Friday, December 10, 2004

"Why did you leave Infosys?"

Brand building is extremely crucial for any company and requires endless strategizing. You can either you go the whole hog, and shout yourself hoarse, about how good you are, what a great product you are selling (you are always selling something), make sure everything you do well gets noticed, grab hold of spin machine and spin. Or you sit back and let your the product or financial figures do the talking. Infosys' way of image building lies somewhere in between. But whatever it is and however that they do, they do it extremely well. Why is it, that I get asked often "Why did you leave Infosys?". I wonder, if guys leaving TCS and Wipro (both provide equal career growth oppurtunity) get asked the same question.

In terms of type of work, none of the Indian IT companies have any niche. Everyone does the same thing (in fact now, anyone has started doing IT). They make a pitch, promise price and quality advantage, and get projects to develop or maintain (mostly maintain) information systems. None of the really big companies here are doing cutting edge work. Research and consulting are two areas being touted by some companies as their focus areas, but that is mostly a con for market differentiation. And it hasnt really worked. The amount of work that percolates through them is quite miniscual. So, no distinction in terms of quality of work, really. The pay scales across companies are also similar. As most companies are adopting the same policies, benchmarking them against their peers, work culture, facilities, benefits, perks remain more or less constant across all the firms.

Infosys also, implements a lot of things well. So do many the other top 5 IT companies. But then, it ensures that these positive aspects get high visibility in the media. Of course, the media too is ready to seize on anything that remotely involves Infosys because they know that the public is ready to lap it up. Anyway, Infosys does its PR with great subtely and tact, and not with the arrogance of a market leader. So, every now and then, you will have news articles related to Infosys appearing innocously. It is a relentess and a patient effort from PR. Of course, over a period of time, it has got well ensconced into the Indian physche, that Infosys is corporate God, that it can do nothing wrong, that its employees are rolling in the dough and raking in more. That is certainly not true. My point is, even though Infosys deserves praise for what it stands for, the pedestal at which it has been placed on, is a bit unjustified.

Still, it works well for all including the employees.

They have a brand which they can trade on they have respect they unduly get as an Infoscion ("You are an Infoscion. You must be a millionare!!"). That's also its downside. An infoscion who goes looking to rent a house would know ("You are an Infoscion. You must be a millionare. What's 7k rent for 1 BHK to you, anyway!").
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