Ten years back most of the offshore clients used to talk very high about transparency and candidness of Indian IT companies. Frustrated with either high- handedness of firms such as Accenture or total opaque deals of EDS and IBM; they were pleasantly surprised with Indian providers’ upfront and sincere service approach. In fact many clients signed up with Indians because they found these new, though very small vendors, quite easy to work with. Apart from low cost and abundant talent, I believe, this honesty and simplicity helped Indians enter and grow in many accounts in late 90s.
As industry evolved, top firms grew to become multi-billion in revenues; projects became Continue reading →
I have spent most of my career of thirty years in the software product development space. ‘Product Development’ and ‘Product Engineering’ had not been invented as labels for what we did when I started my career in 1981. I was called a ‘System Software Programmer’. Our tribe was rather small. But we were a proud tribe – proud of the kind of work that we did; and proud that we did not do ‘lesser’ work, like developing business applications! We believed that our work was ‘special’. We felt that we did the hard, creative, brainy work of creating platforms that others used for the ‘mundane’ job of developing business applications.
As I grew professionally, my love and bias for product development and engineering only grew stronger.
The dollar I lost to George is repetitively making me think about Infosys. Here are three incidents that come to my mind today:
First incident – I don’t remember the exact date, but it has surely been 6-7 years. While debating on Infosys campaign based on Thom Friedman’s World Is Flat, Nandan Nilekani made one interesting statement. According to him, today Infosys can knock board room of any Global 2000 firms, and it gets opened. Possibly Nandan was right! With rising role in World Economic Forum, coveted positions like seat on Bill Clinton foundation, he surely was one of the most well connected Indian CEO.
Everyday, Infosys is in news – rather negatively! What has triggered with missing revenue guidance, is not stopping for a moment. Be it Projecting its single digit growth, visa row and related legal suites, early signs of challenges in recruitment and consistent criticizing by financial or industry analysts (and its heavy reporting) – the list simply is never ending.
To assess where Infosys is heading, I tried to analyze the situation from multiple perspective. We surveyed 82 Infosys clients including 40+ strategic accounts ( We even spoke to over 60 TCS, 50+ Wipro and 40+ Wipro clients) in our latest survey of over 300 offshore clients. We also spoke to over two dozen current and ex-employees (mostly senior and/or long term), debated with select financial analysts and industry experts. Here are few key pointers that this exhaustive study has thrown up:
As I participated in panel discussion on NDTV Profit today; I was joined by Som Mittal (Nasscom), Hari Bhartia (CII), and Mohan Das Pai (earlier in Infosys, now in Manipal University). The show’s backdrop was latest visit by Hillary Clinton and some of rhetoric in US elections.
Both the industry representatives argued that present situation is not extraordinary, as it happens during every election. They explained; Indian industry is creating jobs in US and we are moving in value chain so clients do not essentially come to Indian companies as low-cost sources. I have not yet read, but CII has published a report as well, that talks about investments made by Indian businesses and job opportunities created. I felt both of them were trying to stress that offshoring industry is not taking jobs away (according to them, it happens more in Manufacturing), rather are creating lot more.
Bangalore, October 2005; George Colony (Forrester’s Chairman and CEO) was in India. We finished our meeting with Infosys’ top brass – Murthy, Nandan and Kris and were on our way to Sarjapur Road to meet Mr. Premji. Earlier evening we were in the then new TCS facility at Banyan Park (Mumbai) to meet Mr. Ramadorai and the CTO.
We were discussing where Indian IT is heading and how these players will evolve. In his typical style, George asked me to stake my neck out and predict which company will be the first to cross US $10B mark. I thought Infosys will overtake TCS somewhere around 2009-10 and will be first to become 10 Billion dollar company. George thought other way round. This was how our $1 bet happened!
April 23, 2012; TCS announced its results and crossed the $10B mark.
Since last eight to ten years, Information Technology industry has witnessed hype around particular technology – ERP, Y2K, E Business and now Enterprise Mobility.
What I see today is, a race amongst the Information Technology service providers. Be it Indian or MNC, There is a tussle to gain initiators’ advantage in market for adopting the newest member amongst emerging technologies. High executive interest, direct involvement of CEOs, companies listing range of mobile devices within their organization circulating them amongst employees in projects. I even see service providers make new investment plans, set up centers of excellence, build partnership, and develop application store! It is a party! But factors for consideration are more than what meets the eye.