Adapt to Succeed: Wipro Demonstrates Formula for Digital Growth

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • Wipro has grown its digital business rapidly by focusing on customer experience and investing in a consultative approach.
  • It showed how at its recent analyst briefing, begging the question of whether it can remain differentiated.

Wipro held an analyst day in the UK this month to showcase its digital business, started from scratch four years ago and boosted by its acquisition of Designit in 2015. Since then, Wipro Digital has grown from less than 50 to more than 5,000 employees generating an increasingly significant portion of Wipro’s overall revenues.

The company used the occasion not just to boast about such successes, but to share its point of view – and its own formula for success – on approaching digital transformation as both an enterprise and as an IT service provider. Citing the examples of a number of global companies that have navigated successfully around the digital landscape, it identified key attributes shared between them. One is adaptability, resulting from new and agile ways of working. Equally important is driving all digital initiatives not off of technology, but rather customer experience.

Several of its executive sessions also drove home another of its key learnings over the last four years: a consultative approach that turns the service provider into a long-term partner is actually desirable when it comes to digital transformation, which requires an end-to-end approach. By not just taking orders from the client, but rather by challenging the client on its stated requirements and, in some cases, bearing the upfront costs of major projects, Wipro has positioned itself credibly at the intersection of digital strategy, design, and technology, increasing its value and the length of its client relationships.

Despite its strategic importance and growth so far, Wipro’s digital business is still only about one-third of the entire company in terms of revenues. What is exceptional, though, is how quickly it managed to reach that amount. As recently as late 2016, digital was a significantly smaller source of revenues, and its brand in the space was only starting to develop. In 2019, the company claims only one or two other companies can do what it can do in digital, with a recognized brand based on its end-to-end capabilities. Wipro’s other lines of business aren’t exactly going away, although some are flattening or declining due to widespread adoption of the cloud and automation.

If it can maintain its impressive growth in digital, Wipro may ultimately succeed in reinventing itself after following its own advice by prioritizing adaptability and customer experience. At the same time, with Wipro’s evident formula for success revealed, it’s not clear that the company can sustain digital differentiation if competitors with similar capabilities and commitment pursue the same strategy. Its argument may well be that as long as you start with customer experience as the cornerstone around which you build, success will inevitably follow, making differentiation almost redundant.

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