How does Murthy take decisions?
Most decisions have to be first looked at on a philosophical level and you can then get your data points. But really it’s philosophy, it’s passion, idealism that determines what you want to do in life. The person you marry, the kind of job you pick, the education you choose, these are all decisions that are taken on the spur of the moment in the context of data points, prior instances and experiential wisdom.
How involved will Murthy be in Catamaran?
I would be involved in making the final decision on investments clearly, in mentoring entrepreneurs we have selected to work with, in setting targets for the company and in providing support to Arjun.
How often do the original seven founders of Infosys meet?
Very rarely. What happened was that because we were spending so much time in the office we decided to have different friends. As families we met maybe once a year. Each of us used to have our own circle of friends. It was deliberate. My friends are several civil servants, college and school friends, several people from Jayanagar, some writers, artists and poets.
How does he balance personal austerity with austerity at work?
I realized pretty early in the game that Indian businessmen believed in a rich personal life no matter how the corporation was doing. And quite often the corporation was not doing well. The facilities in the company were not very good compared to his or her personal life. I said I’d like to do something completely different. That I would focus on the company making sure it had the best facilities but personally I would lead as austere (a) life as possible. I realized that it is time that we focused on glorifying public institutions rather than personal life.
What’s Infosys’ human resources (HR) crisis all about?
Earlier, we were working six days a week, and when we decided to move to five days a week because we were billing customers 44 hours a week, it was agreed that we would work 8.45 hours a day. A lot of our customers want to audit how we have used the time we bill them for, so it is extremely important for our people to maintain records of how they spend their time. Unfortunately, our youngsters don’t realize that need for us to record how we spend time. Many of them say, “Why don’t you trust us?” Of course we do, they’re all like our children. The reality is we are all answerable to our customers.
iRace (Infosys Role and Career Enhancement) is a new organizational structure that we have come up with. We have reduced the number of levels in the organization. This exercise was taken up with representatives from all parts of the organization. The idea was to create better transparency about career opportunities for our people. Whenever you go from one system to another there will always be possibly 2% of people who do not benefit from the new system.
However, the senior management of the company is working on ensuring that the small minority of people who did not see the benefit of the system will indeed benefit from the system.