SAP veteran Sikka expected to bring back vigour to Infy

SAP veteran Sikka expected to bring back vigour to Infy

Narayana Murthy and Shibulal step out

SAP veteran Sikka expected to bring back vigour to Infy

SAP veteran Vishal Sikka ascension to the top post in Infosys will give the M S University computer engineering graduate from Vadodara a chance to hone his skills in the services sector by blending them with strong technology competence.

Investors on Thursday were bullish on the company’s prospects with the stock expected perform better in coming quarters.

In fact, Narayana Murthy's return to Infosys on June 1 last year has helped erase negative perceptions of the company's performance in the preceding two years, with Sikka's technological accomplishments and strong services background being seen by investors and shareholders as huge advantages in taking Infosys to its next phase of growth. 

At Infosys, Sikka will be responsible for strategic changes which will emphasise a greater push in services like Infrastructure and BPO, reviving sales, bolstering top management and improving financial metrics like revenue growth and margins, besides handling operational issues.

At SAP, Sikka was responsible for all products, from traditional and cloud-based applications to technology and platform products including HANA, analytics, mobile and middleware.  

"The top layer of executives are all but gone. With a new CEO coming in and from outside, there is a chance he'll hire external candidates," said Ankita Somani of brokerage MSFL Research.

"Sikka's impact areas will be on how well he is able to steer an industry pioneer like Infosys in terms of innovation and productisation, and take it to the next level,” Randstad India CEO Moorthy Uppaluri said.

"Sikka is well versed technically and keenly aware of international technology markets. Further, the C-Level network he brings to the table will also be crucial for Infosys to leverage in order to grow faster," Barclays Capital said in a note.

Reuters said on Thursday that annualised rate of attrition at Infosys — the number of staff leaving or retiring — was a record 18.7 per cent at the end of March 2014, 2.4 per cent higher than a year earlier. That's close to a fifth of its workforce of over 160,000. 

The departures have included top executives like Chief Financial Officer V Balakrishnan, financial vertical head Ashok Vemuri and Infosys Consulting Co-founder Stephen Pratt.

The exodus began shortly after Infosys brought Murthy from retirement as its executive chairman to help the company better compete.