One of the great things about HfS is the fact we never partake in gossip or idle speculation. So let’s change “never” to “rarely”…
I was happening to be Uber-ing myself aimlessly around the streets of San Francisco last week when I happened to drop in on Infosys’ sexy new Design Thinking center (I think that’s what they call it) in Palo Alto, where I caught two of the industry’s finest minds having a sneaky cup of coffee.
Now, before you all jump to conclusions that Vishal Sikka and Tiger Tyagarajan are about to join forces, they are actually old friends and neighbors, and this was purely a social call… but it did get me thinking about what if Infosys and Genpact got a little more intimate with each other…
Challenging the old way of thinking. Infosys’ fresh Design Thinking approach and Genpact’s re-imagination of business processes are very well aligned. Both firms have jumped on the importance of challenging current thinking and instilling that across their organizations (and not a CoE approach).
IT services meet BPO… on steroids. A great IT services firm meets a great BPO/operations process management firm. This would be a real powerhouse. What’s more, Genpact is the largest “process pureplay” breaking new ground in terms of its sheer scale and size – where it takes the business next, there is no written rule book available.
BPaaS at a global scale? Infosys EdgeVerve + Genpact’s emerging process consulting capability would be very interesting. Scalable BPaaS solutions that could be industrialized at a global level… the mind boggles at the possibilities to realize a long-held industry vision.
Cross-client synergies. Great upsell opportunities across major clients, especially in horizontal process areas where Genpact is market leading, such as finance and accounting solutions or procurement where this combination would create an even stronger challenger to Accenture than they are individually today.
IT autonomics + RPA + AI potential. Interesting combination of automation capability across IT autonomics (Infosys) and robotic process automation (Genpact). Would also be a nice playground for Vishal to put his Ph.D. in artificial intelligence into practice. These two could certainly build a cognitive+autonomics+analytics computing platform that differentiates itself in the market alongside the likes of Watson, Holmes, ignio, Amelia etc.
Digital meets Process. Digital strategies need to bring together real process acumen and technology enablement skills – at scale – in areas such as mobility, analytics and social media/collaboration. The ability to design “digitally-native” end-to-end business processes is core to the future of services and these guys may just be able to pull off something quite special together.
Adds real vertical strength and depth. They would nail insurance and banking in spades, have really strong presence across manufacturing/consumer/retail and Genpact’s life science’s presence would be a fantastic opening for Infosys.
Geographically and culturally. Very interesting spread across India, UK, Central Europe, ANZ and the US. However, still trying to visualize (or is that Vishal-ize) the whole Palo Alto/New York/Gurgaon/Bangalore cultural thing they’d have going on.
Timing. This market is ripe for some aggressive moves to change old habits and shake up the apple cart. This one would certainly set the big cat out loose among the pigeons, when investors are hungry for new ideas, bold moves and aggressive plans. With Vishal enjoying a healthy dose of momentum as he reaches his first anniversary at the helm of Infy, there are worse moves he could make… surely? And this would likely be at a similar size to Capgemini / IGATE…
Fashion. Tiger could clearly show Vishal a thing or two about designer New York business attire, while Vishal could certainly help Tiger get with the West coast tech-nerdy thing.
Who would run the show? These are two fiercely proud firms with very strong cultures and very dynamic leaders. Could you really fuse these together?
What methodology would they follow? Would Smart Enterprise Operations win out or would the Process Progression Model lead the way? Come to think of it does that even matter.
Limited time to integrate. In this market, no-one can afford to take their eye off the ball. Prices are at an all-time competitive low, several ambitious providers are eager to “buy” their way into strategic deals to develop out their offerings and maintain market share and there are emerging As-a-Service contenders willing to disrupt the old model with new disruptive approaches.
Doesn’t wholly address the consulting gap. While there is some excellent talent across both firms, this is nothing near the scale of an Accenture, Deloitte, PwC or KPMG on the strategy/consulting side. We would like to see both firms up their consulting talent pools – at scale – as the As-a-Service Economy continues to unravel. While the expertise-as-a-service model emerges, there does need to be the right blend of managed services and consulting acumen to really get ahead in this market.
Big isn’t as beautiful these days. Just looking at the efforts the likes of IBM, HP and CSC have made to make their business more manageable with more clearly defined business units, getting to monster size for the sake of being just bloody huge (and this one would become one of the largest services firms on the planet) is not a reason to do this.
The old IT+BPO thing isn’t washing as well as it used to. Up until recently, the whole talk in the services business was always about IT services firms offering BPO as there were so many great synergies between developing and maintain apps and being able to deliver process solutions. Hey – you not only could you support a legacy ERP platform, but why not milk the dollars processing invoices and paychecks off the back of it? With As-a-Service, that isn’t so appealing. When you can get much of the IT you need in the cloud, the ambitious BPO these days is pushing “Finance-as-Service” or “Revenue-Cycle-as-a-Service, or “Insurance-operations-as-a-Service” as so on… The future isn’t about buying IT services, but more buying a business outcome delivered As-a-Service. If a credible BPO can enable and deliver business services in the cloud, who cares who is developing and supporting the underlying apps… especially when they are standardized?
The Bottom-line: This could be a match-made in Heaven, Palo Alto, Gurgaon or Hell…
It’s fun to speculate, and this one is especially interesting. When we looked at IBM+TCS, there were clear service line synergies, but the cultural gap between those firms is huge – and the sheer sizes involved make this too unappealing for so many stakeholders. However, in this case, Infy (we think) has just about enough cash if it really wanted to take a serious look at G, and there is clearly a closer set of synergies in terms of cultures and less overlap. These are also two ambitious firms who are clearly not ready to rest on their laurels and want to break new ground if they can. They are also led by two popular and visionary guys who are in tune with their people and the market. However, at the end of the day the bankers do the real talking and these may just be too many complexities to make something of these sheer scale and size pay off.
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