Vishal Sikka enters his fourth year as Infosys CEO on Tuesday with his back partly to the wall. Ten of the 16 senior executives he hired from his previous company, SAP, have quit over the past year and a half. Most of them were hired to further his innovation agenda. That agenda now appears to be in crisis.
The $10-billion company’s growth has slowed down sharply after having risen in Sikka’s first two years. Consequently, Infosys’ share price is down steeply from the highs it had touched mid-last year. Sikka has, since the beginning, spoken about a dual strategy — to renew the traditional business with automation, and develop new businesses around the new digital technologies such as cloud, AI/machine learning, analytics, big data, and internet-of-things.
Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of US-based IT research firm Everest Group, says from an execution point of view, Sikka has not been able to get his company fully behind the changes he is trying to drive. “He has not been able quickly enough to put the challenge from the founders behind him, which has further eroded support for his programmes. He has not yet been able to convince his customer base that Infosys is the digital partner of choice and they continue to see Infosys as a great labour arbitrage company ,” he told TOI.