Monday, June 03, 2013

Will Infosys weather the storm ?

This a very difficult question in the present circumstances. Nobody can answer this question with certainty. As any organisation passes through its growth cycle, Infosys has plateaued out and is on its way out. Unless a radical process or thought is brought in under a dynamic leader, Infosys may not survive this shock.

There are some reasons which I feel Infosys needs to handle on an emergency basis, else it would crumble. It calls for an innovative mindset  !

1. Retain customer Focus : Times have changed and customers have become more demanding. The customers require the organisation to respond to their needs. If an organisation is not ready to do that and instead continue with its dreamy world offering of premium, quality work and live in an Utopian world, (when the workforce is no different than the other competitors), the customers will go elsewhere.

2. Move from a process to product concept : The service concept of offering end-to-end customisation of an organisations activities can now no more bring revenues until a drastic re-engineering of its processes is done to keep costs low. The Global Delivery Model does not make Infosys any more different from the competitor. The company should now change over to a product concept and allow more innovation in its product offering to customers. Infosys has a large bank of talented employees, it should release some of them from their usual tiring work of petty customisation and instead permit their creativity and imagination to soar and bring in innovations.

3. Adapt to changes : The citibank world wealth report of 2011 gives a very different image of the growth of the world economies in the coming 40 years. India will regain the position of the top economy of the world with $ 86 trillion GDP PPP and China, the second with $ 80 trillion. US will be third with a GDP of $39 trillion. Does this give any indication as to where the new businesses are going to come from US, Europe or mainland Asia ? Concentrate more on India and China than the West and US to survive, lest get wiped out.

4. Allow an innovative culture : Infoscions are fed up of going to the company daily and doing the same job, day in day out, targets and deadlines, adrenalin raising and so on. If not for the "welfare" and perks, most Infoscions would have been dead by now of ennui, lassitude and monotony .. Allow them to innovate, let their creativity soar, let them develop newer products and services for the burgeoning markets of India and China. We may not be in a position to tell what the product or process maybe, but allow the employee creativity to soar and identify that product or process.

5. Manage smaller units effectively : As TCS has divided its businesses into $ 250 million businesses and then have separate heads to manage them semi independently, enabling quick, effective decision making, Infosys should also do something similar. 

6. Bring effective, professional leadership : Bringing professional leaders from the outside is the only solution to Infosys. Narayana Murthy coming back from retirement at this age to lead the company cannot ensure its growth. He does not bring new vision, nor does his son. Instead  the polished old vision is applied.. Young professional, promising leaders need to be brought out either from within or from outside.

I believe there is a difference in a person going to Ivy League Univs of the world on one's own strengths and on one's father's strengths. "Gaining respectability" could also be a double edged sword !
A rich man without charity is a rogue; and perhaps it would be no difficult matter to prove that he is also a fool - Henry Fielding
NM will damage his clean public image and repute by taking a second plunge. He should have trust in the professionals he has handed the charge over to and let them manage the affairs.  No dearth of high class talent in Infosys .. Just have to identify it.

I know NM would not do it, hope this is not an NM ploy to get his son a "respectable" lateral entry and "push" to the company he helped found .. Professional values and trust should not be compromised.   Avoid conflict of interest. Hope Jairam Ramesh is proved wrong ..


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