Friday, May 24, 2013

Infosys - Dilema still exist

Having worked at Infosys for a considerable portion of my career, I have always felt attached to the the "family" even after 5 years or so. During my tenure, Infosys restructured itself into verticals and at that time it was difficult for me to understand the reasoning behind it. Besides it did not mattered much as it seemed insignificant other than some changes at top level. Today when I look at it, it was one of the many strategic decision Infosys has taken to adapt to exponential growth it was experiencing and to remain competitive. During discussions with clients and managers, I got to understand that Infosys is a premium player and charges well above the competitors. It was something which used to make me feel proud.

It is now a known fact that Infosys is lagging behind its competitors and rivals like Cognizant are catching up. Four years back, the gap between TCS and Infosys revenue was around 7000 crores. Come 2013 and the gap has more than trebled. So what exactly is going wrong at Infosys? Why it is not able to grow at a pace which its competitors have managed? Of course I am not a gyaan guru who will go ahead and provide any quick fix solution. There must be already many of consulting firms spending huge amount of money to come at a solution. Infosys itself is searching for a direction and for sure there are many brains at work there.

But one thing is certain that Infosys need to find a quick solution. Having moved back to Bangalore, I have met some of my old friends and have many fellow ex-infosions in my batch. The biggest strength of IT company is its people. They should remain committed and motivated. One of the biggest fallback of lack of leadership and direction is that the employees are not seeing themselves growing. I feel the employees are missing direction towards a common vision. Earlier there were differentiating factors at Infosys which kept me going. In a process to streamline itself with the industry, it has moved away from the position of leader it once held (despite lagging behind TCS in terms of revenues). Indian IT industry has to move up the value chain to fight competition from Eastern Asia and visa restrictions. For this to be done, there has to be more than 100% engagement by employees which seems to be on decline.

Another important cog in the wheel is its customers. Since the house is not in order, what can happen is that customer might not feel connected to it in longer run. I have seen customers feeling delighted in associating with Infosys. It worked like a partnership helping them in growing their business. With Infosys loosing the way forward, client will not have any hesitation in moving to any other IT service provider. Beside there seems to be no differentiating factor as competition has caught up on those. And once customer base starts to wean, Infosys will not have much time to recover.

In a nutshell, it is imperative that Infosys has to buckle up and find a strong leadership. If not within the company, it has to look outside. It has to let loose its tightly coupled decision making to allow an open view. Even after close to 4 years since Nandan left, they still seem to be searching for an answer and they better find it soon. Otherwise, this fast moving IT industry does not give much time to recover and Infosys will relegate itself to case studies in business schools. It does not bode well for Indian IT industry and economy as a whole.

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