Infosys’ Humble and Collaborative Culture Supports Commitment to Clients and Partners

 In March 2024 Infosys hosted industry analysts for its U.S. Analyst and Advisor Meeting. The packed agenda included client stories and technology partner presentations to reinforce Infosys’ role in the IT services and cloud market. Infosys executives consistently returned to a few main themes, including delivering business outcomes, maintaining trusted relationships, and focusing on speed, agility and commitment.

Infosys’ Maturing Strategy, Backed by Localization, Training and Partners, Allows the Company to Sustain Client Trust Measured by Business Outcomes

Across an afternoon, Infosys (NYSE: INFY) leaders hosted a steady stream of clients and technology partners who discussed how they have worked with Infosys to apply technology to business problems and generate both cost savings and growth opportunities. Notably, every panel included at least one client, coming from a wide range of industries and describing a variety of problems addressed — and solved — by Infosys.

 

In the latter half of the afternoon, Infosys shifted the event’s focus to Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), including holding panel discussions with several Oracle and Infosys executives, most notably Amy Lewis, VP of Strategic Alliances, Oracle, and Oracle’s VP of Strategic Alliances and Sreekumar Sreedharan, VP and Global Lead Oracle Services, Infosys. TBR believes Infosys’ decision to persistently turn over the stage to clients and partners reflects the company’s confidence in its message and capabilities and a maturing of Infosys’ strategy, centered on commitment.

 

In opening remarks followed by a panel discussion about Infosys’ localization strategy, Infosys EVP Rajesh Varrier, VP Deverre Lierman and Associate VP Ranjana Venkatesh Joshi provided an update on the company’s six U.S. hubs. The six Technology and Innovation Hubs are focused on innovation, technology and education, with a few explicitly tied to universities and all focused on a core set of offerings, such as AI, machine learning and user experience design. Complementing these hubs, Varrier and the other panelists described the company’s 21 Proximity Centers as a foundational investment in Infosys’ effort to embed localization into the company’s overall strategy. Additionally, the panel elevated the value of Infosys Living Labs and tied the discussion to the era of generative AI (GenAI).

 

Overall, the panel’s description of Infosys’ commitment to developing talent through university programs, apprenticeships and professional training confirmed Infosys’ focus on the U.S. market and dedication to the company’s employees. This commitment is further amplified through Infosys’ use of AI and proprietary knowledge management platforms such as Wingspan.

 

In TBR’s view, IT services vendors like Infosys, whose India-based talent pool is necessary to its business model, must smartly balance low-cost delivery with on-site, highly trained, localized professionals who can go beyond clients’ technology and into their core business challenges. Clients and Infosys executives further solidified the role of the Innovation and Technology hubs, using the tagline, “Experience the Commitment.”

Infosys’ Data Capabilities and Humble Approach to Clients’ Data Issues Allow the Company to Build a Strong Foundation for GenAI Success Backed by Cloud

For the remainder of the afternoon, Infosys’ presentations included sessions on Infosys Topaz; Infosys Cobalt; Oracle transformations; ways customers and partners are tackling supply chain transformation; and testimonials from clients in the energy, telco, banking, automobile and retail industries.

 

The common theme among client use-case discussions revolved around data. It is easy to jump into a GenAI discussion and win a deal or two, but Infosys understands that without the right data, GenAI models are only as good as the data you feed them, reflecting the company’s humble position in the market. And Infosys’ data work went beyond data cleansing and data wrangling, often including data strategy, providing a strong use case that elevates the company’s value proposition with clients and alliance partners.

 

For example, Infosys helped a retail client create a data foundation supporting the client’s digital journey, which included bringing customer data from various sources together to develop personalized experiences and using AI models to generate recommendations that would help associates in stores and online. As Infosys helped with building the data foundation, the company also accounted for developing responsible AI applications because, as the client posited, “Customer data will not change, but how to interact with the customer might change.
 
