The 2011 Top 25 Consultants: Surya Kant

Surya Kant, Tata Consultancy Services Excellence in Client Service

Surya Kant
President of North America Operations
Tata Consultancy Services

There really is only a single thing one needs to know about Surya Kant since he took over the North America operation for Tata Consultancy Services five years ago: He quadrupled the business.

Under his leadership, revenue from North America has grown from a little over $1 billion annually to more than $4 billion in the firm’s latest fiscal year earnings report. Kant calls 2011 “a milestone year,” in which TCS surpassed the $4 billion mark and, for the first time, crossed the billion-dollar threshold in a single quarter. Globally, TCS was up 29 percent to $8.2 billion for the year. North America accounts for more than half of the company’s global revenues.

But Kant has done more than grow revenue since taking over. The North America employee base has more than doubled from 8,900 to 18,700, and—more importantly—the client base has grown to almost 500 and now includes 56 of the Fortune 100 companies.

“We have a customer-centric philosophy—we deliver on time, within budget and always with great quality,” Kant says. “We are in the problem-solving business. I take great pride in helping clients solve them to their satisfaction and delight.”

But don’t simply take his word for it; Kant clearly has the numbers to back it up. An astounding 97 percent of TCS clients are repeat customers. “I can get some work by giving a great presentation to a client for the first time, but that doesn’t work the second time around,” Kant says. “What works then is the client work that we’ve done. Our customers are only repeat customers if we deliver value to them, making sure they are delighted. As a result, our customer satisfaction ratings are strong.”

Satisfaction levels are strong internally, as well. Thanks, in part, to a company-wide employee survey Kant initiated that’s now used across the entire Tata Group. He says TCS analyzes the data and formulates action plans based on employee feedback from the surveys.

“People feel a part of running the company, they have the ability to help leadership come up with these action plans,” he says. “And if you have happy people, they will create good software, quality products and deliver better consulting services. It’s all part of a virtuous circle.”