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May 30, 2013

Those Darned Internet Things

Posted by Simon Towers (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:39 AM

Jayraj Ugarkar, Infosys Labs  shares his views about  Internet of Things  

Back in 2011, researchers at Cornell University hooked up two chatbots for a conversation, which is intriguing, to say the least. But my favorite part begins with one chatbot's question to the other, 'So you are a robot'. The other initially denies it but eventually comes around to conceding that both of them are robots. To which the questioner responds 'I'm not a robot. I'm a unicorn'.

Really? A machine pretending to be something else? Isn't that what people do on the Internet?

And now the machines are on the Internet too. And apparently have been for some time. In fact, somewhere towards the end of the last decade the number of people on the Internet was surpassed by the number of 'things'. Creating the Internet of Things (IoT), a fourth generation global network of things, devices and machines. So what? Well, the number of these connected 'things' is predicted to grow exponentially - from 9 billion to 24 billion between 2011 and 2020 - to deliver a global opportunity to enterprises worth $4.5 trillion through a range of value levers - you know... increased efficiency, enhanced productivity, reduced costs, streamlined operations, improved customer experience, new innovation opportunities and so on.

That being said, the IoT opportunity is not about the ability to connect 'things' - you can tag a toilet seat to a network should you so prefer. It is about what comes next - lots of data; 2.5 quintillion bytes per day according to one estimate, including new types of data. And it's not just about data volume either, it's about fast data and the ability to capture, store, manage and analyze this superabundant deluge of data on the fly. Because by 2020, 40% of all global data will come from machines.

According to a recent Cisco Global IT Impact Survey, less than half (42%) of enterprise respondents claimed 'to be vaguely familiar with the Internet of Things'. That's probably because IoT's current momentum derives largely from refrigerators that order milk, toasters that talk and cows that are connected to the Internet. At the enterprise level, we can feel the potential of the IoT. But we still need more clarity on the 'things' that need to be networked, the information that they should share and the data that has to be collected and analyzed.

You simply don't want to start by connecting every enterprise device there is, only to realize later that some of them are unicorns.

May 28, 2013

Innovation is the Monetary Policy of Tomorrow

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:51 AM

Ben Bernanke to Grads: Innovation Is Our Nature [Source: Bloomberg  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLwizKISjwM ]

When the chairman of America's Federal Reserve - arguably one of the most powerful men on the planet - says he's not going to talk monetary policy, pay attention. That's one speech you won't want to miss. Ben Bernanke did indeed do such a thing at a commencement address recently at a small American liberal arts college. The business reporters in the audience were initially disappointed that Bernanke wouldn't be providing them clues as to where interest rates would be headed in the coming months. But those who listened to his fascinating address on the power of innovation came away with some terrific insights.

Of course, the Fed chairman aimed his remarks at a bunch of wide-eyed graduates, ready to brave the real world, get jobs, and make a difference in society. Bernanke addressed something a lot of folks have wondered about for the last few decades: Is this the end of a century-long economic boom? Are our best days of innovation and exciting, life-changing inventions behind us? If you compare your lifestyle with that of your grandparents, you might say yes. In their lifetimes, they enjoyed jet travel, nice cars, long distance telephone calls, and access to quality health care. Our lives aren't that different from what they experienced.

But if you compare your grandparents' lifestyles with those of their grandparents, you'd find that society had been fundamentally transformed by technology and innovation. For most of the last 500 years, a person lit a fire to keep warm, ate whatever his family could raise on his land, and seldom ventured more than a few miles from his home. What began to happen at the dawn of the 20th century was extraordinary. We haven't seen that kind of sweeping social change since then.

His speech - when I read it - made me think again about innovation. First, innovation and invention were limited to the Thomas Edison type: an isolated scientist or tinkerer. Collaborating with other scientists or tinkerers was a sketchy improbability. So fewer people had access to new ideas and innovations and were less likely to adapt them to commercial use. Today, however, the planet is experiencing a population boom, and with more people comes a demand for better tools, devices, and commercial products. Not only in the West but in emerging markets like India and China.

The population boom has its advantages. More engineers and scientists are coming out of great universities and are aggregating and communicating their knowledge with their peers around the world. So an inventor in India might chat via Skype with an engineer in Silicon Valley, who then might get funding for a project from an investment banker in London. All within the blink of an eye. Trade and globalization are increasing the size of the potential markets for new products, so the economic rewards for being first with an innovative product are growing rapidly. Both humanity's capacity to innovate and the incentives to innovate are greater today than at any other time in history.