And for any of this interaction to happen, people have to trust the data to interact with the data.” In another example, an infrastructure client replaced an incumbent with Infosys because of Infosys’ “transparency, technology and business knowledge, and innovation.” Infosys helped the infrastructure client with data strategy development and execution, once again highlighting the company’s commitment to service quality and execution and its willingness to think about foundation services before the potential additional opportunity in its client approach.

 

The sample of use cases at the event strengthened our understanding of the type of company Infosys is, as it continues to invest across its core portfolio offerings. For example, since the launch of Infosys Topaz, the company’s suite of AI services and solutions, in 2023, Infosys has already conducted over 250 experiments with clients around the use of AI, as many have begun to scale their deployments, supporting clients’ efforts to accelerate growth while reaching operational efficiencies. Infosys Technology and Innovation Hubs have played a critical role in demonstrating Infosys Topaz’s value in enabling the company to scale experiments.

 

Relying on its industry playbook and ecosystem of partners, both strategic and specialized ones, with the goal of delivering business outcomes has helped Infosys thrive in client conversations, as according to Infosys, the company continues to also apply GenAI to its own operations, rolling out new capabilities every six weeks.

 

Meanwhile, Infosys Cobalt remains the linchpin in Infosys’ cloud and overall digital transformation story as the suite continues to support clients’ evolving needs. From migrating clients to cloud to delivering industry cloud to now providing the foundation for AI, Infosys Cobalt and cloud in general, as Infosys EVP Anant Adya positioned it, have become the operating system (OS) for enterprises.

 

It is a tall order, but Infosys, drawing on its abilities to stitch digital assets together and then execute on clients’ transformation programs, has earned the trust of clients and partners seeking to capitalize on the opportunity cloud and AI present. One could argue that some of Infosys’ peers have similar strategies of bringing cloud and AI together. Infosys’ ability to stay faithful to its value proposition and committed to all parties separates the company from just being willing to take risk to actually carrying the burden through its commercial and SLA agreements. In short, Infosys facilitates transformation and innovation, with a commitment to delivering business outcomes.

Infosys-Oracle Relationship Provides a Strong Use Case of Trust, Transparency and the Future of Ecosystems

Building on almost three decades of experience, executives and joint clients from Infosys and Oracle brought the relationship to life, demonstrating the commitment and trust between the two organizations. We recognize it is not easy for Oracle and Infosys to be present at each other’s conference and/or speak on the other’s behalf, given their broader partner ecosystems and need to maintain neutrality.

 

But having a dedicated track to discuss the value of the relationship — as Lewis described it, “Infosys is a partner for complex transformations” — sends a strong message to clients seeking to work with transparent partners who understand each other’s portfolios and go-to-market motions. The success of the relationship requires leadership alignment, commitment and sustained investment in training, and, according to Oracle, Infosys is its No. 1 partner in terms of certifications.

 

The strategic alignment helps, as Oracle does not need to ask, “Why Infosys?” because Infosys is in the verified space, especially as it pertains to executing complex transformation programs at scale. Meanwhile, Oracle’s constant portfolio innovation has also helped Infosys elevate the value of the relationship in dealing with both existing and new clients.

 

Deploying a three-in-a-box governance model, including Oracle, Infosys and a customer, not just at a project kickoff but at every milestone, provides an opportunity for each party to share feedback around portfolio and client management. These motions are often tested in Oracle’s workshops days, during which Infosys discusses the art of the possible of Oracle cloud with existing Oracle clients seeking to embark on cloud transformation programs. The trust-but-verify approach Oracle has taken — which has included elevating Infosys to become one of the few cloud services providers on Oracle’s partner roster by conducting a third-party audit of Infosys’ cloud practice to ensure strict standards are met in procuring Oracle software on behalf of the client — highlights how serious each company takes the relationship.

