August 04, 2002 | Business Today

Tech Troubadour

If Consulting Magazine named TS Subramanian Ramadorai, one of the 25 most influential consultants in the world, it had good reason to.

His day typically begins at 4:30 am. After the mandatory cup of coffee he makes his own, he's off for a walk. He's an Indian clasical music aficionado, his favourites being Kishori Amonkar and Prabha Atre. He's currently reading the biography of John Lennon. And, yes, in between Amonkar and Lennon, he manages India's largest software and services company, the Rs. 4,187crore Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

For 24 years, S. Ramadorai, now 57, rose through the ranks in TCS. Since taking over as CEO from the legendary F.C. Kohli in September 1996, he has been responsible for the growth of one of the world's largest software and services majors. TCS boasts 19,000 consultants working in 50 countries and out of 106 offices.

The current year has proved a culmination of sorts of Ramadorai's career at TCS, since the days he started out as a junior engineer. TCS began 2002 by bagging the country's largest software project ever, from GE Medical Systems, worth $100 million. The Ramadorai-headed team followed that up by bagging the largest domestic project from the State Bank of India, worth Rs.150 crore.

But the biggest bang doubtless came last month when Consulting Magazine, belonging to renowned management consulting firm Kennedy Information, named Ramadorai amongst the top 25 most influential consultants in the world. Suddenly, the TCS supremo finds himself rubbing shoulders with head honchos from Boston Consulting, Bain Company, Accenture and IBM.

True to type, Ramadorai plays down the individual achievement, preferring instead to recognise it as a team effort. "The recognition is not about Ramadorai, the CEO. It is about the company TCS. It has to be seen as an acknowledgement of TCS, and the credibility it has earned in its relentless efforts to deliver quality service and ensure consistent value addition."

For Ramadorai, the laurel is also a sure-fire sign that Indian IT consulting has come of age in the global market. And he sees it as just the shot in the arm TCS needed to fulfil its vision for 2010, of being amongst the top 10 consulting companies in the world.

Ramadorai's and TCS's pedigree have also been noticed closer home, across the border, by the Chinese government, which has picked the TCS CEO as the IT consultant for Shandong, a port city province that's a tourist hotspot and also the largest white good manufacturing base in China. "Shandong has a very clear vision of where it wants to be in terms of contribution to the country's GDP and to exports. To effectively grow in their areas of expertise, the province recognises the need for large systems and IT management," points out Ramadorai, who hopes to share his rich experience with the Chinese province. Perhaps our local districts too could do with some of Ramadorai's inputs. Are any state governments listening?