HCL Technologies (HCLTech) is a $12 billion global technology company with 220,000 people in 54 countries, offering services in digital transformation, engineering, R&D and software products. I recently spoke with C. Vijayakumar (CVK), CEO and Managing Director, who shared his thoughts on business shifting to digital services, leading a global organization, and transforming the fan experience at MetLife Stadium.
HCLTech has undergone a significant transformation over the last few years. The company has shifted its strategy from offering traditional services to focusing on digital solutions by leveraging technologies like cloud analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity to support enterprises in transforming themselves digitally. This initiative, known as “Mode 2,” has grown over 25% annually over the past several years and has become a significant part of HCLTech’s portfolio.
The IT market presents a $500 billion market opportunity in software products, and HCLTech set out to capitalize on it by building software products for its clients. “Traditionally we were a services business, but realized we needed to create an alternate portfolio in the IT market. We decided to make the strategic move to create a products and platform business, building on the legacy of building software products for clients,” CVK said.
Through both organic and inorganic means, HCLTech created a software product business now worth $1.4 billion and delivering solid returns on investment. To further fuel growth in this area, the company acquired a set of mature products from IBM, which it is modernizing and injecting new life into, helping them to drive growth and stay ahead of the competition.
Leading a global team of almost 220,000 employees across 54 countries is no small feat, and CVK acknowledges having a strong leadership team is crucial for success. Most of the leaders in the organization have grown up with the company, with an average tenure of 20 years for the top 30 leaders and 15 years for the top 100 leaders. “We have a very loyal and committed leadership team, which understands the business, clients and the people. Our team has been a huge strength for our continued growth and our strong company culture,” he said.
Another critical aspect of the organization’s innovation culture is empowerment. Through “ideapreneurship,” every employee can submit their ideas, which will be evaluated and rated. If an idea impacts a client, it will be implemented and recognized, leading to an empowered, ideating learning organization. This program also helps to drive innovation at the company.
“We are committed to helping people find their spark. We believe that if people are happy, excited and energized, they will deliver excellent outcomes for our clients. This strategy has always worked in both good times and bad times,” CVK affirmed.
The tech industry is constantly evolving, and CVK identified two major trends already having a significant impact in 2023.
The first trend is the democratizing of technology like cloud analytics, AI and IoT. These technologies are becoming more accessible, accelerating business transformation across many industries. “Whether it’s financial services, banking, fraud, analytics, risk assessment or management, these technologies are transforming the way each one of these industries operates,” CVK stated.
The second trend he discussed was the growing emphasis on technologies that support sustainability. “We will see more investments and more companies venturing into the building of more sustainable technology solutions,” he explained.
The Future of HCLTech
Technology has always been a critical component of business operations, but with the emergence of new technologies, it is becoming even more vital. In 2023 and beyond, CVK predicts a continued increase in technology investment among its clients.
“Our customers want to find ways to be more efficient so they can cut costs and continue to invest in their digital transformation,” he stated. Given the current economic environment, HCLTech is promoting the idea of zero-cost digital transformation. “Through our zero-cost digital transformation solution, we can help our clients become more efficient – using our sustainable products and reinvesting the savings in additional digital programs for the future,” CVK said.
Transforming the Fan Experience
In 2022, MetLife Stadium, the New York Giants’ and Jets’ home, selected HCLTech as their official digital transformation partner. “Our purpose is to bring together the best technology and people to supercharge progress for our clients, our communities and the planet. It captures the aspiration of what we want to do,” CVK stated.
By leveraging their technology and expertise, HCLTech aims to help MetLife Stadium create an even better experience for fans, whether in the stands or on the sidelines, through immersive, real-time digital engagement. “HCLTech has built solutions to enhance the fan experience, and we will continue to work with MetLife Stadium, the Jets and Giants to improve the digital presence, analytics, and overall fan experience,” he said.
Curiosity and its Impact on Leadership
Curiosity is a crucial driver of growth and innovation in today’s fast-paced business world. As a leader, nurturing curiosity in yourself and your team can lead to new opportunities and enhanced performance.
CVK emphasized that it’s easy to stick with the same tasks for an extended period, but being curious and seeking new opportunities can help you grow and learn in your role. “Curiosity and learning go together. Curiosity drives the learning desire, and the learning desire manifests in wanting to learn and perform different roles. It’s a continuum,” he noted. This curiosity, learning, and new exposure cycle is essential to keeping an organization vibrant and motivated.
For a technology company, cultivating curiosity and a culture of learning is especially crucial, CVK stated. Encouraging employees to explore new technologies and ideas can lead to breakthrough innovations that propel the company forward.
As we navigate our careers, we often find ourselves trying to reach the spot in the upper right-hand quadrant of the two-by-two matrix – where success, growth, and upward momentum intersect.
CVK explained that while there wasn’t a specific moment for him, his career has been a journey of continuous growth and building on past successes. With each success, he has gained more confidence and conviction in his abilities, propelling himself to new heights.
“It’s been a road filled with small successes and big wins that landed me where I am today. It’s a continuous journey where you keep building on your achievements and learning new things,” CVK concluded.