The San Francisco Infosys Confluence Summit for Infosys services clients, selected sourcing advisors, and industry analysts, has taken on a cultish culture, vaguely reminiscent of Salesforce’s Dreamforce, but for a global services firm with a strong flavor of software at its core.
Scenes from Confluence 2016: On the left, Pravin Rao, Infosys Chief Operating Officer and Vishal Sikka, Infosys CEO.
This year, Infosys expanded the size and the scope of its annual Confluence event, while, at the same time, promoting its theme of actually reducing the distance between itself and its clients—what it terms “Zero Distance.” While Zero Distance conveys a vision for working collaboratively, and we heard examples from clients of this teaming in action, Infosys has a way to go before it is realized at scale. Zero Distance is really an initiative for cultural change, and getting the Infosys clients and employees to think and work together in a new way.
Zero Distance is designed to kickstart the concept of Design Thinking in its clients by aligning its benched consultants with existing client engagements to “find” problems at no additional fees, while its contracted teams are working hard to “solve” problems. The idea is to work proactively on initiatives to add value beyond the basic client requirements, which Infosys hopes will make its relationships more collaborative, outcome-based and creative.
Under the umbrella of this approach, Infosys shared updates on its tools, solutions, training initiatives, and business plans. A few highlights:
- MANA: Aligning Advanced Automation and Analytics. Infosys launched a new “purposeful” artificial intelligence platform, MANA, at Confluence. MANA brings together the existing Infosys IIP (information), IAP (automation) and IKP (knowledge) platforms with new capabilities in automation ontologies , probabilistic networks, machine learning and source code analysis to compete with TCS ignio, Wipro Holmes and other solutions such as Arago Autopilot and IPsoft’s IPcenter. While the use cases for MANA shared at Confluence were for telecom order management and IT & facilities infrastructure management, Infosys announced plans to take MANA to 25 different client use cases over the next year with senior executive sponsorship and review for each. That said, we believe that the messaging of MANA needs refinement and clarity to align with the various goals of enterprise stakeholders.
- Software-As-a-Service: EdgeVerve is one part of the organization that is operating on its own with a product-led approach that is more focused than it has been in the past. EdgeVerve has narrowed its product suite to four, and is experimenting in collaboration with clients on how to build more intelligence into the tools. Additionally, EdgeVerve is developing the extended enterprise-partner ecosystem, leveraging common data and resources to improve efficiency and performance. In addition to enabling third-party APIs, EdgeVerve is actively pushing more minor updates to third parties and end customers, weaving its tools into enterprise operations cycle. It’s unclear whether there is potential for EdgeVerve to underpin platform-based, possibly multi-tenant, BPO or BPaaS.
- Secure Cloud: Infosys has adopted an approach to Cloud Security that focuses on delivering “secure cloud” solutions primarily over third-party cloud (AWS 65% and Azure 35%), in addition to its own private cloud services—roughly 65% of its core Cloud deals include an element of managed Security Operations Center (SOC) services. Leveraging a “software as the new hardware” approach, Infosys has focused closely on “assurance” (operations, integration, security), keeping open its options to grow its Managed Security Service independently of its embedded security solutions.
- Renewed emphasis on Digital Capability: With a newly appointed global head of digital, Scott Sorokin, Infosys is seeking to bolster and expand its four customer-oriented pillars of digital. One of its challenges is creating an offering that is transformational, from both a technology and an internal enterprise cultural perspective, which is key to bringing both step change and incremental change to its customers. Infosys’ approach to digital—much like that of rivals such as Accenture and Cognizant—will be worth watching to see if it can create the business opportunities needed to shepherd clients from legacy to digital engagements. One way Infosys could do this is to leverage consulting more effectively to drive transformational deals; currently, consulting counts for roughly 20% of all “transformation” deal value and 15-20% of all consulting services are not tied to a larger deal.
We expect the Zero Distance initiative and its alignment with Design Thinking efforts, to foster more collaborative, and flatter, service delivery models, focused on business outcomes. MANA has the potential for differentiation, as there are few peers that take such a holistic approach, such as IBM Watson and TCS ignio.
While the event’s sessions conveyed plenty of solid ideas, we are struggling to find clarity and cohesiveness in the big picture message. There are lots of delights bubbling in the Infosys cauldron, the challenge now is to bring them together with the right ingredients.
Scenes from Confluence 2016