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Infosys: Ethics In Its DNA

Infosys has been at the cusp of an aggressive digital revolution ever since Vishal Sikka took over as the CEO and MD in 2014

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Corporate governance and Infosys are almost synonymous with each other. Right from the time, N.R. Narayana Murthy along with his co-founders established Infosys in 1981, ethics and governance has been part of the company’s DNA. Over the years, that DNA has trickled down to the bottom of the pyramid and has been etched in its very culture and existence.

Today, Infosys is the country’s second largest IT services company by revenue, revered for its highest levels of corporate governance. With more than 2 lakh employees, it is also one of the largest employers in the IT industry in India. From an initial capital of $250, the company has grown to become a $10.2 billion (FY17 revenues) company with a market capitalisation of approximately $36.3 billion.  

In its journey of over 35 years, Infosys has spearheaded some of the major changes that have led to India’s emergence as the global destination for software services talent. Infosys pioneered the Global Delivery Model and became the first IT company from India to be listed on the Nasdaq. Its employee stock options programme created some of India’s first salaried millionaires.

In 2016, Bengaluru-based Infosys achieved a significant milestone as it crossed revenues of $10 billion on an LTM (last twelve months) basis. Infosys launched Mana (now part of Infosys Nia), its artificial intelligence (AI) platform that brings machine learning together with the deep knowledge of an organisation, to drive automation and innovation.

Infosys has been at the cusp of an aggressive digital revolution ever since Vishal Sikka took over as the CEO and MD in 2014 becoming the first non-founder to lead the company. Sikka articulated a fresh strategy known as ‘Renew’ and ‘New’, on the foundation of creativity and education — software and services coming together in a culture of innovation.

“The next 33 years had to be, and have to be, about being more, about helping clients transform themselves for their digital futures, embracing artificial intelligence, and becoming the masters and orchestrators of technology disruption rather than the victims of it. Our confidence for a successful transformation of Infosys would be steeped in the intellect, learnability and strong value system of our company, of every Infoscion,” Sikka said in a letter to the shareholders.

Sikka (50) believes this transformation has already started to bear fruits. Infosys’ revenue from software-related services, including Infosys Nia, Edge, Panaya and Skava, grew 42 per cent in fiscal 2017 at a much higher revenue per employee (RPE) than the rest of the company. “New services such as mainframe modernisation, cloud applications and infrastructure, enabling the API economy, Internet of Things, cyber security, digital experiences and complex analytics showed rapid momentum with clients,” he said.

The attrition levels at Infosys have also come down which indicates the strategies are finally working. “When I started, our attrition was quite high,” says Sikka. The standalone attrition was at 23.4 per cent in Q1 of fiscal 2015, and 18.9 per cent in fiscal 2015. However, in a dramatic turn, in Q1 of fiscal 2017 it came down to 15.8 per cent, and 15.0 per cent overall in fiscal 2017. “Attrition among top performers, the most important metric we track in evaluating attrition, is now in single digits,” he says.

Sikka firmly believes, “We can be the next-generation services company, as differentiated and iconic as we once were, a company that admires its past and builds on it. It is within us to embrace the tough choices and to move headlong, unabashedly, into creating great new futures.”