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Swapan Johri, Corporate Vice President & Head of APAC Business at Indian IT company HCL Technologies, speaks to Nikkei Asian Review in Singapore. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
Asia300 Summit 2018

Cybersecurity a big opportunity for India's HCL Technologies

Vice president says company's secret is being in right place at right time

ROSEMARY MARANDI and AKIRA HAYAKAWA, Nikkei staff writers | India

SINGAPORE -- India's fourth largest software services exporter, HCL Technologies, is beating an industry lull as it looks to cybersecurity for revenue growth. In a recent interview, Swapan Johri, an executive vice president and the head of the company's Asia-Pacific business, spoke about the company's growth strategies.

Q: According to reports, HCL will double its cybersecurity investments. Could you detail this plan? Also in what other areas do you plan to invest?

A: We are looking at some more contemporary services now, things that are very relevant to what is happening in the world today, and cybersecurity underpins a lot of things. We have created a full line of businesses now (and) we are looking especially in two areas -- the first is people and the second is cybersecurity fusion centers.

The first of these centers was created and launched six months ago in [the Indian city of] Noida. The plan is to do three to four centers around the globe. We are looking at one in Melbourne, Australia.

Q: Indian IT services have been struggling recently in terms of profit growth. On the contrary, HCL Technologies maintains a high growth rate.  What is your strength, your core competence? 

A: It's about being at the right time at the right place. Our revenue per employee has been going up. We go up to our customers and say we can do it differently for you. We have been at it for three years, changing the way we deliver services to our customers -- that has helped us keep our profits better, keep our customers engaged. Our customer satisfaction index has also been on the increase.

Q: Manufacturing, financial services, life sciences and healthcare, and public services are the four biggest contributors to HCL revenue. How are the business situations in these four industries and what are their near-term prospects?

A: All four of them are doing well and will probably contribute the major portion of growth for this year, too. In financial services, we got some new contracts from insurance [companies]. Manufacturing has been growing at a pretty good rate, especially some of the new concepts [in the] IoT area, etc. Healthcare has been on an upswing. Public services [like providing electricity] is doing well and will continue to do so. As we speak, we are signing a public services deal in Southeast Asia.

Q: HCL has been aggressive in terms of inorganic growth. What about going forward?

A: We believe that for an organization to grow, inorganic is very important. We are constantly evaluating.

Q: How concerned is the company with the constant talk coming out of the Donald Trump administration regarding changes to the U.S.'s H1B visa rules?

A: It's something that we definitely factor in. It's not something you can keep aside and say: "Hey, this doesn't matter." That is not the scenario. Is it our top concern? The answer is no. Fortunately, by design or luck, we had a substantial number of people in the U.S. compared to all other countries.

Swapan has an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He began his career with HCL in 1986 as a management trainee and has held a range of positions in account management, service delivery and strategic business initiatives. He has been an integral part of building HCL's global services.

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