In US, Murthy tries to change 'arrogant' image of Infosys

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 15, 2013 06:28 hrs

N R Narayana Murthy's recent meetings with top clients of Infosys in the US are helping turn around the perception of the company as "inflexible" and arrogant", analysts in the US told Business Standard. His return from retirement to the company, once considered a bellwether for the Indian software sector, three months ago as executive chairman is also boosting staff morale, analysts add.

Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder and chief executive of technology consulting firm Everest Group, has been speaking with the clients Murthy met during his trip. He said: "The existing client base of Infosys was diminishing, as its pricing was above the market and clients were perceiving it as arrogant and inflexible. They are now trying to build more relationships; paying more attention to existing clients and looking for more opportunities."

Murthy, he added, is also trying to reinvigorate employees as he "mends the company's ways" and re-ignites growth. "Murthy is going back to the core. He is also cleaning up the house, as the team had become slightly complacent and inward-looking."

About Murthy's agenda during the US visit, an Infosys spokesperson said: "We do not comment on Murthy's comings and goings."

Infosys has recently seen resignations in the upper management, especially in the US. Prominent among them have been those of Ashok Vemuri, head of Americas and global head of manufacturing and engineering; Basab Pradhan, global sales head; and Sudhir Chaturvedi, senior vice-president. During his US trip, Murthy is said to have met representatives of leading banks, among other clients. America is the most important market for Infosys, as it contributes over 60 per cent of the revenue.

Gartner Vice-president Sandra Notardonato, who tracks the software services sector, said it was less about what the current leadership lacked and more about the confidence that Murthy brought to the strategy and its execution.

She added Murthy seemed to have a clear mandate of returning the company to expanded profits and higher growth by focusing again on the core offerings and delivery. "More consistency in results will reduce the volatility in the stock and help regain confidence of its key constituents (employees and shareholders)."

The company recently restructured the top management that saw seniors such as Chandrashekar Kakal and V Balakrishnan getting more responsibilities.

Hansa Iyengar, an analyst who tracks outsourcing firms at Forrester Research, said; "Infosys had become complacent and service quality was becoming a major issue. However, under its renewed strategy, the company is now more willing to be a partner to its clients and is making genuine efforts to address their needs better. Under its Edge platform, the company also presented to the market a solid set of solutions, which is a great story." Iyengar added that focusing on a set of solutions and taking those to market could drive big revenues for the company in the near future.

On being asked about the duration and agenda of Murthy's recent visit to the US, an Infosys spokesperson declined to comment. "We do not comment on Mr. Murthy's comings and goings," the spokesperson said on the phone.

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