We are looking at a moment of inflexion: 3i Infotech Global CEO

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“We are looking at a moment of inflexion that only comes once in a lifetime of any organisation,” says 3i Infotech Global CEO and MD, Thompson P. Gnanam.

For 3i Infotech, certainly it is looking at a moment of inflexion after it took a key business transformation decision in 2020 and sold its software products business for Rs 1000 crore (approx $136 million) to Azentio Software. And subsequently, Thompson P. Gnanam was given charge as 3i Infotech Global CEO and MD in 2021 with the goal to be a future-ready enterprise.

Under his leadership, 3i Infotech adopted a multi-pronged approach of ‘Invent-Incubate-Innovate,’ and has set an organic revenue growth target of $1 billion by 2030. Since then, the Mumbai headquartered company achieved noticeable progress and has been steadily growing by winning multiple deals across sectors including RailTel’s Wi-Fi Monetisation Project this year.

In this interview, 3i Infotech’s Global CEO and MD Thomspon P. Gnanam talks to TechHerald about the business outlook, growth strategy for 2023 and the key market segments. He also shares perspectives on IT spend and job cuts across global tech companies as well as discusses the scenario for 3i Infotech against other IT companies and much more.

Edited excerpts…

Q1. What is 3i Infotech’s overall business outlook in 2023?
Thompson P. Gnanam:
We have invested in new tech capabilities with our entrepreneur-in-residence (EiR) programmes, to step into rapidly growing spaces like edutech, frontier and emerging technologies, and cybersecurity. We will continue to evaluate more and more startups and entrepreneurs to incubate, innovate and invent for the future. Besides our strength in cloud, we are a digital inside, cognitive-powered, edge-ready company.

 We are looking at a moment of inflexion that only comes once in a lifetime of any organisation – we have everything to gain, by taking strategic risks, by living our values to challenge the status quo, adaptively learn, ideate, innovate, and invent the future. Yes, some ideas may fail. No idea is bad but the key is to fail fast and pick ourselves up to run again. We are the right size to try new business models, reboot ourselves, course correct and keep forging ahead. We can afford to be capitalists in mind and socialists at heart.

Q2. Given the nature of the deals and growth in 2022, what strategy are you looking to drive for 3i Infotech this year?
Thompson P. Gnanam:
As the new 3i Infotech, we are in a unique place to reposition ourselves and prove that an agile, accountable, values-driven team is a potent force that the market will look up to and fear. Beyond disruptor, a true challenger.

2023 will see us focusing a lot on our IBR – India Business Region, leveraging our strengths and traction in the PSU space. We have banks, both legacy and new gen, looking at us as solid partners for growth. Retail and Telecom will gain more traction too, and with the RailTel deal, we have a lot on our plate to leverage and monetize for mutual benefit and the bigger cause of connecting Bharath.

Our recent foray into higher education with our incubation of a premier ERP for higher education and digital transformation for universities has put us in a unique position to take Indian universities global, especially with education going borderless.

In our GBR or Global business regions, APAC will see us focused on SMBs and Enterprises, leveraging our NuRe Suite of solutions, from Sovereign Cloud, Desk, Edge, Velocity and NOC SOC GCC. We are sought after and appreciated by anchor customers in the MEA. Our strong presence and domain expertise in the BFSI sector gives us ample leeway for niche operations such as in the Credit Union space in North America. 2023 will see us spread our wings and re-establish a strong global identity along with a robust India stronghold.

Q3. On which markets and industry segments you are focusing more in 2023? And what’s your observation on IT spending by organisations and enterprises in India?
Thompson P. Gnanam:
We will remain focused on cloud-first, cloud at the core and cloud security, digital inside with apps, automation and analytics, edge ready and focused on frontier technologies as they evolve. We are industry agnostic and currently partner with customers in manufacturing, BFSI, healthcare, telecom, logistics, education and PSUs.

About IT ‘spending’, it is now a no-brainer that IT is an investment in a business’s long and short-term sustainability and sustenance. IT investments can no longer be a ‘spend’ – if a business needs to survive and thrive. In fact, with much buzz around an impending recession, the C Suite is debating when, where and how to allocate the right budgets to tide over any shake-ups and is seeking the right partners with skin in the game in shifting times. It isn’t about going back on digital transformation or tech advancement. It is how to invest wisely and chose stable partners.

Q4. Amid the economic uncertainty and recessionary fears, many global tech companies eliminated job roles in big numbers. So how is this scenario panning out for the Indian IT industry and how’s the situation for 3i Infotech so far?
Thompson P. Gnanam:
The new 3i infotech will always have its ears to the ground and remain aware of industry shifts and macroeconomic changes. The world is waiting, in trepidation of a predicted recession. There is enough evidence that shows the typical behaviour of organisations in such times.

Some will get insecure, and defensive and others will want to conserve their hard-earned stature and preserve their P&L and EBITDA. They are possibly massive players with much to lose if they speculate in trying times. They are likely to hold firm to the status quo, perhaps downsize, shun change, and stay in the old steady state hoping not to erode too much.

There are others that will be conservative too but have nothing to sustain them once the moment and event pass on. They are likely to struggle for a while and quit. And then, there are the smaller, smarter, agile players. The risk-takers and fast movers, the innovators and game changers.

How about us? We are in that third sweet spot. We will be recruiting judiciously and managing the morale and culture of our teams with a growth mindset. Our entrepreneur-in-residence programme will mentor startups and entrepreneurs, creating a win-win growth path. Newer technologies and new skillset requirements will have been seeking the best and investing in skilling and retention. We also have our NuRe Park in a tier 3 town that is upskilling young engineers, backed by our partner Oracle, adding to the talent pool, and opening job opportunities.

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