Entrepreneurial story: from 250 dollars to 30 billion dollars

Mr. Shibulal; photo from official CEIBS web-site
Last week I went to China Europe International Business School (the best business school in Asia  - CEIBS - http://www.ceibs.edu/) for the event “Entrepreneurial story: from 250 dollars to 30 billion dollars”. The speaker – Mr. Shibulal, Co-founder and CEO of Infosys - an Indian multinational provider of business consulting, technology, engineering, and outsourcing services. 

Mr. Shibu in 40-min speech shared his 32 years experience of founding and running global IT company. Than we had an opportunity to ask 40 min different questions. Infosys ranked among the most innovative companies in a Forbes survey, leading technology companies in a report by BCG - The Boston Consulting Group and top ten green companies in Newsweek's Green Rankings. Also Infosys named “Business Partner of the Year” by P&G in 2011. Nowadays this is a company with 30 billion dollars turnover (that is 30 and nine(!) more zeros) with more than 5 billion revenue last year. I think it is a successful company.

I was curious how an Indian company could get on global leader positions in around 30 years? What makes this company so successful? I did careful notes from his speech with a purpose to share this experience with you also. 

So, here are key factors of the Infosys' success in the view of Mr. Shibu:First of all, in a year 1981st seven Indian friends come together and decided to start a company. They got a vision-insight: 1) technology will be developed highly in the future 2) globalization will have a great impact on the business globally. And they got the idea what kind of business they can run based on those two insights. You have to point that was 1981, only not so many people were talking about technology development trend and even less had an understanding what is globalization. So, the lesson #1: you have to understand and catch up the global trend, if you want to build a global company.
Infosys Campus, photo from www.infosys.com

Nowadays it doesn’t matter you are in Zimbabwe, the UK, China or Ukraine – nobody cares so much where are you from. If you can provide high quality value – people will do with you business. That leads to the second his point: go quality rather than quantity. Infosys was among first companies in India, which introduced ISO standards and met those standards during following years. As a result, some of the Infosys’ global clients stay with the company for more than 15 years.

Third: people. Best company must have best people. That Infosys top-management understood quite well and implemented the system of growing best people.Mr. Shibu said: “People will stay with you in long term if you can provide:·         Learning opportunities
·         Emotional value (including career growth)
·         Financial value”
Productivity should be the same as in developed countries. Only then you can compete globally and win globally.

Fourth: strategic partnership with best universities, innovation centers. It give the access to the best minds and best ideas for new product. Also Infosys has it’s own Development and Delivery Centers, where high-ended enterprise consulting, solution, implementation and delivery teams focused on delivering projects in different industries.Not the last factor played Entrepreneurial spirit and spirit of innovation: “Being #1 is very important for us”, - said Mr. Shibu.
photo from www.infosys.com

From his personal recommendations how to become a global CEO, he said the next:1.     Excellence and high quality in everything what you do. I would say that is similar to what Colin Powel l said: “Do your best every day in the field of your passion”. But that pointed even higher: you have to do your best better.
2.     Have a vision. Because to have a vision for a leader is simply important – it gives you direction and it inspires other people around you to follow you in this direction.
3.     Learning through the life. “Education gives you basement , a fundament, but you have to learn continually during all life. It’s not a sprint, it’s marathon”, emphasized CEO of Infosys. So, when you graduate the learning process does not stop, it’s just started actually.

One of the questions was: “How Infosys was able to set up new standards of doing business in India?” The answer was: “First, you have to set up the strategy. Second, you have to articulate your strategy. Third, you have to lead by example”. It is absolutely support the idea of another Indian: “Be the change which you want to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi).

After a lecture there was another event only for specially invited people (which I realized much later). I went to this special event, where very important people from CEIBS did networking and also met with some people there. And what is more important: finally I got an answer on one question. But that’s another story. Hope you found something useful and valuable.

Thank you for reading this post till that point. Have a productive and innovative week!


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