Our upskilling programme will cover 80% of staff by year-end: Gurnani, Bhat

IT services company Tech Mahindra on Monday reported better-than-expected financial numbers in Q3FY18, backed by newer deal wins and focus in improving operational efficiency. In an interaction with Romita Majumdar, Tech Mahindra’s MD and CEO CP GURNANI and Deputy CFO MANOJ BHAT discuss how the thrust towards broadening the company’s digital portfolio and services is paying dividends. Edited excerpts:
How has been your success in the digital side of the business?
C P Gurnani: Digital segments accounted for around 24 per cent of our overall revenues. Among the 18 new deals added this quarter, 16 have a strong digital aspect. You also have to understand that while technology budgets for clients have gone up, IT budgets remained flat. But, there is no pattern here. So, currently around 10 RPAs (robotic process automation) projects are underway and they are active in shared services and AI (artificial intelligence) implementation areas. But, it’s not a big bang implementation like a blockchain. In digital technology, big bang implementations are rare; they are mainly iterative.
Your business from repeat clients came down to 93 per cent from 97 per cent at the beginning of the fiscal year. Is that a trend we’ll see?
C P Gurnani: There is no pattern. Our focus is on digital technologies and change. There are different levels of readiness from different markets towards such a change.
Manoj Bhat: There hasn’t been a big change over a long-term average. Every quarter sees a change, but it has been largely steady. We can only compare it at the end of the year.
Immigration rules are becoming much stricter with increasing trend towards protectionism and restriction on employee movements.

Will it impact your employee and portfolio diversity?
Manoj Bhat: Among all of our peers, we are most diversified. We have 47 per cent business coming from the Americas and the rest are split between Europe and the rest of the world, which is better than any of our peers. Diversification has been our strategy since a long time. Will the pattern of split change across areas? No. It won’t change. Given the cloud around H-1B, we have to figure out a new way of doing business and that would mean more local skills, which digital projects require anyway.
You have introduced various initiatives to digitally skill your employees. Is there any particular target in mind in terms of reskilling?
C P Gurnani: Reskilling and up-skilling is a big programme. We have set up various stages of examinations from 1.0 to 4.01. 1.01, based on basic digital literacy, has to be cleared by every employee from administration to senior management. 4.01 is expert level. Right now, about 27 per cent of our employee base has been covered under the programme. We aim to cover 80 per cent of our employee base by the end of this year.
How your LCC and Comviva businesses are performing?
C P Gurnani: We are no longer reporting LCC revenues separately (as) it’s now fully owned. Most of LCC is running business as usual. We decided to keep Comviva as a separate company and being a product company it will be dependent on consumption. The Mobiquity (mobile wallet) platform is running for financial services. It will be adding two more platforms both in B2B and B2C, and we could expect more announcements on this front.business-standard