Profile: Tech Mahindra

The global SI outlines plans to become one of the top three IT services organisations in the Middle East

Tags: Systems integratorTech Mahindra
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Profile: Tech Mahindra GB Kumar, MENA and Turkey vice president, Tech Mahindra.
By  Tom Paye Published  May 20, 2014

G.B. Kumar, MENA and Turkey vice president at Tech Mahindra, outlines his plans to make the mammoth systems integrator one of the top three IT services organisations in the Middle East.

What is the history of Tech Mahindra?

Tech Mahindra started in 1982 in India. The way it started was basically providing IT services to British Telecom, so it started off as what was called Mahindra British Telecom — that was the original name of the entity. We started off small and then we started taking over the operations of British Telecom — pretty much, in terms of all the technology services — and it became a pretty large customer for us. In the process, the skillset developed and then the whole objective was to look at the other customers that we could scale to and how it could become an independent entity by itself.

That is how Tech Mahindra was born. Tech Mahindra then acquired customers like AT&T, which is a very large customer of ours. And then, today, if you look at it, I think the majority of the telecom service providers across the globe are our customers in one way or another.

In 2009, there was a recognition that Tech Mahindra had become a very strong telecoms services company, which is very good but it’s just one vertical. And that is where an opportunity to acquire Satyam Computer Services came along. Satyam was actually going through a set of crises internally, so that was an opportunity in disguise, wherein Tech Mahindra acquired Satyam Computer Services, and that entity was known as Mahindra Satyam. On one side, you had telecoms services, and Satyam was known for its expertise in delivering projects to the broader enterprise industry.

Last June, the merger was totally consummated, and it became one Tech Mahindra entity. Today, Tech Mahindra is a $3 billion organisation, with close to 100,000 engineers.

Does Tech Mahindra focus more on the enterprise or telecoms now?

Let’s look at the combined Tech Mahindra entity. The largest vertical, in terms of revenue and focus, continues to be telecoms. That’s where the core strength has been built over a period of decades. Having said that, the unique opportunity we have today is that we bring a strong knowledge on one hand, because of our telecom expertise, but on the other side, we have very deep insights into customers’ business processes, and their business challenges. We believe today that the innovations and strategic market transitions are happening at the intersection of these two.

What are some of Tech Mahindra’s big regional successes?

We just completed our fiscal year in March, so our quarterly results are yet to be out, so I will not be able to discuss specific numbers. Having said that, I can very confidently say that we have grown faster in the Middle East compared to the majority of the rest of the world, including emerging markets. We have definitely grown faster compared to our competition in terms of our revenues. Our profitability has increased by double-digit points almost. From that perspective, in the Middle East, we are doing pretty well.

What are your plans for the Middle East?

It continues to be a high-focus market for us. The reason is very simple: While we are growing faster compared to the other regions, and potentially most of our competitors, is the market potential completely captured? The answer is no. If you look at the Middle East as a geography, it has so much to offer. I was at a launch for the Dubai Smart City. There is more investment being made to make this city a happier place to live. And these are all tangible projects launched by government departments.

Similarly, Expo 2020 is another thing which basically means that someone is going to build a brand new, integrated township. There is a huge and leading-edge development infrastructure that needs to be done. And if you go to Qatar, it’s a similar story relating to FIFA 2022, and Saudi is building infrastructure and airports as we speak. The rail lines are coming up — this side of the world doesn’t have any rail lines, so that’s a huge opportunity because, today, it’s all technology-driven.

I don’t think we are yet scratching the surface in terms of the business that this market has to offer. And I only see it accelerating because, whether you look at Expo 2020, or Smart Dubai, or the FIFA World Cup, technology is likely to be at the core of these new initiatives.

What are Tech Mahindra’s ambitions for the coming year?

We want to be one of the top three IT services organisations catering to the Middle East market. That is our stated vision and goal for this region. The way we want to do it is by serving our customers well in terms of helping to drive their business outcomes.

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