The company also enjoys the industry best employee metrics and is expected to continue its growth at a brisk pace on the back of its digital initiative.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) CEO N. Chandrasekaran is a wired elite who has always been as excited about new gadget launches as teenage geeks. In fact, he wears another teenage personality with equal ease - cool and confident in both good and bad times. What sets him apart though is his vision for the company he heads . So, it came as no surprise to journalists when Chandra, as he is referred to by his friends, fended off uncomfortable questions about TCS's lower-than-expected results for the fifth consecutive quarter on October 14, and the subsequent 4 per cent fall in its share price, without a hitch. In fact, the tide soon turned in his favour when he had journalists listening to him about the digital promise TCS holds , going ahead. "At TCS we are in investment mode and, in the coming months, we are going to enhance our digital capabilities," he told Business Today.
TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES
Source: CMIE Prowess, Standalone data
For the next hour or so, the discussions revolved around the TCS app that enabled SMEs to manage their businesses more efficiently. "If you are a restauranter, you will most likely have a separate tool to take orders, a separate cash-collection system and a swipe machine. We have eliminated all these and created one single application by which you will be able to manage all the aspects of the business, from taking orders, managing transactions and getting a daily report," he explained, adding that TCS is transforming and positioning itself to operate in the digital world and cater to every sector, be it large automobile giants, retailers, banks or small businesses.
This is, however, not the first time that Chandra has talked about going digital. In fact, he has been carefully transforming TCS into a digitally-sound company for over two years and the first step towards achieving that goal was to make his own workforce be digitally-enabled - encouraging them to create an in-house social media platform to build a women safety app. Today, TCS has over 4,000 in-house digital tools that facilitate employee engagement.
'TCS has upheld its traditional strategy of offering solutions, at the lowest prices. It has invested in creating digital solutions for various industries,' says Sagar Rastogi, Equity Research Analyst, Ambit Capital.
Well-known IT consultant Sid Pai, compliments TCS's digital strategy. "TCS is investing ahead of the curve. It always had a long-term vision and, therefore, retained its position as the most valuable Indian company, says Pai. Even in the September quarter, TCS managed to crack the highest number of deals, compared to its peers in the industry. In the past one year, the market cap of TCS was higher than all the other Tata Group companies put together.
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Chandra says investment in digital would be on a war-footing, to offer cutting edge digital solutions to its customers and transforming its own work environment. "You go to our various centres now, you will see that we are changing our office environment to become agile spaces. We no longer have cubicles," he says.
The company is also setting up innovation labs and digital studios. Chandra feels digital solutions are no longer restricted to merely creating a functional solution, but is all about creating an experience. "The whole idea is how we get customers to think through the art of the possible; not only from the point of view of business models and business processes, but also in terms of experience by designing solutions which are experience-rich."
For instance, TCS has created an application for a leading global retailer that has enabled the entity to offer better customer-experience. "They have a large consumer base. So, we have built knowledge platforms working closely with them. We help them track every customer that visits their many stores, the nature of the shopping they do and, through analytics, help them predict what they would like to buy the next time they visit the store. Accordingly, we help the retailer to give tailor-made discounts or customised promotional offers to their customers."
While a techie creates the apps, Chandra has felt the need to include sociologists and psychologists into his workforce to understand the psyche of consumers or the consumption habits of different communities, where the stores are situated,. "We also have people with artistic ability and design in our workforce. I expect this number of non-techies to increase manifold." Pai, lauds this strategy. "To offer cutting edge technical or digital solutions, one has to understand consumer psyche and human behaviour. Therefore, it makes sense."
With businesses across industries increasingly depending on data to offer real-time services and insights, TCS has invested in 12 real time platforms. Chandra says that while some of them are already producing revenues, some are in the build-out stage. "But over a period of time it will be matured enough to solve problems of different industries."
Analysts feel this over emphasis on digital could backfire. But, Chandrasekaran is confident: "There is so much opportunity. It has got so many elements. The Internet of Things is a big thing in itself, sensor analytics is a big thing, so is data analytics," he explains.