In Europe, digital disruption comes in many forms

In Europe, digital disruption comes in many forms
In Europe, digital disruption comes in many forms

Amit Bajaj is Chief Executive - Europe for Tata Consultancy Services, one of India's leading software services firms. In this 'India Global Business' exclusive, he traces the Mumbai-headquartered IT giant's 40-year footprint across Europe, what the region has to offer the Indian IT sector and the inevitable impact of Brexit. How important is Europe to TCS We have been present in Europe for last 40 years and expanded our operations to over 21 countries. We work with 350 clients, including 50 per cent of the FT Europe 100 companies to digitally reimagine their businesses. The European operations saw a sequential quarterly growth of 3.7 per cent in our most recent quarterly earnings - the highest of any region across the world. Clients in this region continue to expect the delivery excellence they value from TCS and the breadth and depth of industry-leading technology services. But the major trend we see here is that customers are also increasingly looking for a trusted partner to support them on their journey of digital transformation. This is an important shift and one we're well placed to support our customers with. Not only does it mean that traditional services such as IT infrastructure management and BPO need to be delivered with high service levels, but that these services need to be fully integrated with the digital strategy of an organisation. This means helping clients fundamentally reimagine their business by unveiling insights, joining the dots and bringing to the table new and powerful innovations. What sets the European market apart In Europe, digital disruption comes in many forms, not least through digital savvy consumers who expect and demand more choice, greater flexibility and a seamless user experience. One of our primary focuses is helping our customers identify how to navigate and take advantage of these trends, whether using tools and analytics to better understand consumer behaviour, re-imagine the supply chain and manufacturing process, or invest in advanced technologies such Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These are areas European companies are providing leadership and that we are supporting as the digital journey unfolds. But beyond the purely business focused strength of our operations, we are deeply committed to the communities in each of the 21 countries we operate in. For instance, this year we became the title sponsor of Sweden's Lidingöloppet cross-country race to add to our relationship as lead partner for the Amsterdam Marathon and technology partner of the Berlin Marathon in previous years. In each of these races we have invested heavily to enhance the digital experience of the marathon for runners and the local community. We've also invested in helping develop the critical digital skills for young people across Europe, partnering with over 220 European universities and schools, reaching over 70,000 students to date. This includes funding 125,000 training courses, over 100 degrees and more than 400 university scholarships. We see these investments across the region as a vital commitment to help foster a vibrant IT sector that helps economies and communities thrive across Europe. We are committed to making a lasting impact in other ways too - this year we launched Europe's largest ever study on the role of social media by Europe's millennial generation. The study surveyed a representative sample of more than 5,000 Europeans, aged 18-29, from across 15 different countries to look at how young people are using social media to pursue entrepreneurship, develop social enterprises, build their knowledge base and find jobs. The insights have been used by policy makers and business leaders across Europe to better understand how to engage this generation. What has the company′s trajectory been in the region As one of our fastest growing regions, the trajectory has been positive. From a commercial standpoint, we're present in 21 markets and grew sequentially 3.7 per cent in the last financial quarter. We've achieved this by making strategic investments in people, skills and technology. In Düsseldorf we recently opened a Centre for Innovation which will delivers high-end projects and programs. In France, three years ago we acquired Alti - one of the top system integrators of SAP solutions in the market, and more recently opened an Innovation Lab in Poitiers to help test and build cutting edge technologies as well as grow the skills base of local consultants. But ultimately our success is predicated on our relentless focus on delivering for our customers. We were ranked number one for customer satisfaction in Europe according to Whitelane, the independent research group, which polls more than 1,500 CXOs from 13 European countries looking at customer satisfaction for technology consultancies across the region. Further recognition came this year with the award for the number one most powerful IT services brand from Brand Finance. But this success and recognition has only been possible because of our people. Last year we ranked as the top employer in Europe by 'Top Employers Institute' for the third consecutive year and our continued investment in our people is a priority in the region as it is across the world. Maintaining these rankings is a source of enormous pride. Lastly, we were awarded the Gold rating certificate by EcoVadis, a world-leading independent CSR Advisory firm. This is the third year in a row that TCS has received the top accolade and a reflection of the firm's holistic approach to CSR across environmental sustainability, labour practices, business operations and responsible & sustainable procurement & supply chain processes. What impact do you see for Indian IT firms in a post-Brexit landscape We're focused on investing for a long term future in all the markets we operate in across Europe. Issues such as Brexit are macro-policy issues that are beyond our direct control, so our strategy is to continue focusing on what we can influence - running an efficient, growth-focused business and delivering for our customers. We have a tremendously resilient business and are strongly positioned to support the next wave of digital transformation. Is Europe close to becoming an equal revenue source as the US for Indian IT Both markets share many similarities. Housing the majority of the world's advanced economies, we consistently see an appetite for investing in digital technologies. And as a business that is uniquely positioned to support organisations on their digital transformation journey, we believe this can only be good news in both regions. Both markets will continue to be strategic priorities for us and we're focused on continuing to deliver brilliant services to our customers, whichever country or region they are from. Does Europe offer an open enough home for Indian IT For several decades Indian IT providers have played an important role in helping companies across the region build a technology infrastructure that enables them to grow and prosper. In the digital era, the role of firms like TCS has evolved. We are especially focused on helping customers navigate the opportunities and challenges of the digital economy. In particular, we're developing tools and infrastructure around the digital core to ensure businesses are ready for a world disrupted by technology, ready to take on agile start-ups and traditional competitors alike. As our customers' businesses evolve, so do we, and our experience shows that European businesses continue to see huge value in the vital role we play in supporting their operations. Our commitment to the region and the communities we operate in - both business and social - is reflected by the open and collaborative nature of our partners and customers. We are long term partners with these customers and feel right at home in every one of the 21 markets we operate in. On a personal note, what are some of your highlights in this post I've been lucky enough to work with many brilliant colleagues and fantastic clients, but there are probably two things that stand out as personal highlights. Firstly, before moving into my new role as Chief Executive of Europe, I ran the Northern part of the region. In this position, we achieved tremendous year-on-year growth, more than doubling our operations since 2010 and ranking as number one for customer satisfaction in the Nordics. On a professional level, it was wonderful to see our team's hard work paying off and to be part of a growing, ambitious organisation. The second noteworthy highlight has been around our commitment to Wellness. As an enthusiastic long distance runner, it's been hugely gratifying for me to see so many colleagues get behind health and fitness as part of TCS' commitment to supporting marathons across the region. Living in Sweden, one of my passions is running through the great Swedish countryside and just this year we were able to launch a new partnership with Sweden's world famous Lidingöloppet cross country race. I think my own personal running story, and that of many of my colleagues, is reflected by our firm's growing commitment to supporting Wellness across the region, and that's something I'm tremendously proud of. Amit Bajaj is the Chief Executive of Tata Consultancy Service's European business, a unit which spans over 15 countries generating Euro 1.5 billion in revenues and supported by over 30,000 employees.

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