I agree with people like Bernanke who say that the only thing we can be sure about in the coming decades is that it will be filled with change. So it will pay to have the ability to adapt, evolve, and learn well after one leaves college. The need to 're-invent oneself many times' cannot be stressed enough. And the realization that 'success and satisfaction will not come from mastering a fixed body of knowledge but from constant adaptation and creativity in a rapidly changing world'. And this is true of individuals and organizations alike. In a rapidly changing world, those who engage with and adapt alongside new technologies will be most prepared to harness the changes that will occur in their lifetimes. What's also important to remember is that a machine is only as effective as the person using it.

So I join America's central bank guru by reminding myself to draw on my ability to think critically, analytically, and creatively in readiness for constant change and the world of tomorrow.

May 27, 2013

Indy Learns from Infy

Posted by Ravi Kumar S. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:01 AM

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Mayor Gregory Ballard and Winnie Ballard planting a tree in the Infosys Hyderabad campus to commemorate their visit

The sport's most passionate fans, the entire city abuzz, and the sound of roaring engines - that's what people think of when the Indianapolis 500 comes to mind.

Not too far from the famous speedway, however, there's another race going on right now. This one lacks the sounds and drama of the Indy 500, but it's critically more important to the citizens of this Midwestern city. The race is to make Indianapolis one of the major Information Technology hubs of the 21st century.

In the pole position is the city's mayor, Gregory Ballard. He just returned to Indiana from India, a goodwill trip when I met with him at the Hyderabad campus. We talked about business partnerships and I believe Ballard got a glimpse of the transformational work we do for our Global Clients in the Hyderabad Campus of Infosys.

To the average person, Indianapolis is not the sort of city that comes to mind when you mention smart apps, computer science, and IT. Yet Mayor Ballard is determined to remake an area of the United States once known for its manufacturing economy into fertile ground for 21st century innovation. His quest became all the more successful by visiting Infosys.

"With Hyderabad being Indianapolis' sister city, it makes economic sense to partner with companies like Infosys to have discussions about Indianapolis and its place in the information technology industry," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "Infosys is a great company doing innovative work. Indianapolis is a growing player in the information technology industry. Working relationships like the one we have with Infosys only perpetuate the growth for both parties."

Ballard wanted to see first-hand what he's been hearing about for years: the unique corporate culture of innovation at Infosys, where employees are less likely to ask why and more likely to ask why not. It's the kind of attitude that a Midwestern city could use in its efforts to transform itself into a competitive IT hotspot. Indeed, sustainability might mean being friendly to the environment for some corporate and government leaders.  But for those in charge of cities that once hinged all of their hopes on the manufacturing sector, the word means survival.

Step one to sustain Indianapolis well into the future is to diversify its economy away from an old manufacturing base. Modern agriculture, IT, and biotechnology are now part of the mix. Indy can already boast being the fourth fastest growing American city in the field of Information Technology. Take that, Silicon Valley and Alley. Making partnerships with cities like Hyderabad and a company like Infosys only strengthens this kind of economic growth.

Indianapolis is near a number of large, well-known research universities. Its graduates are some of the finest young engineers in the world. That's why Ballard, we think, has come up with a promising game plan. He's got a wealth of intellectual capital near the Indiana capitol. That's what will form the basis of any metro area's renaissance: the ideas and people working there. Indianapolis won't be as reliant on factories and assembly lines as it will the inventiveness and creativity of its workforce. Ballard traveled halfway around the world to meet with Infosys because he knows that he's not competing with Silicon Valley for jobs. He's competing with a global market. And he wanted to see how Infosys makes things happen.

Indianapolis, which prides itself on the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, will soon be just as proud of its devotion to the high-speed dissemination of information. Because the fastest entities on the information superhighway can be from anywhere and everywhere. They get their speed and power from innovation.

May 24, 2013

Look, Big Data's on TV!

Posted by Rajeev Nayar (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:35 AM

Over the past decade, the Media & Entertainment sector has been completely disrupted by digital technologies. First there was the transition of content, from creation to delivery, to digital formats. Then the arrival of the new-age-device-loving digital consumer significantly altered established norms of content consumption. This was followed by the emergence of innovation-led, technology-fueled, consumer-focused new economy companies, which proceeded to completely rewrite all established rules of the M&E business.

