TECH GI­ANT

India Today - - STATES - —M.G. Arun

FOUND­ING FATHER

The chair­man of Tata Sons from 1938 to 1991, J.R.D. Tata took a fate­ful de­ci­sion in 1968. His brother-in-law, aide and con­fi­dant Colonel Les­lie Sawh­ney had sug­gested ad­dress­ing the group’s needs for data pro­cess­ing via a single busi­ness unit—and just like that, Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices (TCS) was founded.

THE TECH JOUR­NEY

This took place at a time when com­put­ers were looked upon with some sus­pi­cion be­cause of their po­ten­tial to re­place hu­man labour. TCS’s early con­tracts in­cluded punch-card ser­vices to sis­ter com­pany TISCO, an in­ter-branch rec­on­cil­i­a­tion sys­tem for the Cen­tral Bank of In­dia, and pro­vid­ing bureau ser­vices to Unit Trust of In­dia. In Septem­ber 1969, Faqir Chand Kohli, a di­rec­tor at Tata Elec­tric Com­pa­nies, joined TCS as a gen­eral man­ager. Later, he pro­gressed on­ward to be­come its CEO. Much of the trans­for­ma­tion in TCS took place un­der Kohli, who still has an of­fice in the Air In­dia build­ing at Na­ri­man Point, one of TCS’ first of­fices. Kohli, now 93, is of­ten re­ferred to as the father of the In­dian IT in­dus­try. An­other vastly in­flu­en­tial in­di­vid­ual was S. Ra­mado­rai, who re­tired from the posts of man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer in 2009.

N. Chan­drasekaran, who suc­ceeded Ra­mado­rai, saw TCS gen­er­at­ing rev­enues of $16.5 bil­lion in 2015-16 un­der his lead­er­ship. In his book The TCS Story and Be­yond, Ra­mado­rai re­calls that the com­pany’s part­ner­ship with Bur­roughs, one the big three main­frame com­puter mak­ers, was cru­cial to train its en­gi­neers in fun­da­men­tal con­cepts re­lat­ing to mi­cro-pro­gram­ming and soft­ware ar­chi­tec­ture. The first real ‘out­sourc­ing’ con­tract TCS got from Bur­roughs was to up­grade a hos­pi­tal ac­count­ing sys­tem for about $24,000. In 1975, TCS de­liv­ered an elec­tronic de­pos­i­tory and trad­ing sys­tem called SECOM for the Swiss com­pany SIS Se­gaIn­terSet­tle. It also de­vel­oped Sys­tem X for the Cana­dian De­pos­i­tory Sys­tem and au­to­mated the Jo­han­nes­burg Stock Ex­change. It as­so­ci­ated with a Swiss part­ner, TKS Te­knosoft, which it later ac­quired. In 1980, TCS es­tab­lished In­dia’s first ded­i­cated soft­ware re­search and de­vel­op­ment centre, the Tata Re­search De­vel­op­ment and Design Centre (TRDDC), in Pune. In 1981, it es­tab­lished In­dia’s first client-ded­i­cated off­shore de­vel­op­ment centre, set up for clients Tan­dem. In 1993, TCS also part­nered with Canada-based soft­ware fac­tory In­tegrity Soft­ware Corp, which it later ac­quired. On 25 Au­gust 2004, TCS be­came a pub­licly listed com­pany.

SOUND HEAD OVER ITS SHOUL­DERS

The cur­rent MD and CEO Ra­jesh Gopinathan joined TCS from Tata In­ter­net Ser­vices in 2001. He was first made vice pres­i­dent and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, be­fore be­ing cho­sen to head the com­pany af­ter Chan­drasekaran be­came the chair­man of Tata Sons.

ONE FAM­ILY TCS CEO N. Chan­drasekaran with staff

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