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Playing to its strengths, Infosys has a clear path forward to deliver business outcomes through Infosys Cobalt

In the company’s first event since the Infosys Leadership Forum in Americas in 2021, Infosys once again hosted clients, analysts and partners for in-person and virtual sessions during its one-day Infosys Cobalt World Tour, which was held at Madison Square Garden. With Infosys Cobalt increasingly becoming the backbone of the company’s performance and go-to-market efforts, the themes of the event were well aligned with Infosys’ goal of becoming a digital transformation partner known for its strong execution capabilities.

 

TBR left the Infosys Cobalt World Tour event with three takeaways that will guide our continuing analysis of Infosys’ cloud capabilities and performance:

  • Infosys embraces a business-outcomes mindset, and Infosys Cobalt will enable the transformation.
  • Infosys is obsessed with customer centricity, which we believe will be critical as the company scales “as a Service” sales and as renewal cycles shrink.
  • Partners, talent and leadership culture strategies are mixing well at the moment, enabling Infosys to enhance results.

Infosys Cobalt becomes the de facto framework for accelerating performance in both legacy and new technology areas

With revenues from Digital reaching 59.2% of Infosys’ (Nasdaq: INFY) total sales in 1Q22, up from 51.5% a year ago, the company is demonstrating its ability to capitalize on its investments in portfolio, talent and alliance partners, all necessary ingredients for expanding client wallet share. Infosys defines its Digital services as being “comprised of service and solution offerings of the company that enable our clients to transform their businesses. These include offerings that enhance customer experience, leverage AI-based analytics and big data, engineer digital products and IoT, modernize legacy technology systems, migrate to cloud applications and implement advanced cyber security systems.”

 

Infosys wrapped up FY22 on a high note as the company registered its largest growth in over a decade, increasing revenues 20.3% on an annual basis to $16.3 billion. Infosys added $2.75 billion in net-new revenue in FY22, which was higher than the combined $2.62 billion in revenue from the three previous years. Infosys’ success was largely enabled by Infosys Cobalt as the company has been able to up- and cross-sell Cobalt to clients seeking to modernize and optimize IT architectures and business processes through adoption of cloud-ready services and solutions while lowering total cost of ownership. Infosys launched Infosys Cobalt, a suite of platforms, solutions and services, in August 2020.

 

Today Infosys Cobalt taps into the company’s catalog of over 35,000 assets, 300 cloud solutions blueprints, and a developer community of startups as well as public and private providers. While Infosys Cobalt has its own global leadership structure and P&L, Infosys’ decision to not set it up as a stand-alone unit but rather as a go-to-market framework that pulls assets from within Infosys and its broader ecosystem enables Infosys Cobalt to better support the company’s cloud performance. (TBR’s estimates of Infosys’ cloud revenue and growth can be found in TBR’s Cloud Professional Services Market Forecast).

Zooming in on client-centric support throughout the customer life cycle paves the way for ‘as a Service’ sales at scale

During the event, Infosys let clients tell the company’s story rather than having leadership lead the presentations, an approach that in TBR’s view was different than how peers usually run similar forums. The experiences and use cases they all shared further solidified Infosys’ cloud expertise including not only traditional lift-and-shift migration support but also its ability to engage in security-wrapped outcome-based business discussions rooted in Infosys’ technology execution prowess. Infosys’ clear vision around its cloud value proposition takes into account important aspects of enterprises’ business and digital transformation programs, including culture, talent and deepening clients’ trust.

 

In addition to facing challenges around culture and talent — issues that all vendors are grappling with industrywide — Infosys must also focus on deepening clients’ trust, particularly as it seeks to adopt “as a Service” pricing models at scale. Managing client relationships beyond the initial point of sale is key, and we believe Infosys will accelerate its efforts to adopt a beyond-the-contract type of mentality to ensure renewal rate goals are met, especially as cloud contracts pivot from traditional large, five-plus-year outsourcing setups to shorter-term subscription-based contracts where clients have an opportunity to switch between providers, further compelling Infosys to stay on top of relationships.

 

Though Infosys continues to hire in bulk, sales and support staff declined 50 basis points as a percentage of the total workforce to 5.1% to 16,156 in FY22, up from 14,582 in FY21, reflecting the company’s focus on its delivery staff as Infosys’ sales strategy succeeds in the market. Additionally, automation enables Infosys to standardize processes in service delivery, which we believe will be critical as Infosys scales “as a Service” sales. “Operation remains very core to us, [helping with] cost optimization every year. We’ve taken out between 3,000 to 4,000 people, automating and putting in bots, and this is fourth quarter.” — Nilanjan Roy, CFO, Infosys, 1Q22 earnings call

 

With business services pivoting from noncore to core, Infosys must also account for the twofold implication of scaling “as a Service” sales at scale. Monetizing both the development and management of cloud applications through a consumption-based commercial model carries risks and rewards for Infosys, a paradigm many systems integrators face. For example, Infosys needs to bear the cost of staffing its bench with engineers to develop the applications far in advance, often without knowing how long it will take to monetize the SaaS offering. Infosys has tried to pursue SaaS sales at scale in the past, but we believe the company now has a clearer vision, expectation and path forward on how to approach the opportunity. The incremental approach Infosys takes to scale its cloud-related sales is centered around Infosys Cobalt’s ability to deliver value-wrapped proprietary and partner assets in a services-oriented architecture, which solidifies Infosys’ value proposition within the ecosystem. Such a strategy allows Infosys to stay within its swim lane while also helping it demonstrate the company is willing to share risk without jeopardizing performance by attempting to sell stand-alone software solutions.

