Tata Consultancy Providers: CEO On Work From Residence
Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and General Manager, Tata Consultancy Services
Image: Mexy Xavier R.ajesh Gopinathan became CEO of TCS in February 2017 when his boss N Chandrasekaran was appointed to lead the Tata Group. Gopinathan, one of the youngest CEOs of the group, has accompanied the transition from TCS to an organization that is oriented towards the needs of customers in a world in which automation and AI will play a central role.
He is credited with the conception of the TCS machine-first delivery model. Last year, the company also successfully implemented its Agile 2020 plan, even though Covid-19 forced the majority of its employees to work from home. The plan references both the name of a technical framework for software development that developers have increasingly adopted and the idea that the company must anticipate and meet customers’ IT and software needs more quickly.
Nobody could have expected it when Covid-19 struck, but Agile 2020 gave the company the technical infrastructure and collaborative mindset to develop what TCS now calls “safe, borderless workspaces”. The company has also helped its customers adopt their own versions of this framework. Going forward, Gopinathan sees TCS at the intersection between the business and technology needs of its largest customers, providing advice and technical expertise to help these customers select the best ecosystems to meet their needs. One aspect is given special attention. Under Gopinathan’s watch, TCS learns to become its own best salesperson, demonstrate the sophistication it brings to the table – and focus on the complexities of the problems it solves for its customers and the value in them, rather than those technical elegance of the solutions that it offers. TCS has a plan that it has systematically implemented to change from the inside out so that it can change the way customers see it. Many recognize it, with the upstream mandates that they have already assigned to the IT giant. In all of this, Gopinathan remains as down-to-earth as ever, even if his corporate aspirations are reaching for the clouds (pun intended).
Gopinathan is also systematically acquiring strong domain expertise and local presence in its largest markets by buying up entire IT units from its customers – and putting thousands of experienced IT engineers, consultants, and programmers on the roles of TCS – in exchange for long-term contracts, rather also so that TCS can offer the skills of these employees to other customers in these markets.
At home, he faces a talent war that is sure to come. Established foreign companies as well as more and more startups from Silicon Valley want to expand their engineering base in India. India’s own tech startups, filled with hundreds of millions of dollars in VC money, are also looking for talent. As TCS increases the amount of digital technology it delivers to customers, it will have to compete for the same talent pool. Even if his highly optimized training machine is humming to itself, Gopinathan has to find innovative ways to attract and retain people. An ambitious project that is currently underway is a Talent Cloud that separates project execution from individual resources, but focuses on the best possible overall execution.
Over the next decade, all of these diverse but highly coordinated efforts will produce a TCS that will be able to operate heterogeneously on two fronts: the traditional area of helping companies run the most efficient operations and the new frontier of growth and transformation.
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