Lest Co-founders Con­found In­fosys

Good com­mu­ni­ca­tion should flow both ways

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

In­fosys is go­ing through grow­ing-up pangs of the kind pe­cu­liar to In­dian mama’s boys, whose fond par­ents just can­not be­lieve that their pre­cious off­springs con­tinue to get ten­der, lov­ing care un­der their new man­age­ment just as they used to in their parental home, and try to in­ter­fere. Re­port­edly, some co-founders have sought to cor­rect some de­vi­a­tions at the top of the com­pany from its found­ing val­ues and prac­tices. They should de­sist. The new man­age­ment de­serves a chance to prove that it is up to the task of trans­form­ing the way In­dian in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (IT) com­pa­nies have been do­ing busi­ness ever since they started rid­ing the out­sourc­ing wave.

In­fosys’ driv­ing force, pub­lic face and guardian an­gel Narayana Murthy now wants In­dian IT to stop its de­pen­dence on visas. This is a per­fectly le­git­i­mate goal and some­thing that the present man­age­ment would have lit­tle quarrel with. How­ever, Murthy him­self had wanted In­fosys to not ne­glect its bread-and-but­ter work model, when he had seen the com­pany lose steam. Tran­si­tion is not easy. It calls for do­ing new things even as do­ing old things con­tin­ues to bring in the rev­enue till the new busi­ness model sta­bilises. Man­ag­ing the tran­si­tion calls for new peo­ple, new in­cen­tives and, at times, new val­ues to make the new in­cen­tives work. New val­ues, per se, should not be a prob­lem. Whether an ef­fec­tive trans­for­ma­tion of the com­pany is afoot is the nub of the mat­ter. Rev­enue per em­ployee is a good yard­stick to mea­sure the ex­tent of change in the com­pany’s busi­ness model. This has not been dra­matic, as, say, HCL’s has been. En­try into new, cut­ting-edge ar­eas of busi­ness is an­other mea­sure. TCS’s big-data an­a­lyt­ics for GE does not quite have its coun­ter­part at In­fosys. The goal of cre­at­ing se­ri­ous con­sult­ing ca­pa­bil­ity within the com­pany re­mains a work in progress.

Yet, it is too early to call the trans­for­ma­tion set off un­der CEO Sikka a flop. In­dian IT faces tough chal­lenges in the Trumpian world. It could do with­out in­ter­nal mutiny, as it ral­lies forces against ex­ter­nal threats, and steady com­mu­ni­ca­tion among stake­hold­ers will help.

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