 

Several joint clients’ use cases were presented at the event, adding the necessary details to reflect the depth of the relationship. One client spoke about the importance of delivering IP for niche areas, reference architectures and accelerators as being critical to Infosys’ industry model. Another client discussed switching to Infosys after selecting an out-of-the-box systems integration vendor because of Infosys’ flexibility and demonstrated change management capabilities for the implementation of the Oracle HCM solution. As both Infosys and Oracle evolve their portfolios and go-to-market strategies, accounting for the implications of GenAI while remaining flexible yet connected to the broader ecosystem will be critical to success.

 

By cozying up to other hyperscalers, Oracle aims to bring more database workloads to the cloud and take back waning database market share. For example, the Oracle-Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) multicloud alliance continues to evolve. Given their large respective database and application footprints, Oracle and Microsoft have always had a unique opportunity to partner and address the requirements of joint customers looking to run the right workload in the right environment.

 

At the center of this partner opportunity remains a series of interconnected cloud regions that offer a low-latency connection between Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Microsoft Azure, which we suspect is largely appealing to customers who want to build and run Microsoft applications and connect them with Oracle Database on OCI. However, since the 2019 launch of Oracle-Azure interconnected regions, Oracle has formalized its commitment to a multicloud strategy and is pursuing new opportunities with Microsoft that should help both vendors meet their respective goals, which for Microsoft is driving Azure usage and for Oracle is all about migrating legacy databases to clouds outside OCI to take back database market share from born-in-the-cloud peers.

 

Building off the Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure offering launched over a year ago, Oracle recently announced Oracle Database@Azure, a broader portfolio initiative that expands the availability of Oracle database services, including Autonomous Database and Exadata, in Azure data centers. In addition to expanding service availability and ensuring customers can deploy their Oracle database workloads within a single data center, Oracle is taking steps to simplify both the procurement and support processes for customers. For instance, customers can purchase Oracle Database@Azure via the Azure Marketplace using their existing Azure commitments and take advantage of a joint support model from both Oracle and Microsoft.

 

In TBR’s Top 3 Predictions for Digital Transformation in 2024, we wrote:

 

“The launch of multiparty alliances beyond the traditional, preferred two-dimensional relationships and the rise of cobranded facilities can help promote these relationships and bring DT to customers in a package rather than in multiphased approaches. While GenAI will be the tool that forces vendors to establish better data strategies, the rise of the superpowers will also force vendors to rethink their go-to-market, sales and portfolio efforts centered on mutual accountability and portfolio knowledge.

 

“Prioritizing the needs of partners and enterprise buyers over internal growth aspirations will position vendors across the ICT value chain as leading ecosystem participants. It sounds like an idea born in marketing, but digital transformation outcomes will require multiparty business networks that bring together the value propositions of players across the technology value chain.”

 

We see Infosys as the right partner to pursue such a multifaceted approach, especially as the company understands the value of its core competencies and, more importantly, knows its partners’ strengths. Deploying multifaceted alliance frameworks requires establishing strong governance models rooted in accountability, especially as expanding wallet share from existing accounts by pitching new capabilities can be much harder than hunting new logos.

 

During a similar event in 2023, Infosys had SAP (NYSE: SAP) on stage. Given Infosys’ pattern, we would not be surprised if the company invited Microsoft along with Oracle or SAP next year. Time will tell, but given how buyers look to the ecosystem to procure services, such a move would not be out of the ordinary.

TBR’s Extensive, Ongoing Coverage of Infosys

TBR will continue to cover Infosys within the IT services, ecosystems, cloud and digital transformation spaces, including publishing quarterly reports with assessments of Infosys’ financial model, go-to-market, and alliances and acquisitions strategies.

 

For comparison with Infosys’ peers and other IT services vendors, TBR includes Infosys in our quarterly IT Services Vendor Benchmark; our semiannual Global Delivery Benchmark, Cloud Ecosystem Report, and Adobe & Salesforce Ecosystem Report; and our annual Decarbonization Market Landscape and Innovation and Transformation Centers Market Landscape. TBR is also planning to include Infosys as part of our Oracle, SAP and Workday Ecosystem Report, which is scheduled to be published in the summer of 2024.

