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June 26, 2015

Here's How To Innovate Finance

Posted by Mohit Joshi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:29 AM



Innovate Finance: The Future of Money [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZecVfvntNI]

Think of a place where your workday involves communicating with businesses that are open in both Hong Kong and New York. I'm betting big bucks that the place you're thinking of is London. Its markets are open when the Far East's markets are revved up, and later in their day, the London exchanges are still open when New York's markets hear the bell ring and begin their trading. It is a city perfectly positioned to connect every investor and business on the planet.

Over the years, London has made a name for itself as a community that supports accelerators -- groups of startups in which the technorati deem worthy of investing. It is no wonder that Level 39, Europe's largest accelerator space, is housed in London, at One Canada Square on prestigious Canary Wharf. Among them is Innovate Finance, an organization whose mission is to promote British startups in the financial services sector.

For startups, the almighty dollar (pound, in this case) is what cuts through endless pitches, networking at cocktail parties, and office visits. Liquidity allows innovative engineers to cut to the chase. They can start building and marketing their dreams immediately. But is capital all it takes? Think about this: Suppose a bright, young entrepreneur in the financial services space successfully pitches a product that the big banks aren't even thinking about at the moment. They have the smarts, they have the idea, and most importantly, they have the funding. But what they don't have is the ability to scale. If you've ever been part of a successful startup, then you know why the ability to scale up fast is vital to your organization's success. That's why it's imperative for startups to partner with an established technology company that can help them scale up - and rapidly.

A prestigious organization like Innovate Finance in London is vital to the financial services ecosystem because even the largest banks on the planet need startups. To be sure, they certainly don't want startups as competitors. Yet there are plenty of business areas that the global banks have all but abandoned and financial startups are looking at from a fresh and tech-savvy perspective. Remember when you could walk into a neighborhood branch and the loan officer knew you and your family? Many global behemoths don't remember those days, but customers do. The big banks need startups that are borne out of groups like Innovate Finance to work with them and give them a dose of entrepreneurial inspiration that large organizations sometimes lack, especially when it comes to customer service. Going back to the aforementioned example, a startup could digitally recreate a highly personalized experience for a customer seeking a loan so that he doesn't miss his loan officer who knew him by name. And the big banks give them mature guidance and funding. It's a win-win proposition.

You might be wondering why Infosys, a global technology behemoth in its own right, would be interested in startups. Well, it's because three decades ago, we were an innovative startup ourselves. We know how the system works because we were there. In fact, to ensure that we never forget what it was like in the old days, we established the Infosys Innovation Fund to incubate and to encourage young, entrepreneurial technologists. We can learn from them and they can learn from us. Truth be told, the fund is more than just a reminder to our company's veterans. It's about taking young innovators seriously and backing them with the money to get a great idea off the ground, especially in areas of next-generation technologies like machine learning, automation and artificial intelligence.

I think we should all take notice of what's going on at Innovate Finance and at Level 39 in London. These ingenious FinTech startups are pinpointing the much-neglected spaces in banking services and applying new, digital solutions to them. In time, Innovate Finance could give birth to the global financial institutions of tomorrow. But for now they need incubation and the ability to scale up fast.

June 24, 2015

Trust Challenges Alleviated By Cryptography

Posted by Dr. Ashutosh Saxena (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:00 AM


There's a popular team-building exercise that is often undertaken at corporate offsites. It involves choosing one person from the group of co-workers to stand up and face away from her colleagues. She is told that her colleagues are right behind her and that she should fall back with the inherent trust that the group will catch her before she hits the ground. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people hesitate. Some of them refuse to let themselves fall back altogether. Then there are those who let go. They place trust in their colleagues and allow themselves to fall back. The reason this exercise continues to be the most utilized of all corporate team-building exercises is that it's all about trust.

I hope that enterprises continue to use this exercise, because we live in a world filled with challenges and we are required to place our trust in software. Perhaps none of these are more important and more current than the Cloud, one of the most recent trends in modern Information Technology. The Cloud is an on-demand self-service model that provides rapid elasticity for resource provisioning. Most of us know full well that resources are pooled to serve multiple customers using a multi-tenant model. Data and applications are usually hosted in a Cloud service provider that controls locations. Cloud customers have little control over them. Service-level agreements try to protect the Cloud customer's interest, but the typical customer is looking for better technical control to get guaranteed protection for her data in the Cloud environment. Despite best interests, trust, security, and privacy issues are major roadblocks in Cloud computing adoption.

