OpenWorld 2011: Infosys seeks high-value IT work

Indian IT outsourcer won't abandon it's commodity services business, though, company chief S.D. Shibulal says. The cloud also good for business.

Infosys chief S.D. Shibulal has signaled his intention to add more Australian customers to its books as the Indian outsourcing company moves into a period of expansion into higher-value consulting and systems integration work.

Speaking before his keynote at Oracle’s OpenWorld 2011 in San Francisco, Shibulal told Computerworld Australia that the company was focused on developing a “client-centric approach” with major operators in the telco, resources and financial sectors.

“We are trying to strengthen our partnership with clients and that will require us to strengthen our thought leadership to provide better business value – that is what it is all about.

“[Customers] also want us to be truly global. An Australian client can easily access expertise from any other part of the world. Simultaneously we can bring in knowledge from across the globe and across industries.

“We want to align in front of the customer -- make sure that clients see us as one single organisation. The problem is that as you get larger and larger you create different competencies and you have to restructure them to make sure they are one.”

Shibulal said Infosys’ 2003 acquisition of Australian IT services provider Expert Information Systems had also added to the company's relationship with clients in the country.

“In Australia we have done extremely and the acquisition of Expert Systems many years back has really created a local presence for us,” he said. “In Australia we are expanding our relationships and gaining new clients.”

Shibulal said companies which had turned to Infosys were in the main looking for three things: running operations more efficiently, organisation transformation for future growth, and to create differentiation.

Despite the push toward higher value IT services the company was not abandoning its lower value back-office outsourcing business.

“We are expanding our value chain rather than moving up it,” he said. “Moving up means you are vacating something and we are not vacating anything. We are not giving up any space.

“Today we can play in the board room and we can play in the boiler room and we will continue to expand. We are not vacating anything.”

By way of example, Shibulal said in that in 1990 some 90 per cent of Infosys’ revenue came from application development and maintenance. The current percentage is 38 percent. In the past decade the company had built its consulting and systems integration practice to a $US1.3 billion business.

Commenting on the Cloud’s effect on Infosys Shibulal said more business, rather than less, would come the company’s way.

“Cloud is extremely important to our clients … they are looking at public and private clouds… and we are partnering with them on that journey and advising them,” he said. “Where you have new technology you have complexity… more technology means more business.”

Tim Lohman travelled to OpenWorld as a guest of Oracle

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