If you have read his book Employees first, Customers second or heard him present on it, you know the CEO of HCL is an articulate fellow. But like many technology executives who try their hand at becoming industry analysts, the results are often not pretty. In Vineet’s case, it is this rambling discourse on cloud computing.
The second part of the interview shows Vineet’s real comfort zone – customers. And that is why he should be in San Francisco this week. He would see tens of thousands of his clients and prospects lining up at Dreamforce. And many of them would actually thank him for helping them get comfortable with their journey to the clouds. After all, HCL and other offshore firms have helped them get comfortable over the last two decades with remote computing. And taught them how to do due diligence around far away teams and computing assets. And built their expectations around continuous improvements.
This would reverse the title of the book. He should talk to these customers first, and then go challenge his employees.
Questions for his employees: These customers are getting used to 5 minute upgrades in SaaS world. How many of our application management clients can come within hours of that benchmark? Cloud vendors are building expectations of per-user per-month pricing. Why are we still pricing our contracts based on our (HCL) headcount? And pricing for software, hosting and application management will settle at less than $ 100 per user per month for most enterprise applications. At how many clients can we deliver just the application management part for less than that? Why do we persist in doing so many tasks on a dedicated, single-tenant basis? Is HCL’s work really that strategic to our customers to justify that level of segregation from that of other customers?
I hope he does show up. I would like to shake his hand and get him to sign his book for me. He has done a number of things well for HCL the last few years. Navigating it through the clouds will be fairly easy if he listens to the customers who are at Moscone this week.