19-Feb-2017
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Invest in digital transformation as its the future: Vikram Nair, MD of TechMahindra (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

Mr Vikram Nair is the Head EMEA and Global Head, EOF (Enterprise of Future) & CX (Customer eXperience) Business of TechMahindra Europe, Middle East and Africa. Last week Jeevan Vipinachandran interviewed him on India-UK relations post Brexit, demonetisation investment in India. It is an interesting insight into the economy and industry in a fast changing world. He suggests that digital transformation will have a remarkable effect on economies in the future and is an area to look out for NRIs looking to invest.  
 
Q: There is some reluctance to increase annual immigration limits on the part of the UK government. Will this impact on UK-India trade and diplomatic relations negatively?
 
The immigration conditions won’t necessarily affect the UK-India relationship negatively, this is strong relationship with decades of history. As the exact shape of Brexit becomes apparent, trade negotiations will enter a different phase, and I expect we will see agreements that both countries find positive. There have been promising signs following the UK Prime Minister’s recent visit to India and the announcement of initiatives such as the Registered Travellers Scheme. However, we also need to look more widely at the issue of students that are able to stay in the country once they have finished their studies. At the moment, they are simply leaving to pursue careers in other UK speaking countries. 
 
Q: What do you think is the potential for high co-operation in technology between the 2 nations? For example India and the UK recently signed memorandums on aerospace co-operation. This might be a good place to start?
 
TechMahindra works across many sectors including aerospace, with clients like AirBus. There is significant potential for more collaboration – India and the UK have a long history as trading partners and this will continue. From our own perspective, as a provider of IT services, we know that the role of the technology provider is evolving to that of a more strategic partnership. This is the big shift that is taking place; organisations need partners that can enable digital transformation across their operations.   IT is now the key to delivering this competitive advantage. India has much to offer, given the given the size of our economy, the demographics, and the quality of talent available and we should capitalise on this.
 
Q:  Is there a perception that it will become easier or harder for people from India to do business post-Brexit?
 
It is still far too early to comment on this. I am sure the visa situation will be assessed on a regular basis by the UK Government, especially as the Brexit negotiations get into full swing. I am confident of a positive outcome for Indians with the right talent and experience to do business - we are always recruiting the best people to work for TechMahindra across the World. 
 
Q: Do you think make in India has been a success so far, and why?
 
I see a lot of promotion for the Make in India campaign when I attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, so I am sure it is having an impact amongst senior leaders. I have not yet seen any hard data for Europe or the UK as to the campaign success to date.
 
Q: Do you believe British companies are well placed to contribute to Make in India? Most Make in India initiatives seem to come from East Asia, for now. What could Great Britain add and how?
 
TechMahindra works in a highly innovative space, and it is clear to me that automation is only in its infancy - we will see a huge shift in how products are made across the World. TechMahindra is perfectly positioned to support Indian and British industry in this transformation to the future of production. 
 
 Q: On recent events in India, how do think monetisation will affect the Indian economy and how?
 
Obviously, it has caused real issues for individuals in the short term. However, I am confident that the Government economists have calculated positive effects for the economy in the medium to long term.
 
Q: Where do you think would be the best sectors and places for NRI’s to invest in, in India over the coming decades? 
 
It is a fast growing economy which offers a lot of opportunity TechMahindra is enabling digital transformation for its clients, a disruption sweeping through all industries, which will help maximise returns for companies that take advantage of this. I would suggest investing in companies that have a high cost base in the analogue world, and the opportunity to transform their business to digital.
 
About Vikram Nair
Vikram Nair is an accomplished business leader with over 25 years of global experience in the industry. An astute and inspiring leader, Vikram played a significant role in Tech Mahindra’s growth over the past decade.
 
In January 2015, Vikram was appointed President, where he currently heads the company’s Business and Operations across EMEA. Under Vikram’s leadership, the company has evolved as a leading provider of SI services to leading companies in Europe. Vikram previously held several key positions including a major role in the acquisition of Satyam, as the Managing Director of Europe for Mahindra Satyam, prior to integration and merger with Tech Mahindra in 2011. Tech Mahindra's transformation of erstwhile Satyam is one of the most successful turnaround stories of Corporate India.
 
Prior to joining Tech Mahindra, Vikram led European Operations for Larsen & Toubro and has worked with HCL Perot Systems (HPS) where he was responsible for starting & establishing the company’s presence in Western Europe.
 
Vikram has an engineering degree in Electronics and a management degree from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He lives in London with his wife and two children & is an avid fan of football, cricket and athletics.
 
Vikram also enjoys participating in various industry events and exclusive global leadership communities including the G100. He is part of the Mahindra Group delegation at the World Economic Forum and regularly participates in the forum’s strategic partnership initiatives, including the Annual meeting in Davos.
 
Vkiram Nair from Nagercoil and his wife from Trivandrum. They have two daughters aged 21 and 18. First one is studying Medicine at Kings and younger one is doing her A levels. He migrated to UK in 1996 and have been living in Langley since then. 
 
About Jeevan Vipinachandran (Author of this Article)

Jeevan graduated from LSE with a Masters in Conflict Studies, focusing on counter-terrorism. He is an aspiring research and political analyst and writer. Regular tweets can be found at @jeevanvc. He is a regular contributor for the  Conservative Friends of India, the Times of Israel and Future Foreign Policy.