S 'Kris' Gopalakrishnan took over as chief executive officer of Infosys Technologies on June 22, 2007. He is one of the founder members of the company, who along with N R Narayana Murthy, set up the amazing success story called Infosys.
As CEO, he plays a key role in defining the company strategy and in using technology and innovation to maintain its leadership in the IT industry.
An alumnus of IIT Madras, Kris, as he referred to by colleagues, is soft-spoken and unassuming. He sees his high profile job as carrying the good work forward.
In an hour-long chat on rediff.com, one of India's most respected CEOs talks about leadership, the vision he has for the company, the impact of the rupee, et cetera.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN says, Dear friends, Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year. It is great to be in the technology industry as I believe that the best is yet to come. It is great to be in India at this moment of its growth since I believe that the next 30 years are going to be very exciting.
sharadAgrawal asked, Sir, I am a final year B Tech(IT) student from Ahmedabad. Which will be most happening technology in 2008 and if an engineer wants to learn a sofware language which one should be on the top priority? :Shubham Agrawal
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, at 2007-12-31 15:01:41There are many technologies that are promising - mobile technology, software as a service (SaaS), pervasive computing, RFID, multicore processors etc. Sustainability will also drive technology innovation. Any language is OK as long as you understand the underlying principles of good programming and software development.
Sco asked, hi, i am an entrepreuner myself had a couple of questions: 1. how much money did infosys raise from the time it started to the first 5 years? what were the revenue in those days? did you raise money from outside investors? 2. Did the outside investors not ask your team to bring a professional CEO? how did you manage to run the company among the promoters? You guys have done a remarkablle job and all the best
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Infosys started with Rs 10,000. We raised this from our family members. We continued to invest in the business by ploughing back the profits into growing the business. As we did not have outside investors, there was no question of any request from them. The first time we got outside investors was when we went public in India in 1993. The founders had similar value systems and respect for each other. We also are good friends. We all believed in the vision of Infosys and to us Infosys comes first. This has kept us together.
Zaheer asked, Hi and Happy new year, I am zaheer here from london, i have been working as software tester for 2 years, could you please let me know the growth of tester in the IT industry?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Testing is a great growth area for the industry - with Internet it is important to make sure that your applications are well tested before being deployed on the web.
vbankar asked, If we have money/time/financial security what else we need in life ??
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Satisfaction/happiness is personal and depends on the individual's needs. Most people would need some sort of spirituality / higher purpose in life to make life meaningful.
nitinb asked, Hi Sir, I am Nitin . I would like to know how is China doing in IT and in picking up English skills? and does India needs to worry about the same.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, China is investing heavily in education, especially in English language training. They could be a potential competitor in the future.
ALSO READ: The amazing Infosys story
Girish asked, Where do you see infosys after 10 years?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, I see an Infosys that is better in meeting the demands of all its stakeholders - customers, employees, investors and society. We have always looked at respect by our stakeholders as the goal for the company.
pdc asked, how much, rupee getting stroger against dollar is affecting IT business
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, It does affect the IT services export. We need to look at hedging in the short term; longer term, we have to look at improving the productivity, efficiency, shifting the business to higher margin businesses.
purshottam asked, Why doesnt infy open DC's in North India ? Any specific reason ............
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Infosys already has DCs in the north. We have a large facility at Chandigarh, a second one at Jaipur. We will be growing these significantly in the future.
rajagopal asked, Advance new year wishes:) How competitive it is to take up this position after the legendary Mr Narayanamoorthy and Mr Nandan Nilekhani?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, It is always challenging to follow the footsteps of others who have done well. It is also challenging when you look at the successes they have had. It is comforting to know that they are there to help me if I need.
fgfgffgdgd asked, Do you plan for a world class product for a global market, we would like to see Infosys to excel in product dev.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Infosys already has a world class product in Finacle. It is rated today as one of the top-3 Banking Solutions. We plan to invest in this further and take to newer markets.
rajat asked, what are the emrging trends in technnology that will bring about drastic changes in terms of quality of life?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Technologies that address the issues of climate change and sustainability will have significant impact on the quality of life. This will also bring about lots of new investments into IT.
prem1 asked, Dear Kris, there are loads of candidates who have poor academics but are really good in Technology, do you think it is fair to see the academics of a person who has 6+ years of Industry experiance?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, We have lower cut offs for people with industry experience. When you get 13 lakh applications a year, you need to have simple criteria to sort through these at the first cut - consistent academic performance is one such.
hardik_1315 asked, Hello Sir, would like to know the person u look up to as your source of inspiration in your role. Where do you see yourself to take Infosys hereon say in next 10 years?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, I look up to many people for different things - Bill Gates for creating Microsoft and his vision for the PC, Mahatma Gandhi for his vision for India and leadership, Narayana Murthy for his leadership and vision and commitment for Infosys, and so on.
arunr asked, what is the strategy of Infosys in terms of acquiring new companies, to expand it's product/client base? Esp. outside India.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Infosys looks at strategic acquisitions. These acquisitions have to add value in addressing a gap in our services, or help us grow faster in a geography, or grow faster in an industry etc. Data shows that 70% of acquisitions fail to deliver the value they are supposed to create; hence you have to be careful with acquisitions. We are growing 35% CAGR and hence the goal of acquisitions would be to augment this growth.
sanjay panchal asked, Hi, what's your advice to a buddying entrepreneur? And how does someone grow big? Is
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, When you are starting, you need a good idea, a good team and perseverance to overcome difficulties. When you have attained a certain size and can sustain revenues, then you need to look at scalability as the challenge. You have to plan for growth and execute on that plan meticulously.
va asked, dear sir, how do yuo balance your professional life,personal life and other activities???