Content consumption is still on the rise; it's just that the rules of engagement have changed irrevocably. Consumers now demand innovative content, at the time, place, device and platform of their own choosing, and, generally, free of cost. Consequently, the industry faces the massive challenge of reinventing every aspect of content, from development through distribution, and from pricing to marketing to service, around consumer preferences and expectations.

Luckily, the industry has access to a critical enabler in the form of Big Data. Historically, a data-intensive business, the M&E sector is now awash with information, structured and unstructured, transactional and real-time. Parsing all of this into actionable insights that deliver engagement and value is its next big (data) opportunity.

Most of the world's leading media marques are already leveraging the power of big data analytics. The Weather Channel's big data initiative meshes historical data with current information to improve forecasts, in real-time - to not only pronounce whether an umbrella would be needed or not, but to actually issue advisories to aircraft, or predict the output of a wind energy farm.   At the Financial Times, big data analytics drives the optimization of ad inventory pricing by day-part, target audience and location. It enables service providers like Time Warner Cable to understand and respond to competitive challenges like on-demand streaming and cord cutting or to deliver individually targeted ads across multiple platforms.

Such big data-led transformative possibilities also exist in the content value chain. The keystone in most operating models is the consumer - understanding who brings the revenue in advertising-supported businesses or simply the direct revenue from customer in subscription-based models. A deep understanding of consumers and the ways in which they engage with content across channels can inform strategies and enable decision making throughout the supply chain spanning content creation, distribution, communication, sales & marketing and customer service.

And this is where big data analytics rules by enabling media businesses to derive unprecedented consumer insights from varied sources of structured and unstructured data, lying within or outside the organization. Which in turn, can inform a range of activities to enhance engagement and maximize mutual value.

For instance, clear customer understanding allows for the personalization of content to context; even marketing campaigns may be personalized to target only those consumers who have shown a propensity for a particular product, service or message.  Recently, Time Warner Cable Media ran a pilot program, putting the same ad campaign on cable TV, mobile, Internet and social media. It analyzed a customer's interaction with the campaign on each channel and subsequently, modified offers to increase appeal. The company says it got great results.

Similarly, analysis, of consumer sentiment and intent expressed in social and other online networks, can provide valuable feedback that media businesses can use to fine tune existing offerings, or create custom content packages based on individual habits. They can also identify the key influencers in specific categories or topics, and cultivate them to generate buzz or word of mouth for future campaigns.  They could forecast demand based on the response to current offerings. Last but not least, they can sense which customers are likely to leave by analyzing transactional and behavioral data.

It's pretty clear that in a sector where information is the business, companies that leverage big data to add value to customers or make better decisions will get ahead. Unfortunately, they can't turn to conventional analytics solutions, because they're simply too niche, far too slow, don't handle unstructured data and are just too painful to integrate.  To extract maximum value from this opportunity media companies need to find an analytics solution that has the capability to operationalize insights quickly and efficiently. It should integrate tightly with their business processes, operations and support functions. Finally, it must enable real-time collaboration between the people who decide, and operationalize their decisions at the right time. Like whether to hit the runway now, or head back to the hangar.

May 23, 2013

A Building is Only As Good As Its Foundation

Posted by Raghavan Subramanian (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:01 AM

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View from Infosys Office at the Rockefeller Center in New York,USA

Pick any great city of the world. Perhaps you live and work in one of them. Now picture the skyline, filled with beautiful buildings, bridges, and infrastructure.

A while ago,I happened to be in the company's New York City office for a string of meetings. And I clearly recollect the skyline - the view as I looked out the window of historic Rockefeller Center to see soaring skyscrapers of every conceivable shape and size. What's most amazing about the taking in of this spectacular view is something a civil engineer once told me: That what you see above ground in any city is only half the picture. There's as much infrastructure below the ground as there is above it.

What we can see from street level and up is quite beautiful. But it's the guts of a city - things like transit tunnels, foundations, and power lines - that really make it tick. These elements may not always be pretty, but they're the type of things that ensure everyone who is in the city (mostly above ground) can lead productive lives. They are the systems that deliver power and people and water. And they are structures that form the firm foundations on which tall skyscrapers can sit.

I was recently thinking about this extraordinary above-ground/below-ground parity when I'd heard that a prestigious educational society in the United States had singled out Infosys for its unique Connect Architecture program. We started the Connect Architecture program as a vibrant community of practicing architects, where members would share and learn from each other's experience. IT architects are not unlike the traditional architects who design the buildings I can see out my window. That is to say, they have years of training under their belts. They're creative, they're born leaders, and they possess extensive cross-disciplinary knowledge.