Considering the business value and financial benefits of the Cloud, it is imperative to address the security challenges of Cloud computing. Customers are looking for:

  • Proof of retrievability: Proof to verify that stored data is available, in the same state, and can be retrieved by the consumer when needed
  • Secure deletion in the Cloud: Data is not available or accessible after a defined period of Cloud service usage
  • Storage security: Data stored in the Cloud is viewed or processed by authorized entities only, and no unauthorized operations are performed
  • Communication security: Integrity, confidentiality, and availability should not be compromised during communication
  • Virtualization security: The ability to ensure that data security is maintained in a virtualized environment

Cryptography can provide technical control to deal with such challenges and enhance confidence in Cloud services. The scope of modern cryptography (which has evolved from being only about encryption in the early days to ensuring data protection from adversaries) includes techniques and protocols to achieve authentication, non-repudiation, and above all, integrity. The complexity of cryptology methods and their applications have continuously increased and the evolution of technology has brought in a completely new dimension to this endeavor. For example, public-key cryptography, an encryption scheme that uses two mathematically related, but not identical, keys - a public key and a private key - is used to verify digital signatures. Here, the content is digitally signed with an individual's private key and is verified by the individual's public key. It's interesting to note that cryptography, which has always been under the threat of becoming obsolete because of rapidly increasing computational capabilities, enables a service like digital signatures, which is borne out of today's technological advancements.

There is no doubt that when it comes to storing enterprise's information on a cost-effective Cloud, it's important to research and choose the best available option. The 'trust' challenges can be alleviated by choosing a secure Cloud solution, perhaps one that employs cryptography, which will give organizations the competitive edge.

June 21, 2015

Our Potential

Posted by Dr. Vishal Sikka (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:01 PM

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8
Lufthansa Boeing 747-8

I write this onboard a beautiful Lufthansa Boeing 747-8, the latest incarnation of the magnificent plane that was born around the same time I was, and has evolved through these decades in a timeless manner (indeed when I envisioned timeless software, the 747 was one of my examples and inspirations, and that was before the 747-8!). It makes me even more proud that a brilliant team of Infoscions helped design many key parts and systems of this amazing machine, as Kent Johnson, then design chief, shared with our clients and partners at our Confluence event in April. It is International Yoga Day today, and as the PM has so eloquently stated, a great way for us to look after our health and well-being, and to bring a focus and purpose, a "yog", to our endeavors. It is also Father's day. A day to celebrate our dads, our children, and our greater responsibilities, in nurturing our children's potential and in living up to our dad's dreams for us. I am especially missing being at home today.

I'm on my way to Bangalore for our AGM, and reflecting on journeys, their beginnings and ends. Mr. Kamath, my mentor and (now former) Infosys Chairman, and a key influence in my joining Infosys, stepped down to take over as the first President of the BRICS New Development Bank. He is an amazing man, a natural leader, a unique combination of spirituality and practicality, of great vision and dreams, and great execution and discipline. As happy as I am to see him lead this great new institution for humanity, I will really miss him. And Mr. R Seshasayee took over as our chairman from him. In the last year that I've interacted with him, Sesh has become a mentor to me, a learned and balanced voice of reason, diligence, vast experience, deep rooted humanity, and of utmost integrity. I'm looking fwd to working with him. A week or so ago, the Glassdoor ratings were published, and a website/service that I didn't know existed, reported that employees had rated me one of the top 50 CEOs. And a few days before that, in Bangalore, I had an opportunity to join a gathering of 6200+ leaders of our company's delivery organization, our lifeblood, to review an important initiative we started, called Zero Distance, that aims to bring innovation to every ongoing project in the company. And it was an incredibly inspiring session, a memorable moment.

So all this got me thinking about our journeys, and especially about our people. The work we do. Our learnings and our yearnings. Our cultures that we inhabit, and create. And our potential.

"If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would astound ourselves..." -- Thomas Edison

Roughly a year ago when I was announced as the next CEO of Infosys, there was much change all around. Within the services industry there was talk of automation disrupting traditional business, and within my company it was a time of great transition; a sense of anxiety, coupled with a sense of hope and a willingness, a determination, to succeed. Shortly after getting started, in talking to the people, within Infosys, and to clients, partners, investors and others, it soon became clear that the path ahead would have to be one that is based on a dual strategy of renewing all our existing and ongoing work, with better operational excellence, automation, and innovation, combined with opening up some great new horizons, things we never did before, and helping clients usher in new paradigms in doing so. This dual idea of "Renew and New" has since taken hold, but what is most often missed, is its third dimension, the culture. The duality of Renew and New must take place within the context of a great culture.

