, so permanent changes didn’t need to be made. Very soon, the realization dawned that this would not be the case.
The new normal is going to be very different from what it was pre-pandemic. Slowly, this awareness has translated into, “Okay, if we have to create the capability to deliver virtually, this will mean moving our infrastructure to the cloud. If we have to go to the cloud, we can use next-generation technology. We can move from a monolithic large application built on legacy systems to a modernized software architecture. If we are going to do this—if we are making an investment in changing our apps, in moving to the cloud—why shouldn’t we look at the whole process?”
Mphasis | www.mphasis.com | Bangalore, India