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We made certain inferences from the patterns we observed in the broader market, in the deals we were participating in, and in the contracts that were being renewed across the industry.
Churn in the Market – while HCL saw renewal rates jump year after year and approach almost a 100%, we observed a reverse trend in the broader market. Large and established competitors were losing big accounts and many of these buyers turned to HCL. Many among these buyers were those who had been recommended HCL by our customers. This was the first indicator that whatever we were doing by way of service delivery was working. It caught the attention of those looking for new IT Service partners and caught us by surprise to some extent as well. However, what we knew for certain was that for the customers, the status quo was no longer going to suffice. Change was in the air.
Price isn’t King – HCL’s net margins have increased over the last 11 quarters. Our revenue has grown more than three fold since 2008, through the era of recession. Interestingly our customer satisfaction scores have more than doubled in the same period. This fundamental disconnect between margin expansion and improved customer experience and renewal rate sent one very strong message – price was no longer the top or the only concern for the IT services buyer.
Uncertainty – Even though the market for IT Service was becoming commoditized, the risk in individual deals was not going down proportionately. This was because the pace at which new platforms were coming up and outperforming the incumbents was increasing. Cloud, mobile and the entry of hitherto inaccessible markets such as China created opportunities for new and disruptive business models to emerge and dethrone the old order. The sacrosanct contract – a document forged with a rich understanding of the past could very easily look incomplete, inaccurate or downright pointless mere weeks after its signing. Great product was no longer the top or the only concern for the IT services buyer.
What makes the RBtC campaign special is that it not only expresses HCL’s core belief and competency well, it is also the direction in which the services business is likely to move given the exponential shortening of product cycles and commoditization in IT services industry. In a single campaign, HCL was able to express not only our brand promise but also broadcast our belief that the CXO needed a business aligned partner more than he needed an iron-clad contract.