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'We are going to be an AI-first company'

By Ayushman Baruah
January 19, 2024 11:26 IST
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'GenAI has democratised the AI conversation. I do not know of a single client who is not interested in that conversation.'

IMAGE: The Genpact building in Bengaluru. Photograph: Munsif Vengattil/Reuters

Over the years, Genpact has transformed from a pure-play business process outsourcing (BPO) firm to an artificial intelligence-first professional services company.

The NYSE-listed firm, with annual revenues of $4.37 billion in 2022, is one of the largest companies in its area of business.

It is on a journey to set up at least four artificial intelligence Innovation Centres globally, two of which are likely to be established in India.

As N V 'Tiger' Tyagarajan is set to step down after serving as the CEO for 13 years, all eyes are on B K Kalra who will take over the mantle from February 9.

In their first joint media interaction, Tyagarajan and Kalra speak about the company's legacy and the way forward in an interview with Ayushman Baruah/Business Standard.

IMAGE: N V Tyagarajan, President and CEO, Genpact. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

As you are stepping down after spearheading this company for so long, what are your initial reactions?

Tyagarajan: I have been in the company since 1998 and served as the CEO for the last 13 years. So, I have seen the company grow from the early days to what it is today.

As I step down, first of all, I feel a sense of pride and secondly, I am really excited about the talent we have in the company.

The third reaction is about the strong client relationships that have always been front and centre of our journey. And now with over 125,000 people and over a billion dollars in revenue, we still have that.

It's deep inside the company. And then finally, as we are in the process of handing over the leadership to BK by early February, I feel excited that the company is in a great spot and we have phenomenal leaders to take this company to the future.

I will have the pleasure of watching that from the board.

How do you foresee the transition impacting Genpact's growth?

Tyagarajan: I would call it a systematic, thought-through plan that is now in the process of being executed. As far as the company's growth is concerned, it would get energised.

With the strong foundation and the changes we have driven in the last few years, I think it's going to be really exciting for the industry and for the company in these rapidly changing times.

All of that is obviously under the umbrella of an interesting macroeconomic environment with volatility, uncertainty, and constrained budgets, which will change over time.

But right now that's the world we are in and we are really very well positioned.

IMAGE: B K Kalra, President and CEO-designate, Genpact. Photograph: BK Kalra/

Any major changes you intend to bring in at a strategic or organisational level?

Kalra: We have a very strong foundation on many attributes. Tiger spoke about talent. One of the distinguishing features of our talent base of over 125,000 colleagues is their learning agility.

Second, the clients we work with are really iconic and have long-standing relationships with strong client retention.

Then, we have the domain as another distinguishing feature. Going forward, we will supplement our strengths by infusing data, technology, and artificial intelligence (AI) into everything we do.

We are going to be an AI-first company and we will explore how we can have AI assistance inside the company and in our client environments leveraging the data we have.

The second area of focus will be to enable our partner ecosystem to generate greater client value.

On the changes at the management level, we have already announced a few in the management team, and are moving rapidly towards nurturing the existing talent and adding more talent, some of whom we have already announced.

What are your hiring plans for 2024?

Kalra: Hiring plans are predominantly determined by the overall demand that is being generated and the retention rate we have.

The good thing is our retention rates have improved over the last 12 months. And then, we expect an amazing booking year and we will report the numbers in possibly 6 or 7 weeks.

All of that is generating great demand as we step into 2024. So, all of those hiring needs will be to fulfil those obligations that we have set up for our clients. I think you will see a good progression in hiring.

We look at how we can constantly churn and get the right talent because we need a lot of data engineers and data scientists. So, we have a lot of build programmes and hiring programmes for that, including with universities across the globe.

How have client conversations changed with the advent of generative AI?

Kalra: GenAI has democratised the AI conversation. I do not know of a single client who is not interested in that conversation.

It has enabled the CEOs and CXOs we work with to be more aware of the use cases of GenAI in their sectors, industries and processes.

All of these conversations around GenAI have enabled us to convert them into proof of concepts and into the production grid of certain applications that we have started putting in place.

It's still in the very early stages, but we really see GenAI as an enhancer of the total addressable market for us and for the industry.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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