Lakshmanan Chidambaram- Leading Businesses to a Digital Tomorrow with Key Strategies

Tech Mahindra | Lakshmanan Chidambaram- Leading Businesses to a Digital Tomorrow | The Enterprise World

Lakshmanan Chidambaram, popularly known as the CTL is one of Tech Mahindra’s strategic thinker, business and digital transformation leader. With his role as the head of Tech Mahindra’s enterprise business in the Americas region, Mr. Chidambaram has the P&L responsibility for one of the largest business units. With his unwavering commitment to lead the company to a better future, Tech Mahindra’s growth has been tenfold. 

Featuring for The Enterprise World’s this issue of The Most Successful Business Leaders to Watch for is the story of Lakshmanan Chidambaram, the President- Americas (Enterprise Business) at Tech Mahindra. In this interview with him, let us know more about his journey. 

Brief us about your journey at the company, what inspired you to work at Tech Mahindra?

In 2010, when Tech Mahindra had just acquired Mahindra Satyam, I was tasked with leading a turnaround initiative in North America for Mahindra Satyam. There were so many moving parts that this was a unique opportunity and experience, one that could never be created in a lab. It was this uniqueness that drew me to Tech Mahindra. Today, the turnaround is a Harvard Case Study. In addition to the turnaround, we simultaneously built a solid foundation for Tech Mahindra’s continued growth. As the President of Tech Mahindra Americas, I am fortunate to lead a team of exceptional professionals who uphold the Tech Mahindra values and embody the Rise tenets that focus on delivering superior customer service.

What are the initial challenges you faced in your career and what advice would you give the young leaders?

I started my career as a customer-facing sales engineer selling computers, and later business development, for a systems integrator. Both the roles required a lot of patience, motivation to be a self-starter and belief in oneself. Those traits are what kept me going despite initial setbacks and ‘no’s. I remember that to get the first engagement at a financial organization, I must have had to meet over 200 people at all levels of the hierarchy, and eventually that relationship turned out to yield almost a billion dollars in value.

So, my advice to all youngsters is to have dedication and the strength to do the right thing for the customer. Everything else will fall into place. 

What are the reasons behind Tech Mahindra’s long-standing success?

At Tech Mahindra, our strategies and initiatives are centered around prioritizing people, being performance-driven, and having a clear sense of purpose. Our enduring success can be attributed to our dedicated team, who strive to make a positive impact on the world while providing exceptional experiences to our customers.

I always say that if we have to focus on just one thing, that thing has to be “Customer Delight”. If we take care of that, the customer will take care of everything else. 

Another strength that is of increasing importance is our culture of diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability. By adopting these tenets, we can ensure that we all progress towards a more equitable world. Our NXT.NOW™ framework is driving the global sustainable transformation agenda through emerging technologies. We are actively promoting collaboration among C-Suite leaders and decision-makers to generate insights and solutions that can help unify our fragmented world. Our brand is committed to purpose-driven success, with a focus on both the present and the future.

What are the products or services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?

At Tech Mahindra we work at the intersection of digital and physical – something that is popularly known as ‘Phygital’. Our key focus is to bring together our capabilities in digital, engineering, network, and telecom to not only form the core of our solutions, but to also position us uniquely in the market.. 

To drive digital transformation for our customers, we bring together IT services, BPOs, enterprise solutions, network services, engineering services, digital supply chain management, cybersecurity, IoT, cloud services, and advisory services, just to name a few. 

Our offerings are constantly evolving to adapt alongside emerging technologies and market demands. Customer satisfaction is a direct result of our portfolio mirroring our customers’ needs. To remain competitive in the dynamic landscape, we leverage our vast domain expertise across industry verticals such as healthcare, banking, retail, and more. Additionally, our global delivery model and presence in multiple countries allows us to understand different cultural expectations, unique needs, and challenges across the globe and cater to customer experiences accordingly. This customer-centric approach and tailored solutions lead to tangible outcomes. 

How do you decide to take the company a step further?

By simply understanding our customers and implementing data-driven decision-making, we enable informed, scalable, and sustainable company growth. I strongly emphasize the importance of leveraging data and analytics to make informed business decisions when it comes to implementing new tools, hiring, or establishing new processes. 

Alongside customer connections and data-driven decision-making, I regularly evaluate the company’s progress against strategic objectives and make appropriate adjustments along the way. My continuous evaluation and adaptation involve monitoring KPIs, gathering feedback from stakeholders, and remaining agile. 

Ultimately, taking Tech Mahindra a step further requires a combination of strategic thinking, innovation, customer-centricity, talent development, and a willingness to embrace change.

Being a successful leader, please share your views on current fragmented world and how is Tech Mahindra planning to move forward? Are there any collaborations you are excited about?

There is much work to be done before the entire world can achieve the required level of stability. As business leaders, we have the potential to do much more than what we are currently doing. Tech Mahindra is focused on moving forward by transforming the world through the adoption of next-generation technologies. The key areas of focus are 5G, network modernization, cloud computing, and cyber security. We redefined our business operations and delivery methods, which led to meaningful discussions among the global C-suite audience. We achieved this through thoughtfully curated thought leadership programs in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.

For the sixth year running, we have partnered with Mahindra Racing to demonstrate advanced green automotive solutions via the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship by using the eRace track analytics platform, live analytics, wind tunnel simulations, and AI-based technologies. Every day, Tech Mahindra rewrites the playbook on engagement and experience delivery by prioritizing human centricity, investing in cutting-edge solutions, and forming strategic partnerships to promote long-term change.

Why it is said that the workforce plays a vital role in every business’s growth? Please tell us about your team.

Tech Mahindra recognizes the importance of talent and employee empowerment in its success. By actively listening to employees’ needs and fostering collaborative work environments, the company ensures that their skills translate strategic goals into tangible outcomes. A skilled and motivated workforce drives the business forward by bringing unique perspectives, knowledge, and skills to the table.

In simple words, our employee value proposition is to provide freedom to the employees to explore and expand beyond their potential. At Tech Mahindra, if an employee has dreams, the company gives them the wings to fly. This, I believe, has helped us foster creativity, collaboration, and a culture of continuous improvement, fueling business growth.

Can you please brief us about your professional experience? 

As I started my career, I was fortunate to earn the lead sales position for personal PCs at HCL Frontline. In my position, I built a network of over 380 dealers in South India from scratch, which played a key role in taking HCL’s market share in the branded home PC segment from 0 to 18% in 18 months. 

The company quickly became an undisputed PC leader in India which consequently gave me an opportunity to play a vital role in developing a differentiated business model and creating a joint venture with a leading American bank.

At Syntel, I continued my aspiration to lead from the front and create a collaborative culture of work. With the support of my team, customers, and the industry, I was able to use my knowledge of both traditional and new-age technology to deliver results.

Aside from my success at HCL Frontline, I also set up Bahwan CyberTek Inc. in North America. As a result of the operations I implemented, the company went from 0 to $4 mn in revenue.

‘Innovation is the key to business growth’, Please share your views.

With digital transformation as a guiding principle at Tech Mahindra, innovation is key to consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations, and providing exceptional services and customer experiences. 

Since the landscape we operate in is so competitive, innovation allows Tech Mahindra to differentiate itself from other players by offering unique products, services, and solutions. Continuous innovation allows us to stay ahead of the curve, create new value propositions, attract customers, and capture market share. 

At Tech Mahindra, innovation also means improving business processes to enhance efficiency and productivity. Streamlined operations help cut back on costs and optimize allocation of resources. 

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