The past couple of years have been a bit of struggle for Wipro. Not only has competition got the better of them, internal change meant the leadership team was focused more on house-keeping challenges like attrition and team transition rather than core business strategy. In the post-2008 era, when software services clients sought vendors with domain expertise to grow rather than just cut cost, Wipro missed the bus as its model was not ready. 

Its competitors, especially TCS and Cognizant, on the contrary, pivoted quickly taking a chunk of the incremental growth with them. Although CEO TK Kurien drove in the right direction eventually, it was too little, too late. In the world of technology, where cycles are continually getting shorter, and status quo is disrupted every couple of years, it’s not easy when you have to play catch up. Not only do you have to be on top on the technology cycle, you got to be flawless in execution too. Wipro faltered on both these counts, falling behind its rivals.  

Promoter Azim Premji has always looked internally for leaders rather than bring in outsiders. Ashok Soota was the last CEO who was an outsider and all the others since have been associated with Wipro in some way or the other. While CEO-designate Abidali Neemuchwala has spent nine months at Wipro, he comes from TCS, a formidable competitor with strong execution skills and a history of scaling up revenue. 

Like Jack Welch — who has been a big influence on Premji - says, “Strategy is simply about finding the big “aha!”, then setting a broad direction, putting the right people behind it and executing with an unyielding emphasis on continual improvement.” That’s exactly what Neemuchwala has to do to get Wipro back to its winning ways, elaborates associate editor Kripa Mahalingam in the cover story.

In other stories, we have a feature on Mankind Pharma, the fastest growing drug-maker which has been a spectacular marketing success in the country. How far can it go with this super-successful strategy, asks senior correspondent Himanshu Kakkar.