The Telegraph
Saturday , August 2 , 2014
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Infy reboots with Sikka at helm

Sikka: Big challenge

Mumbai, Aug. 1: Vishal Sikka, who took charge as the chief executive officer of Infosys today, said the IT company would focus on intellectual property, products and platforms to spur growth. Incidentally, these are his strong areas as well.

Sikka will be the first non-founder and outsider to head the country’s second-largest software services exporter.

“These are the areas we have to get into — complex intelligent applications, data sciences, analytics,” Sikka said in a media interview.

The new CEO said Infosys’ iconic co-founder N. R. Narayana Murthy had told him that he would not interfere in the company’s working.

“I would love to get his (Murthy’s) advice. He has told me clearly he will not interfere... not second guess or any other. He has made it crystal clear. But, on the other hand, I feel like I will be totally remiss in my job — this is an incredible iconic pioneer in the country, not only in the industry, and we have such an amazing instinct,” he said.

Giving insights on Infosys’s future strategy, Sikka said the company would work on streamlining various verticals, which will complement each other.

“We have built great applications that are not widely known. We can’t create two different companies — the one that does the new sexy stuff that Vishal is interested in and the other is the boring dull stuff.”

In a message to 160,000 Infoscians, calling them friends, Sikka said the way forward was to go “after software opportunities with clients — to create next-generation, intelligent solutions’’.

Sikka, who will have a tenure of five years, also said the company would work with the start-up community.

“We have a $100-million fund that our shareholders and the board had approved. I want to utilise it starting today. We want to be a great amplifier for start-ups in India and other parts of the world, in the (Silicon) Valley, the US, and to focus on improving not only learnability and learning, but also our abilities,” he said.

Sikka takes over the reins of Infosys at a time rivals such as Tata Consultancy Services have outpaced the Bangalore-based company on various parameters. A lot of expectations are riding on Sikka, given his successful stint at SAP AG where he lead the development of HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance), which became the fastest selling SAP product.

One of the challenges before Sikka is the high attrition. During the quarter ended June 30, attrition hit a record high of 19.5 per cent, up from around 17 per cent in the same period last year.

“I am convinced that the most efficient way for us to get ahead — perhaps the only way — is to collectively chart the best course and move as one cohesive unit, as individual as each one of us, and yet together as a larger one, learning from and teaching one another,” he told the employees.

In a video chat with an employee posted on the company’s website, Sikka said his priority would be to continue to learn.

“I want to lay out the directions, but do it in a way that is respectful to where we come from,” he added.