It Takes Two To…

Two of the
most respected companies in the Indian industry have made some telling
statements in the last one month. On the one hand, Wipro, the first,
with one of the largest market caps in the country, has gone ahead and
boldly restructured the company. The other entity, Infosys, has announced
plans to go for an American Depository Receipts issue in its next fiscal.
While the former went ahead and made its global intentions clear and
has set into motion actions that have already started paying off, the
latter has been one of the most watched companies in Indian corporate
history. Wipro is closely held, while Infosys has a large spread of
shareholders. Wipro is a complete IT company, dabbling in everything-from
notebooks to large fault-tolerant computers, from desktop OS to ecommerce
solutions, from dot matrix printers to high-end laser printers and scanners.
On the other hand, Infosys is purely a software and services company,
with a narrow bandwidth of activities and primarily operating in the
overseas markets, though it does have a muted presence in India.

However, the two companies have a lot in common. Both are perceived
to be having a squeaky clean image. Both swear by a very strong sense
of ethics, and both value their cultural ethos very highly. The CEOs
of both the companies lead by personal example. Both have an organic
passion for quality, and finally both have an enviable track record
of having one of the most satisfied set of shareholders in the country.
Both are SEI-CMM Level companies, Wipro being Level-5 and Infosys Level-4.
Interestingly, both the CEOs are not only very wealthy men, but have
enriched a large number of their employees and others who held faith
with them.

These two companies are standing examples of how constant innovation,
consistent performance and very strong sense of ethics can have long-term
financial impact. The two companies exemplify how, in an industry as
hyped as IT, over the long haul, it is the performance and customer
satisfaction which really earns respect in the global markets. They
also prove a point as to how critical is it to have a strong cultural
mooring, which not only serves as a glue to keep people together but
actually fosters a certain work ethic which adds to performance enhancement.

In these times, when disturbing questions are being raised about SEBI’s
crackdowns on software companies and other companies masquerading as
software companies, these are the two examples that Indian IT Inc can
be justifiably proud of.

L Subramanyan

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