One of the most notable turnarounds in recent IT services history has been the remarkable increase in revenue and profit performance of Wipro since Thierry Delaporte took the helm 18 months ago just as the Pandemic was in full throttle. Over the past few quarters, the firm has posted close to double-digital revenue growth and will surpass the $10 billion revenue level. Thierry moved swiftly to make restructure the firm around geographic regions while simplifying its management structure, and he also brought in some new faces from the outside to add fresh ideas, energy and focus to implement his plans.
One of Thierry’s recent recruits has been Cincinnati’s own Stephanie Trautman, who joined the firm last February from Accenture, to take on the new role of Chief Growth Officer for the firm. So we coaxed her off the golf course to tell us a bit about herself, what she’s doing for Wipro and why the firm has been making such a strong bounceback in the market…
Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst, HFS Research: Well, it’s great to get some time again with you, Stephanie, up close and personal. So I guess my first question is going to be, you know, have you always been in the tech business? Can you share a little bit about maybe how your career evolved since you left college? Was this what you always wanted to do?
Stephanie Trautman, Chief Growth Officer, Wipro: Sure, Phil. I’ve spent my entire career in either financial services, technology, or both. I really did not anticipate this career, when I graduated from college. I went back to school to get my MBA, and then started a career at Ernst & Young, and that’s where I kind of got introduced to technology, and really had a passion for it, so have stayed in this industry since then. So I did move around a lot, in my career, but when I did, you know, it was often to either learn something new, or grow my responsibilities, or use my experience for the organization I was joining. So I’m really lucky to have worked with some fantastic organizations, and learned a lot, learned this business, and happy now to be able to help others do the same.
Phil: You’ve got this fancy job title, you’re the Chief Growth Officer, so you head up, what, sales, and marketing, and partnerships, large deals, etc. Can you tell me a bit about what a day in your life is looking like, Stephanie, in this new role of yours?
Stephanie: You know, I’m really fortunate to really love what I do, and I was particularly excited about this role. On a typical day, I’m either meeting with my chief growth office leadership team, talking about how we increase our large deal pipeline, and win large deals, or I’m meeting with Laura and Gurvinder to talk about what we need to do to increase brand awareness, either in the marketplace, or with our advisors and our partners. I spend a lot of time with our ecosystem partners, understanding their strategies, and Wipro, and how we could come together in more impactful ways. And then, you know, in the first, probably, four or five months, I spent a lot of time hiring, which was also a lot of fun, and met some fantastic talent. On the good days, Phil, I spend time with our people, just meeting them, hearing their thoughts on, Wipro, and our growth opportunities. I particularly meet with every woman in the organization who reaches out to me, I spend some time with, just to understand their career aspirations, and share a little advice from mine. And so, you know, while I’m focused primarily on the marketing growth, I also really like what I do internally, from a people development perspective, and inclusion and diversity. So lots on my plate, exciting, and never… never a dull moment.
Phil: That’s certainly not dull! So, I mean, and since you joined the firm, we’ve seen a lot of new talent being brought into the company to lead a lot of your large deals and your partnership teams, and we’ve also seen some of your internal folks being elevated. D’you want to talk a bit more about that and your leadership style? You’ve mentioned you like to nurture and grow talent, but what’s this team you’re building, and what’s it like, balancing the new versus the existing folks?
Stephanie: Yeah. I’m really excited about the talent that we have at Wipro, Phil. It really is a blend of the best talent that we have, many of those who have spearheaded the organisation for 20-plus years, and then combining that with the diverse group of leaders who’ve joined us from some of the top companies in our industry. You know? There’s always that period of time where we’re learning from each other, just to understand ways of working, and new ways of working. A lot of collaboration in the organisation on our key growth imperatives, and what we need to do to build a bigger, bolder Wipro. I’ve really been deliberate in hiring people who can appreciate that rich heritage in the company, but also have kind of a builder mindset, so what do we need to do to effect change, to transform our own business, and really continue to grow exponentially. I think, for me, as a leader, I… Thierry and I, I think, share a similar philosophy, of that, you know, I like to hire really good talent, who knows their role well, and support them, and let them do what they do best. And then my role is really to help facilitate that, and break down any barriers, or help them get funding, and things that they need, to do their job well. So I can lean in, when I need to, but I’m a pretty good delegator, as well.
Phil: So I guess we’re over 18 months, now, into a pandemic; hopefully we soon see some light coming. But do you feel we’re in a calm before the storm, Stephanie? Or do you see something happening differently in our industry? You’ve been around here long enough to sort of get some experience; do you think we’re in for some big challenges ahead? Or do you see something else going on?
Stephanie: You know, Phil, I think we’re kind of in the storm. I think that the pandemic really shifted a lot of things, for both our industry, as well as for our clients. Remote and hybrid work environments are here to stay, so how do we collaborate better, how do we use technology to do that? Our clients are accelerating the digitization of their businesses, they’re trying to ward off the new disruptors, and invest in growth, and they’re using technology, AI, and data to help them do that. And so I think we’re kind of in the storm, and our clients are looking for the partners who can, you know, not just help them weather it, but also emerge more resilient, more focused on their business, and the growth that they want to achieve, and with the information and the agility that’s necessary to grow. So I tend to think we’re kind of in it, but I think there’s certainly more to come.
