April 5, 2013

The Journey to Technology Intensity: From Seeking IT Investment to Inspiring It

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:02 AM

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I got into a friendly debate recently with a friend about the level of IT investment necessary for competiveness.  My friend's organization was spending upwards of 3% of revenue on IT.  To put this into context, the benchmark for IT spending as a percentage of revenue for their peers in the industry is in the region of 1.8% to 2.3%. So, does that mean that a company, which spends 3% has got it all wrong?

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December 10, 2012

What else?

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:24 AM

Enterprises  go about their business - hurdling challenges, harnessing opportunities - as a matter of business-as-usual. And, every once a while, leaders stop to ask "what else?" How can we take that big leap? What's that big idea...that big pursuit...that'll make that big difference. And, it's easy to fall into a trap here; and begin to think that this "what else" or innovation is something to be tracked outside of business-as-usual. In fact, this big new idea can simply be that which makes the very same business-as-usual faster, easier or better  by rewriting the formula that the business leverages to get its work done every day.

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July 18, 2012

Business in China: An eight-point primer

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:55 AM


Business in China, drawing from my experience, is influenced by a set of critical variables that must be skillfully managed in order to succeed. Here are 8:

1. Talent 
Talent, in China, is fundamentally no different from any place else in the world.  But, grasping their expectations is what requires a shift in the conventional Western mindset. Born into a country that has sustained tremendous growth momentum for over 20 years, talent wants to grow at a pace that compares. And, they evaluate potential for their growth by gauging how their employers are faring in China. Quite obviously, they don't want to commit themselves to the wrong lane and risk being left behind. So, your Chinese employee is really competing with everyone in China not just others within the company or even the industry of employment. This rationale also drives talent in hordes to the big cities where opportunities are perceived to be greater. 

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June 5, 2012

Where do you stand on innovation?

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:15 AM

When we talk about companies in the context of innovation, we are quick to point out how some companies are innovators - leaders in innovation, while others are laggards. Innovators or leaders are firms that believe that a core part of their business - their soul - lies in inventing the next new thing. They invest a lot of money in research and development, and are accustomed to trial and error. They understand that there is a given ratio where missteps and failure outpace success. Laggards are the sort of companies that wait till a product or service matures before they jump into the marketplace. Why? They save money because they don't invest in R&D and worry about failure.

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May 16, 2012

When it comes from almost nowhere, will you still see it?

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:46 AM


Ashok Vemuri, Head of Americas and Global Head of Manufacturing, and Engineering Services, Infosys was recently quoted in Supply & Demand Chain Executive saying "If you look at some of the industries that make up the manufacturing sector--mining or metals or chemicals--these have traditionally stayed away from large technology spends." "But now, they're actually enforcing the consumption of technology into their core manufacturing processes--beyond customer service of a call center, for example. So there's a whole ecosystem that is coming together as a result of technology--whether it's mobility, digital marketing or supply chain optimization." You can read the whole article here:

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March 16, 2012

Is there a formula to replicate success?

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:59 AM


The short answer is yes. The long answer is more complicated.

Many companies incorrectly assume that they can replicate their developed world success in emerging economies, by starting off simply building on their developed model of the business.  Of course, they finally get their arms around what aspects to change and what not to, in the new market, but it takes an inordinately long time with several rounds of trial and error.

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March 7, 2012

Making it in China

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:03 AM


"OK, so what's it like to do business in China?" This must rank among the world's top questions. People ask alright, but don't really want to listen to your detailed answer. So, here's my 2 minute China capsule for when you pop the question.

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February 24, 2012

Once upon a Jim and Bob...

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:30 AM


This is a tale about Jim and Bob. Jim has spent over 5 years working his way up in a large organization setup.  When faced with constraints, he knows how to get it all sorted by talking to somebody, escalating the issue, or even concocting a solution himself. Jim is highly networked within the organization, has a clear mental model of the enterprise, and has all that he needs to get his job done either using what's available with him or somewhere easily accessible in his people network.  If a system fails, he knows how to remedy the situation, whom to contact, or even propose an assumptive stop-gap solution fully aware that that particular fix-it will not break anything downstream.  That's Jim for you.  Empowered. Willing and able to take liberties with management and processes to ensure operations don't suffer.  Everybody else is Bob.  Bob has not spent enough time in the organization to have built a network within the setup. Every day, his mental model of the enterprise gets clearer - slowly but surely. He has seen some early success, but is as yet unable to intuitively map organizational processes. Existing operational hurdles, sometimes, plague him and, on occasion, frustrate his attempts to drive business goals.

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