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Wisdom in the punchy one-liner

Ross O. Storey | Nov. 24, 2008
Lateral thinking about the financial crisis

Being a self-confessed collector of punchy and meaningful one-line sayings, I was pleased to pick up a few more at last weeks Wipro customer engagement event in Singapore which was hosted by CIO Asia magazine and entitled How IT can help business in Challenging times.

Rajat Mathur, Wipros urbane Chief Operations Officer for ANZ & ASEAN and senior vice president, gave an interesting presentation on Transformational Outsourcing and led off with a great quote from Britains wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Churchill said: A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Rajat said the current financial downturn was no longer a simple correction, but a fully-fledged restructuring. He said Wipros research indicated that it will be at least two-and-a-half years or 10 quarters before the world recovers.

This polished COO attributed with having guided Wipro through spectacular 85 per cent growth in 2006-07, said there was now evidence of board room panic when it comes to spending, and IT spending was particularly volatile.

One of the strategies that Wipro has found major enterprises adopting, because of the credit crunch, is what he called an increased focus on customer-centricity. They are not going for new customers so much as focusing on existing ones and working to earn more revenue per customer.

Enterprises are also looking to adopt new technologies such as cloud computing, unified communications and Service-oriented architecture. Rajat said that CIOs are using cloud computing in very small pockets, and full adoption of cloud computing is still some time away.

He had some key points of advice to the senior IT executives at the event: Take the plunge and lead the way, he said, or else soon your competition will. Although you would expect him to say this, Rajat also urged executives to hire advisors to help them through difficult periods. An outsider can come in and make things happen because they provide a fresh view, he said.  

To conclude his presentation, Rajat quoted American business management guru Peter Drucker, who said: Whenever you see a successful business, someone made a courageous decision.

In my opening address at the event, I alluded to it being held on the 10th anniversary of the International Space Station, which now has its biggest-ever population of 10 astronauts on board. So, since before the start of the 21st century (1998) there has always been at least three people orbiting the planet, and six rich civilians have even indulged themselves in space tourism by visiting the International Space Station. But, how many earthlings realize this? This seems to demonstrate how we all now very much take technology for granted.


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