wipro: How a Frenchman sitting in Paris transformed Wipro
Acquisitions make these conclusions a bit complicated, and companies are not often open about their organic growth numbers. But, considering the past revenues of Wipro’s two major acquisitions this year – of Capco and Ampion – and considering
have also made acquisitions over the past year, it’s safe to say that these two companies have experienced organic dollar revenue growth rates of 19-20%. It is much better than that of and.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for Wipro under the leadership of Thierry Delaporte, the former Capgemini executive who took office in July of last year. After a decade or more of underperforming its peers, during which time it saw Cognizant Technology Solutions and HCL surpass it in terms of total revenue, the company appears to have found a direction. The share price also reflects this – Wipro’s share has risen 107% in the past year, compared to Infosys 52%, HCL 48% and TCS 33%.
When interacting with TOI on his first visit to India since taking office, Delaporte said he has simplified Wipro’s complex structure, reduced hierarchies, empowered employees and transformed the culture of order taking into problem solver.
The structure, he said, was “so complicated that after two months even I wasn’t sure how it would work, to the point that I felt like I wouldn’t even try to figure out how it works, because I’m going to break it. In any event.”
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There were seven sectors, divided into 31 industries and nine geographic areas. Sectors and geographies, Delaporte said, were disconnected from each other. There were also 12 trades. What Delaporte found particularly difficult to understand was that there were “27 P&L (units of result) that brought me back to my level”. Each P&L tends to be a silo. “Every time you create a different P&L, you add walls in an organization. People spend more time negotiating with each other, fighting over who will bear the costs and who will get the revenue credit, rather than working with the client, ”he said.
Delaporte has broken down this whole structure into just two global business segments and four strategic market units (geographic areas), and in such a way that business units and market units have to work with each other. He reduced the P&L attached to him from 27 to just four. All of this, he said, has reduced the silos internally, so that “it’s no longer a barrier for employees to devote their time to their markets.”
Another practice that Delaporte couldn’t understand was the number of KPIs (key performance indicators) used to assess leaders and employees. “We had over 800 KPIs. Can you imagine how many people we need to just create these KPIs and track them! I have simple KPIs. If you don’t grow up, you won’t be part of this organization anyway. It’s a simple KPI. And there are others. So, simplicity, over perfection. The more KPIs you have, the more specific you are, but it doesn’t work that way in an organization of 220,000 people, ”he said.
The restructuring also involved setting up a team that would focus solely on building and securing large contracts worth several 100 million dollars.
“We relied on our sales teams to sell big business. It can’t work because if you don’t set specific themes and profiles for it, no one will take the risk of chasing big deals, ”said Delaporte. Large transactions can take up to 18 months to complete. A salesperson whose performance is assessed on the basis of monthly and annual signings will prefer to tackle small business. Big contracts require a very different mindset to shape, structure and negotiate them. “Now not a single executive committee meeting starts with anything but big business. This leads to an obsessive focus on transactions, ”said Delaporte.
Another element of the restructuring was to reduce the number of layers in the organization. An important part of this was bringing account managers – those who have primary responsibility for an ongoing business relationship with a client – closer to the CEO. “Before the reorganization, we had account managers 6 to 7 levels below the CEO. I remember some of my first meetings with clients. There would be 4-5 people (from Wipro) in the meeting and the account managers were downstairs. It’s very silly. Now they are only three levels below. It means a lot in terms of speed and climbing. And it’s about empowerment, ”said Delaporte.
The other big transformation was about people. About 30% of his time, Delaporte said, was spent building a great team. It focused on two issues: getting employees to work with each other and getting them to work with customers to identify their weak spots and suggest solutions instead of waiting for the customer to tell them what to do.
“We are not here to sell what we have, those days are over. Every business I talk to wants to know how to transform to better connect with its customers, open new markets or be more efficient. So you need to come up with ideas proactively, leveraging your expertise and technology, ”he said.
Delaporte felt that many leaders did not have the personality and mindset he was looking for. “We have replaced a third of the first 300. You haven’t heard any noise and bad press around. I think we handled it very well, ”he said.
The other element was a cultural change movement, led by Wipro chairman Rishad Premji. “We had to mature the organization so that people could work together, understand what it means to be One Wipro,” he said. “We needed a culture of accountability, focused on results rather than effort, which was quite the culture of Wipro before. ”
Premji has spent a lot of time on a program they call “5 Habits”. These five points were about respect, responsiveness, communication, trust and stewardship. “A lot of colleagues have told me that they are now attracting talent that they struggled to attract in the past. It is recognition that we are a more confident and aggressive company, ”said Delaporte.
It is still too early to say whether the success of Delaporte’s first year will continue. If so, this would be a case study of how a new CEO transformed a company with 2.2 lakh employees, sitting remotely in Paris, and never visiting the company’s headquarters. , and its largest base, during its first 15 months.
This story originally appeared in
Times of India.