March 21, 2018

Cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), big data & analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing the world around us. They’re lowering barriers to entry, blurring the lines between industries, and fuelling the disruption that’s keeping company chiefs on their toes.

To thrive in the fast-changing world of tech-driven innovations, businesses must transform themselves. They need to recognize the opportunities facing them, evaluate how each one will impact their business and sector, and prioritize the ones that can catapult them ahead of the competition.

In studying three of the most digitally successful companies in the last 10 years – Apple, Amazon and Netflix — we have found their leaders share five traits:

1. An abundance of imagination: It’s not the technology that gives competitive advantage. It’s the application of that technology in new and novel ways to solve business problems and customer pain points that helps companies win big. Imagination drives executives to apply one or a combination of technologies to come up with ground breaking and disruptive solutions.

2. Appetite for new and clashing ideas: Inviting, incentivising, and accepting new ideas that fuel conversations, contradictions, and collaborations are what drive innovation. Business leaders that understand this are able to attract new ideas and invest in projects that can create significant advantages.

3. Relentless focus on increasing value to customers: Customers pay for what they value. To ensure that the company keeps providing what customers value most, leaders must ensure they’re always in the know and in-touch with their most loyal customers’ needs and expectations.

4. Extreme calmness in the face of rising competition: As competition intensifies, leaders must keep their eyes on the prize and ensure they maintain a laser-like focus on delivering unprecedented levels of customer value.

5. Being sentimental about top talent but unsentimental about what they do: It’s important for leaders to take stock of those who make large contributions to their business – those who put their heart into their jobs and align themselves to the company’s goals. To keep up with changing times, leaders must ensure they value such people but avoid shying away from automating and outsourcing their jobs if required. But they then should reassign such talent to new, more important positions.

Leaders who can sharpen these traits will be able to better navigate the organization to a digital future, and ensure its success. If you’d like to learn more about how these traits can be nurtured and applied, read my article Executive Traits for Recognizing the Bountiful Opportunities Ahead in the current edition of our management journal, Perspectives.

As President of TCS’ Service Lines, Krishnan leads Consulting and Service Integration, Cognitive Business Operations and Digital Transformation Services globally.

Krishnan drives forward the vision, direction and go-to-market strategy for TCS’ Services organization. In addition to fostering the development of new services and solutions, Krishnan and his leadership team, armed with expert skills and deep contextual knowledge of key industries, successfully guide complex global transformation initiatives for the world’s leading enterprises. 

Krishnan’s organization is focused on driving growth and transformation for TCS clients by spearheading and leading their evolution from IT-centric to customer-centric models which streamline and optimize business functions. Many of the world’s largest corporations rely on Krishnan and his teams to define and apply technology as the driver toward successful business outcomes. This, in turn, creates a path for TCS customers to create new business models and alternative revenue streams. By developing and leveraging best-in-class experts and offerings in Design Thinking, Consulting, Cloud, IoT, AI, Analytics and Enterprise Applications, Krishnan has successfully positioned TCS as the industry’s leading expert in enterprise transformations.

In addition to helping TCS’ clients transform their businesses, Krishnan is focused on upskilling and reskilling thousands of employees, building collaborative workspaces, enhancing the management of contracts and partnerships and improving customer service.  

This business transformation will allow TCS to reduce overhead and time to market, drive efficiencies, invest in people and skills development, focus on customers and deliver smarter, better solutions-- faster than ever before. 

With more than 25 years of business and technology consulting experience at TCS, Krishnan’s previous leadership roles include VP & Global Head of Consulting & Enterprise Solutions; COO of TCS Financial Solutions; Executive Director for the State Bank of India Group Core Banking Program; Head of TCS’ Global e-Commerce & Enterprise Application Integration practice; and CTO for Tata Internet Services.  

Krishnan, who earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Engineering, lives in Mumbai, India with his wife and their two daughters. He enjoys non-fiction books, movies and tennis, and he is passionate about promoting education in India’s rural communities.