Infosys Technologies: Infy, Fie, Fo, Fum

By Joshua Weinberger  |  Posted 2003-06-01

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.

Reference Checks

Meridian IQ
Dan Bentzinger, CIO
(913) 906-6862
Project: In 2002, Infosys was chosen to develop a Web-native transportation-management system for this division of Yellow Corp.

Kansas City Southern
Scott Arvidson
(816) 983-1372
Project: In 2000, the railway had a peak of 110 Infosys developers, at times working a 24x5 cycle.

LexisNexis Group
Bradley Clark
Manager of Global Resourcing
(937) 865-1154
Project: Infosys is one of four firms the text-and-data company is using for offshore software development.

BNSF Railway
Jeffrey Campbell
VP, Technology Services & CIO
(817) 352-3605
Project: Infosys handled a two-year project to rewrite a compensation system for crews.

Commonwealth Industries
Kathy Gould
VP, Organizational Development
(502) 588-3955
Project: The aluminum manufacturer had Infosys develop and configure software to handle financials and procurement.

Eastman Chemical
Dave Holden
Director, E-commerce & Supply-Chain Systems
(423) 229-4570
Project: The manufacturer of plastics, fibers, and polymers has relied on Infosys for several years, tasking as many as 35 offshore developers for e-commerce and intranet application development.

GreenPoint Mortgage
S.A. Ibrahim
President, CEO
(415) 878-5280
Project: The housing-finance company uses Infosys for development of its loan-origination system, and for some call-center operations.

Executives listed here are all customers of Infosys Technologies. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

  2003FY 2002FY 2001FY
Revenue $754M $545M $414M
Gross margin $219M $179M $138M
Net income $195M $164M $132M
Net margin 25.8% 30.2% 31.9%
Earnings per share $2.93 $2.49 $1.98
*Fiscal year ends March 31
Other Financials**
Total assets $704M
Stockholders' equity $626M
Cash & equivalents $354M
Long-term debt None
Shares outstanding 66.5M
Market value at 5/29 $5.7B
**As of March 31, except where noted
source: Company Reports