Tag: WITCH

Will Satyam’s Itch “TWITCH” the “WITCH”? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

In September 2008, Satyam, then the sixth largest India-based IT services company, received the coveted “Golden Peacock Global Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance” award. Then, just four short months after this recognition, one of the biggest cases of fraud in the Indian IT service industry came to light, with the firm’s Chairman B. Ramalinga Raju admitting to financial fraud to the tune of ~US$1.5 billion.

The industry was shaken. The company’s stock and fortunes crashed.

Satyam’s much-needed rescue support came from the Indian government and the new Satyam Board, which consisted of numerous stalwarts from the Indian industry. This provided the required handholding to avoid a complete collapse, protect the interest of its employees and clients, and uphold the image of the Indian IT industry. Consequently, a sense of stability was achieved in April 2009 when Tech Mahindra won the bid to acquire a majority stake in Satyam (which was later renamed to Mahindra Satyam).

Since then, the company went through struggles, twists and turns, and finally reached a steady stage under the Mahindra umbrella. Following is an analysis of company’s financials and its stock price movement during its turbulent times and through its last financial year:

Satyam blog exhibit 1

The formal merger of Mahindra Satyam with Tech Mahindra in June 2013 made “Satyam” brand history. The combined entity, retaining the name Tech Mahindra, regained ground to again become the sixth largest Indian IT-based service provider, intensifying competition for the industry-wide known WITCH (Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, and HCL) group, and turning it into the TWITCH group (with Tech Mahindra being the new addition!). This turn of events strengthens Everest Group’s hypothesis about the possible formation of new groups in the industry (for details, refer to our blog “The Changing Pecking Order and Emerging Irrelevance of the WITCH Group Term”

The new Tech Mahindra, with US$2.7 billion revenue, has laid down an ambitious roadmap to be achieved by 2015, where each digit of this year denotes a meaning:

2015

The aspiration

The realism

2015

Reach US$5 billion revenue by 2015

  • The growth rates in the current economic environment are likely to vary in the range of 5-15 percent. Thus, a target of US$5 billion in revenue, implying a CAGR of 36 percent, is unlikely to be achieved without an inorganic route
  • Tech Mahindra is backed by Mahindra Group which has acquisitions in its DNA; therefore, a possible buyout cannot be ruled out

2015

Zero differential between its bottom line and the EBITDA of the fastest growing rival

  • While this is good to appease the stock markets, it appears to conflict with the company’s growth aspiration. An organization chasing huge top line growth should not be constrained with profitability targets in the short term as it must invest in its business

2015

Being number one as the best employer and amongst the best-known companies for corporate social responsibility

  • The company can become the best employer when its employees are happy. This ties back to the type and amount of work and talent available in the company, and is thus intricately linked to its growth
  • With the Tech Mahindra Foundation – the company’s dedicated CSR arm – we expect it to achieve some level of success in its corporate social responsibility initiatives

2015

Five focus areas – telecom; manufacturing; mobility analytics, cloud security and banking; network services; and banking, financial services and insurance

  • Tech Mahindra needs to leverage its telecom legacy to differentiate itself from other India-based service providers. It should also exploit the vast potential in telecom cloud delivery models
  • All service providers are focusing on the mobility, analytics, and the cloud stack. Tech Mahindra needs to figure out how will it stand out and differentiate vis-à-vis the competition. It may also want to look at industries, such as healthcare, that are going through significant transformation and creating opportunities for the service providers
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Do you believe that Tech Mahindra has the mettle to reshape the contours of the India-based technology provider landscape?

The Changing Pecking Order and Emerging Irrelevance of the WITCH Group Term | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

As most in the global services industry know, the acronym WITCH stemmed from the fact that the large, India-based, offshore-centric service providers – Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, and HCL Technologies – had quite similar delivery models, sales strategies, risk appetite, and growth trajectories, which essentially placed them in a single bucket.

However, Everest Group’s recently released annual assessment, “The Changing Pecking Order of the Indian IT Service Provider Landscape, revealed that the relevance of the collective term WITCH is fast diminishing as market conditions are forcing differentiation among these players.

Indeed, stark divergence among this group, as evidenced by Cognizant’s capture of the number two spot away from Infosys (see chart below), is clearly emerging.

WITCH ranking

Per the latest financial results released by these offshore majors (ending March 31, 2013), TCS and Cognizant continued to outgrow their peers on a yearly basis – both in terms of size and growth – by adding revenue that was higher than, or almost at par with, the cumulative incremental revenue of Infosys, Wipro, and HCL. Their clear vision and strategic bets, as compared to the prevailing internal confusion of the other WITCH players, is paying off.

What is leading to this segregation within the WITCH group?

