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S Ramadorai on life after TCS

Last updated on: October 31, 2011 13:19 IST

S Ramadorai on life after TCS

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Bibhu Ranjan Mishra

S Ramadorai is now the vice-chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) after being its MD and CEO for a decade. He is also advisor to the Prime Minister on the National Skill Development Council (NSDC).

He talks on the global economic cycle, the importance of technology and skill development, among other issues.

What is there beyond TCS?

Beyond, it is more. TCS is not the organisation which is the beginning and the end. Organisations need to be boundary-less in the future, prompting people to collaborate more. There are a significant amount of opportunities in this world and enough numbers of people who're passionate enough to go after those.

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Image: S. Ramadorai
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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S Ramadorai on life after TCS

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You had always been emphasizing the need of co-innovation (as in TCS' network). Why is it needed?

In co-innovation, you learn from somebody and integrate their product with yours, which helps in enhancing your pie. It is like an acquisition. It is about sharing of risks and sharing of costs. Co-innovation has paid us quite well.

The Indian information technology services industry is passing through a turbulent phase. How does one sustain and grow in such an environment?

Economic cycles will always be there, and that's why you have to invest for the future. You have to look beyond the short-term for a long-term play. You have to invest in people and research & development, and diversify your portfolio and geographical presence.

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S Ramadorai on life after TCS

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What about short-term challenges?

The business has to continue in the short term. This requires one to deliver on the existing businesses without any flaw, and improve the process and system, so that you don't make a mistake.

The biggest problem is when you don't deliver as committed. The services industry is based on certain levels of satisfaction and trust. If you are able to win the trust of your customers, then the existing business is protected.

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S Ramadorai on life after TCS

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But CEOs are always under pressure whenever companies fail to match the expectations of various other stakeholders.

CEOs are always under pressure. There is a balancing act required. Investors or the stock market ultimately see what is the return they're getting over a period of time.

While there might be one-quarter aberrations, at the end of the day, investors look at what is the return they are getting over a longer period. They know we are not a hedge fund, where you invest today and withdraw tomorrow.

Is there a room for another IT services company to become another TCS or Infosys? What do they need to do?

I think every company should have its own uniqueness. Every company can't be a TCS, Infosys or Wipro. Unless they have their differentiator and uniqueness, why would people (clients) go to them?

So, they have to devise a firm strategy on what market segment they want to address and what should be their uniqueness to address that market segment.

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S Ramadorai on life after TCS

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Why is there so much of thrust on skill development? What are the lacunae in the education system?

There are major challenges in our education system today and that's why the govt. is majorly focusing on it. There are shortages of teachers, of infrastructure. The system lacks contents of relevance for the future. We can't use the past techniques for the future, but will have to modify to make those relevant.

What is the NSDC doing to this effect?

This is just the beginning. We are looking at the various initiatives taken by the government at different points of time and plan to integrate those. We are connecting the dots and making sure we have a common mission and vision.


Image: S Ramadorai with Ratan Tata
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
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