The business world is being disrupted by the combined effects of growing emerging economies, shifts in global demographics, ubiquity of technology and accountability regulation. Infosys believes that to compete in the flat world, businesses must shift their operational priorities.

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January 31, 2011

Embrace inclusivity for sustainable growth

Guest Post by
Chandra Shekar Kakal, Member of Executive Council, SVP & Global Head - Enterprise Solutions Group, Infosys Technologies Limited

I am on my way back from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos. The mood there was upbeat. With the economic crisis behind us, there was optimism about making the world a better place for tomorrow despite the innumerable challenges ahead. Interestingly. most talks led to emerging economies in general, and India and China in particular.

What struck me from the deliberations at Davos is that sustainable growth is impossible without inclusivity. If we must create a better tomorrow, we need to include people with diverse genders, origins, financial backgrounds, colors, and abilities in the partner ecosystem. Without inclusivity, sustainable development will remain a dream and a topic of debate.

Infosys hosted a luncheon panel discussion on 'building tomorrow's enterprise'. Panelists included Kris, Rajat Gupta, Marc Benioff from Salesforce.com, and Michael Mack from Syngenta. With an audience of more than 117, including 80 top business executives, the discussion was stimulating.

I attended some thought-provoking sessions on future shock, redefining work, and leadership challenges. They focused on including women, the poor and minority groups in the growth story. Sustainable growth is not about inclusion as audience or beneficiaries. Inclusivity is about making them a part of the productivity conundrum. It is about creating a platform for participation and value addition. In addition to financial upliftment, inclusive citizenship requires quality education, shelter, healthcare, and meaningful employment.

The India Inclusive debate revolved around how corruption, often camouflaged as 'leakage', prevents the benefits of development from reaching the deserving. The Home Minister of India informed that after grassroot-level elected representatives were given the power to execute, 'leakage' reduced to less than 5%. However, the question is not only whether the funds have reached the deserving, but also whether it has increased output. If not, it is an expense and not an input for inclusive growth. For example, Rupees 100/- spent through the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme must produce output worth more than Rupees 100/- or enable improvement in infrastructure, without which it is a downward spiral.

Fundamental growth, let alone sustainable growth, doesn't happen without the output being more than the input. We must use progressively lesser resources, effort and money to deliver higher productivity. In this context, what we do at Infosys through the Campus Connect program is highly relevant. We include the deserving, train them to produce higher output, and improve their productivity continuously. We believe that sustained growth and improved productivity are inseparable.

Ironically, while the debates at Davos were about including those who earn less than $2 per day in the overall growth story, there wasn't even a single representative from that community of more than 2 billion! However, the intent to include and actions by governments, industry and individuals are unquestionable. Let us together build a better tomorrow.

The New Possibility, the New Truth

Guest Post by
S. D. Shibulal, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Board, Infosys Technologies Limited

Companies must continue to focus on interconnectivity and uninterrupted flow of services and talent to realize the benefits of globalization, according to Shibulal. He discusses collaboration as the new reality for global growth.

Continue reading on CIO.com

Reproduced with permission of CIO.com

Social Contracts for the New World Order

Guest Post by
Subhash Dhar, Executive Council Member, Senior Vice President and Head, Global Sales,Alliances and Marketing Head, Communications, Media and Entertainment, Infosys Technologies Limited

Financial and social issues dominated yesterday's discussions. Between executive meetings, I participated in two very interesting debates.

The first one was on currency wars and devaluation of currency as a strategy to stimulate the economy. The panel comprised two finance ministers, two central bankers, the head of a leading bank, and an eminent economist. In the light of $800 billion currency printed by USA, the panel noted that while a healthy U.S. economy is in everyone's interest, we are left wondering if the United States is trying to stabilize the global economy or stimulate its own at the risk of others.

The other discussion I heard was on the need for a new social contract between governments, businesses and civil societies. Developed countries argued that their social contracts need to be re-looked as they face new economic, demographic and global realities. Emerging economies, on the other hand, submitted that social contracts being drafted by them could benefit from lessons learnt by developed countries.

The Infosys Friday evening reception is among the most popular networking events at Davos. Ten minutes into it, and we had no space to move around. The Indian fusion finger food prepared by Michelin-starred chef Sriram has many fans among WEF regulars.

New realities of the financial system need a holistic approach

Guest Post by
Subhash Dhar, Executive Council Member, Senior Vice President and Head, Global Sales,Alliances and Marketing Head, Communications, Media and Entertainment, Infosys Technologies Limited

After a snow-free day zero, the typical Davos weather is back. The overnight snow has brought back the Davos spirit in me. The theme of this annual meeting is 'the new realities'. And keeping with it, noted economist Nouriel Roubini has called the world economy a half-full and half-empty glass.