 

While Infosys’ Products and Platform offerings are available on both a license and subscription basis, the company still largely uses many of these assets to drive services engagements. As it relates to Infosys cloud sales, the Infosys Cobalt store provides an access point for clients to explore catalog offerings, with the underlying goal of driving services engagements for Infosys. The additional value of Infosys Cobalt offerings also comes from the company’s ability to wrap an industry layer on top of the technical functionality of these assets, such as the launch of the Infosys Cobalt Financial Services Cloud offering. The solution will support Infosys’ efforts to accelerate performance within its largest industry vertical and address client pain points around areas such as anti-money laundering, transaction reconciliation, open banking, consumer lending and mortgages. Such an offering enables Infosys to build trust with business unit leaders and expand the company’s addressable market especially as clients seek to monetize their user data generated through B2B and B2C interactions with cloud enabling the speed of access.

Balancing relationships within the stakeholder ecosystem without losing focus on talent and partners is key to strengthening trust with clients

As much as Infosys values the role of partners, the company recognizes the importance of its greatest assets — its people. However, Infosys has not been spared in the war for talent. The company continues to evolve its resource management value proposition from hiring for skills to hiring for potential, investing in talent development programs that target nontraditional recruits with the goal of establishing emotional connections with the brand, which could help strengthen loyalty and improve retention. For example, a collaboration between the Infosys Foundation USA and the CBS television series “Mission Unstoppable” will highlight three teachers from the foundation’s Pathfinders Institute program — Infosys’ professional development program for K-12 teachers in computer science. The company also expanded the Infosys Springboard learning program to the U.S., which currently has 1.2 million users largely in India, to support early learning as well as career reskilling programs in the U.S. as the region remains a priority for Infosys.

 

Further, the first group of apprentices graduated from Infosys’ New Apprenticeship (NEW) program, having undergone 12 months of structured and on-the-job training in IT services and incident management. NEW cohorts also earn certifications, such as ServiceNow Certified Systems Administrator, and can earn college credits at Southern New Hampshire University. While much of the cloud-related work today is largely geared toward cloud application development, migration and managed services, Infosys’ leadership sees a bigger gap in the support domain moving forward due to increasing use of low-code development tools, especially as the company seeks to scale deployment of Infosys Cobalt’s 35,000 assets including 300 industry solutions. Training staff on low-code/no-code solutions will help it build trust with business buyers while supporting Infosys Cobalt’s goal to evolve its value proposition toward delivering business outcomes.

 

As Infosys’ portfolio and go-to-market efforts enable the company to climb up the value chain within enterprises, the company remains realistic about its core strengths. The role of alliance partners is key across both technology and advisory services. Just as Infosys seeks to capitalize on partners’ capital expenditures outlays — particularly hyperscalers — and position itself as an ecosystem orchestrator, the company also appreciates the value consulting partners bring to the table. The recent formalization of the global partnership with EY, which is focused on deployment and management of industry-aligned digital assets, further solidifies Infosys’ ability to recognize its strengths rather than pursue risky bets and try to branch out into uncharted territories.

Infosys proves its value as an ecosystem orchestrator by applying the right technologies and partner-backed innovation to clients’ sustainability initiatives

The event showed across multiple levels that Infosys sticking to what it does best is highly advantageous when applied in a partner innovation setting, including around sustainability. Recognizing that no one vendor can do it all, Infosys’ EVP and head of manufacturing spoke at length during one session with a client executive from a global HVAC company about the two companies’ relationship around HVAC and building system sustainability, including how Infosys is leveraging the HVAC company’s capabilities as both a client and an innovation partner. With nearly 40% of the world’s carbon emissions coming from buildings, decarbonizing physical estates will be one of the most challenging tasks for enterprises, particularly as the majority of existing HVAC systems are not intelligent or connected in any way. The two companies are trying to tackle this issue and make the well-known phrase “what gets measured gets managed” a reality for the HVAC industry.

 

Through the conversation TBR came to understand that Infosys Cobalt provides the bridge for its partner’s HVAC expertise with the possibilities of IoT and big data. Work between the two companies has helped Infosys reduce its emissions (Infosys became carbon neutral as of 2020) and enabled the global HVAC company to track building efficiency and troubleshoot issues before even arriving on customers’ sites by leveraging the cloud and IoT-powered HVAC systems. While Infosys’ services line of business does not create emissions from manufacturing, its manufacturing clients can be confident that Infosys is bringing the right partners to the table, is a carbon-neutral supplier (therefore supporting its clients’ scope 3 downstream emissions targets), and can apply its technical prowess to help measure where clients are starting out, enabled by cloud.

