From ₹10,000 to over $16 billion now: Infosys has much to celebrate


In 1981, seven engineers from Patni Computer Systems—N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, N.S. Raghavan, S. Gopalakrishnan, S.D. Shibulal, K. Dinesh and Ashok Arora—came together to launch Infosys Consultants with a modest investment of 10,000, which Murthy had borrowed from his wife, Sudha. Despite starting with limited resources, these founders laid the foundation for what would become one of India’s most successful IT services companies.

But despite this lack of awareness among the founders, they persevered to build a successful company that has stood the test of time.

While Patni Computer, the company from which the Infosys co-founders hailed, was acquired by iGate Corp. in 2011 and later bought by Capgemini, the founders could not have foreseen that by 31 March, 2022, Infosys would have a revenue of $16.3 billion and over 314,000 employees.

To celebrate its four decades in the industry, Infosys will have a discussion on Wednesday between its co-founders and CEO Salil Parekh on the present and future of India’s IT sector, which contributed to 9% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year and accounted for more than half of all services exports.

Infosys has also achieved several milestones in its journey, including becoming the first Indian firm to list on the Nasdaq in 1999.

In July last year, Infosys became the second Indian technology firm after Tata Consultancy Services to cross the $100 billion valuation mark.

As part of its celebrations, Infosys will showcase the technology of its key offerings, including its ‘Cobalt’ cloud services platform, which it uses to deliver digital transformation services to customers. Other main showcases include its ‘Cyber Next’ cybersecurity solutions platform, the ‘Tennis’ data analytics and artificial intelligence platform, and ‘Leap’, the company’s app development and management platform for enterprises. The showcases of Infosys’s core technology offerings will precede keynotes by non-executive chairman Nilekani and CEO Parekh.

Like any other company, Infosys has had its share of ups and downs. As a leader, Murthy gave five co-founders (Dinesh served as a board member of Infosys but quit in 2011 and Arora stepped down from his board seat in 1989) an opportunity to steer the company.

But on 1 August 2014, Infosys surprised investors and industry watchers when it named Vishal Sikka chief executive, making him the first outsider to head the firm while announcing the exit of then executive chairman Murthy in the biggest management transition in the firm that was then 33 years old.

Sikka’s tenure was marked by controversies and ended abruptly after three years. However, under the leadership of Nilekani and Parekh, Infosys appears to have regained its footing, a testament to the resilience and adaptability of its founders and leadership team.

Infosys’s anniversary, however, coincides with a challenging time for Indian IT. A 6 December report by Kumar Rakesh, vice-president of equities research at BNP Paribas, underscored that the current quarter is likely to remain muted for the sector, with lacklustre large deals announcements as firms cut IT spending amid the threat of a recession.

Given its size, Infosys has also been conservative about acquisitions, having bought 21 firms, 11 of them in the past five years. Infosys’s largest acquisition to date was in 2012 when it acquired Lodestone Management Consultants AG for $345 million.

Tech policy analyst Prasanto K. Roy noted that in its early years, Infosys was the only IT company to focus on branding and media management.

Infosys was also the first firm in India’s IT sector to introduce an employee stock option programme (ESOP). It launched the programme in 1993, the same year it went public and was listed on BSE. This move demonstrated Infosys’s commitment to empowering its employees and giving them a stake in the company’s success.

Despite its many achievements, Infosys still faces challenges. “Infosys as a brand is good enough to attract early-stage talent. However, it is not good enough to retain talent as salaries rise across companies and sectors, thus drawing graduates from top colleges away from the older companies,” Roy added.

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