The Change Managemnet & The Brilliance of NRN
Today's tech world is all about being "Relevant"! lot of people on the other side of 60 become irrelevant as they ignore "change" and hang on to past! everything has to "change" with time and there are lots of theories and papers on "Change Management". Hence I am not going to talk about that/them here! My purpose of writing today is to establish the brilliance of NRN by analyzing his actions from the time he re-entered the organization, his understanding of the status-quo and providing a solutions that effects radical changes in the company that makes Infosys anew age IT leader. I do not know NRN personally and hence my observation is more as a student and practitioner of "change Management" than a commentator on his action!
Infosys 3.0 - Out of Commodity Business:
Nandan Nilekeni believed in "demographic dividend" and I am sure his theory was relevant in the times when he was CEO! However, there has been a paradime shift in the IT space where in the traditional Infosys business have become almost a commodity. Hence first thing first! With few months of NRN's returned, Infosys announced creating a Subsidiary for Platform and Products! This is the stage when I started realizing that how relevant NRN is to todays world and Infosys! No company in IT space can survive without creating platforms and products around those platform! All Information technology companies have to create platforms as they cater to companies that relay more and more on Internet that is dominating the digital world! Infosys only had one significant product 'Finacle' that contributed less than 5% of yearly revenue! This was primarily focused on Banking sector. The real IT world is more than banking and is in need of multiple platforms. The Platforms, once created, become assets that allow's Infosys and its clients to launch innovative products and services on/around it while the Intellectual properties still remaining with Infosys. This can help the company go beyond the banking sector as the platforms will allow to serve the end consumer who may be common among various vertical!
Its over for the complacent and the obvious: Sometimes, the middle management cannot see beyond their own business. This is true specially in a large business like Infosys where the current business has brought the growth, glory and wealth in recent past! It is almost impossible for the middle level long serving executives, who have been in the company for a long time with same/similar business to think that the current business will degrow or is in anykind of trouble or will cease to exist beyond a point! Else why would they hang around after have made large amount of monies thru stock options and have only organic growth to rely upon. I am sure NRN rmade these folks realize their position. that seems to be the only reason many such middle level executives left the company in succession! No one is saying that these people were bad people but they were not relevant anymore as they did not see merit in the changes in strategy, management and leadership! I am assuming NRN had to make major changes to pave the path for making some radical changes. I am sure it was not easy and could have lead to many other issues. However, the respect he commands would have resulted in these people making way for changes by moving out with dignity instead of being indifference going Forward. The stock market could not understand it as they had no clue what was coming! But what was to follow, this step was most essential. Now teh next step can follow and new path can be laid with ease! Brilliant strategy & Execution!
The Mature Decision- bring in Fresh Mind and Legs:
Appointment of Vishal Sikka as CEO has been the most sort after and relevant decision the company has made in its history. In large publicly traded company, no one has the right to lead and become CEO because he/she was a founder or longest serving employee or because he/she understands the traditional business. Share holder do not invest in management but also in progressive management. A management team that can see the future, understand, embrace and implement change to stay relevant! It needs very mature, modern and futuristic thinking to do so.NRN is all of that and with this decision he has more than proved it to its shareholders! Vishal's track record with products and platform is quite remarkable and that can ensure that Infosys's future is relevant to IT industry and hence secured.
I was finally convinced that the man called NRN is not only brilliant but is real visionary. He not only played by the book of a modern management guru but executed it very methodically. it was a three step strategy. 1)"Change" the way of doing business by focusing on Platforms and Products, 2) Clear the path for implementing the "Change", 3) Bring in the "Change Leader" and empower him! Awesome! The text book way of implementing "Change Management"!
I am not sure what role Rohan Murthy has played but my guess is very big. He must have helped NRN in understanding, reinforcing the understanding and then encouraging with all kinds of Logic and research! This is my guess but if it is true (As I am reading form NRN's various press statement) Kudos to next-gen of Murthy's!
I would like to put disclaimer that all the above is assumption and I have had no contact with either the company or any of its employees. This is all based on press reports at various times that i have been keenly following as I am helping one of the companies to "change"(I must say it is not working as all stake holders, the founders, the board and the management team, is clinging onto their positions due to their own insecurities. All stake holders are exactly in same position as NRN and Infosys but refuse to implement any "Change"). I have tried to connect the dots! I may be completely wrong but it doesn't look like it! I am sure very soon we shall get to read a case study about all the moves NRN made and that will tell whether I am wrong or right! Till then it looks to be true!