In interaction with Venkatraman Narayanan, MD & CFO of Happiest Minds Technologies
Speaking with DSIJ, Venkatraman Narayanan, MD & CFO of Happiest Minds Technologies, indicates, strengthening existing partnerships and entering new partnerships with independent software vendors enables the company to expand its services and be a strategic vendor of choice. Following is the detailed interview -
What is your outlook for the Indian IT sector?
The shift from ‘technology being an enabler’ to ‘technology being the business’ has cut across industries. The shift was prevalent even in pre-pandemic times; however, the pandemic has further accelerated this process. Enterprises across the world have ramped up their technology transformation initiatives to stay relevant to their customers, drive efficiency and realise new channels of growth. The post-pandemic world will continue to put greater reliance on technology as they recalibrate their spending on digital transformational initiatives. We are optimistic about the demand environment in the industry as well as excited about the opportunity with our strong positioning as a born-digital, born agile company.
What are your growth levers?
Our growth will primarily be driven by:
Our ability to go deeper into our existing client’s technology spends. Almost 93 per cent of the business comes from existing customers. We will continue to focus and drive our land & expand our strategy.
Continuous focus on winning new customers. For example, in Q3FY21, we added 6 new customers.
Strengthening existing partnerships and entering new partnerships with independent software vendors would enable us to expand our services and be a strategic vendor of choice.
Our investments in centre of excellence (CoE) for building solutions in emerging disruptive technologies will help us tap growth opportunities in addressing specific business problems of customers.
Our mindful approach towards systems, people, and practices has helped us attract, develop and retain skilled employees (Happiest Minds) who continue to drive superior service quality and customer experience.
What is the growth outlook for each of your three business units viz., product engineering services (PES), digital business services (DBS), and infrastructure management & security services (IMSS)?
We see broad-based growth across our business units. Some themes that we observe in our focus areas are:
Evolutionary shift towards efficiency – One thing that the pandemic has ensured is that businesses cut flab in their operations and drive efficiency. By bringing together business, consumer, product, and service into one centralised ecosystem, businesses can be leaner and more efficient. Our digital business services (DBS) are helping enterprises drive such initiatives across sectors.
Everything on cloud – Cloud either on-prem, public or a combination of two has played a significant role in the growth of digital services. Enterprises continue to leverage and adopt cloud infrastructure for various initiatives such as creating omnichannel experiences, drive employee engagement in a remote environment, perform analytics and computing. Our product engineering services (PES) business helps clients create digital-ready, next-generation products and platforms in a cloud environment. Besides, the IMSS practice ensures enterprises have a seamless migration to a cloud environment and secure them with next-gen security solutions.
Ability to create and recreate value –Services around digital has ensured avenues for technology convergence and allows provisioning of solution integration from multiple technology functions. Our service offerings of build-transform-maintain through the three BUsPES, DBS and IMSS complete the whole nine yards of digital journey of a customer.
What are the biggest challenges faced by your company to deliver internal growth targets?
The world is not completely out of the woods from the pandemic. The second and third waves in some parts of the world continue to drive uncertainty.
The ultra-low interest rate scenarios across the world seem to have ebbed and central banks may review interest rates in an inflationary environment. This may impact IT spends in certain verticals like BFSI, manufacturing, and retail CPG. On the foreign exchange, this may create cross-currency headwinds to our growth story.
On the supply front, due to an invigorated job market, the industry has started to experience a spike in attrition levels. The unavailability of quality talent may hamper our ability to meet demand.
What are the key learnings from the current pandemic?
The world’s largest and stringent lockdown hit us around the same time last year when we were in the middle of our IPO preparation. The world seemed to have come to a standstill; there was pessimism everywhere. However, we remained steadfast in our decision to go public. The IPO listing in September 2020 was a watershed movement for all of us as our company was the first to list after the lockdown and made a successful debut in the capital markets after the great squeeze of March 2020. The workaround the IPO, which lasted 11 months, was done 100 per cent in a remote environment due to the company’s seamless transition to a work-from-home model. The episode taught us that black swan events like these may happen anytime, anywhere and it’s imperative to be resilient and continue to do what is right for our stakeholders – be it our customers, our investors, our Happiest Minds, our vendors, or the society at large.