Conclusion

From cyber to AI to industry specialization, Infosys Cobalt will continue to provide the bridge between Infosys’ core and new portfolio offerings while supporting the company’s efforts to extract additional wallet share from its client roster and pursue new logo opportunities. Just as Infosys’ leadership, clients and partners throughout the event recognized that scaling adoption of new ideas and solutions is less about technology and more about the culture of an organization, the same sentiment applies to Infosys’ internal transformation. Infosys’ organizational culture has gone through growing pains associated with its portfolio as well as client demands over the past four decades. It has not always been easy or straightforward and has sometimes resulted in shaky performance.

 

Today, Infosys’ culture is strong largely due to leadership’s ability to recognize the company’s place within the ecosystem. Despite rising attrition levels, which is an industrywide trend, Infosys’ approach to talent training and inclusion provides the strong foundation necessary to pursue organizational goals. Infosys Cobalt is no exception. Instead of setting it up as a stand-alone unit, an approach many of Infosys’ peers have taken with similar offerings, Infosys Cobalt spreads across the entire organization, leveraging the skills, expertise and industry knowledge of the company’s sales and delivery personnel. Ensuring Infosys Cobalt provides consistent and standardized client support is key, but could create internal competition when trying to pull the most skilled resources in multiple client engagements at the same time. However, this also presents an opportunity for Infosys to test its ability to become an ecosystem orchestrator. Adopting a customer zero mindset often provides the most valuable use case before deploying at scale to market.

 

TBR will continue to track and analyze Infosys’ performance and investments as part of its quarterly Infosys report, IT Services Vendor Benchmark, Global Delivery Benchmark and Digital Transformation research. Contact us today to gain full access to these upcoming publications.

Proven capabilities in the U.S. enable Infosys to become a trusted partner one client at a time

North America client scale and longevity provides Infosys with a robust foundation for enabling trusted delivery transformation

North America is Infosys’ (Nasdaq: INFY) largest region, composing 61.9% of total revenue and growing 23.1% year-to-year in 3Q21. Accelerated growth momentum in the region — regional sales have rebounded from -0.5% on an annual basis in the peak of the pandemic in 2Q20 — is largely due to the company’s ability to balance innovation with securing foundational revenues enabled by cloud, which for Infosys means Infosys Cobalt.

Infosys’ ongoing expansion efforts in talent and capabilities in areas such as Adobe, Salesforce and product design continue to serve as a catalyst for transformation. Efforts are enabling the company to drive conversations in new areas as well as attract talent with multidisciplinary skills, evidenced by its network of innovation and design hubs in the U.S. Additionally, ongoing recruitment efforts provide a glimpse into Infosys’ culture of learning and development; hiring began in late 2020 with the goal of 25,000 additions over five years, and Infosys aims to hire 12,000 U.S.-based employees and 3,000 U.S.-based college graduates by 2022. Despite the ongoing war for talent, we expect Infosys to meet and likely exceed these targets. In 2017 the company announced its goal to hire 10,000 U.S.-based employees by 2019, then exceeded this goal by 3,000.

Retaining talent will be equally as important, especially as attrition continues to climb. Infosys reported voluntary attrition in the last 12 months for IT services was 20.1% in 3Q21 up from 13.9% a year ago. Examples of Infosys’ investments in expanding its addressable market and building trust with a new generation of workers include: a recently announced training facility in Indianapolis; virtual training platform Infosys Wingspan; recruitment outreach for nontraditional talent including high school and community college graduates and midcareer transition professionals; a dozen partnerships with U.S.-based universities; a Reskill and Restart program; and Infosys Foundation that supports K-12 teachers. Infosys is already seeing some of these investments pay off. For example, the attrition of its Community College Pathway program is about one-third lower than overall turnover. Creating personal connections with such recruits while providing a clear upward career progression sustains Infosys’ growth.

Financial Services acts as the cornerstone of Infosys’ U.S. go-to-market strategy

While Infosys’ North America client footprint is diversified, the financial services (FS) industry presents the largest opportunity. Global FS revenue was $1.3 billion growing at 21.8% year-to-year in 3Q21, and Infosys’ North America FS revenue was $802 million, increasing at 30.8% on an annual basis in 3Q21.

We attribute the impressive FS North America growth to two factors. First, Infosys is ramping up cash inflows from its mega deal with Vanguard, signed in 2020. Second, Infosys capitalizes on its established footprint and trust with nine of the 10 top U.S. banks and its ability to grow its regional banks’ roster.

Following Infosys Leadership Forum in Europe, the company hosted over 120 clients and two dozen analysts and partners for in-person and virtual sessions for the one-day Infosys Americas Leadership Forum, held at Madison Square Garden and culminating with the New York Knicks versus Orlando Magic game. While many of the themes and messages of the Americas event were consistent with the London event held in October, nuances, particularly around client stickiness and trust, stood out as the fundamental pillars of Infosys’ regional success and pivot toward becoming a platform-enabled solutions broker known for its strong execution capabilities.

