Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bangalore Tiger

These tigers unlike regular tigers prowl day and night, they sneak up quietly when they see their target and prey on them, they know no boundaries and are not afraid to venture out to new ones. These tigers are none other than Indian tech companies that are making their roar all over the world. Bangalore Tiger, a very comprehensively written book by Steven Hamm, is about Wipro, India's third largest tech company behind Infosys and TCS. Steve Hamm is a senior editor of Business Week and hence lends credibility to the book in the US media. The book tells the story of Wipro, how it started, grew and is still growing everyday.

Recently, Times of India Group, launched a website and Ad-campaign, India Poised. It talks about two India's, one that is apprehensive and other that is on-the-move to conquer the world. Bangalore Tiger belongs to the 'other' India.

Wipro is one of India's best success story in recent times. A small vegetable oil company transforms into one of India's tech giants. Although, Infosys and TCS are still ahead in terms of revenues and sheer size, Wipro still has made its place in the tech world. This book is clearly a public relations exercise to get into some PR into one of the most exciting markets of all, US. Wipro was listed on Nasdaq later than Infosys and the price difference is shares is almost 3 times (Infy: 58.06 and Wipro (NYSE): 16.83), it still is very significant. Unlike Infosys though, Wipro is bad in marketing and brand management (as the book agrees too) and so this book is a good way to create a buzz in the market.

Wipro's Floating Centre, India's only training centre partially submerged in water, in Bangalore

The book start of by explaining how Indian tech giants are taking on the western companies like Microsoft, IBM and Accenture, not head-on but by differentiating into service industry which is their expertise. Also, how a small company like Wipro is able to lead in multiple market and vertical business units. One of the reasons the book gives for Wipro's success is their ultra-strict ethics and value system, which is translated into The Wipro Spirit - The Intensity to Win, Act with Sensitivity and Unyielding Integrity. Wipro is very high on morals and it clearly comes from the top, Aseem Premji. He not only transformed a sagging oil company but did it without compromising on his moral values. He is one of the architects of new resurgent India. Premji believes on spending very little on frills and gimmicks but takes proper care of his employees without indulging too much in pampering them as some other companies do. Infact, even he flies first-class rather than business-class to make an example.

Wipro's campus in Hyderabad

Aseem Premji was studying engineering in US when he got a call from his mother that his father has passed away and he had to come back. This one incident changed his life forever. He was given a failing vegetable oil company and the first thing he did was to introduce metrics into the business. It was his engineering background that made him trust numbers more than guess-work that was rampant in oil business. For e.g. in order to decide price for buying peanuts for oil, someone would chew a peanut to decide how much oil it has and then price was decided. Premji used engineering methodology to transform that practice into something that could be measured and was far more accurate.

Premji giving one of his lectures virtually

The book is one of the most comprehensive guide into the BPO business or as the book likes to call it, transnational company, that works in virtually every country but most of the work is done remotely back in India with limited onsite people. Wipro had given unlimited access to the writer, Steve, about its business process, business structure, management style, technological details. Living in Canada, I knew a bit about the offshoring business but this book spells it out in detail, how it works, how they make money, how they expand, how they find clients, how they keep them happy.

One area that book recognizes Wipro needs to work on to succeed in long run is Innovation. Companies that innovate are the ones that survive. Premji also recognizes that and has started innovation projects on three levels, technology innovation, solution innovation and process innovation. Premji created Centre for Excellence for R&D into new innovating projects. Another area that Wipro lags is product development but Wipro is not very much interested to go into that because it conflicts with its current business model.

The book ends with following postive words about resurgent India, "The Indian people have the ingenuity to overcome huge obstacles. And from ingenuity comes innovation. You'd better get ready to make room for them"

"Little Church in the Backyard", a new photo post @ Kaarindah


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Pongal :)

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know you were reading this book...was not expecting a post on the same here...But, then, one should be prepared for such informative posts here :)...
Wipro's floating centre...ha ha..I've seen that 2005 in bangalore..
Sab US markets pe hai...every company has such high projections...mujhe toh itna darr lagta hai.....If the US markets fall by even 2%..what effect it will have here in India...
Good that you read this book...more helpful for you now...before entering the big bad world of IT.
Infy cannot be compared with WIPRO, TCS..they invest alot in branding..& you have to see their plush campuses .....

Was planning to buy this book for T...but now as you know will get The world is flat before he comes back from blr.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its good that Indian IT Services Companies have made a mark all over the world...thats bringing in lots of $$ here!!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Princess Au Contraire said...

very well written Ricky! I saw the india poised campaign! its very good. I hope it awakens India to do something big in the next few years...

5:17 AM  
Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

Good post!the india poised campaign is pretty neat and very inspiring.I didn't know about this background of Azim Premji and the birth and growth of wipro,thanks for this post now I do.Each dream does begin with such a small step.They are truly inspiring people.I don't know how the work field is however in each of these companies as IT is not my field but I have heard from a couple of my friends that wipro does have a lot of disgruntled employees!

3:46 PM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

Good Post :)

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a very nice post. the ideas, the perspective...and especially the biography... :)

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

payal: btw, can i borrow the book? :P

10:42 PM  
Blogger Kishley (Dolly Sapra) said...

nice review :) i was glad to read about this company.. and yeah i have seen that india poised ad.. nice.. isnt it? and very true..

11:15 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

mehak - Happy Pongal to you too :-)

Was it really floating? Yea, like Canada, India is also becoming dependent on US economy. Its not bad book but that one is better :-)

princess - Thanks Princess. Yea, it was impressive esp. with Bachchan's voice. Amen to your thought.

fuzzylogic - Thanks!!

Yea, there is some problem with employee satisfaction because they expect a lot from their employees and the attrition rate of 80% is too high but they are still learning from Western countries.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

bhandari's - Thanks!!

payal - Thanks Payal !! The book is from the library. Aapko India aake gift de doonga :D

kishley - Thanks Kishley !! I like the Ad, it is very impressive.

3:47 PM  
Blogger faith said...

bangalore tiger... good post ji.. iam not a big fan of wipro though :P

8:06 PM  
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