One of my extraordinary early findings was the lack of initiative, lack of proactivity in the services industry. Not only at Infosys, but everywhere. An entire industry, by and large, (d)evolved to the idea of "doing what we are told" to the point of shutting out our own ability to think, to be creative and to innovate. As I met clients, and peered over customer surveys, this became increasingly clear. Client after client spoke of the lack of proactive innovation; while they gave us high marks for quality, delivery efficiency, responsiveness and responsibility, they were equally critical of, and longed for, our help in their innovation journeys, in helping them improve, helping them tackle their strategic and important challenges. As I got into our projects, their 'Whats' and their 'Hows', I arrived at two startling conclusions. One, was the extraordinary diversity and simply the extraordinary-ness of a lot of our projects. We work on, at any given point in time, a few tens of thousands of projects. This is the core process in the company, our lifeblood, as it were. And the projects range from the amazing to the mundane. The other was that the clients' observations were fully evident. Teams working to spec, doing what we are told, dutifully and rigorously, but almost blindly. And it was immediately clear that we needed to improve in this core function. We needed to bring innovation, deeply and fundamentally, and pervasively. We needed to bring innovation to everything we do, and each project our clients see.

"To develop a complete mind, study the science of art. Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." -- Leonardo da Vinci

So I, along with a few key colleagues, worked with a handful of projects for a few weeks at the beginning of this year. And the result was a simple five point pattern that could bring immediate as well as fundamental improvement to any of our projects. Then we rolled this template out to a 1000 projects and their leadership, and a few weeks later, to all our projects. Ravi calls this Zero Distance, and you've likely seen this by now, on the ZD groups on Sparsh and on Yammer. This ZD initiative has become something of a movement in the meantime. Projects covering more than 68k delivery colleagues at Infosys (not including BPO, consulting and products/platform teams), that is more than 70% of our delivery strength, are participating and more than 500 client conversations relating to the improvements and innovations in their projects have already happened! This is still very early in our innovation and ZD journey, but it is really inspiring to see. And especially the confidence we start to see in our colleagues. A sense of achievement, of accomplishment, of "creative confidence" as David Kelley would say, is starting to become evident in the teams. And it is this confidence that was the missing ingredient I saw 10 months ago, the ingredient that is key to our success, our key to solving the duality of embracing automation and transcending it with our creativity. And it is this confidence that is now becoming evident. This confidence is not arrogance, or foolhardiness. It is simply a recognition that, as Steve Jobs once observed, everything we see around us was built by people who are no superior to us, no smarter than us, and therefore we too can have similar impact and influence things around us. And listening to ground reality, and continually improving, a continual humility, is a fundamental part of it.

The ZD movement is coordinated by a great team of our colleagues, and is underpinned by tools like Yammer and our portals, new ideas in crowdsourcing and collaboration, as well as by training in techniques like Design Thinking. Indeed, it is a great tribute to our amazing training capability, that we have now more than 35k colleagues who have learnt about it with the day-long or two day-long immersive Design Thinking experience. 21k+ of these are from delivery. And we are already starting to receive initial positive client feedback. Just in the last 3 weeks, several clients have told me about signs of change in the way projects are being delivered and rethought.

When I met the teams in Bangalore a couple of weeks ago, there was an amazing atmosphere. The team had identified six projects to share with everyone, and each one of these was awesome. From a team that showed how one of the best online stores on the planet could be improved with new capabilities, to a team that showed how insurance sales people could get a "cafe of offerings" for each of their customers at their fingertips, from a team that showed how one of the world's largest hi-tech aftermarket could thrive, to one that showed how one of the largest aerospace providers could get more efficient at identifying important sales related metrics and analyses. They were all amazing. And when I look thru the projects, which I do every once in a while when on a plane or when I find some free time, I see this improvement and this spirit everywhere, in every area. From engineering to maintenance, from development to support, from QA to implementation and integration, everyone is finding improvements and innovation in what they do and in how they do it.

This is a great harbinger of things to come. For sure we expect to see increased value from all this, to our clients and to us, but more importantly, by going Zero Distance, we raise the bar by which every project is measured, that we don't just do what we are told, we bring our best to it, we improve it, and this groundswell will help improve us all.

