Shiv Nadar (HCL)

  • Shiv Nadar is a Tamilian who revolutionised the Indian Computer Industry. His company, H.C.L. is an industry giant worth 12 billion dollars.
  • He was born in Moolaippozhi village, Thoothukudi district. He finished his schooling in Kumbakonam, Madurai and Trichy. He was offered a place in the prestigious P.S.G College, Coimbatore, where he graduated with a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
  • The story of how H.C.L was started is truly an interesting story. The year was 1976. 6 employees of Delhi Cloth Mills (DCM) were seated at the canteen. They worked in the calculator division of the company. Despite a handsome salary and a good job, they wished to start their own enterprise instead of receiving salary from someone else. They discussed seriously and settled on starting a company that makes computers. Of the 6, Shiv Nadar was the one who led the rest toward their goal. As surprising and unlikely as it seems, the idea for starting such a multibillion-dollar company was conceived in the smoke-filled canteen of Delhi Cloth Mills. Initially, the company was named Microcomp Limited.
  • They started the business in the summer of 1976. Initially, the company started producing calculators due to insufficiency of funds to produce computers. Since it was a startup, banks weren’t willing to loan them the capital required. So producing calculators to raise more capital seemed like a wise thing to do. The plan worked and they raised a capital of Rs 20 lakhs. With that capital, Hindustan Computers Limited came into existence on August 11, 1976.
  • Arjun Malhotra was a major source of motivation for Shiv Nadar to start the company. Arjun was Shiv Nadar’s junior at TMC. Arjun was the first person to hear Shiv’s business plan. He understood Shiv’s seriousness about the plan and saw that it had a great chance of success. Arjun instilled confidence in Shiv and motivated him to start the company. Despite having parted ways in 1998, the two still continue to remain good friends.
  • The political happenings at that time also seemed to favour Shiv Nadar. In 1977, Indira Gandhi’s period came to an end, and the Janata Party started exercising its rule. George Fernandes, a trade unionist, became the Union Minister for Industries. India started following a socialist approach in the trade sector. In such a situation, only a few multinational corporations could stand the ground. Many foreign corporations exited the country. This expanded the scope of growth for H.C.L. Shiv Nadar seized the opportunity and utilised it smartly. The company started producing microcomputers and the computers gained a wide market that stretched throughout the country.
  • In 1984, when Rajiv Gandhi came to power, he decided to modernise the education system, which laid the foundation for the IT sector’s growth. He used that opportunity to increase his business. Further, H.C.L reaped more profits by producing UNIX model computers for use in the banking sector.
  • The business graph of H.C.L is no straight line. The enterprise has had its fair share of ups and downs. Shiv made it a point to learn from the downs. In 1989, he tried to enter the American market. The American regulations did not favour the business and the market there preferred American products to H.C.L. This made the move look bad. But Shiv learnt his lesson and moved past it, and tried to associate with HP. This association proved out to be quite a successful one in the American Market.
  • Shiv Nadar’s next move turned out to be legendary! He predicted that the company needs to start producing software along with hardware if it has to make a bigger impact. This is how H.C.L. technologies was born. At that time there were quite a few software giants like Infosys and Wipro. H.C.L Technologies gave the companies a tough competition. This move he made helped him capture 50% of the world market.
  • Shiv Nadar believes, “There are a few areas that have not been benefactors of Government schemes due to lack of accessibility and awareness. Individuals with the means to bring about such reform should actively reach out to such areas and do their best to bring about a positive change. And that is how we can achieve progress as a nation.” To illustrate this, he started Shiv Nadar Foundation. This foundation has been actively contributing to the education of children and youngsters.
  • C.L’s success is also a result of decentralised control. Not all the decisions have to go through a single point. Such departmentalised approach of operation makes work flow easier. While imagining the head of a huge corporation, we get the picture of a person who is extremely stressed and unapproachable. But for those at H.C.L., it is not so. Shiv Nadar’s calm manner makes him more approachable and easier to work with.
  • On the personal front, Shiv Nadar is a calm, quiet person and not very extroverted. He is rarely seen at public events. Despite his rare appearances, he is one of the most popular personalities of the 20th century.