Humble, focused and ambitious: Infosys’ story in Europe sets the stage for sustainable growth

Infosys’ localization initiative pays off as Europe-based clients opt-in for price-competitive services that are aligned with their overall vision

Hosted at Infosys’ Design and Innovation Studio in London, the Infosys Leadership Forum provided attendees with a glimpse into how Infosys is taking an active role in shaping “digital Europe” from both a skills and capabilities perspective.

While North America remains Infosys’ main hub in revenue-generating opportunities, comprising 61.9% of Infosys’ total sales in 3Q21, Europe’s performance over the past several quarters, including the signing of the largest deal in company history with Daimler AG, highlights Infosys’ relentless execution around the pillars of its Navigate Your Next strategy. Localization is fueling much of this success as more than 70% of Infosys’ talent in Europe are local hires.

Infosys’ Europe sales increased 22.8% year-to-year in 3Q21, marking the third consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, a trend we believe will continue at least through the end of FY22 (March 31, 2022). Additionally, high-quality price-competitive proposals enabled by its large deals team and backed by a rightsized and right-skilled bench helped Infosys expand its share of large deals. Infosys has added two new clients within the $50-plus million category and five new clients within the $100-plus million category since 3Q20.

Infosys realizes the value of being local and continues to invest in regional resources and infrastructure, including the opening of a Cyber Defense Center in Romania and a Digital Innovation Studio in Germany as well as the acquisition of Czech-based ServiceNow shop GuideVision over the past couple of years. The company’s success in Europe is no surprise given regional clients have been warming up to outsourcing as they seek cost-efficient modernized IT infrastructures and business processes. Infosys’ ability to stay true to its core value proposition on the services supply side paired with its aforementioned investments in innovation, talent and portfolio offerings, including Infosys Cobalt, and ability to manage its partner ecosystem has set the stage for the company to expand regional market share.

Investments in environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives also help Infosys win regional clients’ mindshare as buyers increasingly seek external support to implement government-mandated decarbonization frameworks. As with any new technology and/or a framework, use cases provide invaluable benefit for all parties. According to Infosys the company became carbon neutral in 2020 — well ahead of many of its peers and partners — and we believe the company can use its own experience as a customer zero use case for enterprise buyers seeking to embark on their sustainability initiatives.

With Infosys already executing on its ESG 2030 vision centered on the theme of “Driving profit with purpose,” the company is also seeking to build trust in the circular economy by retuning its mindset and approach to balancing shareholder and stakeholder priorities, with the latter group increasingly challenging the status quo, compelling Infosys and its peers to pay closer attention to investing in portfolio, skills and partner offerings.

Daimler AG mega deal provides a use case around business transformation delivered at scale

Customer panels and use cases amplified Infosys’ value proposition during both the analyst and advisory meetings as well as the main parts of the leadership forum throughout the day. While this customer insight was relevant and connected to the theme of the event, a discussion around Infosys’ deal with Daimler AG stood out.

Infosys Leadership Forum Europe: Infosys held its first in-person forum after an almost two-year pause caused by the pandemic. The company also made the event available virtually, setting the stage for what might become the norm moving forward for such experiences. During the daylong event, thought leaders, government appointees, client executives, analysts and advisors listened to presentations, panel discussions and client stories centered on the theme Acceleration, Inclusion and Transformation. With ever-important topics around skills, digital transformation, sustainability and innovation, Infosys and participants had thought-provoking discussions punctuated by use cases and client stories that highlighted the company’s capabilities as well as its value proposition as being among the key players able to operate and execute in a post-pandemic world.

Infosys and manufacturing: Technology prowess, low-cost presence and innovative offerings

Deal wins and investments in manufacturing suggest Infosys is anticipating a rebound in the vertical

With COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains and forcing participants to seek alternative channels to either reduce transaction costs by leveraging blockchain or transform IT infrastructure by migrating applications to cloud to offset technical debt and diminish financials pressure, some vendors have had the opportunity to gain a prime position. This includes Infosys, which has technology acumen and a low-cost presence and continues to go to market by industry vertical. During the first quarter of 2021, Infosys capitalized on these market dynamics, most prominently within the manufacturing vertical.

Infosys’ manufacturing sales declined significantly throughout 2020, with sales as a percentage of total revenue sliding 50 basis points to 9.5%, on average, in 2020 compared to 2019. However, in 1Q21 the company experienced strong momentum, illustrated by several deal wins, including with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for SAP Business Suite 4 HANA (S/4HANA) implementation and with Johnson Controls to modernize the company’s smart global warranty solutions using the S/4HANA-ready SAP Fiori platform. Additionally, Infosys tested new ways to interact with clients to maintain trust and stickiness. The company also deployed Infosys Meridian, a collaboration platform that enables virtual events, including a four-day dealer engagement forum for Toyota Material Handling North America, which has been a client since 2018.

