cgnizant's been running a superb race. It overtook Wipro in 2011-12, Infosys two years later, and now it's steadily catching up with TCS. HCL Technologies has similarly narrowed the gap with Wipro.
In 2011-12, Cognizant's revenue was 60% of TCS's. Last fiscal, it was 75%. In three of the past four years, it had revenue growth of 20-21%. None of the other top Indian IT companies hit the 20% figure during this period, with TCS's 16% in 2013-14 being the highest.
In four years, Cognizant has doubled its revenues, from $6.12 billion to $12.41 billion. But the company is slowing down. For 2016, it has forecast revenue growth between 10-14%. But TCS too has slowed sharply - it grew by just 7% last year compared to the 15-16% levels of the previous two years. If these growth differences between the two companies persist, Cognizant will catch up with TCS in 7 to 8 years. But it's a big `if', and given the dramatic changes happening in the IT industry on account of mobile, cloud, analytics, automation and internet-of-things, it could still be anybody's game.
In terms of growth rates, TCS was second to Cognizant through much of this period, and the two together have pulled well ahead of the rest of the pack. It will take a gargantuan effort on the part of third-placed Infosys to narrow the gap with the leaders. CEO Vishal Sikka has shown promise. In his first full year in office (2015-16), Infosys's growth rate was the second highest among the top 5 players - it was in the fourth or fifth position in the three years prior to that. Infosys has guided for a revenue growth rate of 11.8% to 13.8% this year that should place it in the first or second spot. Sikka's efforts at improving employee morale and guiding the company towards greater innovation looks to be paying off.
HCL Technologies has been the third fastest growing company, among the top 5, all through the past four years - with good double digit growth in three of those years. It did well with its infrastructure business, and now, its product engineering business looks to be paying good dividends. With Wipro's growth being anaemic through this period, HCL has significantly narrowed the gap with the former. In 2011-12, its revenue was 70% of Wipro's revenue, but by last year it had grown to 85%. If current growth differences persist, HCL could catch up with Wipro in about 7 years.
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