2024 Is a Transitional Year for GenAI and PCs

PC vendors are embracing the AI PC in hopes that this new offering will propel a vigorous recovery from the recent post-pandemic slump in PC sales. There are, however, only a few unexciting current AI applications that take advantage of the new AI hardware. Compelling applications that rely on PC and smartphone hardware will become available starting in 2025.

The Current State of AI Use in Devices

Currently, both PCs and smartphones provide access to cloud-based generative (GenAI) applications, primarily through browsers but also including some application integration in programs like Microsoft Copilot and Adobe Photoshop. Some machine learning (ML) functions, such as computational photography on smartphones and background blurring and noise filtering on PCs, are also performed on devices.
 

TBR Senior Analyst Ben Carbonneau discusses trend expectations for the Devices industry in 2024 and how TBR’s research will address market activity in the coming year. Click the image below to watch the full video now!

How Will AI Impact the Devices Industry in 2024?

As TBR analyzes the devices market for both individual vendor coverage and semiannual benchmarks, we expect the following impacts this year:

The AI PC Will Generate Interest but Will Not Greatly Affect Sales in 2024

Microsoft and the PC vendors are promoting AI PCs, which are equipped with neural processing unit (NPU) capabilities. Microsoft is adding NPU-powered video background blurring to Windows 11, but currently there are few other applications where NPUs help.

The AI PC Will Drive Conversations Between Customers and OEMs

The rapid evolution of GenAI is disruptive everywhere, and that includes PC customers who want to know what devices to buy for which employees at what time. This is an opportunity for deeper relationships among OEMs, customers and the channel.

Privacy Will be an Important Issue, Starting in 2024

One of the promises of GenAI is better management of private information like emails, messages and even voice conversations. These applications require absolute privacy. They must run and learn locally, on the device. Apple’s reputation for privacy will help the company here.

Conclusion

In 2024 the introduction of AI PCs by Microsoft and PC vendors, featuring NPU capabilities, has generated interest but is not anticipated to significantly boost sales. While Microsoft is incorporating NPU-powered features like video background blurring into Windows 11, applications for NPUs currently remain limited. However, the emergence of AI PCs has sparked discussions between customers and OEMs, paving the way for deeper relationships within the industry.
 
As GenAI continues to evolve rapidly, privacy concerns have become increasingly important, particularly regarding the handling of sensitive information such as emails and text messages. The demand for absolute privacy necessitates that AI applications run and learn locally on the customer’s device, a trend in which Apple’s strong reputation for privacy may play a significant role.

PwC Embraces Business Model Change for Success in Connected Solutions and IoT

In early March, TBR met with Alec Massey, Principal, Connected Solutions, PwC US, to discuss recent developments, the overall state of the technology consulting market, and near-term expectations for Connected Solutions. The following is based on that discussion and TBR’s ongoing research on PwC.

Embracing Partners to Elevate the Value of Connected Solutions

PwC Connected Solutions has evolved in recent years to encompass an unexpectedly — for a Big Four professional services firm — broad set of offerings, ranging from sensors and hardware to network and cloud to dashboard analytics and reporting. Using a managed services business model, PwC Connected Solutions provides physical IoT sensors, using either a third-party’s hardware or a client’s existing technology.

 

The firm also installs the necessary connectivity for IoT solutions and provides configuration, testing and analytics, rounding out the IoT package. Massey shared extensive details about the firm’s technology capabilities, particularly about PwC’s patented Indoor Geolocation Platform, which has deployed in numerous hotels and casinos currently, and the firm’s Signal Graph analytics platform that uses AI and machine learning tools to draw insights from streaming time-series datasets. The firm has begun expanding its platform IoT solutions to the hospital sector and various opportunities in Mexico.

