HCL: How the Indian outsourcer is giving itself a business makeover

Summary:New Directions in Delhi...

New Directions in Delhi...

Pressure on the traditional outsourcing model is causing one of India's biggest services companies to rethink its priorities. Jo Best reports.

Vineet Nayar is not a man afraid of making a song and dance about his company and staff.

At the company's Directions event in Delhi the CEO of HCL, a $5bn business and India's fourth largest services company, takes to the stage in front of his employees - showing off a few moves to some high-energy pop.

As the music thumps and spotlights flash around him, Nayar invites his staff to join him in the dance. Many do, some even running to dance alongside their boss.

Dance over, the employees resume their seats and the Directions event continues. It's a town hall style get-together where employees air grievances and share suggestions on what the company should do next and how it could improve.

Like many Indian services companies, HCL finds itself at a point of transition as the conventional outsourcing model comes under pressure from several quarters.

Nayar addresses the 1,000 or so staff at the event, part evangelist, part motivational speaker, alternately prophesying doom for HCL if it fails in its plan to metamorphose from an IT firm to a business services company and high-fiving his workers, telling them they "rock" and asking them to turn to the person seated next to them, shake their hand and say "good job partner".

Vineet Nayar at HCL's Directions event

HCL CEO Vineet Nayar mixes with staff at the company's Directions event
(Photo credit: HCL)

What the company is going to do, according to Nayar, is give itself a makeover: rather than just providing IT services that focus on cutting costs, HCLites - as they are known - are being asked to provide services that underpin a customers' processes or a makeover of their own - be it targeting a different consumer segment, going after an emerging market or digitising a piece of the business that has so far remained offline.

After all, Nayar tells his staff, a customer would rather...

Topics: Tech Industry


Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

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