Yet whereas traditional architects get to point to beautiful buildings they've designed, an IT architect must be content knowing that what he has designed is mostly unseen. It would be like a traditional architect only designing the underground infrastructure I've just mentioned: It's incredibly vital to every city, but most people don't know it's there. What's also similar to the subterranean elements of traditional architecture is that most of the organizations that rely on IT architecture take it for granted. They might have no idea just how value-added it is to the enterprise, but they'll speak up when they have a problem with, say, their Web browsing or video conferencing.

Which brings up another element to just how important IT architects are to creating and maintaining effective organizations. There will be a time in the not-so-distant future when there won't be as much travel just to attend a string of meetings. What we now call video conferencing will become so sophisticated that it will be very difficult to justify the need to travel for face-to-face meetings. Continued advances in how companies connect all of their employees and clients have profound implications. To be sure, a major implication is cost savings. But there are so many more ways IT architecture is going to change the way we do business. Mobility will mean more about how our ideas move around than how our physical bodies do.

All of these exciting developments are derived from the "below-ground infrastructure" of a company. Stuff that keeps IT architects very busy. The rapidly evolving technology of the IT world also demands that its architects stay ahead of these developments. It's why the Infosys program Connect Architecture is so noteworthy. It includes the 3,000 IT architects at our own company but also the ones at partner and client firms as well as young, aspiring architects around the world. The Aspiring Architect initiative, a program of Connect Architecture, is the first-of-its-kind in the IT industry. We're training talented engineers to be world-class IT solution architects.

Training and career nurturing is important because there's a worldwide shortage of IT architects. I can assure you that the world will be a more streamlined place if we have more IT architects. And our company will definitely want to continue holding on to the best ones. Our Connect Architecture program enables members to grow from the basic level of acquiring skills to mastering these and eventually emerging as a thought leader. You see, a building is only as good as its foundation. That's why having IT architecture that's best-in-class is vital to keeping an organization ahead of the curve.

May 21, 2013

How to Make a Hit? There's a Numerical Formula for That

Posted by Simon Towers (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:11 AM

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Sometimes I think, it's only a matter of time before engineers will come up with software that can produce posts like this one. In other words, I'd only have to plug in a few keywords on what I'd like the theme of my InfyTalk post to be. And a computer will turn out a beautifully written, 700-word essay. No other human involvement would be necessary. In fact, here's an article from the New York Times that supports this hunch. It details how one of the last so-called creative bastions of Hollywood - the movie screenplay and those who write it - is an enterprise that is about to change dramatically. That's because statisticians claim to have developed ways to detect winning formulas of movies using data.

Such a development shouldn't come as a surprise. Look at communications, especially through a political campaign. In that realm - once ruled by intangibles like whether a candidate "looked presidential" - data is now king. Pollsters feed the reams of data to campaign statisticians, who in turn develop a candidate's platform and speaking points. In Hollywood, studios often take gambles on films worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The idea is that by supplying themselves with enough data, they can remove a lot of this risk.

Another industry that data has fundamentally transformed is Madison Avenue. Once run by people revered for their innate ability to know how to cajole consumers to buy products, the advertising world is now led by regression analyses and demographic data. Today a television commercial is designed more by number crunching than by someone's gut creative instincts.

Of course, if data crunchers point to a certain formula as being the winning one in Hollywood, might there be a time when essentially just one film appears time and again? Sure. It will contain all of the elements deemed likely to resound positively with movie-goers. I've heard political pundits say that the importance of data has created essentially one kind of candidate in the world of politics - one willing to finesse his image and talking points to whatever direction the polls take. What's fascinating is that voter turnout in many Western countries (where campaigns use data religiously) continues to slide. So maybe knowing a winning formula for a candidate doesn't necessarily inspire people to leave their homes and vote for him. The same might happen in Hollywood. Do people want to spend considerable money on a ticket if they know they're going to see what it essentially the same story line time and again? It's a question the screenwriters hope their studios will ask.

Whatever you think about how to use data to influence certain tasks that were once solely influenced by creative teams, it signifies something much bigger in the march of progress. I began this post with the subject. I speak of a point at which machine learning takes over many of the tasks we currently think can only be performed by humans. Artificial Intelligence is now a reality. And it's getting more advanced and sophisticated every day. Even a few decades ago we would have been amazed at the notion of a search engine suggesting subjects even before we could finish typing a word. But most of us experience this very thing every day.

