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Wipro, Infosys outpacing each other to meet demands in unfavourable global environment

internet-bcclBENGALURU: Battling to regain lost glory, Wipro and Infosys are stepping up their age-old rivalry, this time to out-innovate each other as the two Bengaluru-based software exporters invest in disruptive technologies pegged to artificial intelligence and design thinking to bring greater efficiencies for themselves and their customers.

Infosys Chief Executive Vishal Sikka, at an analyst event in Pune on Thursday, said some of his company’s rivals were imitating it and went as far as labeling their moves proverbially as “imitation is the best form of flattery”. While he did not name any rival, for veteran watchers of Bengaluru’s software scene, the company he was referring to was clear: cross-town rival Wipro, which, on its part, claims to be investing “heavily” since 2012 in building data analytics and other next-generation platforms to help customers in the retail and healthcare space to improve their businesses.

In the past few years, both Infosys and Wipro have lost quite a bit of their sheen as they struggled to adjust with changing customer demand in an uncertain global business environment, leaving Mumbai-based bigger rival Tata Consultancy Services record phenomenal numbers since 2011. The original posterboys of India’s IT sector are trying cover the ground lost – by investing in technologies that can shake up the industry by disrupting the existing order and processes that are customer-focused – and their initiatives pit them against each other more than ever in the past.

The unfazed response of Wipro to Sikka’s comments was a testimony to the increased rivalry between the two. “I can say that we have a competitive edge,” said Satishchandra Doreswamy, chief business operations officer at Wipro. “We have been investing heavily in building the next-generation platforms for over two years with a focus on AAA (automation, artificial intelligence and analytics).

Platforms such as ServiceNXT, CloudCLM have started delivering value for some of key clients,” said Doreswamy, who was hired by Chairman Azim Premji three years ago to help transform Wipro by bringing in some of these advanced technologies. Although Doreswamy declined to quantify the impact of these disruptive technologies in Wipro’s growth, he said the range of productivity improvement differed from client to client. The former TCS veteran also said Wipro had over the last 24 months seen a “20-30% efficiency improvement” in the application development, maintenance and infrastructure management space.

Sikka, ever since he took the role of the first non-founder CEO at Infosys on August 1, has outlined a strategy of “building a new Infosys” by making fresh investments in bringing machineto-machine and automation platforms to the company’s traditional approach of delivering outsourcing services to customers. Sikka, who earlier this week completed four months at the company, said in Thursday’s analyst meet that he would share more details of what it was doing in this area in April next year.

For now, Infosys is training its software engineers on design thinking – a creative and systematic approach to problem-solving by placing the user at the centre of the experience – and is also in the process of launching an online training module on artificial intelligence for its employees. Doreswamy said Wipro has already brought in the customercentric approach and its overall net promoter score – a tool to gauge customer loyalty – has improved 30 percentage points.

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Report: Varun Sood
Source: Economic times

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