The Indian IT giant and the most talked about organization in the past months, Infosys is clearly and closely at the cusp of revival and it’s firmly moving ahead with widening its focus towards software assets as well as intellectual property in the direction of successor CEO Vishal Sikka. He will be taking over from present CEO & MD SD Shibulal on August 1, 2014, with its extensive experience of products around enterprise software giant SAP.
The present Infosys chief, Sarojini Damodaran Shibulal is leaving after having a long journey at the company. Shibulal is leaving a story behind him for successors and employees to learn from. One of the co-founders of $8.2 billion software major, Shibulal had headed various teams in the company from sales and manufacturing to internet consulting, apart from being COO. It was in 2011, when the Indian software service company was going through a tough phase; he took over as CEO at the age of 59. It has been the time when the American financial industry, which comprises largest customer base for Indian IT, were continuing to clamp down on IT spending with focusing only at basics.
Shibulal’s reign also observed a mass departure from company’s top desk that included some of those who had been with him from decades. On the other side, it was in this period, when Infosys took a boldest move by launching a 3.0 strategy for concentrating on opportunities around digital space having higher margins. But, as clients were cutting IT budgets, the discretionary spending which funded those projects also dried up and hence, Infosys began to falter.
“Shibu took over at that time when there was lots of global uncertainty as well external environment was not right that resulted in underperformance of the company,” said V Balakrishnan, former Infosys’ board member. “Yet, he is a legend and will be leaving big shoes to fill in for successor. He is a process-oriented person and is able to execute larger scale projects with ease. We had worked as a team and he never had interfered,” he added.
Shibulal wanted Infosys to grow not only at the back of labour arbitrage, but through focusing on new forces which are changing enterprise technology like cloud, analytics and consulting. “I’m a strong believer that strategies don’t last for more than 3-4 years,” said Shibulal, at his last press conference as Infosys’ Chief, with reinvention of the company at the top of this mind.
“Infosys is at the cusp of change and is all set to go under a huge transformation till its DNA from a pure play system integrator to a company rising towards software assets and intellectual properties. Vishal will be having an important role to play here,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO of Greyhound Research. The industry is closely looking at next steps of Infosys under Vishal’s leadership. Once a leader for $118 billion plus Indian outsourcing, Infosys is now lagging behind the peers such as HCL and TCS. Plus, the enormous senior level exists added further pressure on the company. However, the analysts are seeing a gradual revival for the company.
On the other hand, to begin with, the designate Infosys chief Vishal Sikka took the first major move for improvising employee engagement in the company, which is now highly required given the continuous exists of senior level executives that has made the aspect of employee morale more critical for Infosys. The company has rolled-in a video message by the next chief, along with a letter undersigned by COO UB Pravin Rao to all the 1.6 lakh Infosys’ employees urging them for participating in an initiative Murmuration to source ideas from employees around important areas of operation. Murmuration means flock of starlings, which is a species of birds known to be highly social.
In the tone of humility, the letter by Rao said, “We as leaders don’t have all answers. We’d like tapping at intellectual capital of 160,000 plus Infoscions, who are rich in experience in working throughout emerging technologies, and more significantly, who are ears and eyes of the company at thousands of projects.”
Sikka wants company employees to speak about the key areas of innovations clients focusing on and which they believe company should participate in and contribute to. He wants them to propose how to deliver on shared new ideas without any disturbance to the existing business. He wants employees to propose a new way of working. Sikka also want Infosys employees to speak about what new skills they want to learn for delivering these new ideas and what required skills they already have and can also teach others.
The former SAP board member has been into preparations to bang at the ground at his new place, since months back. He has been actively discussing subjects around the company with friends and strategy experts to conclude a winning plan for Infosys. Sikka had also been in talks with Gardner & Associates Consulting, a California based advisory firm, as the company is looking forward to empowering its partnerships with customers and retail senior managers, most of which have turned jumpy seeing the continuous senior level executives. “While I and Sikka are discussing about how I can provide Infosys and him assistance, he’ll be looking at understanding what the company must do for strengthening relationships with customers and in-house team,” founder of Gardner & Associates Consulting, Dave Gardner said.
Sikka is regarded as a true technology visionary and his appointment as first non founder Infosys CEO has been interpreted as a bold decision by analysts.
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