Few changes at the top in a company have been as keenly tracked as those at Infosys. Whether it was the return of the iconic NR Narayana Murthy, back from retirement in a bid to reverse the IT major’s sagging fortunes, or the appointment of top SAP honcho Vishal Sikka as the CEO (the first non-Infy founder to get the job), the corporate world, Infy-watchers and analysts have been following every move. And rightly so. After all, here was a company, for long the toast and evidence of Indian enterprise, going through a prolonged rough patch despite multiple attempts to steady the ship. Infosys had been losing ground to competitors, thus changing the pecking order within the Indian IT sector. TCS and Cognizant were making rapid strides and Infosys had to do something dramatically different to wrest its place back at the top of the heap.
Enter Sikka, with the strong endorsement of Murthy, and things have started looking different, albeit gradually. Ever since he took charge on August 1 last year, Sikka has been putting in place a strategy to make Infosys future-ready. His ‘Renew and New’ theme for the company, under which he is aiming to reinforce existing strengths while starting new initiatives, is the underpinning of what he calls the aspirational goal of touching $20 billion in revenues by 2020, from $8.7 billion now. This he wants to do through a combination of innovation and acquisitions, something which, once it plays out fully, may transform Infosys into a very different company from what it is now. The key question though, as Senior Assistant Editor Debojyoti Ghosh explores in our cover story, is, can Sikka pull off this ambitious transformation?
From the first year report card, he seems to have been able to do a few things right and has got the company a little closer to his vision. The culture at Infosys is changing perceptibly, and attrition rates are down. New acquisitions have been executed with an eye on future business opportunities and the company is focusing on newer technologies. But major challenges still have to be tackled. For instance, a bulk of Infy’s revenues still comes from traditional businesses, which Sikka sees as outdated. How will he protect those revenues? And how soon can he make the transition? The recent outcomes, in terms of Infosys’s latest results, do not yet prove that the Sikka plan is working. But analysts say the deep-rooted changes which the new CEO is putting in place will bear fruit over the next few years. As Sikka himself says in his interview to Saritha Rai of Forbes Asia
, a large part of his new theme consists of “wrapping our heads around the unknown”.
Sikka apart, this issue also brings you two mega packages from Forbes: The definitive list of the 100 top-earning global celebrities and America’s 200 richest families. These are classic representations of enterprise, success and power, and make for a riveting read.
Editor, Forbes India
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(This story appears in the 07 August, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)