 

While TBR cannot evaluate the technological advantages of PwC Connected Solutions, one clear difference between the firm’s IoT practice and those of similar consultancies is PwC’s willingness to embrace the channel partner business model. According to Massey, the “channel partner model is an innovative concept for PwC where large technology firms are licensing our applications to sell and deliver to their clients.”

 

According to Massey, channel partners allow PwC to accelerate and scale into new markets that the Connected Solutions team has not prioritized. In TBR’s view, PwC’s decision to adopt a business model that is outside of the firm’s traditional approach but is prevalent in the IoT ecosystem reflects a strategic approach to meet technology partners where they are and meet their business model needs.

The Next Necessary Evolution: Operational Optimization

According to data from TBR’s December 2023 Digital Transformation: Voice of the Customer Research, IoT ranked No. 7 as a technology supporting buyers’ digital transformation (DT) initiatives in 2H23 (as shown in Figure 1), down from No. 3 in 2H22 (as shown in Figure 2). While generative AI (GenAI) has pushed down IoT as a priority investment area among enterprise buyers, we believe there is still plenty of potential for the technology to drive opportunities. A new set of stakeholders, including operational technology departments, are becoming comfortable with IoT, and this is particularly the case for more mature enterprises that are further along with their DT programs.

 

We believe customers and vendors are treating IoT as one of the technologies of DT through which an organization creates and executes a strategy around its current and future data assets. Operational departments plan for IoT to enable operational improvements and to contribute to organizationwide strategic DT plans. Overcoming the dichotomy around the perception of IoT lies in vendors’ ability to build use cases applicable to all ecosystem participants rather than developing pilot projects in a vacuum. Vendors such as PwC need to evolve their approaches and act more as operational optimizers as opposed to just operational visionaries.

 

Graph showing technologies purchased for central digital transformation initiatives in 2H23

Figure 1

 

Graph showing technologies purchased for central digital transformation initiatives in 2H22

Figure 2

Enabling PwC’s Steady Evolution

TBR has closely tracked PwC’s steady evolution from the staid, white-shoe accounting firm with budding consulting capabilities to the multifaceted professional services goliath with capabilities in cybersecurity, cloud, managed services and, increasingly, its own technology solutions.

 

Through development of its Connected Solutions capabilities and offerings, PwC is quietly expanding how the broader services and technology ecosystem perceives what kind of firm PwC is and what PwC can do. In TBR’s view, public perceptions — and possibly enterprise buyers’ perceptions — may remain mired in an accountancy-centric understanding of PwC, but the firm’s ecosystem partners that are selling, innovating and collaborating with PwC know well that the firm’s technology experience and capabilities extend well beyond previous limitations.

 

Take just one example from the discussion above: PwC now uses channel partners to extend its technology offerings to enterprises outside the firm’s usual clientele. Through that business model decision, PwC opens itself up to a wider technology ecosystem and extends its reach well beyond the firm’s traditional client base. Connected Solutions remains a relatively small part of the firm’s overall revenues, but PwC’s ongoing willingness to experiment with its business model bodes well for the firm’s continued growth, particularly in a tumultuous consulting and technology market.

 

TBR’s coverage of PwC includes semiannual profiles of the firm as part of TBR’s Management Consulting Benchmark, special reports, and inclusion of PwC in other TBR reports, such as the AI & GenAI Market Landscape, as appropriate.

 

The Role of Competitive Intelligence in Strategy Planning

Competitive intelligence serves companies in three main areas: market knowledge, analysis, and activities, which includes technologies, products and services. Integrating these resources and data into strategy planning enables a company to view the full picture of its current positioning and composition as well as where it should be heading with investments and planning. In this blog we look at why strategy planning matters, how to strategize and how to successfully leverage CI in your strategy plan.

What Is Strategy Planning (and Why Does It Matter)?

