Led by former Citibank CEO Jaithirth 'Jerry' Rao,
MphasiS BFL is often touted as a company on the verge of the tier
one league. The company recently received Rs 45 crore from Chrysalis
Capital for a 7 per cent stake.
to Saikat Chatterjee on the challenges faced by the company in the
backdrop of the US slowdown
your view on the US slowdown?
quite optimistic. It's not the end of the world for us. The slowdown
will end, it's not even a recession. There will be some problem
at times, but as long as you are focussed on your strategy with
sound business principles, we can weather any downturn. Right now,
it is not the time to get overly depressed or complacent. The tech
slowdown is brutal, but it will go away
what's the visibility in the next two quarters?
next two quarters, there will be pressure on both price and volume.
There will be no easy sleep over the weekend. Calendar 2001 has
not been the hottest year. Everybody is cautious. We were growing
at such a blistering pace over the last two years that everybody
feels that something has gone tremendously wrong. The slowdown is
temporary and when an upturn comes we'll be in position to take
advantage of it.
you think India can be a product country?
is no doubt that there is a lot of opportunity in products, but
it is a more risky path. Out of 100 products developed, only about
one survives. The chance of getting a product right is very small,
however, the returns are of course much higher. I think India should
play to our strength in services. We have the talent and the numbers
to make it to the top
do you feel India should forsake the product path?
we do it and why do you think it is better? I think one or two companies
in India will eventually do products... but as a country we should
be focussed on the services business. Israel has world class security
products even though it is such a small country. These products
have mostly come out from its defence forces. And Israel does not
have the numbers to play in the services area.
India have a sustainable advantage in the software services sector?
think there is any real danger to our position in the next ten years.
you perceive China as a threat to Indian IT industry?
see China as a threat to Indian software services industry. I see
it as an opportunity for Indian companies. I think China will emerge
more as a software product country. In software services, we have
already established a reputation for delivering good quality at
cheaper rates. In fact, I think each country will do well in a specific
area of competence.
very clear that we do not want to be a product company. We will
remain a product-neutral company
to MphasiS, are you still thinking of doing an ADR?
the market conditions, we'll not think of the ADR for a long time.
Right now we don't need money. We've recently raised money through
private placement. At this moment, we are focussed on our short-term
plans rather than thinking about what will happen in the future
not the right time to go for an acquisition. At this point, we are
focussed on our business goals. If the right opportunity comes,
we will go for it but we will not go after acquisitions actively.
Now is the time to retain the loyalty of your customer and keep
the staff motivated.
kind of manpower additions do you plan this fiscal?
We are planning a very modest headcount increase
right now. We have around 1300 now in our software business and
plan to increase it to 1500 by end FY 02. In MphasiS BPO, we will
increase it from 250 to 700 in the same period.