And this is crucial if we are to evolve from augmenters to amplifiers. From doing the proverbial "mess for less", to, as Prof Mashelkar said, "doing more with less for more". Instead of falling backwards towards staff augmentation and hawking resumes, towards amplification and teaching and innovation. As we evolve from an industry obsessed by command and control and a feudal mindset, towards one driven by innovation at every level and in every activity. It is not right, nor enough, to limit innovation to a chosen few. That simply divides us. Into the innovators and the non-innovators. And is a very limiting view of the world. For sure we need dedicated innovation into new paradigms and frontiers. And we are pursuing these, and many of the new frontiers are already bearing fruit. Under Abdul and Samson's leadership, our work in IAP is already resulting in substantial savings due to automation in the routine, mechanizable areas like parts of infrastructure management. And we now have more than 100 commercial IIP engagements, including many that have already produced breakthrough results. Panaya's adoption is underway, and is picking up steam. We've crossed 12 Panaya wins done by the Infosys CSG teams! Including a recent one where our IVS team brought Panaya together with IVS, taking this technology beyond change mgmt of packaged systems. Just as we imagined when we brought Panaya together with us. And Finacle and Edge continue to break new ground continually, as does Skava, in bringing IP together with our services. Similarly Design Thinking's adoption by customers continues to pick up momentum, with more than 3 dozen Design Thinking workshops already conducted, and this is increasingly becoming the technique of choice for our consulting teams to engage with clients. And speaking of consulting, we are well underway in bringing consulting as a "tip of the spear" to our clients, consulting becoming a front-runner, a leader, of our strategic conversation with clients, so that we may bring the best of Infosys to them, the full power of all that we are capable of. Whether it is any of our renewed services, or new AI solutions. Whether it is KBIT (Knowledge-based IT) as a unification and evolution path for enterprise landscapes, or our IP-led services to bear, consulting is helping to lead the way. And even in the basic activity of responding to RFPs we've brought innovation. I happened to see a team rehearsing for a client presentation recently, and it was amazing to see how they are rejuvenating a very mundane activity into a redesigned and rethought one. And all of these innovative areas will increase in adoption and will spread and impact our work. But it is the bottom-up innovation, the groundswell, that is Zero Distance, that will bring everything together in the project that manifests in all that we do for the client, and that will be the big difference.

Renew+New applies to us all. Its foundation, our culture, applies to us all. Each one of us. From the call center to the corner office, from sales and delivery to HR and training. All of us. As I look to the future, this strategy will help us innovate in and improve everything we do, and will augment that with new things we never did. But this strategy is fundamentally about people. About our potential. About our aspirations, our ability to learn, our ability to teach. Mr. Murthy always emphasized this to me. He called this learnability, one of the exemplary values of this proud son of a teacher. I, too, am the son of a teacher, and this synchrony of values is a key reason I came to Infosys. We are determined to march down this path. I am proud of the work our teams have done so far, and I am looking fwd to all that we are yet to do. As I get ready to take a nap, and look ahead to a long fruitful day ahead in Bangalore, in this beautiful machine that our teams participated in creating, I find myself hopeful of us raising our work, raising ourselves, ever closer to our astounding potential, and doing more, and helping our clients do more and be more...

(This post was first published on June 21, 2015 on the Infosys Intranet - Sparsh)

June 19, 2015

Welcome To The Office, Mr. Robot

Posted by Sanjay Nambiar (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:05 AM



South Korea's DRC-Hubo wins 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BL4BwRuG6o]

Ever hear of the DARPA Robotics Challenge? During the first weekend of June this year, a robotics team from South Korea won first place in this challenge. Their prize-winning robot completed eight fairly complicated tasks in under 45 minutes. The secret to the Korean team's success was that their robot could change its basic structure not unlike those Transformers toys from the 1980s. The team left the California-based competition $2 million richer because of their amazing robot.

That's a hefty monetary prize for designing a robot. Ever wonder why? The answer lies in the corporate world. Industries are aggressively looking for new ways to bring about a substantial and tangible impact to what is loosely known as back-office operations. More formally and specifically, these important tasks are known as process metrics, which include determining the cost per claim, cost per service contact, and fraud prevention rates. Companies are trying to save on such back-office costs, while also growing their overall business. Think for a moment about how current businesses are being disrupted by digital engagement companies like Uber and Airbnb. The days when a manager could simply 'throw more bodies at the task' to get it done are long over.