In his opening keynote address, the Russian President made a touching reference to the tragedy at Moscow. Global leaders who appealed for social causes in their address included Bill Clinton for the ongoing reconstruction of Haiti.

As the meetings of the day unfolded, it was clear that the new financial regulations were driving the most heated debates. Participants included bankers, non banking financial service providers, economists, and regulators. The popular opinion is that a holistic approach to reform the financial system is more important than regulating banks.

Meanwhile, the Indian story continues to march forward with the Indian lounge adda becoming a big draw for Indian and non-Indian delegates. A. R. Rehman was honored with the prestigious WEF Crystal Award for his distinguished contribution in field of art. The Bajaj nightcap is always well attended and this year was no exception.

Most of the attendees arrived today. By late afternoon, this small town turned into a large convention center. The WEF Summit has taken off in full swing. I look forward to the French President's address tomorrow.

January 28, 2011

Games-based learning for young business leaders

Guest Post by
Subhash Dhar, Executive Council Member, Senior Vice President and Head, Global Sales,Alliances and Marketing Head, Communications, Media and Entertainment, Infosys Technologies Limited

Day zero of the 41st World Economic Forum Summit started with some good news for Infosys. The Padma Bhushan award conferred on Kris is indeed a great way to kick off the leadership event. However, we have much to prepare for four days of plenary sessions, panel discussions, executive one-on-ones, and media interviews; celebrations must wait.
This year, India is being showcased at Davos - as done earlier in January 2006. We are a sponsor... of the India Inclusive campaign, which is specifically designed for the event. I am excited about the attention it will garner. The Indian adda and our ethnic cuisine served there have already started creating a lot of buzz.

In what has now become a custom, day zero started with the Young Global Leaders (YGL) meet. It is an all-day event, flowing with ideas and energy. The YGL group has grown exponentially since it was founded in 2005. Women representation in the community has grown to 44%. Today, more than 100 young leaders were present from different parts of the world. With diverse professional backgrounds such as art, social entrepreneurship, politics, business, and finance, YGL brought interesting perspectives on the future of our world. The topics of today's debate included decentralization of power as the way to run the world, role of civil society in governance, open source governance models, creating solutions across stakeholders, and the role of big data in managing complex problems.

After the presentations, we had a session on active listening. Participants were randomly picked in groups of three to discuss new global realities. In each group, one person spoke while the other two listened. Later, one of the listeners narrated it back while the other noted it down on paper. The members of my group were from America and Britain. As we started our session, I realized that both of them are now based in China. Migration to China and work in the Asian region were the new realities they wanted to discuss. I, an Indian from Bangalore, wanted to share my views on western markets! The three of us were sitting there clearly on the bleeding edge of two big global shifts - one where skilled work is delivered using global delivery models, and the other where emerging economies are fast becoming the most important markets for global businesses.

The highlight of the day-long YGL summit was a role play exercise around 'tribes'. Groups of ten members were asked to form a tribe. Each tribe had a distinct name, dominant ethnicity, and strong beliefs in socially controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment. The tribes persuaded one another to join them. The goal was to ultimately unite as one tribe to avoid annihilation of the human race. Playfully, it unveiled some serious challenges faced by world leaders in building consensus around issues affecting the future of our civilization. It also brought to the fore how a single philosophy or idea can potentially save or endanger the entire humanity.

It was a busy and high-energy warm up to the WEF Summit. But when the world's top 2000 leaders converge, one does not expect anything less.

January 27, 2011

'Collaboration holds the key to growth'

Guest Post by
B. G. Srinivas, Executive Council Member, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing; Product Engineering; Product Lifecycle and Engineering Solutions, Infosys Technologies Limited

Enterprise collaboration can address the imbalances in global business and ensure sustainable growth. B. G. Srinivas blogs on how the digital media has redefined globalization and why companies in the developed and emerging economies must collaborate.

- Build relationships to add value to consumers

- Collaboration is intrinsically related to our future

- Achieving Sustainability in a Competitive Green World

- Optimism for Balanced Trading Terms

Reproduced with permission of ComputerWeekly.com

Postcards from Davos 2011: A moment for reflection

Guest Post by
Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys Technologies Ltd.

Got news of the Padma Bhushan award while driving in from Zurich. I am thankful to the Government of India for this recognition. I thank all Infoscions and the Infosys leadership team for their support, without which I would not have received the honor.

This year, India is present in a big way at Davos. We probably have the largest contingent of representatives. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has scheduled an India Inclusive program. One of the themes is 'Inclusive Growth', and India's growth story is a good fit.

All of us have a packed agenda for the next four days - panel discussions, media interviews and networking meetings. Facilities at the event are good, making it easy to schedule and manage meetings. Davos Congress Center, the main venue, has been renovated and can easily accommodate a large gathering. I attended the welcome party and the mood of the participants is more positive than it was last year.