Phil: And so you mentioned a big shift around these hybrid offerings. I also noticed that Wipro invested a fair amount of capital into your FullStride Cloud Services. So what do we expect to see in terms of a cloud offering that will win you new deals in the market? How are you going to drive this?
Stephanie: Yeah, I think FullStride, for us, was really an important kind of acceleration and aggregation of our sales talent, our delivery talent, and our investment, in a way that would allow us to move faster in the market, and also more seamlessly, for our clients, and for our partners. You know, Wipro’s been investing in cloud services for a long time, and we’ve been providing cloud services for our clients, but I think, with the pandemic, the momentum just shifted in a material way, and clients were all… the ones that had embraced cloud early on were advantaged, and those that hadn’t started on their journeys were disadvantaged. And so I think everyone is looking at, you know, “How do we safely and thoughtfully move to the cloud?” They need more from us. If you look at some of the big wins we’ve had, with Metro, and Telefonica, and Cynergy Bank, plus some others we haven’t talked about, these are transformational kinds of opportunities, where the client was fundamentally looking to make a drastic shift, and partnering with us to make it happen. You know, I think, too, our hyperscaler partners are really driving this market. They’re the ones that are signing the billion-dollar agreements with clients, and then pivoting to figure out which partner can help them, and help that client move to cloud, so we have to be better, and better orchestrated with our partners. So a lot of the investment that we’re making is in our sales talent, so we can be more proactive in the marketplace, so that we can be more proactive with our partners, and so we can seamlessly, kind of, bring all of Wipro together, in a way that simplifies it for our clients, and with higher impact. And, you know, obviously, we’re going to continue to look for thoughtful acquisitions, that either give us scale or a capability that we want to build, and we also want to invest with our partners on industry solutions and accelerators that help our clients move to the cloud, and have even greater impact on their business. You may have seen the report we just published, but our clients, the ones who are really adopting cloud in a powerful way are getting massive ROIs from those investments. So we want to be on the journey with them.
Phil: Right. So, I mean, you’ve come from a Big Four type business – Accenture, right. So how would you contrast that type of change in culture and focus, as you’re building things out at Wipro? Has it been a major, major difference for you?
Stephanie: You know, it’s funny, Phil, over my career, I’ve worked for two of the original Big Five. I think the orientation is probably a little bit different. I think a lot of the audit and tax firms that got into consulting, and then moved into outsourcing, have a slightly different orientation than maybe companies like Wipro, who have stared out in technology, providing necessary skills at good price points, and then evolving up the value chain to deliver more consulting and transformation type services. So I think the orientation is a little bit different. Certainly, the cultures are different. But, you know, at the end of the day, we have more in common than we have different, and that’s that we’re here to help our clients be successful. And so, regardless of the company I’ve worked for, that’s always been my orientation, and I think when you put the client at the centre of what you do, it really informs your strategy, and the kinds of people and investments that you need, in order to help them. So we’re probably more alike than we are different, but… but definitely a few differences.
Phil: Stephanie, you’ve also been tasked with managing the influencer channel; I know that’s very important in Wipro, as well. So what’s changed, do you think, especially over the last couple of years, when you look at the impact of influencers, analysts, advisors, etc.? Do you think that’s changed markedly, particularly since the pandemic, as you look to attack the market?
Stephanie: Sure. You know, Phil, I think you’re an example of the change that we’ve seen in the advisory business, and I know we certainly appreciate the partnership with you, and with others, to help us understand what you see in the marketplace, and share those findings with us, so that we can be smarter about how we engage with our clients. I think, you know, the market’s different today, clients have a lot more information at their fingertips, there’s… you know, most are somewhat mature, or have some level of maturity in what we do, in outsourcing, or consulting, and so the way that we engage with them is just different than, I think, when I started out in this business, where we were really teaching them, you know, how to do this, and we were really the expert. We’re still that, in many ways, but I think our clients know a lot more, when we start an engagement with them, and I think it’s shifted from us teaching, to us codesigning and cocreating together, to get the optimal outcome. And I’m optimistic that, as you and the advisor community continue to educate and amplify the best of the partner community, or the service provider community, I think it allows us then, once we do engage, to really focus on the client’s challenge, and cocreating that solution together. You know, there’s always the need to help with negotiations, or pricing strategies, or options, but I see a lot more cocreation and collaboration than when I started in this business, a few years ago.
Phil: And you’re a Cincy girl, right? Isn’t it chocolate on your pasta that you lot eat over there? [Laughs]
Stephanie: [Laughs]. Well, you know, the Bengals had a good weekend last weekend, so I can say “Who Dey!” I’m a big college sports fan, too, so I sneak over to Kentucky and cheer on my Wildcats, at least during basketball season, and a little bit… football this year, a big win with them, and… and my son’s at Auburn, so I’m a big SEC football and basketball fan, as well, so this week I have bragging rights across all three.
Phil: Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure getting some time face to face, Stephanie, and we’ll share this with our readers…. I hope you have some fun, when you meet with Thierry next week, send him my best, and it’s great to see you guys doing so well, and all the energy I’m seeing around Wipro. So best of luck for the next year or two, and hopefully we can catch up again soon!
Stephanie: Thanks, Phil! Really enjoyed talking!