|the-south-asian.com DECEMBER 2001|
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DECEMBER 2001 Contents
Page 3 of 10
Telecom & Software - Trends & Future in South Asia
Reaping the Telecom & Software Harvest
- The Value/Wealth Creators from India
Narayana Murthy - Infosys
of I IT, Kanpur; IIM , Ahmedabad [equivalent to
Caltech & Harvard of USA].
created in 1999 $ 6- 30 billion company.
Murthy was born in 1946 and
comes from Kolar, Karanataka. His values of charity, educational
excellence are inherited from his father, a school teacher. As a student
in the 1960 he naturally had his heart on the left wing , but kept his
wallet on the right, like a good Frenchman. In fact, he was later to learn
French and work in Paris, France in the 1970’s for an Indian company
called “Patni Computers “. An early exposure to the world of free-enterprise
and the creation of wealth was in the form of working with the team on the
400 user Air Cargo real time system at Charles DeGaulle airport. Later on
he designed India’s first BASIC Interpreter and a time-sharing computer system.
Later on after a stint at a
Bombay software consultancy Murthy and about 6 other colleagues started up
Infosys Technologies with a seed capital of only 10,0000 Rupees [ $ 500 ]
. For 10 years they struggled with working for clients and sending staff
to the western countries .
In 1991 the Indian Government
liberalised the economy and removed the red tape; they also created the
Software Technology Park in Bangalore, offering 15 year tax holidays and
providing the high speed telecom infrastructure.
Infosys ran with this
opportunity to provide customers like Nordstorm, Nortel, Aetna 24 hours ,
7 days a week software design & customization services.
Today Infosys has provided stock
options to everyone of its 6,500 staff
in the company. A waiter in the company Head Quarters in Bangalore's
50-hectare campus is worth half a million dollars.
As a result the turn-over in
Infosys is about 9 % in 2000 against the average of 22 % in the world
As a company, it is known for
its transparent accounting practices which means declaring losses as it
did in 1995.
Murthy lives in the same
modest apartment he got 20 years ago, flies economy class and
dresses modestly. He is also the first to volunteer to pay taxes as a
software company making big profits . Infosys donates about 1.5 % of its
net profits to the Infosys
Foundation making schools , libraries,
hospitals for India's poor. Murthy
is also a cousin to Deshpande who founded Cascade Communications , which
was bought by Ascend
Communications. Deshpande later started Sycamore Networks and is a
billionaire in America.
In his May , 2000
address to the Asia Society of Hong Kong, he identified the
His vision was to make India the country of choice
for the customised software development and maintenance. He also believes
that this is where the opportunity lies in the coming years. As long as
Companies differentiate themselves in the market place by following a
unique strategy, this will require a layer of Customization around even
standard packing. The value proposition of
the Indian software industry is “ faster, better, and cheaper”.
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