As a global company delivering innovation-led strategy, technology, and business consulting services all over the world, Wipro Technologies has been present in Romania for over 10 years. The Diplomat – Bucharest talks with Vivek Bakshi, General Manager – International Operations (Europe) at Wipro Technologies about these year’s milestones and the steps that the overall industry must undertake in order to evolve in a sustainable and relevant manner.
Wipro Technologies started as a business process outsourcing company in Romania but, as Vivek Bakshi says, the company’s operations expanded beyond this.
“Everything has changed now. We roughly run two types of businesses. However, BPO is now a digital operations platform, since the old meaning of BPO is getting obsolete and these services are shifting to more complex operations,” Vivek Bakshi says. According to the GM, the company’s approach was to analyze the market and spot the next opportunity for doing business and that was – the automotive sector. “One of our milestones in the past years is the shift towards the automotive sector. It’s part of our global big bet and plan. We locally saw the opportunity few years ago, so we have moved our focus more into automation and digital,” The Wipro’s GM explains.
Two years ago, Wipro Technologies announced the launch of an Automotive Center of Excellence (CoE) in Timisoara, Romania, a business that is currently delivering innovative embedded software solutions for the company’s global and European clients. According to the company’s data, today, Wipro’s businesses consists half of the DOP side while the other half is focused on IT. “We feel there is a lot more potential on the IT for the growth. That’s been the focus and the bet that we assumed few years ago,” Vivek Bakshi adds.
According to the GM, the automotive sector is a growing area. “The technology will change everything. Once the cars become fully autonomous, it will change the industry forever. Currently, there are a couple of companies that are close to this technology. Romania is a very critical part of our global plan,” Wipro Technologies’ GM says.
Growing a corporate social responsible culture
Wipro Technologies is highly active in the area of social responsibility area and, as the company’s GM tells, there is a lot of focus in the company on making a difference to the society they operate in. In Romania, Wipro runs multiple programs for over 10 years, since they set the roots here. But, in the area of CSR, the company felt there is room for improvement and doing a stronger difference, so, two years ago, they changed direction also in this area. As Vivek Bakshi mentions, the goal of their social responsibility endeavors should be on a long term. That is why, as part of their multiple projects, Wipro “adopted” two communities outside Bucharest, two small villages, with poor communities and very much behind in terms of development. “There was no heating in those villages’ schools, there was no bathroom inside the school buildings. The children didn’t even have books and we wanted to make an actual difference in that community. We wanted to make a sustainable change that continue in a long term,” Wipro’s GM says.
The company started to revamp the schools in the vulnerable communities and developed partnerships with other companies for this project. “And now, there is already a huge difference. We want to make the schools a welcoming place, but it is a long-term project. For us, it is one of our close to heart achievements,” Vivek Bakshi adds. For these communities, the company’s CSR strategy focuses on three areas: education, health and environment.
2019, a challenge in terms of workforce
The year came with its challenges, as the company’s GM tells. “What used to make Romania initially attractive in terms of workforce availability, with companies coming here for the large pool of educated people, still stays true today but the costs started to escalate. I think that’s the biggest threat to the country in this respect,” Vivek Bakshi mentions. However, as the Wipro GM says, Romania remains a good destination because the current professionals can deliver competitive and good services. The main concern is triggered by the lack of people that is felt today and it is anticipated to soar in the future. “There are hundreds of positions available in the companies. We just can’t find the people and it is harder and harder to fill the available positions. This is just a huge challenge for the companies in our industry and the customers are beginning to feel that,” Vivek Bakshi states. Also, the concern is present also in finding the available talents on the market, because, the company’s GM feels that is a real issue and it is a general feeling across the industry. The companies must adjust their strategies to this context, especially because, as Wipro’s GM says, “the quality of workforce that we get here is superior to other places in Europe. The quality of work we can deliver is great, but we can’t find the people for all the projects that we have in mind.”
Hopes for the future
Closely related to the previous statements regarding the workforce availability, Vivek Bakshi considers that there are two aspects to be addressed for the future: the growth of educational projects in partnership with schools and academic landscape and the changing of the business model. “We don’t find the available talent in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. So, if we don’t find the talent here, we must go to reach the available talents. Today, we attract people to come here. Maybe it is time to bring the work to them,” Vivek Bakshi adds. The local business model can learn from the best practices and success stories tested and implemented elsewhere. Wipro Technologies, as well as other companies offer work-from-home opportunities but, in the opinion of Vivek Bakshi, the companies with operations in the business services sector in Romania need to work more together as an industry in order to to find ways to keep the workforce in Romania. “It has to be an industry effort with government and institutional support,” Vivek Bakshi says.
Working towards the same goal
Vivek’s message to the business community addresses the need of business leaders, relevant voices in industries and all the people working together towards the same goal. “We need to come together to address this challenge as an industry. I think we are all working towards the same goal. It is time to join forces to address this risk of keeping the business in the country. We have the same challenges, we obviously compete, but we must work together when dealing with challenges,” Vivek Bakshi says.