Posts Tagged ‘HCL’

Neelam Dhawan is the MD of HP India.

Neelam Dhawan was in the US on an assignment for HCL in 1989 when she had her first child. She was so enthusiastic about her job that she was back to working within seven days of having her baby. It helped that HCL allowed her to work from home.

“I never thought of quitting a job. I had always had ambitions of working and I was passionate about what I did,” says the managing director of Hewlett-Packard (HP) India, a company whose estimated revenue last year was over Rs 30,000 crore.

Long breaks after child birth is one of the biggest reasons for women falling back in their careers and the reason why there are so few women in the top management of companies. Dhawan says breaks need not be career-restraining, so long as women who take breaks keep themselves updated during the months they are away. “Our industry is changing so quickly that if you do not keep yourself updated, you will become dated. You have to have seriousness about your career. You can’t say things like family will be first. You have to set aggressive career goals for yourself.”

Dhawan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from St Stephen’s College in Delhi, and a Masters in business administration from the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi, today has countrywide responsibility for HP’s revenues and profitability in India and ensuring the greatest leverage from the company’s services, personal systems and imaging & printing businesses. Prior to taking on this position in 2008, she was MD of Microsoft India for three years.

Dhawan says she also benefited from her early work environment. “I was lucky I started when the IT industry was small. The industry grew rapidly, so we also grew quickly.”

She had a great mentor in HCL founder Shiv Nadar. “He encouraged me. I learnt a lot from him – how to take risks, how to take decisions.”

She says mentors and networking are essential for success, but admits these do not come easily to women. “Women are very good at people management, especially within their family; women are the ones who keep in touch. But they do not do much of that outside the family. So in the work environment, it’s the men who are far better at networking and finding mentors.”

But she says the environment is now very conducive for the emergence of women leaders. The IT industry is very open to women as employees, and more so now as it struggles with quality talent. It has flexible policies on timings at work, it allows work from home, and it ensures high levels of safety and security. “Men’s attitude can be demotivating some times, but I don’t see resistance to women among managers.” Dhawan is convinced the next few years will see a huge change. “Women started taking MBA and engineering seriously from the second half of the 1990s. So it’s a matter of time before we see many more women leaders,” she says.

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Infosys’ first earnings announcement after the return of N R Narayana Murthy is expected to put the retired cofounder under a sharp spotlight as analysts seek clarity on milestones that could signal the company’s return to health.
Murthy, who was recalled by the board last month, may have the unenviable task of paring the growth forecast for India’s second largest software services exporter as cross-currency swings shave off gainsthe rupee’s depreciation against the dollar. The industry veteran has sought three years to “rebuild a desirable Infosys” but an anonymous ET poll of 15 brokerages shows that analysts would want to know sooner that the rebuilding is indeed taking roots.
Analysts said that they expect signs of revival and return of growth momentum in about three quarters. The majority of analysts said that they expect the software exporter to pare its growth guidance6-10% given at the beginning of the fiscal. That pales in comparison with Nasscom’s projection of 12-14%.
“Infosys guidance is likely to take centre-stage,” wrote Rumit Dugar and Udit Garg of Religare Institutional Research in a note to clients on earnings expectations. For the April-June quarter, Infosys’ revenue reported in dollars is expected to grow at a tepid pace of 1-1.5%, which is estimated to be well below that of Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant and HCL Technologies but likely better than Wipro.
Given Murthy’s philosophy of predictable growth, there is also an expectation that Infosys may bring back the practice of giving earnings guidance, which it stopped last quarter. At least two analysts polled said they expected Infosys to reintroduce earnings guidancethe next quarter, if notthe current one.
Despite the currency depreciation, which is expected to trickle down to the bottomline, Infosys is expected to report a marginal fall in net profit as it absorbs the effects of an unexpected June wage hike. Falling pricing will also add to pressure on profitability, analysts said. Given that rivals such as Cognizant and TCS are capturing a larger share of the market, Infosys is unlikely to be able to maintain pricing levels, leading to erosion in profit margins.
While the expectations are high, it is not so much about the first quarter numbers, but about visibility into future growth. “NRN’s return implies that any disappointment in first quarter may be overlooked,” said Sandeep Muthangi, an analyst with IIFL. “What analysts will be watching out for is details on the roadmap and the specifics on the changes that Murthy is seeking to bring about.”
The ET poll showed that only a few analysts expect Infosys to return to industry leading growth before the next fiscal or the one after that. Accenture and Oracle performing below expectations has also sobered expectation levels among industry observers.
“Accenture’s weak consulting growth indicates that there is still no improvement in the discretionary spending environment, which is likely to hurt companiesInfosys more due to its relatively high exposure to discretionary segments,” Nomura analyst Pinku Pappan wrote in a recent note to clients.