Bharti view: Following dialogue at IBM innovation site gives a glimpse into the minds of Bharti Chairman Sunil Mittal (SM), Corporate Director of IT for Bharti Dr. Jai Menon (JM) and Joint MD Akhil Gupta (AG):
SM: We are growing at near enough 100 percent a year. And we will be a 25 million customer company in the next couple of years. And we believe that we need to manage this growth and that's the biggest challenge in front of us.
IBM’s bet: How does this view of IBM compare to the vision Louis Gerstner (then CEO of IBM) had for the services business in 90s? Let’s look at following excerpt from his book “Who says elephants can’t dance?”
Think for a moment about just the outsourcing business. What you are telling the customer is: “Transfer your IT assets—products, facilities plus the staff – onto my books. I’ll absorb it all, manage it, guarantee performance levels, and promise that you’ll always be on or close to leading edge of the technology. All that AND I’ll charge you less than it is costing you now.”
At the same time, you are telling yourself: “I can do all that and still make a profit”. It meant betting on following (1) Willingness to use your balance sheet. There is no such a thing as a toe in the water. When you take this plunge, it’s full-body immersion. (2) It’s a bet on your ability to drive economies of scale – to consolidate lots of data centers into megaplexes or the ability to do with 750 people what two or three customers once did with 1000. (3) It means we could build recruitment, training, compensation and HR processes. And finally (4) we had to learn how to be disciplined – how to negotiate profitable contracts, price our skills, assess risk, and walk away from bad contracts.