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The pandemic has forced companies to invest in cloud-based services, TCS CEO Gopinathan

After the setback in the first quarter because of the immediate impact of the pandemic, the environment has been looking good for the Indian IT services industry. On Wednesday, TCS announced second quarter results that indicated a good bounceback. In an interaction with TOI, CEO Rajesh Gopinathan said the pandemic is pushing companies globally to move to a far more modern IT architecture, one that will make businesses more resilient. Excerpts:

You are very positive about the future. You said you’re amid a multi-year technology transition wave. Can you explain that?
Following the disruptions caused by the pandemic, companies are committing to a cloudbased infrastructure strategy that provides adaptability, resilience and security. Once this migration is done, there are many other native capabilities that these cloud platforms will provide in areas such as customer experience, employee experience, dynamic pricing, servitisation (moving from selling products to delivering services). These are what we call Horizon 2. You can already see various experiments happening. Industrial equipment, engines are being provided based on usage-based pricing. The same is now moving to consumer durables, where companies are offering packages with maintenance and guarantees built in. In retail, there are those who are changing the price of a product many times a day. Cloud makes all this possible on a massive scale. And then will come Horizon 3, the new unexplored areas, new business models — how do you seamlessly combine themes across industries to provide a common value proposition? You will find that cross-industry deployment is easy because the IT infrastructure now is open to a lot more experimentation and frictionless scaling up.

Why do you think it required a pandemic for companies to see the need to move to the cloud? Didn’t they see the likes of Google and Facebook doing amazing things with cloud tech?
It’s easy to say, “Those are technology companies and we are not that.” And when you have $50-100 million of depreciated tech assets, it is not easy to commit to vacating that estate and moving to a new one. But when you face a complete revenue outage for a month, the migration no longer looks such a big burden as it seemed six months back.

The new one-year rule introduced for H-1Bs for third-party service providers appears to be an attack on Indian IT providers. What kind of impact do you foresee?
I don’t want to comment specifically. We are confident about our execution and operational capabilities. If the law is not specifically discriminating and it applies to everybody equally, we believe that we will remain competitive. If you reduce supply in a high supply constrained market, cost will go up and it will go up for everybody. We are confident about our operational capabilities and those have been on display. Gadgets Now

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