Infosys graciously asked me and many others to join its thought-leadership summit (Infosys Confluence 2016) in San Francisco in late April. As the event promos stated, the summit was intended to discuss how to leverage technology to create a future different from the past of doing more of the same. Here’s what I learned.
Infosys has made a commitment to design thinking and zero distance, and they used this event to showcase their commitment.
As you may know if you are an avid reader of my blogs, design thinking fundamentally allows Infosys to better engage with its clients. It focuses on listening to a client’s needs and engaging with the client in a way that allows Infosys to meet those needs in a much deeper way. Infosys claims, and I believe it’s reasonable to believe, that it has trained over 90,000 of its employees in design thinking.
Zero distance, the companion to design thinking, allows and enables all the engineers at Infosys to tap into and bring innovative ideas on how Infosys can create more value for its customers. And Infy is instituting a zero distance program with all of its customer accounts.
Why does this matter? If you have followed my blogs, three or four years ago I called Infosys out for being arrogant, focused on itself and overpricing its services. When Vishal Sikka took over as CEO, he set about addressing these issues. And I believe his embracing design thinking and the implementation of zero distance are the result of his taking action to focus on customers, equipping employees to tools to engage with customers in a genuine and deeper way than before.
Recently, under Vishal’s leadership, Infosys’ growth rate has increased. I attribute that increase in growth not to these design thinking and zero distance initiatives – which will take several years to take hold and be a growth driver – but more to the other aspects of Vishal’s strategy. He has shifted Infosys from premium pricing to being a price challenger. We’ve found that Infy is often one of the most competitive providers in the marketplace today.
Infosys is telling its investors that it will raise its margins, yet it is being aggressive on price. It seeks to reconcile these seemingly contradictory positions by aggressively using automation to be able to ensure that Infy can make adequate margins at lower prices.
What we can now see is that Vishal has addressed the key issues that were holding Infosys back. It is no longer a high-price provider and is bringing in extreme automation. It’s also changing the focus of the firm from itself to its customers through design thinking and zero distance, it attempting to shift from being the highest-price company to the highest-value company.
We can see the results of the pricing change immediately as Infosys has doubled its growth rate, We’ve yet to see how much of an impact design thinking and zero distance will have.