Wipro investing in tech to help Fortune 500 cos exploit, monetise data: CEO


Data is going to be the currency of the future and the company has invested heavily in it, Wipro CEO Abidali Neemuchwala has said.

“We are seeing a significant ability to transform customers in the data space, and we feel very upbeat about this because as you rightly said data is going to be the currency of the future and we are very heavily invested in this area,” he told PTI here.

When asked if Wipro had engaged start-ups to monetise data, which will create jobs and automatically check layoffs, he said, “The company has made strategic investments in about 12 startups and some kind of strategic alliance with another 20-22 startups, and out of them all at least 20 per cent of them are in data and data-related areas.”

Neemuchwala also said the company has invested in some very specific IPs which are internal company IPs, and also bagged a very significant deal with a customer couple of quarters back.

“They are in data business and we are using Wipro technology to help them support Chief Marketing Officers of Fortune 500 companies to utilise their data better and monetise their data better… So, we have leadership position in our analytic practice and our significant part of revenues comes from there.. We are seeing a significant ability to transform customers in data space,” he said.

Wipro President and Chief Operating Officer B M Bhanu Murthy said Wipro’s analytical business has grown significantly well this quarter.

To a query on the size of investment in data, Bhanu said the company’s investment in big data has been on a day-to-day discovery platform (DDP) which has gained significant traction in the last two quarters.

Bhanu further said the company is able to leverage DDP with a couple of its investments to help a lot of organisations mine huge data they collect and big data available externally, and hence it is seeing good traction and its investments are paying off through analytical.


Wipro Steps up Local Hiring in US Amid H-1B Visa Uncertainty

Wipro Steps up Local Hiring in US Amid H-1B Visa UncertaintyWipro Ltd, India’s third-largest software services exporter, said on Wednesday that more than half its workforce in the United States consists of locals after it hired more than 1,600 people in the last six months.

The statement comes as US President Donald Trumphas asked federal agencies to review a visa program that Indian IT firms such as Wipro use to fly engineers to the United States to service clients.

A tighter visa regime could force Indian IT companies to step up local hiring in their biggest market, potentially increasing costs and hitting margins.

Wipro rival Infosys Ltd last month said it planned to hire 10,000 US workers in the next two years and open four technology centres in the United States.

Over the past couple of quarters IT clients slowed down discretionary spending, hitting growth in India’s $150 billion information technology sector.

A leading lobby group for India’s IT industry last week forecast that the sector’s export revenues would grow at 7-8 percent for the year to March, as the industry faces continued headwinds from the US market.

Wipro said on Wednesday that more than 3,000 locals joined the Bengaluru-headquartered firm in fiscal 2017, increasing its total headcount in the US to 14,000. It is also said it is working on expanding its centres in Tampa and Dallas.

“We will continue to build a strong local talent pool with diverse skill sets and make strategic investments in close proximity to our clients to serve them better,” Wipro Chief Executive Abidali Neemuchwala said.

In a regulatory filing earlier this month, Wipro said “significant developments” under the new US government could pose a risk to its business there.


Infosys, Wipro join Barack Obama’s $4 billion ’Computer Science for All’ education plan

Photo: Jason Henry/The New York TimesPhoto: Jason Henry/The New York Times

Washington: Three major Indian information technology firms—Infosys Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), and Wipro Ltd—have joined US President Barack Obama’s “computer science for all” initiative as part of a public-private collaboration, pledging thousands of dollars in grants.

Obama announced the plan in his weekly address on Saturday as he emphasized on the need for teaching computer science as a “basic skill” to all children across schools in the country in a changing economy.

While Infosys has pledged a $1 million in donation, TCS is providing support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities, the White House said in a fact sheet issued on Saturday.

Wipro announced a $2.8 million grant for multi-year project in partnership with Michigan University to involve over a hundred school teachers, with the aim of nurturing excellence in science and mathematics. This would start with the public school systems of Chicago, Obama’s home town.

According to the White House, the TCS and Infosys pledge is part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) effort to collaborate with the private sector to support high school computer science (CS) teachers.

“Infosys Foundation USA will be a founding member of this public-private collaboration with a $1 million philanthropic donation, and, as an initial participant, Tata Consultancy Services is providing additional support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities,” the White House said.

“This collaboration will ultimately provide opportunities for as many as 2,000 middle- and high-school teachers to deepen their understanding of CS,” it said in the statement.

“Wipro is committed to being an involved participant in its communities. This initiative seeks to develop and inspire young people to contribute to excellence in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education,” said T.K. Kurien, chief executive officer and member of the board, Wipro Ltd.

“There is a critical shortage of excellent math and science teachers nation-wide and even more so in urban school districts,” said project co-leader Sonya Gunnings-Moton, assistant dean in the College of Education, Michigan State University.

Aarti Dhupelia, chief officer of College and Career Success at Chicago Public Schools, said this partnership with Wipro and Michigan State University have a transformational impact in classrooms and communities.


Wipro Ventures invests Rs9.78 crore in big data start-up Altizon Systems

Photo: Hemant Mishra/MintPhoto: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Bengaluru: Wipro Ltd’s corporate venture arm Wipro Ventures has picked up a minority stake in Pune-based big data start-up Altizon Systems Pvt. Ltd.

Wipro’s Rs.9.78 crore investment in Altizon allows it to have “a minority holding, not exceeding 20% of the outstanding share capital of the company”.

It expects to close its investment by 10 February, the company said in a statement to BSE late on Monday.

This is Wipro Venture’s first investment in a home-grown start-up in two years. Until now, it has taken stakes in four US-based start-ups.

Altizon claims to have built a smart big data platform that allows organizations to make sense of data sets gathered by connecting devices.

The move comes as software firms face an existential threat posed by start-ups focused on disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

Wipro and larger rival Infosys Ltd believe they can take the technology solution offered by these start-ups to their clients.

Another Pune-based software product and technology company Persistent Systems Ltd took a 4% stake in Altizon in 2014.

Altizon had a revenue of Rs.30 lakh in the financial year 2014-15.

Wipro’s $100 million corporate venture arm, overseen by Rishad Premji (son of chairman Azim Premji), now has a minority stakes in five start-ups. These include its $30 million investment in Opera Solutions, a New Jersey-based data analytics company, and a $5 million investment in Drivestream Inc., a Virginia, US-based cloud solutions start-up.

During the April-June period last year, Wipro also made undisclosed investments in San Francisco-based artificial intelligence start-up Vicarious and California-based early-stage big data start-up Talena Inc.

Additionally, the Ventures arm sold its stake in US-based machine-learning start-up Axeda to a Nasdaq-listed firm PTC Inc.

Infosys, under boss Vishal Sikka, has already made seven investments from its $500 million innovation fund.