Wipro set to kick off 2021 with a sleeker simplified model

Wipro plans to kick off 2021 with a new simplified model. New CEO Thierry Delaporte hasn't shied away from pushing his leadership team to focus on unpicking the firm's sprawling portfolio and delivery model, in a bid to bring much-needed speed and agility to the hyper-competitive IT services market.

Since joining Wipro in July, Delaporte has lauded the benefits of simplicity, pushing executives to figure out new ways to breakdown siloes and reduce unnecessary layers. According to his latest announcement, the vendor will undergo a complete restructure, breaking down the traditional vertical-focused business units. Instead opting for geographic-oriented Strategic Market Units, covering; Americas (segregated by sectors); Europe; and Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa (APMEA). Supporting the market units, the firm has created two global business lines: iDEAS (Integrated Digital, Engineering & Application services) and iCORE (Cloud Infrastructure, Digital Operations, Risk & Enterprise Cybersecurity services).

The announcement comes at a crucial time. Notwithstanding the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, two broader themes are evolving in the IT services sector. First, and aligned with Wipro’s plan to cluster synergistic capabilities and solutions into distinct business lines, is the push from enterprise leadership teams to rethink their approach to IT Infrastructure. In part due to the need to rapidly transform operations to meet the new business environment created by the pandemic. But also as a result of a maturing suite of services in the marketplace. Enterprise risk thresholds, for example, have shifted considerably, and even conservative organisations are looking at cloud services in a new light. Similarly, the broader bucket of work packaged under the 'digital transformation' label has become an easier boardroom conversation. With executives assessing the unique challenges they now face, whether that's an all-out redesign of the business to emerge from the pandemic with a stronger customer proposition or a push to economise in a bid to prolong financial runways.

Second, the global market has become, well, less global. Historically, while adoption rates differed, the technology building blocks of the modern enterprise were generally consistent regardless of geography. As a result, go-to-market strategies from the IT services giants accommodated relatively little regional nuance, with an often overly US-centric approach. No more, as the market has evolved, so have the unique challenges of selling and delivering into different regions. Selling cloud services in France is often an intensely different conversation compared to one over the border in Germany. And with issues like digital sovereignty rearing their head again in Europe, and broader demand for onshore and nearshore capability, it's never been more important to have a clear regional narrative.

The announcement from Wipro is a promising step - scratching the itch of two major evolutions of the IT Services market. The crux, however, is they are not alone in adopting either strategy. Many of the firms competitors have pushed similar rationalisation programmes, albeit not as sweeping or ambitious. Similarly, the pivot towards geographic business units has come at the right time, with regional differences now holding more sway on selection than other factors as regulatory approaches and unique political atmospheres melt away similarities. And with a Paris-based French CEO, Wipro is better placed than many to understand the nuances of Europe.

Indeed, Europe now finds itself in the crosshairs of many of the world's largest IT services firms, as they look for growth engines outside of the US. With some pushing executives to hunt down opportunities in the region, while others discuss the need for inorganic growth to help gain traction. Nevertheless, Wipro's new geographic alignment sends a strong message that it's ready to do business in the region, and with a sleeker go-to-market, the firm should see some traction, particularly as enterprises re-evaluate their post-Covid plans.

In a recent interview, Delaporte extolled the value of finding: "beauty in simplicity." A catchy summary of what could be one of the largest shakeups seen at the firm - and with the world emerging from the greatest crises of a generation, simplicity may be exactly what the firm needs to take a bigger bite out of the market.