Earlier this year Indian multinational technology consultancy Wipro announced the opening of its newest Wipro-AWS Launch Pad Center in Toronto.
Joining a global network of Wipro-AWS Launch Pad Centers, the Toronto location will enable customers in Canada to accelerate their move to the cloud and build industry leading solutions leveraging Wipro and AWS expertise.
Techtalent.ca sat down with Kim Watson, Wipro Canada’s Country Head and Managing Director, to learn more about her vision for the company, its partnership strategy and what this new AWS launch pad centre in Toronto will bring.
You joined Wipro as the President and Managing Director of Wipro Solutions Canada, after a long career at IBM and Bell. What prompted you to take on the challenge of growing a huge multinational company like Wipro in Canada?
KW: I was excited by this opportunity because I really wanted to take on the challenge of growing and transforming a business. And to have the opportunity to do that with a large, respected multinational company like Wipro was something that I couldn’t turn down.
A few areas that really appealed to me about Wipro were its philanthropic culture, its inclusive leadership and its desire to make a difference for Canadian companies and build a really strong presence in Canada.
The opportunity to work with the CEO of Wipro, Thierry Delaporte, was also a huge reason to make the move. He’s an exceptional leader, and someone that I’m both proud to work for, and from whom I know that I can learn a lot.
Overall, I couldn’t be more excited and optimistic about Wipro’s growth in Canada, and our ability to build on the great momentum we’ve seen over the past year.
What were your priorities coming into the role, and how have your first 18 months gone?
KW: When I joined Wipro in October 2021, my overall goal was to position Wipro as a tier one, trusted innovation partner for Canadian companies.
To accomplish this, I decided to focus on three main priorities: strengthening employee engagement, delivering exceptional client experiences, and growing our business. These were the three areas where I wanted to spend most of my time, because I knew that they would be the key to success.
And over the past 18 months, we’ve made a lot of progress.
First, we have improved the employee experience for Wipro employees in Canada. This includes more regular staff engagement, but also building out many of our support functions like payroll, HR, and finance here in Canada, so employees can receive the support they need quickly. Wipro has recently been recognized as a Top Employer in eleven countries, including Canada, which I think is a testament to our efforts over the past year and a half.
Secondly, we re-organized our go-to-market team to focus on four key sectors, including a renewed focus on partnerships, highlighted by our recent announcement with AWS. Strategic partnerships are one of the core pillars of our business strategy and are incredibly imperative to delivering unparalleled value to our clients. Together, both Wipro along with our partners, analysts and TPAs share common set of cultural values to drive shared business objectives. Our business strategy has resulted in several marquee new clients, and six quarters of continuous growth.
And finally, I’ve been very happy with how we’ve engaged with our communities in Canada. This includes new partnerships with the University of Alberta and University of Calgary, as well as extending the Wipro philanthropic program into Canada, with a focus on supporting indigenous communities.
You’ve just opened the Wipro-AWS Launch Pad Centre in Toronto. What will this Centre provide and what does this partnership mean for the business?
KW: The Wipro-AWS Launch Pad Centre will enable customers in Canada to accelerate their move to the cloud and build industry leading solutions leveraging Wipro and AWS expertise.
The Toronto hub is part of a global network of Wipro-AWS Launch Pad Centres, where together Wipro and AWS Canada teams will work with clients in the areas such as application and database migration, application modernization and serverless computing to deliver scalable cloud offerings and business outcomes.
Our partnership with AWS is truly 360° which includes a co-investment strategy to drive innovation for industries. As we know, Toronto is a prime location to engage the tech community and I’m looking forward to unlocking greater opportunities with our partners to help transform and deliver better customer experiences.
What other opportunities do you see for Wipro Canada in 2023 and beyond?
KW: As we build Wipro’s presence in Canada, we are focused on growing our enterprise clients in four priority sectors, including transportation, energy, banking and financial services, and the public sector.
Our partnership with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) is a great example, where we were able to lead an exciting digital transformation project, and we continue to support GTAA in elevating its customer experience across all touchpoints – from airport technology to process and operations.
A second focus is on building out our nearshoring capacity, so that we can support work for our international customers in Canada. The rise in automation has meant that clients have less interest in lower-level, process heavy work, and are more interested in high-skill and value-added work.
This has created a real opportunity for our Canadian team, to step up and deliver on these projects, particularly for US clients. This has accelerated the growth of our team, with almost a thousand employees in Canada now focused on international work, and I think it will continue to be a real source of growth for us in the coming year.
And finally, as someone who has been a leader in Canadian tech for over 30 years, what are some leadership lessons that you can share?
KW: One of the lessons that I learned early on was that if you take care of your employees, business outcomes and growth will always follow. That’s why my business philosophy starts with building employee engagement through recognizing and celebrating the great talent that we have, and seeking out talent that have incredible expertise and skills that they can bring to the table. As a leader, being empathetic, compassionate, and listening to the needs of your employees and what inspires them to come to work every day goes a long way in fostering a culture of trust and openness. At the same time, it’s important to be bold with a clear ambition and vision, and I approach every team with energy and passion.
The other lesson that I’ve learned is that career paths don’t always need to be linear. Over the years, I’ve been involved in roles within sales, development, engineering, delivery, software, managed services, and outsourcing to name a few. While these roles have been very different, the skills, and strengths I’ve developed over time have led me to be a better leader. How a career changes is not always prescriptive – it’s really about the time, the moment, the opportunity and having the passion and the drive to do what you do best.
And finally, over the course of my career, I’ve seen real improvements in the opportunities given to female employees, but we still have a long way to go in creating an environment that fosters female leaders. That is why I’m invested in mentoring other female leaders to provide them insight and perspective from the challenges I’ve faced, and to offer them with the opportunities to grow and develop their careers.
My career has benefitted immensely from the guidance that my own champions and mentors (both female and male) have provided, and I’m dedicated in passing that benefit on to the next generation.