During an interview with the winning team at the recent DARPA competition, the happy engineers admitted that robots have a long way to go before they become machines like the Terminator. But it's without a doubt that we have come a very long way in a very short time. And nowhere have advancements in robotics become more apparent than in the realm of business process outsourcing. Just when you thought offshore labor couldn't get more convenient, along comes an army of robots to do many of those administrative processing tasks even more efficiently.

We are at the dawn of an age in which robots will manage machines, and the exceptions - those instances that require outside-the-box human thinking - will be managed by human beings. Of course, you didn't think they'd simply be called robots, did you? The popular term these days is 'robotic process automation,' which, as far as I can tell, is the act of replacing human workers with intelligent machines that perform tasks more quickly and (more importantly) more cheaply, over the long run. The idea is that with outsourcing, which usually involves repetitive tasks like back-office operations, a 'virtualized full-time equivalent' (or, again, simply a robot) would take care of those tasks that would free up humans to do more important things, like taking care of 'boundary conditions' that don't conform to codified business rules.

Such robots are made up of three distinct elements. First, an automation toolset lets them grab digital data that can include screen scraping, digital image recognition, or even the ability to access a server or link to a website. Second is the visibility toolset. As you might expect, these tools provide visibility into key operational metrics of its deployment. Lastly there's the control tower toolset, maybe the most important element of all. This is the ability to control robots from a central location. So new robots can be on-boarded not unlike new human employees and assigned different processes based on insights from the visibility toolset. The best thing is that unlike their human colleagues, they don't request lunch-breaks!

Office robotics is a huge game-changer. I predict that in just a few years, robots will have transformed the way the off-shoring industry operates. Don't believe me? Robots cost one-third the price of offshored FTEs over the contract period and some take just days to automate processes. Better still is that your business can scale up or down rapidly and with all corporate governance minutiae taken care of from the get-go. Robotics platforms are secure, audited, and managed through normal governance available both on premise and on the Cloud. And none of these robots require a certain amount of sick days each quarter!

New technologies are focused on intelligent automation that amplifies things humans do. These amplifications result in hiring fewer off-shored humans. Much like the appearance of the desktop computer one generation ago, office robots will reduce error rates, standardize processes, better manage repeatable tasks, and create frictionless 'straight-through' processes. Automation has become a significant area of focus for a wide range of industries. Still, the human spark is, and will remain, essential to how knowledge work is orchestrated and managed.

Robots are changing process automation. A robot carries out its daily tasks and scales up and down when needed without impacting the existing IT structure. A robot can also improve service desk operations and monitor network devices. My favorite robot role is that of the virtual assistant. We're talking about machines providing services that are well beyond those of Siri or Alexa. These robots can structure basic content, process language, and even respond to employees in their natural language, rather than software code.

The best part is that robots are getting more intelligent by the day. They'll soon be able to tackle jobs that were once believed to be impossible for artificial intelligence. The Matrix, my friends, is about to come alive - but with a happy ending! We're at the dawn of a new era in which only a person's imagination will limit what can be possible.

June 16, 2015

Bringing Together Care, Cure and Cover

Posted by Manish Tandon (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:48 AM

Some industries thrive on the benefits of consumerization. Retail is one of them. Designers might show off their creations in glitzy fashion shows, but fashion is also a by-product of what the consumers want to wear. Retailers excel in tapping into the consumer zeitgeist.

Then there are the life sciences industries, which encompass healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and even insurance. For decades, for centuries even, many companies in these industries did not act on the demands of the consumer. Instead, they dictated what drugs to take, what operations to undergo, and what insurance policies were best for them. But the tide has turned, now that we live in the digital age. It has become increasingly important for these industries to focus across the value chain and tap into market synergies. New synergies via information technology and digital devices are forcing the healthcare, pharma, and insurance industries to converge. When your job is to scrutinize and study the evolution of life sciences, it's exciting to see how this is taking shape.

In America, the healthcare industry is undergoing a profound transformation. Healthcare reforms have made the industry more complex than ever. Cost pressures persist. The consumer is now empowered to ask more questions and they expect a level of care that they did not have even a generation ago. Insurance companies are analyzing customer history vis-à-vis healthcare transactions to gain insights into the health of policy holders. Healthcare organizations are also accessing patient information from different providers to get a comprehensive view into the history of their patients in order to improve preventive and curative care. Meanwhile, life sciences organizations are using new tools and technologies to improve new drug discoveries at a faster pace. This means shorter research and development cycles in pharmaceutical companies. It also means that drugs that were once too expensive to make (they weren't cost effective to the company that held the patent) can now be made to order, pill by pill, as efficiently as a person ordering a sandwich from a fast food chain. It's made to the patient's specifications while she waits. No expensive inventory sits on shelves, passes the expiration date, and thrown away at a loss to the company.

