On July 30th, Supply Chain Matters attended the Infosys 2013 Global Analyst Summit meeting held in Boston.  This is an annual event held each year with invited industry analysts representing multiple coverage areas. It was a great briefing event, held at a scenic facility overlooking Boston Harbor and filled with insightful information. 

Bottom-line, we were surprisingly impressed at the consulting efforts that Infosys’s manufacturing and supply chain teams have made in the past twelve months.

Infosys itself has undergone some turbulent changes in terms of lagging growth, culminating with bringing back its founder N.R. Narayana Murthy as executive chairmen.  During the opening session, Co-founder, Board Member, Managing Director and CEO S. D. Shibulal reviewed the accomplishments of the Infosys 3.0 re-alignment that has been executed over the past 18 months. He acknowledged that last year provided some challenges for the firm with growth below industry average. Since that time the firm has re-aligned both its industry and geographic organizational focus and has assembled 14 offerings around products and platforms. Last year, a significant percent of the firm’s new deals around business outcomes came as a result of the new platforms strategy with the Process and Platforms business unit reaching $725 million in Total Customer Value  last quarter alone. The re-alignment and re-focus has begun to demonstrate other improved performance. Shibulal re-iterated that Infosys maintains a 98 percent customer retention rate among nearly 600 core clients. The CEO also highlighted some key client accomplishments across multiple industries and it was rather clear that he was personally involved in overseeing some of these engagements. Also made clear was the firm’s renewed focus on assisting clients in major business process transformation that extends beyond just information technology, with broader measures of engagement performance. Infosys is in the process of transforming to both a services and platform consultancy.

The remaining morning briefing sessions featured a combination of Infosys senior executives and select customers discussing areas termed Insights-Driven and Agile Enterprise, along with Cloud and IT Outsourcing implementation efforts. What we found most interesting was how these clients described their business objectives, which included:

Building a smarter organization

Digitizing the enterprise for growth

Fail fast and win faster- iterated by more than one client presentation

Harnessing the power of real-time decisions

Managing disparate global operations effectively

Enabling guest experiences

Flexible fulfillment

Re-architecting the entire data environment

These are terms that connote broad cross-functional and enterprise initiatives.  The other common theme we picked-up on was a sense of urgency for industry change in either maintaining or up-ending industry leadership in business capabilities, or seizing business opportunities in new markets.

Our afternoon time centered on a series of dedicated briefings from various Infosys executives within the Manufacturing Industry practice business unit, chaired by Sanjay Jalona, Infosys Senior Vice President for Hi-Tech and Manufacturing, along with his associated manufacturing industry leaders. This business unit stated that it works with more than 100 global 2000 clients and that 40 percent of engagements are led from a business process consulting framework. While we are restricted from the mention of client names, we can relate that the names are impressive.  Once more, the described engagements are far reaching, many with multiple-year timetables for innovation.

More importantly, Infosys has shifted to a shared-risk outcomes-based client engagement model where end results are predicated on specific client specified business outcomes. Infosys has now discovered that its core capabilities lie in combined services that span engineering, business process outsourcing and IT transformation. The firm’s broad global presence across multiple countries is further leveraged to assist manufacturers and retailers in implementing capabilities on a global scale, including needs in higher-growth emerging markets.

Five areas of investment capability and client transformation focus were described that include: Information, Digital, Infrastructure, Business and Supply Chain. Beyond IT and business consulting, the manufacturing practices have also focused on the delivery of specific services including product engineering and industry specific customer services. The firm is also developing impressive capabilities in the area of leveraging predictive analytics applied to supply chain and online fulfillment needs.

Our briefing emphasized the increasing importance that manufacturers currently place on transforming to more services focused business areas particularly in discrete manufacturing and aerospace settings.  In some specific engagements, Infosys has assumed the ongoing management of a client’s legacy products that frees-up client resources to work on more innovative product offerings. Client names were again impressive, many of which Supply Chain Matters has featured in specific supply chain, B2B, and online fulfillment capabilities.

As outlined above, we were obviously impressed, and we were not the only analyst firm with that impression.  The firm has clearly shifted toward delivering strategic capabilities for its clients, a theme that was candidly not the top-of-mind impression for India based firms.

One of the current shortfalls of Infosys is its ability to effectively market its broader array of capabilities for global based manufacturers and retailers and that conclusion was openly echoed by other attending analysts as well. We were informed that this will be addressed.

The takeaway for our readers is that we were impressed by the renewed focus of Infosys, particularly its Manufacturing practice area.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: Infosys is a former sponsor and client of the Supply Chain Matters blog