Working at Infosys :Here's what the IT Giant Taught this Entrepreneur about Building a Company
A project is complete only when the customer is smiling
Bangalore-based Infosys is one of the biggest entrepreneurial and IT success stories of India. The Indian MNC has become a hallmark of the entrepreneurial capability of the country.
Those who helmed this IT giant, like Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani , Kris Gopalakrishnan, N.S. Raghavan, Phaneesh Murthy and Mohandas Pai are today opulently contributing to the entrepreneurial story of India in the form of investments, startups and valuable mentorship.
So what makes an Infoscion special?
Entrepreneur India spoke to George Varghese, who has founded Extentor Solutions along with fellow Infoscion Sreekanth Keshava, which got rebranded to ET Marlabs after an investment from US based Marlabs.
ET Marlabs is a Gold Alliance partner to Salesforce. The company’s vision is to deliver business solutions leveraging the customer success platform from Salesforce. Born in the cloud betting on Salesforce, the leadership team at ET Marlabs has over 200 person years of combined IT/ITES experience across multiple industries and countries. They won the “Best Implementation Partner 2015” award in India from Salesforce.
George, spent the first 12 years of his career in Japan where he worked with IBM and Hitachi as a software engineer and then went on to join Infosys in 1996. He was part of the founding team responsible for starting the company’s business operations in Japan. It was an entrepreneurial opportunity for George in Japan, wherein he had to manage a JV for Infosys, while also getting the business going on multiple fronts.
Post that stint, George moved to Australia and along with an initial team of 15 people helped Infosys build its business in yet another international territory.
Talking about his learning from Infosys George said, “By the time I left the company, in 2010, I got a chance to interact with many of the Infosys founders from who I learnt the fundamentals required to start a great company.”
Key entrepreneurial skills learnt
When George returned to India, which was in 2010, he initially went about doing things on his bucket list, which included yoga, motorcycling and bio-dynamic farming. George, who is also an investor in the IT and education space, saw an opportunity with Salesforce come his way in 2012.
Remembering his early days at ET Marlabs as an entrepreneur, George said that a lot of guiding principles on building a corporate culture came from his time at Infosys, learnings from Japan, Australia and also from his time with the Art of Living foundation as a teacher.
“One of the most important things that I learnt from Infosys was the importance of treating people as our most important asset! Even more than Infosys it matters in our case today as ‘people’ are truly the only asset that we have. If someone burgles our office we don’t lose anything, as we own nothing. Our laptops are leased, our data is on the cloud and the only thing that is a truly valuable asset in our office is our people. As long as somebody doesn’t come and take that asset, I’m fine,” he said.
George recalls Narayana Murthy’s words saying, that the company’s assets walk out in the evening bringing down its value to zero and hence it is important for us to ensure that they return the next morning. In Infosys there was a huge focus on people those days, he said.
During his 14-year tenure at Infosys, George held several roles. He led the Banking & Capital markets business in Australia and New Zealand with a P&L responsibility of $75 million. Prior to that he was also Head of Public Sector, NSW State Sales Manager, and Head of Sales for the Northern region in Australia.
George was recognized by Infosys for his contribution and awarded the Infosys Business Development Award for Outstanding Performance (1998), followed by the Chairman’s Award for Excellence (2000).
Loving the customer is all that matters …!
ET Marlabs has a very impressive set of clientele which include the finest of the new breed startups like Urban Ladder, Clear Trip and Flipkart as well as corporate houses like CEAT, UB, Bosch, IIFLW and Adani Wilmar.
Speaking on keeping up an impressive client base George said, “The most important quality often lacking in Indian companies, that we focused on very early at ET, is what we call ‘client bliss’ which is all about just loving our clients and delivering bliss while serving them. For some reason I find that whether it be a small service like fixing a telephone or getting a cable guy come home, the whole idea of customer service and its integrity is totally lacking in India. In Japan, when you shake your hands with someone saying you’ll do something, it’s done and you do it 100% to perfection and promptness. There is no question of not doing it.”
George strongly believes that a project is complete only when the customer is smiling. You have to go that extra mile to check if the customer is genuinely happy and it is not just about meeting the specifications to collect the check, he adds.
Today over 80% of ET Marlabs business comes from the domestic market. In the next couple of years, George plans to have an even balance between domestic and overseas business while IP built on the Salesforce platform would contribute to a third of the revenue.