Infosys and Disruptive Innovation

Business Standard (Manjari Raman, a Boston-based management writer) discusses the issues facing Infosys with Clay Christensen of HBS and co-founder, chairman and chief mentor Narayan Murthy:

The good news is: Infosys is a disrupter. Says Christensen: Infosyss business model is disruptive relative to the IT services industry in North America and Europe.

What made Infosyss Global Delivery Model (GDM) disruptive was its framework for distributed project management, the ability to deploy multi-location, multi-time-zone teams to execute projects efficiently and at low cost.

Like all disrupters, Infosys moved up the value ladder by deploying the model better, faster, more efficiently and in more areas.

The company evolved from writing small bits of code offshore at its Bangalore office to IT consulting to business process outsourcing. Now the company is gearing up for the next level, a new initiative called Thousand Board-Room Consultants.

Says Murthy: We have to transform our people so that from reactive problem solvers, they become proactive problem definers. We want our people to go to a CEO and say: I have looked at your organisation. Things seem to be all right today, but you will run into this problem two years from now. Infosys can provide you a solution today.”

Moving up the ladder has not only improved Infosyss margins but it has also helped the company integrate more with its customers needs.

Its exactly the right strategy for Infosys to follow. It does have to move up the ladder, says Christensen.

However, while the move to create Infosys was a disruptive innovation, all the improvements in Infosyss ability to execute faster, better and more complicated IT solutions are sustaining innovations. As it moves up the ladder and becomes more and more integrated, Infosys needs to create something that has a proprietary interdependent architecture inside its product offering.

for Infosys to become a global giant it will need to overcome at least three hurdles posed by its innovation strategy: Sustenance from sustaining innovations, limited to the low-end, and the trap of too little, too late.

Separately, has an interview with Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani on outsourcing.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.