On Wall Street, financiers once had to scour news sources for insights into the global markets. Then they could make trades based on what they thought certain segments of the population would be wanting (or shunning). For instance, they began a massive sell-off of shares of ocean liner companies after the sinking of the Titanic. Now that same world is run almost entirely by algorithms that can predict with a reasonable amount of accuracy how many shareholders of a particular company's stock will sell and how many will buy in a specified amount of time. And, like in the world of politics, it's become much more difficult for traders to find tomorrow's runaway stock because of the high efficiency of trading algorithms.

The use of data in every corner of society allows for machines to learn and make moves we once thought of as inconceivable. Like suggesting the elements of a successful screenplay - or an InfyTalk post.

May 17, 2013

Sustainability More Important Than Ever

Posted by Aruna C. Newton (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:48 AM

Patrick Adamcik, ConCert Project Director, DNV discusses about business sustainability

The BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are big places with rapidly growing populations and expanding economies. So when a renowned think tank says that Infosys is among the five most sustainable companies in all of those countries, it's a distinction for us to celebrate.

I say this because sustainability isn't always cheap. It's not always easy. And it's certainly not the most popular set of programs to foster when the global economy is stuck in neutral and shareholders scrutinize every corporate activity for its cost-effectiveness. We have been a sustainable company through thick and thin, and we believe that our serious, long-lasting commitment to the environment - physical, social and economic - continues to pay off in a number of ways.

Focusing for a minute on the physical environment, we started with a promise: To be carbon neutral, to reduce our per capita electricity consumption by 50 percent, and to power our entire operations in India with renewable energy. Besides the environmental awards (the BRIC distinction is the ninth of 10 in the past year alone), we have had tremendous success meeting our stated goals. We put up new buildings that consume 66 percent less energy and 40 percent less water compared to our older buildings, but at no extra cost. We increased our share of renewable energy to 22 percent of our total electricity consumption using both off- and on-site renewable sources.

That promise continues to take shape because of Infoscions like Rohan Parikh, the company's head of Infrastructure and Green Initiatives in Bangalore. He recently wrote a compelling article that's a call to action for everyone: people within the company who might not yet be completely sold on sustainability's advantages, but also government officials who have the power to institute sweeping changes in this area. According to Parikh, we don't have the luxury of time anymore. The planet needs us to think and act with sustainability in mind ... starting today.

Parikh uses a wonderful phrase that I plan to borrow from him in the future when called upon to discuss sustainability: We need leaders, he says, who have the courage and conviction "to take unreasonable goals." This phrase resounds with me because environmental challenges are considerable and if we at Infosys don't make them our priorities, who will?

The good news is that our efforts are recognized and supported by our CFO. So you can rest assured that our goals are not deemed unreasonable (if they ever were in the first place). To me, the recognition of sustainability practices by the CFO and not just the marketing team means that our commitment does more than simply look great. It saves money. How many corporate sustainability programs can say that? For instance, we were the first to use radiant cooling air conditioning in a commercial building in India. We've devised ingenious solar panel farms and even a photovoltaic plant across many of our campuses. We've even developed a system that allows employees to switch off their computers remotely using their cell phones if they should accidentally leave them on at the end of the workday.

We harvest rainwater, too. In fact, we managed to sequester more fresh water into the ground than we consumed last year. Our rainwater harvest program among the buildings of the Mysore campus reduced freshwater consumption by 18 percent in its first year alone, saving some 80 million gallons. We also succeeded in reducing our overall water footprint by 14 percent last year by using flow restrictors, low-flow fixtures, and recycled water for flushing and air conditioning.

What Infosys has demonstrated is that sustainability is more than just a fad. It's a financial success story because we stuck with it. In business, having a set of goals and focusing on them is one thing. But making those goals among your most important is quite another thing. By following through on our commitment, we've shown the world just how efficient renewable energy can be. This success story has two corollaries: One is that companies in the BRIC nations are just as committed to caring about the environment as are organizations in the West. The other is that private enterprise is showing governments what it takes to get things done in the sustainability arena.

