TCS CEO: Automation won’t impact hiring

Tata Consultancy Services, India’s largest IT outsourcing company, expects to post industry-leading growth, despite dialling back expectations for the current fiscal. In an interview with ET’s Jochelle Mendonca and Pankaj Mishra, chief executive N Chandrasekaran dismissed worries over weak volume growth and said the company would continue to hire even as it invests in automation and robotics. Edited excerpts:

How do you characterise growth in the past six months to a year? How should we look at volume growth in the quarter?

We did very well in Q1 and we started the year exceptionally well. In Q2, we were behind our target by at least $20 million. If we had got those extra 40-60 basis points in Q2, then the original statement I made would have been fine. Then with that base, in Q3 the same 2.5% growth would have been fine because that would have been the asking rate.

You have to differentiate between the volumes being low because the working days are less, and the structure of the quarter and volumes being low because there have been ramp-downs. It is not ramp-down based volumes de-growth; it was because of the structure of the quarter. I would like you to look at us from what we say and the second thing is that we are delivering the best growth in the industry.

How are investments you made around projects in cloud and platform going?

The incubation that we have done in terms of iON, for example, is picking up momentum. And you will see us talk about platforms more aggressively with real client wins and numbers. And that is not to say that what we are doing today will go away. Our business will continue to grow and do well, but the new bets we are making will start to see results and you will see that uptick. You will see us discuss that in detail going forward.

Normally, as companies invest in automation, their headcount addition falls. Can we expect this at TCS?

I don’t subscribe to that theory. At $15 billion, we are still a small drop in a $1-trillion industry, and even though we are growing very well, the tech evolution is so strong that on this base there are more opportunities. Second is that while platforms, automation and robotics are significantly important, and we have made investments in these areas, and though they will have a profound impact, still we will need a lot of talent. And while these platforms and automation will bring an amount of nonlinearity, a lot of talent will continue to be required because this business is also growing. So I don’t think that we are going to cannibalise people. Both will grow.

Your competitors have set up funds to invest in new-age technology start-ups. Will you?

TCS is building intellectual property. We have our own automation platform, digital platforms for various functions horizontal and vertical. Our co-innovation network is very, very rich. We have built a large network of members. We partner with them, we try and expose them to client situations and integrate them with our products.

Source : TCS CEO: Automation won’t impact hiring, ET Bureau (¬† )


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