Big Data is only a small part of what is bringing these industries together. What's really happening is that the consumerization of technology, omnichannel formats, access to the web and mobile devices are changing the consumer landscape. Organizations in these industries have not been willing to evolve like the aforementioned retail. But they can't afford to ignore the demands of today's consumers, who are empowered with information and want multichannel engagement. Life sciences organizations need IT specialists that can play the crucial role of enabling enterprises to meet the consumer demands. To this end, these organizations are increasingly looking at better utilizing technologies to bring in one vendor, across all business lines and chains.

Retailers rarely produce more shirts or trousers than they need to because they've mastered the art of consumerization. The same will soon be true of the smartest and savviest of life sciences enterprises as they converge and become more responsive to the consumer.

June 10, 2015

Time For A Millennial Makeover

Posted by Richard Lobo (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:40 AM

Infoscions at a bowling alley at our campus in Mysore
Infoscions at a bowling alley at our campus in Mysore

Being a part of the human resource team at Infosys, questions that frequently come my way, across the board, are: How do you become an employer of choice for millennials? How do you become a company that addresses and exceeds millennial expectations? Although the answers to these questions are far from simple, it has become increasingly important for employers to realize the impact and potential of the vibrant talent that exists within and outside. The key to organizational success will be about leveraging these strengths and making the impossible possible.

It's perhaps wrong to call the millennials a bunch (which implies they're a few in number) from an employment perspective. According to a recent study by Pew Research, millennials are now the largest workforce in the U.S. with 53.5 million employees, which is about one third of all workers in the country. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey (January 2014), millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025.

They are certainly not only about numbers. There is much written about the potential of the millennial generation. And then there are the blockbusters. Think Mark Zuckerberg. Think Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat. Think David Karp of Tumblr. And back home, Phanindra Sama - co-founder and CEO of Red Bus and many more. These young entrepreneurs are redefining the way we do business. So don't be surprised if, in just a few years, we are reporting to a millennial CEO!

Well, until then, we are entrusted with the responsibility of keeping them happy and engaged. So, what do these hyper-connected, tech-savvy and highly driven youngsters want in the workplace? They want to strike the perfect work-life balance, constantly learn and up-skill, and also feed their curiosity. They appreciate an open culture in the office environment, and they also seek instant gratification. Come to think of it, it's almost like dealing with my teenager at home! But the most satisfying aspect is that these teenagers know what they want from lives and their careers.

But do we, as an organization, know them and their aspirations well enough? At Infosys, we are certainly beginning to. Infosys made headlines last week for its cool quotient. The formal dress code has been retired and Infosys employees will now sport a smart business casual look throughout the week. This change is symbolic of a deeper transformation taking place within the company, as it sloughs off old skin to emerge as a workplace of and for the new generation.

Consistently rated among the top workplaces in India and other parts of the world, Infosys has always striven towards these goals. As we continue this journey into the digital age, the key expectations of the millennial generation are serving as our guideposts. So, new look apart, we are changing from the inside to become a more open, communicative, learning-oriented, community-rooted and consumer tech-driven company. And our millennials are taking note: Just today, our CEO Vishal Sikka ─ the biggest champion of this change ─ has been featured among the top 50 in Glassdoor's annual Employees' Choice Awards for the Highest Rated CEOs in 2015.

As Vishal says of leaders looking to inspire their employees: "They must at the heart of it put their trust in the team - bring the best people together, create an environment of sharing and learning, and then give them the space to open their imaginations. This is when we see true innovation emerge, when all of us have the creative confidence to explore." True to this vision, Infosys, which runs the largest corporate university in the world, has taken learning to a higher orbit, under his aegis, pioneering Design Thinking learning in partnership with Stanford's d.school - for all its 1,76,000+ employees. Growing in creative confidence, finding unknown problems, and creating path-breaking solution with empathy for end-users.

And so the millennial makeover gains momentum as we just go ahead and construct the future of our aspirations...founded on the basis of our innovations, our collective imagination, knowledge and conviction.

June 9, 2015

The Oracle Of Silicon Valley Has Spoken

Posted by Suryaprakash K. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:25 AM



Mobile transformation is finally here [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkZk2SKd1E0]

In the realm of stock market investing, Warren Buffett is known affectionately as the 'Oracle of Omaha' by his legions of fans. The nickname refers to the small city that he has called home most of his adult life. Along those lines, I propose we call Mary Meeker the 'Oracle of Silicon Valley' for her prescient and mostly accurate views on the digital marketplace.