By setting the right example - that sustainability is a corporate way of life and not simply a fly-by-night program - Infosys is beginning to influence companies in other industries to begin building and operating with the environment in mind. In fact, one way we think we can have an enormous effect on the global markets is to have governments, agencies, and universities showcase our achievements in case studies. My reckoning is that if such studies were to influence just one percent of future construction, our sustainability philosophy would be far-reaching enough to be thought of as nation building. Nobody ever accused us of thinking small!

So I laud our colleagues for making us an environmentally responsible company. And speaking of awards, we're proud to be recognized by Green IT magazine among their many categories in their annual awards issue. We're honored to join a number of ecologically conscious enterprises working toward a more sustainable future.

May 14, 2013

The Mother of Invention

Posted by Carol McCarthy (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:51 AM

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Mater artium necessitas. Or in English: Necessity is the mother of invention. We, in the technology world, certainly owe a lot to necessity. You can look at necessity a number of ways:, such as drive or ambition or determination. These qualities are all part of the culture of a great technology-based organization. But while we're analyzing old phrases, what's also noteworthy about the one I've just shared is that it links invention (or innovation, if you'd like) to a mother. Because the U.S and urban India celebrated Mother's Day this weekend, I thought it would be fitting to look at what influence our moms have had on the world of technology and human progress in general.

I came across a wonderful essay in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week from a technologist who likens her experience with raising her four children to creating a more efficient organization. At first she admits that she knows she might offend some readers with her premise - how "arrogant" she might come across for recommending that a good leader parents her employees. Instead, what she is saying is that her parenting helped her understand the different styles and personalities of people around her. And, more importantly, how to motivate and challenge them against the background of a technology company.

One child insisted on playing with toys in ways that did not come with the directions, such as, she writes, tearing the heads off Barbie. She was fascinated by her daughter's ability to look at toys from new perspectives and not to care about how other children played with them. Such unconventionality has led this woman to appreciate the innovators within her company. She's always more willing to allow people to take risks and explore new ways of doing things. Sometimes the outcomes can result in new products or business lines.

In this same series of blogs was a recollection from another extraordinary techie mom. She happens to be the mother of the man who founded Twitter. She writes that when her son, Jack Dorsey, was a child, she started up a coffee shop. Her hunch is that her son saw the intricacies of entrepreneurship and most likely wasn't intimidated to start his own firm, Twitter, many years later. What's also interesting is that the coffee shop is where he met a friend with whom he would eventually found another tech company, Square.

To me, the story is a wonderful example of how a mom showed her child that it's OK to take business risks. Sometimes you fail. But at least you know you tried. (It also helped that she bought her son an IBM PC Jr. - remember those? - when he was still young.) What she writes struck a chord in me: that it's good to teach children that life does not come without difficulties. The way we're measured as people (both in the business community and personally) is how we deal with such challenges.

Nobody said the technology world was an easy one. It's filled with tough entrepreneurs willing to look at the market from different angles. And many are people unafraid of change and of failure. It seems to me that many of us have our mothers to thank for instilling these qualities within us.

May 11, 2013

A New Way of Thinking About Healthcare & the Public Sector

Posted by Eric Paternoster (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:42 AM

20130430-InfoSys-Inauguration-VPw087.jpg(L)County Executive Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County, Maryland and Eric Paternoster, Member of the Board, CEO and President, Infosys Public Services (R)inaugurate Infosys Public Services new HQ and first delivery center in US.

Infosys Public Services is at the forefront of the transformation of the healthcare industry and its relationship with the public sector. That's why I'm excited about the company's new headquarters and delivery center in Rockville, Maryland. The combined facility reinforces our commitment to our clients and to the communities in which we operate.

Infosys, our parent company, set up Infosys Public Services as a separate American subsidiary in 2009. Doing so let us bring the best of both worlds to healthcare and to the public sector. Along the way, we've developed innovative industry solutions. Better still, we've tapped into the expertise of our parent company, an expansive global corporation.

Reform and consumerism are changing healthcare as we know it. Scaled-back budgets and even deficits across the public sector will undoubtedly make scant resources even harder to come by. But the good news is that out of this transformative period will come the sparks of innovation.

From the new Infosys Public Services headquarters, we'll be working more closely with federal, state, and local governments, as well as with healthcare organizations throughout the region. The facility will ensure we continue to develop innovative solutions to help our clients. Our technology makes their organizations smarter and more efficient.

It's no coincidence that the location of the new headquarters is near the U.S. capital. To be sure, Infosys has had a presence in the Washington D.C. metro area for more than a decade. We intend to continue tapping into the region's skilled talent pool and infrastructure. We look forward to collaborating with our clients as part of our ambitious expansion.

