Infosys is reorganising its data analytics operation, but the company does not expect to appoint a sales head to replace Basab Pradhan any time soon, top executives have said. India’s second-largest company, which is coping with internal transition while attempting to win back lost growth leadership, will be consolidating its data analytics operation under one roof, similar to a move by rival Wipro a few weeks ago. The data analytics move, along with the decision to separate the products business into a new company, is part of the effort by Infosys, under chairman NR Narayana Murthy, to align the organisation to deal with the challenges thrown up by technological changes and evolving client needs. “Today we have analytics presence across verticals. We are trying to see if all of it can be pulled together as a new horizontal to get speed and scale,” said UB Pravin Rao, one of the two newly elevated presidents of Infosys who will oversee the new division. “We have decided to further invest and accelerate our growth in analytics. The details of the new analytics unit will be announced shortly.”
Infosys, which is looking to increase its share of revenues from technologies such as data analytics, cloud and social, will launch the analytics practice with a team of nearly 300 specialists who currently work with different verticals. The division, which is yet to be formally launched, will also recruit people with backgrounds in data sciences and statistics, Rao said. “The idea is when you incubate something new, you should start it as a horizontal and then divide it into verticals. We did the same thing with our mobility division.” Dhiraj Rajaram, the founder and CEO of India’s largest pure-play data analytics firm Mu Sigma, said that data analytics is not just “a people game”, referring to labour arbitrage. “The DNA of an IT company is very different from the DNA of a big data and decision sciences organisation. A big data organisation is a combination of a consulting firm, a product company and an applied math university.” The rapid adoption of new technologies has forced large companies in India’s $108-billion software sector to set up new business units and partner with academic institutions and startups that specialise in these areas. Bangalore-based Wipro, India’s third-largest software provider, recently merged its analytics business with the advanced technologies service line. It also owns a stake in London-based data analytics company Opera Solutions.
Kuldeep Koul, analyst with Mumbaibased brokerage firm ICICI Securities said most of the technology spending is happening in SMAC — an acronym for social, mobile, analytics and cloud. “Companies realise they are in a slow growth environment and everyone wants to achieve higher market share. That’s the simple philosophy behind why companies are now ramping up analytics practices.” Infosys has also undertaken organisational restructuring under chairman NR Narayana Murthy and several top executives have left the company, among them former sales head Pradhan and board members V Balakrishnan and Ashok Vemuri.
While it has filled most senior management vacancies through internal promotions and transfers, the company is yet to appoint a sales head to replace Pradhan. SD Shibulal, the outgoing chief executive, said Infosys is not looking for a sales head until it identifies a new CEO. Shibulal has said that he will retire latest by January 9, 2015, and Infosys has appointed two agencies to search for his successor from within the company and outside. “I think the new CEO will come and take a look at all this,” Shibulal told ET on Tuesday. Murthy was recalled as Infosys chairman in June last year amid criticism of the company’s underperformance for over two years. Under Murthy, Infosys has disbanded its executive council, appointed Pravin Rao and Srinivas as presidents and reduced costs while focussing on bread-and-butter software development and computer infrastructure maintenance deals. Industry observers were of the view the decision to hire a sales head after Infosys appoints a successor to Shibulal is “logical”, but said the company’s turnaround plan is taking longer than expected. “Infosys is taking too much time to get its act together. The market is watching and employees are getting impatient,” said Ajit Isaac, MD and CEO of Ikya Human Capital Solutions, a Bangalorebased HR services company.