This former bank analyst, now a private equity financier investing in the very space she once wrote about, makes an annual Internet Trends report that pretty much stops the clock in the technology world. Everyone wants to hear what this particular oracle has to say about the rapidly evolving online world. One of the best aspects of her presentation is just how long she has studied the space: since the very beginning. If you want to get a sense of just how profoundly the Internet space has changed during the past two decades, take a look at her list of the largest Internet companies of 1995. Remember Netscape?

This year's presentation was the perhaps her most compelling and urgent in recent years. For one, many of her long-running predictions have finally come true. Yes, the presentation was beginning to get a bit predictable. I enjoyed this year's sense of urgency. First, the multi-year prediction that we will all move away from desktops and laptops has finally, overwhelmingly taken place. Of the nearly six hours a day a typical American adult spends on the Internet, more of that time is on mobile devices. She's been predicting for years that this transformation would happen. And it finally has. But has the corporate world really listened? Granted, they've had a long time to prepare for this seismic shift.

For instance, her sample set (American consumers) spend most of their time accessing the Internet via mobile devices, yet corporations devote just 8 percent of their advertising spending to the mobile medium. Are consumer-facing companies fundamentally changing the way they market to consumers? Not yet. Many of them are still stuck in TV land. If only companies would build the appropriate digital architecture to host mobile advertisements, they could experience massive revenue boosts, according to Meeker.

Tastes themselves have changed accordingly with this year's triumph of the mobile device. No longer are people 'surfing' the web so much as they are gobbling up loads of bite-sized content. So organizations need to change the way they package content. The average attention span of an Internet user has reduced considerably in the two decades that Meeker has covered (and now invests in) this industry. The content must (and sometimes does) change to meet those dwindling attention spans. Consider, for instance, that 'pin creation' on Pinterest is up 75 percent year-over-year. Most of these pins are of smiling babies or enchanting sunsets. Snapchat, billed as all the rage among tech-savvy teens, enjoys 100 million users each day creating content.

But none of this content is up to the standards of, say, The Wall Street Journal or The Economist, mind you. These are skateboarding pictures or selfies of best friends (forever). True knowledge and wisdom might be rare in the mobile universe, but any platform that can harness content creation - any content, no matter how insignificant - will be a winning platform. Gone are the days when Internet users surfed the web for information; now they generate content themselves. Old-line media companies that proffer high-end wisdom continue to feel the economic pinch.

Other industries are facing quite the opposite, says Meeker. There's a potential windfall for enterprises in the government, healthcare, and education sectors. That's because these are large, heavily regulated spaces where the rules of the Internet have taken longer to blossom. But smart entrepreneurs armed with the right IT partners are beginning to get around all that regulation, she says. It seems healthcare and education businesses are to today's Internet start-ups what retailing was to them a couple decades ago: fresh and fertile territory to be conquered.

The best part of Meeker's incredibly long and information-packed presentation (this year she had nearly 200 slides!) shouldn't be lost among all the details. It's that the mobile Internet is finally mobile. It's not just a smaller screen transferred over from a desktop or laptop. To understand this evolution is to place your finger on what has finally happened. It's to understand that the Internet itself went mobile, and we finally went along with it ... and we went with it the appropriate way. We consumers are sometimes slow learners, as are the enterprises that serve us, but when we truly embrace a technology as we have with mobile, the sky is the limit.

June 5, 2015

The Environment Is Our Business

Posted by Aruna C. Newton (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:07 AM

Here's a glimpse of the small steps we are taking as an organization to better this planet

Today, on the occasion of the World Environment Day, I want to seed a small thought. When we think of saving the environment, why do we only think at the doomsday scale - probably even feel bogged down? While global warming, climate change, carbon footprint, deglaciation and deforestation are issues of serious concern, shouldn't we also focus on the little differences that we can make, everyday?

I can tell you that the large corporates or non-government organizations are already doing what they can: Apple's new headquarters will be entirely solar powered, Google is committing to renewable sources of energy, and Infosys is pioneering radiant cooling in its buildings in India. How is it that we - you, me, and every other person - don't figure in a narrative where we are both the prime actors and the biggest beneficiaries?

By refusing to view the undoubtedly gigantic environmental issue also as a composite of myriad elements, big and small, we have ended up distancing ourselves from the problem, and more importantly, its resolution.

