HCL CEO Vineet Nayar: Outsourcing is dead, and there's nothing innovative in cloud technology

He wrote the book on a philosophy known as 'employees first, customer second.'

The customer always comes first. Except when it comes to HCL, the $6 billion Indian outsourcing -- make that co-sourcing -- giant led by CEO Vineet Nayar, who literally wrote the book on a philosophy known as 'employees first, customer second.' In this latest installment of our CEO Interview Series, Nayar spoke with IDG Enterprise Chief Content Officer John Gallant about how that philosophy is fueling HCL's rapid growth and why more CIOs ought to consider adopting it. Nayar also discussed how HCL has set its sights beyond competing with other Indian outsourcers like Infosys and Wipro and is squarely targeting what he believes are the many unhappy customers of services giants like IBM, Accenture and CSC. The outspoken Nayar took shots at the 'fear psychosis' created by services firms in trying to peddle their offerings and used a barnyard epithet to describe public cloud computing, which he claims isn't ready for prime time. He also outlined HCL's aggressive plans for hiring locally in the U.S. and Europe, and defended the company's use of the controversial H-1B visa program. In addition, Nayar talked about the new goals for IT departments in 2012 and beyond, and explained why treating mobile as a technology 'misses the point.'

Let's start with an overview of the current services and capabilities provided by the company's two units, HCL Technologies and HCL Infosystems. How do they come together and what's the set of capabilities you bring to market?

HCL Technologies is a $4 billion global services company in the business of infrastructure outsourcing, application development and outsourcing, research and development, enterprise application services and business process outsourcing. HCL Technologies is spread over 22 countries and only focused on global customers. Infosystems is only focused on Indian customers and is in the business of systems integration.

Market research firm IDC described HCL as having the most cohesive and articulate vision in the IT services sector. What is that vision and how does it influence all that you do?

At HCL Technologies, we believe that our vision should be on two axes: an axis of what we do and an axis of how we do it. A complete vision is only formed when you have a unique identity on both those vectors.

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