Article: Hexaware CEO R Srikrishna on navigating economic challenges and driving business growth in 2023


Hexaware CEO R Srikrishna on navigating economic challenges and driving business growth in 2023

R Srikrishna shares his insights on the opportunities and challenges facing the IT industry, and how the company is leveraging AI and automation to drive growth and sustainability, in an exclusive interview.
Hexaware CEO R Srikrishna on navigating economic challenges and driving business growth in 2023

As we look ahead in 2023, there are growing concerns about the economic forecast and the ongoing challenges that businesses will continue to face. In times of economic downturn, businesses have historically adopted different strategies to stay afloat, including cost-cutting and investing heavily in digital technology for accelerated growth. R Srikrishna, the CEO of Hexaware Technologies, predicts that the IT industry will experience the best of both worlds this year. The battle for talent will undoubtedly continue to be intense, but organisations will likely prioritise data, AI, and automation to achieve cost savings, rather than relying on labour arbitrage.

Srikrishna, a seasoned industry veteran, leads a workforce of over 30,000 employees across 54 offices worldwide and was named the Young Global Leader of the Year by the World Economic Forum in 2010. 

Here are the edited excerpts from his interview.

As a leader, how do you envision your role evolving this year and beyond?

My purpose when I joined Hexaware eight years ago was to build a great organisation. While we have come a long way,  I am a firm believer that transformation is a continuous process. As a leader, I believe in being multi-dimensional –-ensuring that customers love us, employees are delighted, and we contribute meaningfully to the communities around us. We also have a responsibility to help build a more sustainable future. 

At Hexaware, we encapsulate all of these goals in our purpose of bringing smiles to our employees, customers, their customers, and the communities we serve. Moving the needle on each dimension is critical, and we have set ambitious ESG goals this year to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2040. Ultimately, if we deliver on all these fronts, we will create great outcomes for our shareholders as well.

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How do you foresee the biggest opportunities and challenges in 2023?

Looking ahead to 2023, I anticipate a year of economic challenges.

I believe there are opportunities amidst the challenges. We may see a combination of past patterns during economic downturns – cost-cutting leading to increased outsourcing and growth due to investment in digital technologies. This means that the competition for talent will remain fierce, with companies focusing on data, AI, and automation to drive cost savings rather than relying on labor arbitrage.

I see a great opportunity for our industry in securing assets, which will undoubtedly be a high priority for enterprises in the coming year.

How is Hexaware leveraging digital transformation to drive business growth and adapt to the changing market?

We are transforming to digital as an enterprise as much as we are helping customers do the same. We are utilising technologies such as Data, ML and AI for demand prediction, enabling us to better understand the needs of our customers and plan accordingly. For instance, with the complexity of skills in the IT industry, we have more than 100K SKUs to predict demand for each skill, in each city/country we operate in, and for each customer. Our digital capabilities allow us to address this complex problem more effectively. We are preparing to launch an "office" in the metaverse, allowing us to have a virtual presence in this emerging space.  

What specific measures is your company taking to ensure long-term sustainability and resilience in the face of increasing ESG concerns?

As an IT leader, we understand the importance of delivering technology with positive Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impact within and beyond our business. To ensure sustainability, we have built a comprehensive ESG integration solution that will significantly enhance our customers' capabilities around sustainability-related investing decisions, regulatory compliance and reporting, taxonomy alignment, net-zero alignment, and more.

Within our organization, we are committed to driving digital transformation and inclusive growth for a sustainable future with people and the planet at the core. Our sustainability goals are ambitious and comprehensive:

  • Achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2040
  • Transitioning to 70% electricity usage from renewable sources on our campuses by 2030
  • Ensuring zero waste from our facilities is sent to landfills by 2025
  • Increasing the share of female employees to 40% by 2030
  • Making a positive impact on 100,000 lives by 2025
  • Ensuring that our campuses are free of single-use plastic
  • Achieving water neutrality by 2030 for owned operations

"Sustainability" is one of our core values, and we take it very seriously. 

How are you addressing the shift towards remote work and flexible work arrangements?

Our goal is to establish a digital infrastructure, processes, security protocols, and company culture that foster an inclusive work environment for the best digital talent worldwide, regardless of their location or preferred work arrangement.

This interview is part of an exclusive series that featured CEOs and MDs of top organisations sharing their perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape and the future of work. Browse all the interviews here!

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Topics: Leadership, #CEOseries, #LeadingEdge

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