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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Global Footprint does not make a Flat World Company

by Richa Govil

Many people confuse companies having a global footprint with flat world companies. If global footprint made a company succeed in flat world, all Oil & Gas companies would automatically qualify.

Flat World companies are able to integrate talent seamlessly across continents instead of creating islands of operations around the globe. Simply establishing "offshore" IT centers in India and call centers in Philippines is not enough. Very few companies around the world have a reached a stage of global operations maturity to have truly integrated global teams as the norm, rather than an exception.

Consider this:  In my group, we have many teams where a person may be based out of, say, London, whose direct report is in the US and manager is in Bangalore. This is a common scenario in Infosys -– only the permutation of continents changes. And these people do not work in isolation of each other, but on a single project.

If you think scheduling time for meetings with colleagues is difficult, try doing it across three continent time zones!


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Better late than never! Infosys has joined the blog bandwagon by launching its new corporate blog, Think Flat. The name suggests they still have the Friedman hangover. In this latest post, they write on the limitations of global company in a flat world... [Read More]


I am absolutely agree with it. To make a really flat world company, all factors of business should have seamless integration in such a way that every factor can be leveraged independently in required situations.

Hi Richa,

I agree with you but on the otherside when you have a company running in atleast more than 2 states in India or 2 countires outside india it is already a "Flat World Company" and there are many companies like this.Hence a company with a global footprint is already a Flat world company.


Hi Richa,

I agree that a global presence spanning across nations and continents may be not enough to consider an organization as a true "Flat World" company. However, please note that it is only in such organizations that we encounter scenarios of teams and team members scattered across different geographical locations. Hence, the example you cited would also not suffice the criterion of the "Flat World" company.


"If you think scheduling time for meetings with colleagues is difficult, try doing it across three continent time zones!"

How exactly and for how long would this be sustainable, or is it an interim solution only?

Nearly every discussion on this subject veers toward the global war for talent. The headlines are full of the plans of global corporations who are hiring local talent.

Infosys Consulting was one of the first to be commended by Wired Magazine and Business 2.0 for turning the outsourcing myth on its head - for creating employment opportunities for local talent in the US, a market where jobs were rumored to be lost to outsourcing. Recently, Infosys has been in the headlines for its expansion strategies in Europe, where it will hire local talent.

All of this amounts to more than going 'glocal' -- growing your global footprint, or expanding your global presence. It seems to point more toward drawing on and developing local strengths to secure a global advantage.

Promoting inclusiveness is a strong element of becoming a flat world company. And some of that begins right here in India's hinterland. See this article in The Hindu for a local flavour of what it does for quality of life. The more widespread the opportunity, the wider the embrace of the flat world.

I agree with concept of flat world company. But Infosys gets most of its business from US and Europe (where it can fetch better rates) and does it in India at lower cost(where it is comfortable doing operations being an Indian company). This provides value add to customer by the way of lower cost at same or better quality. But this won't make it a really flat company. I think flat company is derisked in its global operations. That means for Infosys to become a true flat world company, its reliance on India has to reduce. So in a flat world, Infosys should provide multiple choices of countries and locations for executing operations. Although China and Check operations gives the company that edge.

Flat world companies have to integrate their over all operations in all verticals so that the entire business process will get productive.

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