Our new Rockville facility is a symbol of the commitment of Infosys Public Services to the region. We'll use the new headquarters as a platform for job creation, university partnerships, and corporate social responsibility. Together, with the right alliances and technology, we can make the world a healthier place. Now it's time to roll up our sleeves, get to work, and make this transformation happen.

Read more about the inauguration of our headquarters and delivery center

May 8, 2013

How to Look Around Corners

Posted by Mohit Joshi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:20 AM


Clayton Christensen on How Will You Measure Your Life 

Read Clayton Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life? yet? After the wild success of his book The Innovator's Dilemma in the late 1990s, this Harvard Business School professor seems to have delivered another hit because the author once again requires the reader to make some tough decisions about how one relates to one's surroundings.

I came across a recent interview with Christensen in which the professor discusses making life decisions based on full value rather than marginal value. What does he mean by this distinction? For example, making a decision based on expediency is often based on the assumption that you will pay a small, marginal cost. But Christensen warns that in the end, you always end up paying up for expenses you never thought you would have to face. "This goes on in your personal life just as much as it does when you invest in setting up a sales force," he says in the interview.

Suppose parents get into the expedient practice of doing their children's homework for them. Sure, says Christensen, the children are going to meet with success in the short run. Yet one of the fundamental roles of being a parent includes creating small challenges for their children so that they are prepared to take on large challenges later in life, he says.

He knows a thing or two about challenges in his personal life. Christensen has been public in his battle against cancer and suffering a stroke. His personal situation is one of the reasons he decided to expand his 'Innovators' franchise to reflect on life decisions. In his original book, Christensen warned companies that if they focused too much on their core business lines and their biggest customers, they were creating a kind of vacuum that would be filled with disruptive upstarts. He reasoned that younger, more nimble companies were more likely to think creatively, foster innovation, and address the needs of a market in ways that the larger, established firms could not. Christensen says that managing disruption in your private life is important as well. The secret to success, he says, is to not get saddled with minor day-to-day issues and instead to focus on long-term goals. He even speaks of the importance of building a strong personal legacy.

Christensen uses a fascinating example of how to disrupt your daily personal life in order to focus on larger goals. When he was an MBA student himself, he was in a marketing class busily taking notes about a case that involved a peanut butter manufacturer. Then it hit him: Why was he writing down the answers that his fellow students were giving? He based this startling revelation on two realities. The first was that he would most likely never work for a peanut butter company. Even if he did, he posited that he wouldn't be dealing with the same problems that the peanut butter company's management faced a decade before. The second reality was that he had to write something down because business school isn't exactly cheap. He might as well engage himself in the learning that was supposed to take place in this marketing class. So Christensen then began thinking about what kinds of notes he could take. One of his classmates made a brilliant comment. But instead of writing down what she said, he wrote a question that he thought she would have had to ask herself to make such an insightful remark.

From then on, Christensen made it a practice not to listen to what smart people gave as answers but rather to devise the questions that led to such remarks. After a while, some of those questions have limited relevance. Other questions, however, are always important. Christensen recommends that business leaders keep their attention focused on the questions they need to ask in the future instead of looking at data of the past days' performance.

Only then can someone, in life and in business, best anticipate what might be coming around the bend.

May 6, 2013

Are Bitcoins the Next Major Tech Breakthrough?

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:50 AM


What is Bitcoin? [Source: weusecoins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um63OQz3bjo] 

Necessity is the mother of invention. Which is why I'm watching with great interest the growth in the popularity of the Bitcoin, a new digital currency.

Like much of what we deal with today - virtual friends on Facebook, virtual thank-you notes and party invitations on the Internet, and virtual construction projects via games like Sim City - the Bitcoin is a virtual currency. That is to say, these "coins" aren't stamped with a president's face and carried around in your pocket. It's an interesting concept. Long ago, it used to be that every paper dollar was backed up by a fixed amount of gold or silver in a depository like Fort Knox. So that even though the dollar was just a piece of paper with green ink on it, its value was pegged to a tangible, precious metal.

Today's currencies are based more on the confidence we have in the sovereign nation who issues its currency.But things can get complicated, especially in a slumping economy. Want to boost spending? Print more money.That way, the theory goes, more people will have more cash to buy things and stimulate the economy. Those on the other side of the argument point to the fact that the more paper money a government prints, the less each note is worth in relation to a precious metal.

