July 2015 | Christabelle Noronha

'Increase in investments bodes well for us'

TCS's Ravi Viswanathan, president, growth markets, talks about the company’s operations in the Middle East and Africa geographies, and the prospects and challenges of doing business in the two regions.

Could you tell us about TCS’s presence in the Middle East and Africa regions?
TCS has been operating in the Middle East and Africa for the last 30 years. We have 11 offices and one delivery centre here, and some 3,800 employees from 28 nationalities working on various assignments for a cross-section of customers. One of our operations deserves special mention: our all-women business process centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where we employ around 450 women.

Which are the major verticals that you cater to in these geographies?
We have a strong presence and standout customers in the banking, finance and insurance, telecom, and government sectors.

What is the contribution of these regions to TCS’s revenues?
In the financial year 2014, revenues from the Middle East and Africa accounted for 2.1 percent of TCS’s overall revenues.

Are you planning to explore other countries in the region for business?
We are exploring the feasibility of expanding into other parts of Africa. Also, we plan to leverage the all-women’s centre in Riyadh to expand operations in this space for other customers in the Middle East.

With huge amounts being invested by many governments in the infrastructure and energy sectors, do you see potential for growth in these verticals?
The increase in investments in the government sector, in the areas of education, infrastructure and several e-governance initiatives — especially in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — bodes well for TCS in terms of the opportunities that have opened up to partner governments.

We see good traction among our customers in the energy resources and utilities sector, where they are undertaking important transformation programmes. We are also seeing increased interest and adoption of digital technology in many sectors.

What are the challenges you face?
Some of the challenges that could prove to be growth deterrents are the slump in oil prices, which may lead to a reduction in discretionary spending, and the localisation and regulatory policies of different countries in the region.

This article is a part of the special report on the Tata group's operations in the Middle East and North Africa region in the July 2015 issue of Tata Review:
Tata Sons: An enriching relationship
Read all the articles, and more, in Tata Review
Jaguar Land Rover: 'We are the envy of our competitors'
International Shipping and Logistics: Being asset light has worked in our favour'
Tata Consultancy Services: A business of gender
Voltas: 'Our primary asset is our intellectual capital'
Tata Communications: 'We have a broad reach'
Tata Steel: 'The Gulf region is a key regional market for us'
Taj Dubai: Arabian retreat
Tata Motors: 'This region holds immense promise'
Tata Global Beverages: 'We are targeting aggressive growth'
Titan Company: A time for success