As companies face new struggles across the market, affecting consumer interaction, portfolio management and composition, and resource structure, overall strategies need to be refreshed. The pandemic opened the door for companies to embed resiliency and flexibility across strategies and business operations. The increased adaptability equips companies to better shift their strategies and prepare for related changes.

 

Strategy planning involves bringing together pieces from across the business and defining a plan moving forward. With environmental, social and governance needs moving to the forefront of company activities, it becomes more important to properly budget for strategy planning and allow for essential changes to take effect.

 

With ongoing market changes, the importance of strategy planning increases as it dictates a company’s success. According to TBR’s definition, strategy consulting facilitates executive planning to define an organization’s vision, set goals and address the alignment of resources to achieve specific goals or results. It involves analytic methods, such as competitive analysis and market analysis, among other strategic plays, to achieve these objectives.

 

Demand for strategy consulting accelerated during 2022 as many companies looked to redefine objectives and transform their business orientation and offerings. However, with a shift toward generative AI (GenAI) and analytics, strategy consulting decelerated among TBR’s tracked management consulting firms.

 

While firms leverage different capabilities to facilitate strategy projects, a focus on technology consulting pressures strategy engagements as clients look to integrate GenAI and analytics solutions to drive changes across operations. With AI remaining a primary investment area, strategy planning becomes a necessity to properly analyze and identify adoption opportunities.
 

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Strategize Strategy Planning

While strategy planning has its benefits, helping companies drive overall business growth and identify the right path forward, there are three caveats that can change the outcome.

  • First, establishing and maintaining a successful cadence will enable the company to effectively capture opportunities. Engaging in strategy planning too frequently does not allow for thorough execution while engaging in it too infrequently could lead to overlooked items and missed signs, moving the company in the wrong direction.
  • Second, identifying areas and inputs to pursue and measure that align with the company’s goals and thought leadership will help drive the company’s strategy Using a consistent set of inputs from trusted sources can underpin a shared set of facts and assumptions, preventing a company from swinging from one strategy to another. However, consistently relying on the same information, rather than considering new ideas and directions, can also put a company on the wrong course.
  • Lastly, challenges can arise in translating a strategy plan into an operational one, hindering a company’s ability to scale its plans.

 

Engaging in thorough planning and ensuring that validated and relevant data are utilized can enable companies to better understand competitor and peer strategies as well as the areas that should be invested in and to what degree. Without analyzing external and internal factors, companies can experience slowed progress or end up heavily rooted in the wrong area, placing them far behind the competition.

 

With rapidly changing technologies and trends in the business landscape, identifying and pursuing opportunities that best align with a company’s goals and composition will dictate the success of the company’s expansion efforts. For example, the hype around the metaverse did not quite live up to expectations as vendors have made stronger bets and investments in other technologies, including AI, digital and cloud. While metaverse technology remains valuable and brings a different experience to users, it was not scaled as aggressively by vendors as other capabilities

How to Leverage Competitive Intelligence in Strategy Planning

While keeping in mind the three caveats outlined above that can alter the outcome of strategy planning, companies must also be aware of peers’ and competitors’ activities and investments. Taking into account this information can help a company determine its market position as well as which avenues it can utilize to successfully expand.

 

Competitive intelligence serves companies in three main areas: market knowledge, analysis, and activities, which includes technologies, products and services. Integrating these resources and data into strategy planning enables a company to view the full picture of its current positioning and composition as well as where it should be heading with investments and planning.

Conclusion

Strategy planning is an important piece of companies’ successes in the market and paths forward. Through strategic planning — provided it is executed at the right cadence and rooted in valid and relevant data — companies can determine the appropriate investment areas and where best to place their bets to keep pace with peers. With technology trends changing so rapidly, companies need to remain flexible and resilient through strategy planning, enabling them to pursue opportunities that best align with their goals and business composition. Additionally, through strategy planning, companies can improve their positioning through proper analysis of trends and business alignment.

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