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Today, there is a blurring of personal and professional life. You need family support if you want to excel in any particular field - be it business or sports. Once or twice a year, you should take off and spend some quality time with family. You also need to enjoy what you are doing professionally and need to be passionate about it. This way your profession becomes part of your life.
Anand_chatt asked, Since Infosys is growing very fast how easy it is to maintain the agility and flexibility that of a small small organisation?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, You create structures that bring in flexibility and agility. We are organized into business units and the units are empowered to take lots of business decisions.
chakradhar asked, Respected sir I would like to request you to enlighten me and give a guidelines so that i can achieve a milestone infact i on my own started Qualitat systems, which worked on Embedded system and VLSI. What is the scope in the market and how to step in the market. Presently a training activity and out of that making a product (industrial)is our activity. company website is www.qualitatsystems.com
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, These areas are hot. Key is to focus on sales and growing the business. Product business has longer gestation periods.
qwerty asked, Sir, Why hasnt Infosys ventured into Embedded and Semi-conductor domains independently like product companies? Why keep yourself only as a services company?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Infosys works in the area of embedded systems. Approximately 10% of revenue comes from working with OEMs. We do not have products in these areas, rather work with product companies and provide R&D services. We need to be focused and not compete with our customers.
KrishnaPadmanabhan asked, Dear Mr Gopalakrishnan: Research in India is languishing behind the rest of the world. How is Infosys contributing to taking India to the forefront of technological innovation? For example, how does Infosys support institutions like the IISc or IIT?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, One example of our initiatives in this area is the scholarships that we have set up in institutions like IISc and IITs. We have about 40 Infosys scholars who are doing PhDs funded by Infosys.
peterpan asked, What do u think are the biggest challenges facing the Indian IT sector.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Indian IT sector needs to continuously innovate. We need to add new servies, enhance existing services, get into new industries and markets and recruit more employs gloablly. Short term, appreciating rupee would be the challenge.
prasadkoduri asked, dear sir, iam from a manufaturing unitand at midlle managment level. how do i develop good communication and decsion making skills.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Good communication skills can be developed by taking some soft skills training. There are also clubs which help you improve public speaking.
kalra143 asked, sir, i would like to know whether mba plus law is a good combination or not
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Yes. This a great combination.
Rajender asked, As my understanding, Infosys is a service provider. Is there any plan to be an OEM like microsoft?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, We would like to focus on services and in products, look at business applications - at higher levels of the software stack.
uraviteja asked, Hi, First of all wish you a happy new year. I was watching you interview in NDTV profit yesterday in regard with the IT revenue Dip in India. The statistics say that above 50% of your business is from US and the US market all of a sudden shrinked. How do you look future business in US? Does an acquisition can happen on the US software gaints just like Tata's acquisition on Corus? Regards, Ravi
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, U.S. continues to be the largest economy in the world. It is a USD 17 trillion (approx) economy. It is the largest spender on IT. The total IT expenditure of U.S. is about USD 600 Billion (approx). Our exports to U.S. are less than 5% of this.
sree07 asked, Helo Sir, For years indian IT industry has been focussing on the services sector, but the rising rupee seems to have impacted this model a bit. Dont you think going forward time has come where we should start focussing on higher margin consultancy business, whihc are still dominated by global giants like accenture and ibm.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Indian companies have made significant progress in moving to higher value added services. In the case of Infosys, about 23% of revenues come from consulting and related services.
rahukl asked, Is Infosys planning to invest in researches like Global warming and declining natural resources , the topics which will decide our future.. or is it planning to just continue with IT sector?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Addressing climate change and sustainability will increase the investments in IT or change the focus of IT investments in the future. Data centers are one of the largest users of power in an organization today and when you look at reducing power consumption, IT has a role to play.
bobby asked, Sir, Do you think that Infosys has lost out to IBM, Accenture and TCS on tapping the domestic IT market. These 3 players are way head of Infosys as they were early birs. Infosys just set up an India Centric Du very recently. Do you think that domestic market is too small to make a change at the current level compared to the west?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, The Domestic market is still small market. Not many large deals are being sourced at this point. It is starting to change and hence we have decided to look at Indian market from this year onwards outside of Banking. Infosys has been working in banking in India for the past 18 years and is one of the leading suppliers of products for banks in India.
vinayt asked, Dear Sir, what is your advice for IT professionals & new comers?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, IT has a long way to go in terms of impact. The industry is only 60 years or so old. I see significant changes over the next several years. It is a good field to get into and develop professionally.
firstname.lastname@example.org asked, Sir, I am IIT student. Nowadays students from all engineering branches opt for software companies. do u think this make scarcity of expert engineers in core industies ?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Today there is a large demand for software professionals and salaries are higher in this industry. The demand is not being met by CS students. Hence other engineering graduates are joining IT industry. We can only solve the problem by increasing the number of engineering graduates in India. This will benefit everyone and increase the opportunity for more number of people to graduate with a professional degree. We have to remove constraints and focus on creating sufficient supply.
Ajay Pimpley asked, Sir, Wishing you & all a Happy and Prosperous New Year. How do you percieve the talent from China vis-a-vis India in the IT sector,
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Infosys has approximately 800 employees in China. The talent in China is as good as in India.
Prajwal asked, Does Infosys have any recruitments for Supply-Chain ERP graduates for local SCM projects, given that the infrastructure is so poor and tightly controlled by the govt (roads, railway network, elect supply, connectivity issues, etc)? What is the scope for growth in that area?
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN answers, Infosys today recruits people from other industries. We also recruit management graduates specializing in SCM, ERP etc.
S.GOPALAKRISHNAN says, Thanks for participating in the chat session. I really appreciate your interest and I have tried to answer as many questions as possible. Wishing you all the best..