Friday, September 01, 2006

Good Corporate Citizen

Infosys buys staff insurance policy worth Rs 10,000 cr- The Economic Times

Although I am not a big fan of Infosys as a corporation, I really admire some of its HR policies. It has not figured out the best model for managing people, but, it has one of the best models currently floating around.
On a completele different note...
My experience with working with Infosys was limited to the STG group in the bangalore office. I was working as a Sales manager for Pramati Technologies and had to interface with some technology decicion-making groups within large IT vendors in bangalore. It was a pity to see the quality of work these guys did at STG. The way it worked was that STG had to approve IT tools before any of the project teams within Infy could start using them. These guys were not at the leading edge of technology and this was a nightmare. For instance, while a lot of firms had started devloping applications using Container Managed Persistence Beans in server-side java development, this group was still wallowing in the mud that was java servlets. The convenient justification the group had was that if the projects teams could develop an application using the inferior technology, then why shoudl they adopt something so radically different. The actual thing was that they had no clue how to devlop expeertise in the leading edge stuff. I always wonder, if they are still the same.

Their attitude towards smaller more innovative software vendors(primarily product based firms such as Pramati) was absolutely abhorring. I cannot imagine that a firm that touts itself around as the icon of "Indian" capitalism can be so indifferent to innovative start-ups trying to make a mark.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Co-creation: Isn't it understanding customers ?

I couldn't help calling up my wife after I read this post on Atanu's website.

http://indianeconomy.org/2006/08/31/the-pyramid-has-a-false-bottom/

He makes a good point that to be a successful "public intellectual" you need to have a catch tag line. I find it so funny and fully agree with him. The long tail, co-creation, world is flat, whatever and what-not. Give me a break.

My wife had taken a course at Michigan on Co-creation of value and being a PhD in marketing I couldn't help arguing with her on what it really meant. I have seen the syllabus, listened to her talk about the course and all I could gather from it was that it is being in touch with customers, cast in a catchy tag line. It is too common in academics. Birger Wernerfelt, at Stanford had written one of the early seminal artciles on resource based view of the firm on which others like Peteraf and Barney built their arguments. Wernerfelt had written his artcile in 1984 in Strategic Management Journal, a reputed academic journal. In the nineties, suddenly this new management notion of the core competency became suddenly very relevant and one cannot help but wonder at the similarities of this with the old RBV literature in the strategic management field!!My wife says I rant against it because of the "sour grapes" syndrome. Academics envy the abaility of management gurus to translate acdemic concepts into managerially relevant ideas. To me it seems like plagiarism, well intellectual at least !!Co-creation is at best Customer contact recast given the all-pervasive nature of the Internet as a contact medium. Involving users in the process of innovation is not a new idea and von Hippel at MIT has done good work on this domain. The open source community is a standing example for this and we don't need any new "consultants" walking into the world with bright eyes views about co-creation. All they want is more and fame for themselves, without having to take the burden of developing the original ideas. They move on once it becomes old, as for them they need to continuously find new domains to exploit. While, the true researcher woudl probably be more interested in actually drilling down.