In May, Wipro Digital – the digital business unit of Indian IT services giant Wipro – held its first analyst day after its launch in 2014. Since my last briefing with them one year ago, Wipro Digital has seen an impressive development:
- The team just recently won a large multi-million euro, multi-year digital transformation deal with a major British bank. The bank hired Wipro Digital to transform its value proposition, construct a comprehensive change portfolio and execute the necessary change.
- Wipro Digital acquired Danish strategic design firm Designit in July 2015 and grew it from 300 to 420 employees – a very significant step, acknowledging that in digital transformation, “design is foundation, not decoration”.
- The team’s compelling agile framework and 5-step methodology was proven in various large projects with corporate customers such as Telenor or Chelsea Football Club.
- Wipro Digital has strongly enlarged its network of ‘digital pods’ (innovation & co-creation centers) across the globe.
What I liked most: The Wipro Digital team seems to fully understand that digital is not only about transforming their customers’ business, but also about fundamentally changing the way how IT providers work with them. To give an example: Wipro Digital co-creates with their customers in a strongly network-based organizational model. Multidisciplinary teams work on customer experience innovation in so-called ‘digital cells’ within an agile framework under digital governance. In order to scale, these cells do not grow larger, but are duplicated across the organization. In doing so, Wipro Digital stresses a ‘no-shore approach’: the necessity to co-locate everybody working within one digital cell – strategists, designers, developers, engineers etc. from both provider and customer – in one location. This is quite remarkable for an Indian IT service provider known for its large offshore business…!
From my perspective, the key challenges that lie ahead of Wipro Digital are the following:
- The business unit needs to raise its brand awareness and identify customers that are open to new ways of working – including agile contracting and procurement models or budgets with fluid delivery specifications and timelines.
- Its sales team has to involve and inspire not only CIOs and CMOs, but also the CEOs of potential customers – because truly transformative deals go far beyond IT and marketing.
- Through the Designit acquisition, Wipro Digital has already strengthened its presence in Europe. The challenge will be to scale these offices and teams to undertake large end-to-end transformations as customer proximity is key in a ‘no-shore approach’.
- It will be a challenge for the business unit to scale quickly while still keeping its special mindset and innovative spirit. It not only has to hire the right people with comprehensive business, design and technology capabilities and mindset (“high on pride, low on ego”). It also has to win further leeway and independence from the larger Wipro organization while taking good care of a highly valuable team.
Because traditional system integrators – including Wipro – will not be able to transform their customers without transforming themselves first.