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How Wipro Is Pushing Through H-1B Visa, Trump Headwinds

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How Wipro Is Pushing Through H-1B Visa, Trump Headwinds

Mr Neemuchwala is optimistic that Indian IT sector will "come out successfully".


The $150-billion Indian IT industry is facing multiple headwinds, from the changing technology landscape to recent geopolitical developments like Brexit and protectionist voices against foreign workers in the US. But industry veteran Abidali Z Neemuchwala, who is also the CEO of Wipro, is optimistic that Indian IT sector will "come out successfully".

"I have been with this industry for 25 years. We had different challenges across these 25 years. Every challenge has brought an opportunity. Indian IT industry has been very agile in terms of being able to evolve into something completely different and new," Mr Neemuchwala told NDTV's Namrata Brar on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Referring to technological changes like automation, artificial intelligence and cloud computing, Mr Neemuchwala said the "the speed of change this time is much higher than the earlier three to four earlier evolutions of Indian IT industry".

"This is the time for great transformation for the industry," he said.

How is Wipro gearing up for this change?

"We in Wipro believe that the future belongs to the bold. We identified capabilities in areas of design, digital, cloud, in areas of business process as a service...We have been acquisitive in those areas," he said.

Among Indian IT services companies, Wipro has been very active in acquiring companies to expand its footprint in new technologies.

Referring to the acquisitions, the Wipro CEO said, "Some of these capabilities can be built. But it will take longer. We have made some bold moves of making some acquisitions which will help us onboard some capabilities that we can scale up very quickly."

Mr Neemuchwala further said that Wipro also has a venture capital fund. "We have made seven strategic investments in companies in areas such as Big Data, cyber security and neural networks."

These companies are based across the globe, from Silicon Valley to Bengaluru to Tel Aviv.

"Innovation is happening all over the world and a lot of stuff is happening in India around digital payments," he said.

Wipro is also working with a lot of players in the digital payment space, Mr Neemuchwala said.

On the proposed H-1B visa restrictions by the incoming Trump administration, Mr Neemuchwala said, "Wipro as part of Indian IT industry, spearheaded by Nasscom, is participating in representing what we believe is a fair opportunity to compete in any market. We will continue to pursue that."

Besides that "as an organisation we have been preparing for this for a while. We have been hiring locally", he said.

Mr Neemuchwala also said that Wipro has been associated with many schools and US universities through various programmes to boost its local hiring.

"We could have hired more (in US) if got STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educated campus recruits in the US," he added.

The Wipro's CEO also the company "entire business model is undergoing a fundamental shift - how much you can deliver from different locations globally through innovation".

Mr Neemuchwala also mentioned Wipro's initiative in crowdsourcing. "Our crowdsourcing platform has 1.4 million programmers globally. Only 23,000 are Wiproites."


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