Infosys Technologies: Infy, Fie, Fo, Fum

By Joshua Weinberger Print this article Print

A co-founder of the firm, he was chief executive until March 2002.

34760 Campus Drive, Fremont, CA 94555
(510) 742-3000

EMPLOYEES: 15,300 worldwide

N. R. Narayana Murthy
Chairman, Chief Mentor
A co-founder of the firm, he was chief executive until March 2002. He also serves on the Indian Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry.

S. (Kris) Gopalakrishnan
Deputy Managing Director, COO, Head of Customer Service and Technology
Another of the company's co-founders, he's held several posts during the '90s, including head of client delivery and technology.

Offerings include development, maintenance, and re-engineering of both software and applications, as well as consulting (strategists, technologists, and program managers). Operates dedicated software-development centers for large clients. Can automate bank operations and handle inventory and warehouse management. Progeon is its Business Process Outsourcing division.

Infy, Fie, Fo, Fum
It's tough to be the big guy—you have to live up to your rep. Dan Bentzinger's first experience with software giant Infosys was back in 1997, at a previous employer—he was behind schedule and ahead of budget. He picked Infosys "to do some rapid, high-quality development at a good price." Today, at Yellow Corp.'s Meridian IQ, CIO Bentzinger values the firm for "its integrity and the quality of the people they have working for us." He also sees a key factor to Infosys' success: "They have a good local presence on our projects."

"Infosys will reassign team members every 18 months to keep them engaged," says BNSF Railway's Jeffrey Campbell. "We were used to contractors with years of experience with us." But Infosys "would place the new developer with us weeks or months before the transition" to smooth the way.

When it comes to handling internal politics, says LexisNexis' Bradley Clark, Infosys' staffers "would approach them in an unemotional, practical way—I'd kid them—they're like Mr. Spock."

Campbell also found "some niche areas Infosys cannot provide" for, such as database administration. But "coding in any environment," he says, is the firm's sweet spot; Internet-based applications, particularly in Java, are "where they shine."

Infosys, it turns out, doesn't want to be all things to all people. "They told me early on that they're not very good at sales and marketing," Bentzinger says. "What they are very good at is delivery and execution."

"They don't want to do staff augmentation [anymore]," Clark says. "They want to own the project and have responsibility for the whole thing." That leads to a very determined mien: Clark had "never heard of a vendor that would walk away from business—but these guys would actually walk away if it didn't fit their model."

One reason Clark feels so much attention: "Because of the type of work they're doing for us, Infosys considers us a marquee account. They [usually] get involved in back-office, boring kinds of systems," Clark says. But the LexisNexis' project is one that actual customers interact with—which makes it "a cool project."

A little injection of cool may be precisely what Infosys needs. What's ironic is that the firm may have to lose that Mr. Spock image if it's going to live long and prosper.

This article was originally published on 2003-06-01
Assistant Editor
After being on staff at The New Yorker for five years, Josh later traveled the world, hitting all seven continents in a single year. At Yale University, he majored in American Studies, English, and Theatre Studies.

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