Enter the Bitcoin. It's a currency that isn't under the control of the central bank of any government. Which means some bureaucrat sitting in some far-away office can't simply produce more of them because he thinks his nation should "loosen" its monetary policy. Think of the Bitcoin as a virtual gold bar.

But let's not get ahead or ourselves. Unlike gold or silver, which weigh a lot and are costly to store, a Bitcoin is a technological marvel in that it exists in cyberspace. They can be traded over fiber optic cables in nanoseconds and stored not in huge depositories like Fort Knox but rather on a secure hard drive. Also important is that there are a fixed number of them. A limited amount of anything can lead to speculation and profiteering.And because there's no central bank overseeing their production, who's to say that someone who develops an algorithm that can churn out more onto the market could wreak havoc? Other detractors would say that the weight and the difficulty and expense of gold and silver to store is what makes precious metals so much more desirable as a global currency. You can't create an algorithm that physically churns out tons of gold.

But let's assume for the moment that the Bitcoin is the first step in a longer journey towards the creation of a true virtual currency, widely accepted and safe to use. It would follow a classic adoption pattern seen with other technology breakthroughs including internet email. What was a terrific innovation and niche technology took decades to catch on in mainstream society. But now everyone uses it. It was free, reliable, and a lot faster than putting a stamp on a paper letter and waiting for a government postal service to deliver your message.

All breakthrough innovations can start off as niche curiosities with limited appeal. Twitter was dismissed as nothing but a cute toy to let people know what you had for breakfast that morning. Years later, in the Arab Spring, it was used to start a political revolution. The Bitcoin has nearly doubled in value over the past month and has attracted the attention of investors like the Winklevoss twins, two guys who know a thing or two about taking a niche innovation and applying it in a far-reaching way. In fact, the Bitcoin is not alone. Linden Dollars, QQ Coins and Facebook Credits are alternatives threatening to take away revenue opportunities from banks. Particularly Linden Dollars and QQ Coins - that are also traded in currency exchanges. In fact, when China believed the Yuan was threatened by QQ Coins, these were banned, only to be recalled when the ban backfired - bringing down the Yuan by double digits. To be sure, the Bitcoin might be setting up the next version of the tulip bulb, dot-com, or real estate bubble, destined to burst when the euphoria over the new technology subsides.

But remember one thing about exciting, new innovations that arise out of a dire necessity to do things better and more reliably: They usually end up succeeding.

May 3, 2013

Clean up before you co-create

Posted by Simon Towers (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:54 AM

Review | First Google Fiber customers  [Source:NBCActionNews  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjIXyvcHybs]

Do non-business consumers really need gigabit Internet access? Google seems to think so, as it readies to roll out its Google Fiber network into Austin, Texas, its second location after Kansas City.

So, do non-business consumers really need gigabit Internet access? To get to the answer, and in the true spirit of customer-centricity, let's play co-creation with the customer.

So Ms. Customer, would you sign up for a new Internet service that delivers exponential speeds at an incremental price increase? How about if the price increase was also exponential? Or how about I leave everything as it is but just ensure that you consistently get the service you are already paying for? (The correct answers, for those whose fingers are not on the customer pulse, are, respectively: Yes, No and What? You can do that?!) Before you scoff at those answers, consider what Google 'Fiberers' told a local Kansas City newspaper (you can read the entire story here.) Even those with its fastest Internet hookups say things feel more evolutionary than revolutionary. So far, they've not found new uses for the Internet.

But: Installers show up on time. Headquarters often tells customers when something needs to be fixed without prompting. Unsolicited credits sometimes show up on bills to account for small service glitches.

See? In spite of the sizzle, all they really ever wanted was the steak they willingly paid for.

That's my long-winded point about co-creation. Is it a wonderful new opportunity for customer-centricity? Yes. Will it move the needle? Push the envelope? Encourage blue sky thinking? Create blue ocean opportunities? Maybe, if you play it right. No, if your customers are still stuck at the bottom of the Maslovian hierarchy of needs.

So, do I want a gazillion terabyte connection at the price of a dial-up? Absolutely. But before that, I don't want to enter my 10 digit broadband number, twice, to get to the third level of an IVR system that I am certain is configured as 15 second loops. I don't want an automated response to my service request email promising me a solution in 48 hours. And then I certainly don't want a response assuring me that that according to your systems I shouldn't have a problem.

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