As COVID-19 continues to impede high-touch consulting opportunities and as auto shows — the main channel for the automotive community to interact — have essentially ground to a halt, testing innovative ways to interact with clients will benefit Infosys, provided the company captures feedback and applies lessons learned. Further, Infosys added $1 million to its 2016 investment of $1.6 million in the drone startup ideaForge as Infosys tries to diversify its manufacturing addressable market. Lastly, Infosys partnered with FourKites, gaining access to real-time tracking and visibility solutions and bolstering its supply chain capabilities, a necessary move as the company seeks to generate ongoing revenue growth in the manufacturing vertical.

Publishing in June, TBR’s latest IT Services Vendor Benchmark will include special detailed analysis of the changing ways IT services vendors are addressing new demands and digital transformations within the manufacturing sector.

Analytics within digital transformation engagements depend on high-quality people and data

This week, TBR publishes the first Digital Transformation Insights report for 2020, building on the 2019 series, which included analysis around blockchain, digital marketing, IoT and quantum. The first report centers on IT services vendors’ strategies and performances within their analytics practices. Senior Analyst Boz Hristov notes that, “The maturing A&I services market continues to hold strong digital transformation opportunities for vendors, as long as they can address buyers’ business model complexities through collaborative and coopetitive delivery frameworks. Additionally, vendors that can address skills gaps and ensure data quality and security standards are met are positioned to win.” Next month’s DTI report will look at edge computing within digital transformation. In March TBR will examine the SAP practices of a few leading services vendors.

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

Sprint’s rising churn rates, weakening financial performance and high debt load highlight the necessity of the proposed T-Mobile merger. Subpar network quality remains at the root of Sprint’s issues as postpaid phone subscriber losses continue to escalate, despite the operator’s aggressive pricing and elevated network capex spending since 2018. A more significant capex budget is required for Sprint to successfully compete long-term in the U.S. market; however, Sprint’s inability to generate significant free cash flow hinders the company from doing so.” — Steve Vachon, Analyst

“As Infosys ramps up cyber offerings to better address the complexities associated with the next wave of emerging technologies, an aggressive pricing strategy paired with revamped account management enables the company to expand its client roster as it turns into a solutions broker.” — Hristov

Verizon remains able to capitalize on its reputation as a premium wireless service provider to attract customers willing to pay a higher price for the operator’s network coverage and premium unlimited data plans. However, Verizon’s wireless network is becoming a less significant differentiator as AT&T and T-Mobile are now on par with Verizon in LTE coverage and as the rival companies are improving signal quality and data speeds by deploying services on additional spectrum.” — Vachon

“Though AT&T is facing short-term challenges, the company’s ambition to transition from a traditional telco to a global digital service provider is a long-term endeavor requiring a broad array of assets that may not all pay dividends in the short term. AT&T also has abundant opportunity to reduce expenses without divesting core business units via initiatives such as WarnerMedia synergies, nonvital headcount and real estate reduction, and deeper integration of network virtualization.” — Vachon

“TBR anticipates Fujitsu Services will report revenue growth acceleration in 4Q19, as Fujitsu enhances its software, digital, hybrid IT and cloud offerings, which help offset declines in traditional areas. Reorganization and investments within its sales organization, such as the consolidation of its European sales force and the implementation of Account Planning and Opportunity Planning software to improve management in North America, will also contribute to revenue expansion in 2019. The business model adjustments allow the company to better execute and deliver on initiatives to drive adoption of hybrid IT and software offerings, providing recurring revenue opportunities.” — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst

Senior Analyst John Caucis notes that the U.S. federal earnings season kicks off this week with three defense majors and one services-led defense contractor releasing the results from the final calendar quarter of 2019. First up is General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), releasing earnings on Jan. 29. Sales are expected to continue sliding for GDIT, owing to recent asset disposals, portfolio reshaping and operations realignment. TBR projects GDIT’s top-line revenue will decline between 11% and 12% year-to-year to roughly $2.1 billion. A strong rebound for GDIT will hinge on the full leverage of CSRA’s capabilities to win big-ticket, next-generation federal IT engagements in 2020. 

Two additional defense majors, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, will release their earnings on Jan. 30. Northrop Grumman’s Technology Services (TS) unit completed what was likely its final quarter and last fiscal year as a dedicated, stand-alone business line offering technology, sustainment and modernization solutions in 4Q19. TS, which includes the bulk of Northrop’s technology-related services, was integrated into Northrop’s emerging Defense Systems (DS) business group, effective Jan. 1, 2020. TBR projects TS’ 4Q19 sales will continue the rebound begun in 3Q19, with year-to-year growth between 2% and 3%, bringing TS’ 4Q19 revenue to roughly $1.1 billion. Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS), the services division of Raytheon Technologies, is expected to continue expanding its sales at a robust pace, putting the wraps on a red-letter year accentuated by consistent revenue and bookings growth, record backlog levels, improved margin performance, and of course, the pending merger with United Technologies (UT). TBR projects IIS will post revenue of about $1.9 billion in 4Q19, up between 10% and 11% year-to-year.