  • TCS is continuing to excel on the back of its broad-based growth and aggressive penetration in the European market
  • Cognizant’s approach of keeping margins lower via a higher investment in sales and marketing spend is fetching  benefits
  • HCL is capitalizing well on the ongoing churn in the industry, and is exploiting the anti-incumbency against the traditional service providers. While this makes HCL’s growth narrow and focused largely on infrastructure services, it’s paying off for a short-term strategy
  • Infosys and Wipro are struggling with their internal, company-specific issues, (i.e., strategic confusion, weakening brand recognition, legal issues, and senior level exits).

The ultimate questions are:

  • Will the irrelevance of the collective WITCH term become more visible in the future? Will the different strategic gambles of each service provider lead to huge variances in their success rates?
  • Will the return of Infosys’ retired co-founder and former chairman Narayana Murthy help it make a comeback to the levels of TCS and Cognizant?
  • To what extent will the ongoing challenges of a few of the WITCH group players create opportunities for mid-sized players – such as Genpact, one of the key players in the FAO space, and Tech Mahindra (the combined entity) which has credible enterprise applications and infrastructure management offerings – to capitalize on their niche capabilities?

We expect to witness further changes over the next few years in the pecking order in the overall industry, and the formation of new groups cannot be ruled out. This is likely to be driven by inorganic growth, key strategic investments, service provider consolidation, and aggressive sales strategies.

For drill-down data and insights into pecking order changes in the Indian IT Service Provider Landscape by size, verticals, and geographies, please see Everest Group’s newly released viewpoint, “The Changing Pecking Order of the Indian IT Service Provider Landscape.”

Which WITCH? Switches in the Indian IT Majors’ Rankings Line-up | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Although five years ago it was difficult to differentiate among the WITCH (Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, and HCL) providers, Everest Group last year identified a variety of clearly emerging and meaningful distinctions in its May 2011 examination of the top five Indian IT providers.

Our just released second annual analysis, Report Card for the Indian IT Majors: Pecking Order Analysis of the “WITCH” Group, found that the top ranked provider in each of the dimensions we evaluated – financial performance, industry vertical performance, and geographic performance – remained the same, but the rankings among the five have shifted. While the rankings are not necessarily the most effective gauge of current capability or future success, the position shifts tell important, company-specific stories.

So which of the WITCHes is where in our 2012 (April 2011 through March 2012) analysis? Let’s take a quick look.

WITCH Leaderboard FY 2012

Financial Performance

TCS retained the top spot in terms of total revenue, exceeding US$10 billion for the 12 months ending March 31, 2012. It also widened the enterprise revenue gap with #2 Infosys by ~ US$1 billion, as compared to last year (the total gap is now over US$3 billion). Cognizant’s 29% revenue growth is significantly higher than that of the other Indian IT majors, and the company, which overtook Wipro on enterprise revenue rankings last year, seems to be on track to overtake Infosys to become the second largest WITCH major. On a quarterly run rate basis, this may happen as soon as the coming quarter.

Infosys continues to be the most profitable. Note: We don’t believe that being the most profitable translates to being the most successful. Sustainable growth and success is rooted in a prudent balance of short-term profitability and longer-term investment priorities.

Industry Vertical Performance

In BFSI, TCS retained its #1 ranking with more than US$4 billion in revenues, Cognizant overtook Infosys’ #2 place at the table, and HCL is showing good momentum. But it’s also important to note here that the Indian IT majors stack up differently in the BFSI sub-verticals. For example, TCS and Cognizant are the leaders in the insurance applications outsourcing space, while Wipro marginally edged out Infosys on recent insurance industry wins, growth, client quality, and investments in domain solutions and intellectual property.

Cognizant again topped the leader board in the healthcare and life sciences space with a practice that is nearly three times the size of second-placed Wipro’s. And although Infosys’ healthcare practice is fourth in terms of revenue (US$385 million), it is also the fastest growing among the WITCH group, with 42% year on year growth. TCS’ rapid growth rate in healthcare indicates that there may be a rank change with Wipro in coming quarters.

In energy and utilities, Wipro not only retained its #1 position but also significantly increased the gap between itself and #2 Infosys, in large part due to its acquisition of SAIC’s oil and gas services business in early 2011. Interestingly, we see TCS inching closer to Infosys in this space.

Geographic Performance

While TCS won the top spot in both North America and Europe, it’s an interesting mixed bag among the other WITCH players in the two regions. Cognizant has overtaken Infosys in North America, rising to the ranks of #2, and now only lags TCS’ North American revenue by $325 million. In Europe, all providers except Cognizant achieved higher growth than in North America, with Wipro and Infosys coming in second and third, respectively.

To read a detailed analysis of the what’s and why’s of our WITCH group rankings, please download the complimentary report at: Report Card for the Indian IT Majors: Pecking Order Analysis of the “WITCH” Group.

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