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DQ Leadership Series: Karan Bajwa, MD, IBM India: “We Need To Look At The Industry With A Broader Lens Not Just Outsourcing”

Karan Bajwa, MD, IBM India talks about IBM India’s performance during FY 18, its competencies, ICT trends and the company’s strategy

If you reflect over FY 18, what is your overall view of the performance of the Indian ICT industry, given the social-political changes in the US and Europe and digital disruption?

According to industry estimates the Indian IT industry is set to touch USD 350 billion in revenue by 2025 from the present USD 150+Billion. It contributed 7-8% to India’s GDP last year. Emerging technologies are creating and fueling the nation’s growth trajectory and helping India to become a truly digital nation. In fact, Digital technologies business was the fastest growing segment for the industry with a 28-30 % growth.

Historic shifts are transforming businesses and technologies are creating a greater need and urgency to deploy a computing infrastructure that can support business growth and drive enhanced results. We believe, the world’s incumbent businesses and institutions are positioned to lead. The incumbents of the world are going on offense, moving from disrupted to disruptors. Disruption is emerging as a capability incumbents are embracing.

Per se, IBM India, what was your FY 18 Strategy and how would you place FY 18 in terms of business and financial performance?

While we do not disclose country-specific numbers, IBM’s strategy is one of innovation, transformation and a constant evolution to a higher value. We believe, to win, a business must be smarter: Being smarter means having deeper expertise, extracting better insights from data and being capable of rapidly changing the way in which one does work. This is core to the strategy of IBM’s clients and is at the heart of the IBM strategy.

How do you see FY 19 and your two priorities? 

Our priorities are aligned with our clients business strategy. Today, work processes are being reimagined for speed and vastly smarter decision-making. To win in these disruptive times requires that businesses learn by extracting insights from their data and by applying those insights into how work is done. Together with our clients, we are focusing on putting smart to work by combining our innovative technology, industry expertise and trust and security. We will continue to focus on extracting meaningful insights from data, strategic imperatives, make progress in building new businesses, creating new markets and deliver innovation in the more traditional businesses.

How emerging tech is changing the entire outsourcing industry and do you see traditional verticals upping the ante by adopting newer tech? 

We need to look at the industry with a broader lens and not just restrict it to outsourcing. Our country is witnessing incredible change and the shape and dimensions are unparalleled. Some call it disruption, but we view it as a massive opportunity to redefine every business. The organizations that weathered recent disruptions have likely grown stronger and are better ready to transform.


Emerging technologies like AI, Blockchain, IoT, Cloud, Security represents an enormous opportunity for businesses to transform across industries. However, we believe that organizations that collect, store, manage or process data, leveraging these technologies have an obligation to handle it responsibly and play the role of Data Stewards.

If India aspires to become a knowledge-driven economy, it must focus on higher order skills and move up the value chain. Our workforce needs skills aligned to technology shifts and market needs. Certain shifts in the industry are occurring and some jobs will become automated, all jobs will change and a whole new set of professions, what we refer to as New Collar jobs, will emerge. Skilling in the future will be continuous and people will have many careers within a career.

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