Finally, Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) will release earnings on Jan. 31. We project BAH will expand its top line between 8% and 9% in 4Q19 to over $1.8 billion, building on the momentum established during the first half of its FY2020. BAH’s strong performance stems from traction with its technically focused solutions, increasingly infused with advanced technologies that enable the mission aims of its federal agency clientele. Operationalizing AI has clearly become a strategic growth platform for BAH; AI featured prominently in the company’s alliance activity, new contract awards and introduction of new offerings in 4Q19.

India-centric vendors defy gravity and all sensible expectations

An exclusive review of TBR’s IT Services Vendor Benchmark

Every quarter the large India-centric IT services vendors — Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro, Cognizant and HCL Technologies (HCLT) — produce revenue growth and profitability that keep them in the top half, and sometimes in the top five, vendors TBR tracks, despite market trends that seem to run counter to their core strengths. As consulting-led digital transformations using emerging technologies and delivered on-site (not from offshore) drive investments and acquisitions, these five vendors manage to expand into new areas just enough, hire the right onshore talent, and manage costs to sustain their growth. But for how much longer?  

Join Kelly Lesiczka, Kevin Collupy, Boz Hristov, Elitsa Bakalova and Patrick Heffernan as they dig into key findings from TBR’s latest IT Services Vendor Benchmark.

Don’t miss:

  • How India-centric vendors compare to other leading IT services vendors
  • Which vendors are transforming faster and with better results
  • TBR’s predictions on where the IT services market is heading
  • Which vendors have the most to lose from sustained success among India-centric vendors

TBR webinars are held typically on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET and include a 15-minute Q&A session following the main presentation. Previous webinars can be viewed anytime on TBR’s Webinar Portal.

For additional information or to arrange a briefing with our analysts, please contact TBR at [email protected].

HCLT sets strategy; makes smart move to software

HCLT’s recent acquisitions will develop software services and consulting capabilities, enabling the firm to evolve its strategy to better compete in the dynamic IT services market

At the end of June, HCLT finalized its acquisition of IBM Software products (analysis and details of which can be found in our most recent full report on the company). We believe HCLT is taking the right approach as it develops a dedicated software business unit, as opposed to transitioning corporate culture, sales models and brand identity from an outsourcer toward a software-centric organization, a strategy pursued by Infosys that resulted in culture clashes and conflicting company visions. There are bright spots in developing software products and offerings with a vertical orientation. For example, Infosys’ Finacle platform and Tata Consultancy Services’ BaNCS solution enable both firms to generate banking processes and system transformation engagements that propel financial services revenue. HCLT’s launch of HCL Software as a small business unit will help the company offer products and enterprise software without shifting the entire organization’s vision but still reaping the benefits of an increase in managed services opportunities tied to license and subscription-based revenues around the new products. HCLT is also better suited to bundle its legacy IT and emerging technology offerings using its product-focused sales staff.

In addition, the acquisition of Strong-Bridge Envision will help HCLT strengthen its advisory services. However, TBR believes the company may want to further develop its ability to guide digital transformation projects, pursuing a partnership with an established consulting brand such as PwC or EY. The additional advisory services improve HCLT’s ability to market its software portfolio while folding in offerings that address client demand for business process transformation offerings.

In a messy, transitioning and highly competitive IT services and software market, we think HCLT has been making smart moves to evolve its strategy. As 2019 winds down, we will continue looking at the company’s progress against peers and within the broader digital transformation landscape. 

India-centric professional services rivals compete to prove themselves as front-runner in European market

Vendors look to Europe for new revenue pipelines, but some are falling short

India-centric IT services vendors are looking to do more in Europe, utilizing a few different strategies to get there, including pursuing acquisitions, developing new offerings and building on-the-ground workforces. This allows them to diversify revenue streams geographically. TBR feels this push into Europe is a crucial move for India-centric vendors, to not only remain competitive with each other and advance their bottom lines but also to reap the benefits that the European market has to offer, such as new investment opportunities and a larger talent pool for recruiting.

Vendors look to Europe for new revenue pipelines, but some are falling short

The five leading India-centric professional services vendors — Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), HCL Technologies (HCLT), Infosys (NYSE: INFY), Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Wipro (NYSE: WIT) — explored new pipelines for expanding their presence into the mature and growing European market. Infosys worked to close the gap on HCLT in 1Q19, while TCS, Wipro IT Services (Wipro ITS) and Cognizant are feeling the pressure to conform to stay competitive.

