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'I'm not here just to remain the fourth-largest IT company'

April 22, 2009 10:20 IST

The new bosses of Satyam Computer Services Tuesday took the step of directly taking questions from apprehensive employees.

In an interactive session, titled Direct From Anand Mahindra, webcast and telecast through Satyam's internal TV network, Anand Mahindra, chairman of Tech Mahindra, and Vineet Nayyar, vice-chairman and managing director, answered questions and explained what they intend to do with the scam-hit company they've acquired and its 50,000-odd staff ('associates' as they're termed).

K Rajani Kanth managed to listen.

Edited excerpts:

Operational excellence is the need of the hour. Are you looking at appointing a chief operating officer to address this?

Nayyar: It is too early to come to a conclusion. I would like the responsibility to percolate downwards. All business managers and senior managers should be responsible for the profitability of their segments.

Satyam as a brand has taken a beating in the last couple of months. What is your plan?

Mahindra: We will soon take a decision on this.

What do you think is the key challenge for us -- something like IBM or Accenture? Is it our back-office work, financial strength, history or global presence?

Mahindra: If you see the history of companies that have grown to be great, it is only their strong intention to whiteboard the industry and consulting skills to stay on top of the pyramid.

I'm not here just to remain the fourth-largest IT company in the country. What I am here for is to whiteboard this industry.

Setting a goal of becoming number one is quite ambitious. You said once that the Indian IT story's version 1 is over. Are there any areas in the 2.0 version that you feel could get the Satyam and Tech Mahindra combine to become number one?

Mahindra: I believe we can do it.

In the automobile industry, especially in components, we call it hodge-podge. We don't go to the customer and give him a clutch or a forging.

We tell them (customers) that we will come up with a design, help them conceive it and then sell it to them. Then we manage the supply chain and logistics.

I think the world is now ready for a hodge-podge in the software solutions business.

Do you see any overlapping of businesses and do you see any plus points in the Tech Mahindra-Satyam combine's competencies?

Nayyar: We bring complementary skills and I don't think we have a single customer in common.

You have 500 customers and we have 110 and there is hardly any commonality.

We are the top 10 providers in the country and you guys are leaders, especially in the enterprise solutions business. So, we have positions of leadership.

Overlapping, possibly yes with TIMES (telecom, infrastructure, media, entertainment and semiconductor). We will do it by the rules of the board.

What will make us compete with IBM or Accenture?

Nayyar: We have done it already. We won the (Satyam takeover) deal and IBM and Accenture were left behind.

On a more generic level, it is the determination and ambition and the distance we have travelled in the last 10-15 years.

The business should not be output-based functionality but outcome-based. These are the areas we should focus on.

Just lift your spirits and intelligence.

What is the key message we need to convey to our clients when we contact or interact with them?

Nayyar: Essentially, that the uncertainty has been removed and we are now working alongside.

We have been providing excellent services to our customers and we will continue to do so.

Mahindra: We need to start roadshows to our customers.

AS Murty, who is to continue as the chief executive officer of Satyam, said in his concluding remarks: "It is a rebirth for all of us. Together, we will make our dreams come true and continue to focus on customer retention and gain back some portion of the business that was lost. Please continue the delivery excellence. Tightening our belts is the need of the hour. We should tune expenses in line with our revenues."