Rooted and stable yet innovative, HCLT relies on core strengths to drive profitable growth

TBR assessment

HCL Technologies’ (HCLT) Mode 1-2-3 strategy remains a core pillar in the company’s efforts to navigate the dynamics of the ever-evolving IT services market, and positions it to transition its portfolio and address client needs now and post-pandemic. At the 2020 Analyst and Advisor Day, HCLT President and CEO C Vijayakumar noted, “The strategy is applicable to any business or enterprise.” Executing successfully on the strategy requires equal commitment from leadership and employees.

HCLT’s leadership is “strong and stable,” according to C Vijayakumar, with 30 top executives with an average of 26 years of experience with HCLT — a striking contrast to some of the company’s peers that have experienced a slew of executive departures and changes at the helm in recent years, such as Wipro’s (NYSE: WIT) May appointment of former Capgemini executive Thierry Delaporte as CEO. As such, HCLT is able to stay the course of its strategy — to utilize engineering and infrastructure services as a core enabler to drive digital transformation engagements and profitable growth — without deviating too far into unchartered domains. Its leadership also acts as a talent magnet, as a charismatic and consistent vision often trumps micromanagement tactics.

Services remains a people business, and HCLT knows it. While the company continues to embed automation to augment services, it relies heavily on its greatest asset, its employees, to extract the most value from its investments. With engineering services at its core, HCLT can execute on what the client wants — provided the client knows what they want — and the company is not shy about challenging its clients as it seeks to not simply solicit new business but to introduce innovative ideas. All of this would not be possible if HCLT did not stay true to its talent strategy.

Just like with its portfolio offerings, HCLT relies on staff with core capabilities. Consulting engineers, not consultants, are what differentiates HCLT from many of its peers, which often lose sight and aspire to be something for which they are not known. Just as talent carries a significant weight in HCLT’s differentiation, the way the company manages its partner network also has an impact on value proposition. As services and software relationships evolve to account for changing buyer expectations, HCLT must remain vigilant in not just how it partners but also with whom it partners. With COVID-19 shifting buyers’ digital transformation priorities and forcing clients to consolidate budgets, maintaining trusted relationships with business leaders will be key, compelling HCLT to forge exclusive relationships with technology-inclined business consultancies to ensure long-term success.

“A simple strategy and relentless focus on execution” fueled HCLT’s ability to accelerate revenue growth while maintaining margin performance over the past two years. During the HCL Analyst and Advisory Day, company executives, along with regional and segment leaders including the CEO, walked through HCLT’s business performance and growth areas, identifying bright spots within industry and service segments that align with the company’s business investments. While HCLT’s areas of investment, such as security, cloud, IoT and digital, do not vary significantly from those of its peers, the company has differentiated itself with its Mode 3-specific investments and leans on its talent and culture, ongoing innovation, and business outcomes achieved for clients to capture new opportunities around these growth areas.

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