We're lucky that there are some outstanding individuals amongst us who strive tirelessly to bring this truth home to us. It could be Tamara Rubin, founder of Lead Safe America, who works to spread awareness about the dangers of lead poisoning. It could be R. Madhavan and V. Subramaniam, who are greening the city of Chennai in India, one sapling at a time. Or Jadav Payeng, a villager from Assam who was recently awarded the Padma Shri for single-handedly planting a forest over three decades across 1,360 acres, which now is home to Royal Bengal Tigers, rhinos, and other animals. Or it could simply be your neighbor who meticulously segregates garbage when others merely dump it. But no matter who or where or how big their initiative, they all carry the same message - which is that the distance to our environmental goals is traversed in small steps. Our steps.

So this World Environment Day, let's take that first, most important step towards the environmental problem by making it our own.

Let's walk when we can and carpool when we cannot. China, the world's most populous nation, is already on its way. Shun Feng Che, a new ride sharing service in China, has already recruited one million drivers since its launch two months ago. Uber recently announced that its taxi-sharing service saved 120 tonnes of CO2 a month in San Francisco alone, when compared to hiring an entire Uber cab.

Let's not forget garbage segregation. According to the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), urban waste has incredible potential to become the source of renewable energy. Biodegradable waste alone can generate biogas, which can not only serve as fuel, but also be converted to compost for increased agricultural production.

Let's promise to save trees by using electronic documentation, to replace plastic with that jute shopping bag, to cut electricity consumption by turning the lights off before you leave the room, to conserve water by fixing the leaky faucets and if you can, harvesting rainwater. The list is endless.

Today, let us commit that we will strive to make what difference we can to the world around us. Let us pledge to respect our natural resources. Let us engage more thoughtfully with our planet. We are part of the problem; now let us participate in the solution. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other. One small step at a time - everyday.

June 2, 2015

Tomorrowland's Message For Life Sciences

Posted by Manish Tandon (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:07 AM



Father Helps Son With Diabetes, Develops 'Bionic Pancreas' [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAPS5F68x7A]

The movie Tomorrowland is getting mixed reviews. Some critics say that despite its spectacular special effects, it lacks a coherent storyline. Others have a different take. One critic writes that: "Tomorrowland delivers a loud and clear message of hope for humanity, which is a welcome thing to hear at any point in time."

Well that is good news - especially for those of us in the business of innovation. There's nothing more satisfying for me than to help solve the challenges facing the world from the perspective of the life sciences. That's because the assorted life science industries - everything from Big Pharma and biotech to healthcare - are undergoing a tremendous and exciting evolution. Because of the power of Big Data, they're consolidating into one, massive force for good.

Just consider how the merging of Big Data and analytics with life sciences has helped tackle some of the serious problems facing the world in the last six months alone. Big Pharma, for one, has become even bigger by going global. We witnessed the worldwide reaction to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa earlier this year. Scientists, pharmaceutical executives, and doctors from every continent joined forces to fight this epidemic.

On the other hand, the outbreak brought forth some serious, underlying issues to the forefront. For example, the information systems behind these massive global efforts have not caught up with our expectations. We became starkly aware of this fact when we saw that an infected person, undiagnosed, could board a flight and bring a dangerous disease to a new place in under 10 hours. The divide between advances in life sciences and the mounds of data surrounding it is still a challenge.

It's not all doom and gloom, however. Big Data is making its presence felt in some cases. For example, oncology was the highest growth segment for life sciences companies in 2013. Many forms of cancer are steadily becoming chronic, treatable diseases thanks to the ability to parse vast new troves of information. Big Pharma and other life sciences companies are using this information to respond to new diseases with intensity and vigor.

These efforts will be aided by the rise of the wearable computing platform. Probably the best application of the wearable so far has involved health monitoring. Why? It appears as though people enjoy monitoring their health and being proactive about it. But, the digital agenda is a little more complex than that. Life sciences companies are moving beyond the pill to focus on developing patient-centric suites of products and services. Have you heard of the 'bionic pancreas'? It's a combination hardware-software solution that combines implantable, continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps managed by updateable treatment algorithms. An extension of bionics is, of course, focusing on the Internet of Things. 'Connector' applications that capture diagnostic data will support many enterprise and individual patient use cases.

Life sciences enterprises are learning to catch up with troves of data that are at their disposal. In their efforts to harness the information effectively and quickly, organizations are delivering a loud and clear message of hope for humanity, not unlike the one in Tomorrowland.

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