Investments in acquisitions and startups enrich Capgemini’s next-generation solutions portfolio and improve its competitive position

Capgemini has taken multiple steps to enhance its portfolio to drive transformations through next-generation technologies and create business value for clients. The acquisition of Altran to deliver digital transformation in the industrial sector, enhanced relationships with Microsoft around Microsoft Azure solutions and with SAP around certification of industry innovation accelerators in manufacturing and retail, and investment in startups and joint commercial activities exemplify Capgemini’s recent activities to advance its competitive position,” said Senior Analyst Elitsa Bakalova. “Offering deep industry expertise improves Capgemini’s ability to address clients’ business-specific challenges. The company will continue to experience momentum in cloud services, with cloud revenue driven by offerings in the Capgemini Cloud Platform portfolio that support clients when building, migrating and managing applications and infrastructures in cloud environments. Offering each client its entire portfolio of solutions enables Capgemini to provide holistic transformational solutions and effectively compete with peers. The expanded partnership with Microsoft around Microsoft Azure solutions will enable Capgemini to increase cloud professional services activities, especially around cloud application development and maintenance.”

Additional assessments publishing this week from our analyst teams

Apple continues to pursue both service and hardware initiatives to maintain growth. The company is leveraging services and its wide install base to grow continuous revenue streams as device refresh activity wanes amid lengthening device life cycles and slowing hardware advances. While services are growing as a cornerstone strategy for Apple, the company also remains focused on maintaining its market perception as the most advanced smartphone producer. TBR expects the iPhone 11, which is slated to be released later in 2019, to have steady sales, but Apple will likely not see breakout sales like that of the iPhone X until the release of the 2020 model, which will deliver larger hardware upgrades such as 5G enablement. — Dan Callahan, Analyst

Google doubled its revenue over the past six quarters, surpassing $2 billion in 2Q19 as the vendor migrates customers to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and attains particularly strong revenue growth from selling analytics. Google’s PaaS business will continue to drive revenue growth as enterprises integrate their hybrid environment with Anthos and leverage Google’s analytics, AI and machine learning offerings. In addition, Google supplements growth with G Suite as the company’s growing sales base brings industry-specific versions of the collaboration suite to market and cross-sells G Suite into GCP-oriented customer engagements. — Jack McElwee, Research Analyst

Cognizant has reworked its corporate strategy to emphasize the criticality of digital technologies to its growth plans. Pursuing acquisitions, such as that of Meritsoft, enables Cognizant to diversify its revenue mix, fostering new sources of digital revenues within key verticals. We expect Cognizant will maintain steady revenue growth year-to-year, largely led by demand around its digital operations capabilities.    — Kelly Lesiczka, Analyst

An integrated sales structure, paired with investments in price-competitive AI solutions and on-site presence, will help Infosys transform its brand identity. At the same time as Infosys builds a healthy pipeline, the company may need to calibrate stakeholders’ expectations around margins to sustain trust. — Boz Hristov, Senior Analyst

Reinforcing Verizon’s reputation as a premium wireless service provider will be essential for the operator to sustain revenue growth in the 5G era, as competitive pressures from T-Mobile will intensify, especially given the pending Sprint merger. Though Verizon will continue to trail T-Mobile in postpaid phone net additions over the next several years, Verizon will be able to sustain revenue growth by attracting customers willing to pay a higher price for the operator’s network coverage and premium unlimited data plans. Steve Vachon, Analyst

Sprint continues to undercut its rivals as the operator remains reliant on competitive pricing to attract subscribers given its subpar network coverage, though the company is moving away from more aggressive promotions, such as its previous Cut Your Bill in Half offer, to improve average revenue per user (ARPU). Sprint will continue to struggle to balance ARPU and subscriber growth, however, as many customers are unwilling to pay higher prices for the company’s network quality and Sprint is experiencing high churn rates from customers rolling off promotional pricing offers. — Steve Vachon

Public sector IT services spotlight: The U.S. federal earnings season continues the week of July 29 with three services-led defense contractors — Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), Leidos and ManTech — releasing their fiscal results for the second calendar quarter of 2019.

As reported on Monday, July 29, Booz Allen Hamilton delivered 10.8% year-to-year growth during 2Q19, the first quarter of its fiscal 2020, and 100% of BAH’s growth was organic as the company continues to eschew acquisitions. BAH’s strong performance in 2Q19 reflects how ideally positioned the company is to serve its federal clientele, as well as a growing number of commercial entities, with a high-value, differentiated solutions suite spanning the strategy, mission and critical IT needs of public and private sector clients alike. As a result of its strong 2Q19 year-to-year growth, BAH is also likely to be the top-performing organic growth vendor in TBR’s upcoming 2Q19 Public Sector IT Services Benchmark (publishing in early October). BAH’s growth and margin performance (operating margin of 9.8%) in 2Q19 mostly outstripped that of the trio of federal competitors that released 2Q19 earnings and fiscal performance last week: Raytheon (YTY growth of 5.3%; operating margin of 9.1%); General Dynamics Information Technology (YTY contraction of 11.6%; operating margin of 7.1%); and Northrop Grumman Technology Services (YTY contraction of 0.4%; operating margin of 10.8%). We believe BAH’s performance relates directly to its solution set, which sits at the juncture of federal agency IT and mission objectives with a differentiating blend of consulting, technology and emerging solutions.           John Caucis, Senior Analyst  

