Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Infosys - Always a company I will respect and love

It is now close to 3 years since I left Infosys Technologies where I worked at earlier and the memories of the company (Note: I said company and not the job) still linger on strongly in my mind. It is all the more stronger now as I during our case discussions, Infy keeps coming into the discussion - The good thing being is that the name comes up for all the right things. Be it Corporate Governance, being transparent, be it Brand Personality, be it Values, or be it Character of an organization - we hear Infosys in the discussion. I've done a couple of cases on Infosys in school already.

Thinking back - I feel that the company today (Infosys) has taken on the character and personality of Shri. Narayana Murthy or NRN (That's what we called him in Infy). He has successfully transferred his personality into the values of the brand name - Infosys. Below is a small excerpt from a speech he made at Infosys 25 (Celebrating Infy's 25th Birthday). I was at the ceremony at Mysore and I still remember the goose-bumps I had all over my hand when I heard him say this... felt proud to be a part of the company.

"When, in 1992, the young librarian asked by the then Head of Education & Research Dr. Vishwanathan about a library book, referred to me the borrower as that gentleman who sits in the corner, it was then that I knew that our jobs had been done in demolishing hierarchy in the organization. When the first telephone was established at the house of P. Bala who was in-charge of our computer center and not in the house of the CEO, I knew we had created a customer-focused organization. When we spent 1.5 times our revenue in 1992 to build India’s first campus, I knew we had started on a journey of worthy dreams. When we politely refused General Electric’s unreasonable conditions in 1995 and walked away from their business when they formed 25% of our revenues and 8% of our profits, I knew we had built a courageous and principled organization. When Mr. Ramachandrappa, an attendant at Infosys told me recently and invited me to the fabulous house that he had built, I knew our experiment in democratization of wealth had achieved success and indeed had served a great purpose. When Infosys Foundation financed and fulfilled the dream of higher education of a bright but poor Hanumantappa belonging to a disadvantaged community in Karnataka, I knew our hearts were in the right place. When I stood up in front of 1500 investors and accepted that we had indeed erred in investing some of our free cash flows in the secondary market and lost it, I knew we had fulfilled our pledge to be transparent with our investors. Friends, I can go on and on and on, but what is important is to remember that we have bigger challenges and rewards ahead of us. I will not be there when all of this is achieved, but I know that we have a wonderful set of people led by Nandan, Kris and others. But we all have to remember one thing and that is aspirations, courage, principles, and innovation and relentless focus on execution will carry you all to that great success that you all want to achieve." - Shri Narayana Murthy

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