One of the best attended breakouts at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Innovation Forum in London on April 30, 2019, was called The Imitation Game: Age of Smart Machines.
Cracking the Innovation Code for the greater good has been right at the top of TCS’ business agenda for a long time now. Under the tutelage of Harvard professor and business innovation guru Clay Christensen, who joined TCS as an independent director in January 2006 (and retired in September 2018), TCS has wholeheartedly embraced the concept of “disruptive innovation.”
Aligning Innovation With Business Performance
TCS has rebuilt itself from the bottom up, with a core innovation culture. TCS believes that: “No organization can exist without innovating… yet innovation as an activity across the organization is rare… the small chance of achieving something radically different is real and worth keeping the innovation engine up and running for the entire organization.” For TCS, this innovation culture has been the driving force behind its own sustained year-on-year improvement in its own financial performance and its “Research and Innovation” organization has been the engine room behind this growth.
And what a financial performance it has been! Over the past 13 years, TCS has grown at a staggering 17.4% CAGR per annum in revenue, and 20.5% CAGR per annum in profitability. European revenues have been at the forefront of this growth. U.K. revenues grew 22% to $3.3 billion and continental European revenues grew 18% to $2.9 billion in FY 2019. TCS is now nearly a $21 billion organization, with 425,000 employees.
Extending the Ecosystem
Now TCS is helping its clients to learn from its innovation success by plugging them into its Co-Innovation Network (COIN) ecosystem and offering its customers the opportunity to co-innovate. TCS’ European showcase customers include Thomson Reuters, ABN AMRO, and most recently Marks & Spencer’s announced a major strategic investment. TCS believes that it is differentiated from other vendors offering innovation consulting services by the forward-thinking nature of its investments, the depth and breadth of its scientific talent, and the proven results of its own innovation execution.
Inventing the Future First
In addition to TCS’ significant investments in “Business 4.0” digital transformation technologies and “machine-first” AI, TCS also intends to become a leader in customer experience (CX). TCS’ investments in CX include mass personalization and “the segment of one,” conversational systems, data privacy management, and algorithmic retailing.
TCS is an amazing success story built on infusing innovation into the fabric of its corporate culture, with the goal of delivering truly differentiated and disruptive products and services. TCS has “noisy neighbours,” such as Accenture and Deloitte, which currently hold the branding and marketing high ground. However, TCS is not playing the “me-too” vendor imitation game, and in its own quiet and innovative way continues to make inroads into high-growth technology services markets like AI and CX. This is a company not to be underestimated.