Leidos will release its earnings on Tuesday, July 30, and is expected to post top-line, year-to-year growth of between 5% and 7% to reach about $2.7 billion in 2Q19 revenue. Growth will derive from Leidos’ continued strong pace of new awards, net increases in volume across several high-profile programs, and improving win rates, which are accelerating the conversion of pipeline opportunities into bookings and revenue. Leidos should also be able to offset the wind-down of existing programs and some limited currency headwinds from unfavorable swings in the U.S. dollar. The company has guided for 2019 revenue of between $10.5 billion and $10.9 billion, implying a median 5% growth rate, and record backlog levels achieved in prior quarters positions Leidos well to achieve its projections. — John Caucis  

Finally, ManTech will release its 2Q19 fiscal performance and earnings after business hours on Wednesday, July 31. ManTech’s latest strategic acquisition (Kforce Government Solutions, or KGS) will add roughly $100 million in new revenue and expand ManTech’s opportunity set in the federal civilian segment, augmenting robust Department of Defense (DOD) and intelligence growth while inorganically boosting ManTech’s top-line growth (projected to be between 6% and 8% in 2Q19). ManTech’s top-line growth in 2Q19 should be significantly augmented by the KGS acquisition, as the purchase closed in April and immediately began to contribute inorganic revenue to ManTech’s top line. On an organic basis, classified customers continue to accelerate spend with ManTech, while spending on behalf of ManTech’s principal DOD and Intelligence Community clients continues trending upward. Prior to the KGS acquisition, ManTech tendered a 2019 outlook for full-year 2019 revenue of between $2.05 billion and $2.15 billion, implying growth of between 4.7% and 9.8% over FY18 revenue of $1.96 billion. KGS is expected to contribute between $60 million and $80 million in inorganic revenue during the latter nine months of FY19; this compelled ManTech to elevate its prior guidance for FY19 revenue to instead reach between $2.13 billion and $2.21 billion, implying growth of between 8.8% and 12.8% over FY18. — John Caucis  

Infosys must learn from missteps over the past 5 years to become a partner of choice for managed services

From time will tell to now is the time

In late 2013 TBR published The next 5 years: A successful strategy for Infosys that examined what it would take for Infosys to catch up with multinational corporation rivals such as Accenture and IBM. We believed Infosys needed to build up nearshore Americas capacity and capabilities, acquire consulting capacity in Europe, and invest in IP — and we were right. More than five years later, Infosys is aggressively executing in all of these areas. But success did not come easy, as the company witnessed a spate of executive departures, including its CEO. Additionally, revenue growth fluctuated: 5.8% in FY13, 11.5% in FY14, 5.6% in FY15, 9.1% in FY16, 7.4% in FY17, 7.2% in FY18 and 7.9% in FY19.  While Infosys is showing appetite to transform its sales strategy through aggressive hiring and training of sales and support staff, the company’s delivery framework remains fragile.

Investments in onshore and nearshore personnel in the U.S. and Europe, including the opening of Innovation Hubs (five in the U.S. and two in Europe) to support Agile-based projects, are positive steps forward. However, it appears these investment decisions were forced on the company by market demand and peer pressure. Recent purchases, including 75% of Netherlands-based ABN AMRO subsidiary Stater, Nordic-based Salesforce consultancy Fluido, and U.K-headquartered digital agency Brilliant Basics, suggest Infosys is well positioned to grow its revenue share from Europe-based operations from its current 24% to 30% in the next two years. These investments have taken a toll on company margins, which declined from 25.8% in FY13 to 22.8% in FY19.

Departing from a margin-first culture is not easy, especially as founder N.R. Narayana Murthy remains involved in board decisions, although behind the scenes. Infosys is trying to offset some of its resources investments by expanding proprietary and co-developed industry-centric IP, but monetization of such offerings is a challenge. Former CEO Vishal Sikka tried to rotate the entire 200,000-plus services workforce to act as a software-like company with the associated KPIs and culture changes, but he failed.

March marked the end of Infosys’ first year in its three-year go-to-market strategy, during which it vigorously shifted the composition of its sales to digitally enabled awards, which contributed 31.2% of total sales in FY19. Navigating the dynamically evolving IT services market will not be an easy task as the company balances execution with operational efficiency to meet stakeholders’ expectations. While the company had the last five years to stabilize its performance and realign portfolio and skills to market demand, the accelerated cycle enabled by adoption of digital transformation initiatives has invited many new participants into the IT services space, forcing Infosys to look for blind spots.

Infosys is far from reaching the scale of Accenture and IBM. However, the company still has a chance to secure a top 3 ranking among its India-centric peers either by doubling down on what it does best — participating on the services supply side — or becoming an exclusive partner for managed services to one of the many consultancies aggressively moving into the IT services space.

TBR published initial findings on Infosys’ 1Q19 quarterly earnings in its recent Infosys Initial Response. TBR will dive deeper into Infosys’ resource management strategy in the April 2019 edition of TBR’s Global Delivery Benchmark.