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Phaneesh Murthy CEO iGATE, Global Founding ICT Industry Top Executive

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Phaneesh Murthy.

Phaneesh MurthyPhaneesh Murthy, currently the CEO of iGATE, has over the last two decades created three large transformations in the Global IT industry. In recognition of his exemplary entrepreneurship, Phaneesh received the "Outstanding Entrepreneurship" Award for 2011, instituted by Enterprise Asia.

In the 1990s, Phaneesh Murthy was an integral part of the industry that created the huge IT Outsourcing market in India. As the Global Sales Head of Infosys, he has been widely credited as the one who was responsible for taking the organization from just $2 million in revenues to $700 million in under 10 years.

Over the last decade, Phaneesh has embarked upon his second large transformation. Eight years since taking over as the CEO of iGATE, Phaneesh has transformed iGATE from a loss making staffing firm with negative margins, to a best-in-class earnings growth company with high focus on profitability, through his industry pioneering Business Outcomes based delivery model, that has now come to be accepted in the industry and is increasingly being adopted by Global customers. Under Phaneesh's leadership, iGATE grew from $80 million to $1 billion in under eight years. This has clearly reconfirmed Phaneesh as a thought leader in the industry.

Phaneesh's third transformation is already being pegged as a big trendsetter for the industry. Against all odds, in 2011 Phaneesh challenged the previously unheard of scenario of a mid-sized IT company buying out a company that is more than double its size, with the vision of making the combined entity not just a large Tier 1 player delivering Business Outcomes based solutions, but also one that would have the best-in-class earnings growth in the industry.

Phaneesh's achievements include:

  • Responsible for the phenomenal surge in Infosys' revenues.
  • Instrumental in the first NASDAQ listing by an Indian IT company.
  • Pioneering the Outcomes based business model for the Indian IT industry.
  • Transforming a loss-making, mid-sized company to a billion dollar Tier 1 player with best-in-class margins.
  • Catapulting the market capitalization of a mid-sized company by over 10 times in less than seven years.
  • Succeeding in completing IT industry's biggest leveraged buy-out by iGATE of Patni — a company more than double its size.

When not at work, Phaneesh loves reading murder mysteries and engaging in adventure sports.

Phaneesh graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai and did his Masters at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad — India's premier Technology and Management Institutes.

Sample links to Phaneesh's media conversations:

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:26: Phaneesh, thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.
"....It's a pleasure to be here and I'm happy to share some of my thoughts...."

:00:41: Phaneesh, can you profile your work history and provide a defining and usable lesson you wish to share from all of these major events and roles in your life?
"....You have to keep a very open mind throughout the integration process....To me the percentage of ownership multiplied by the value you can create is the value you will end of getting and not just the percentage of ownership....Never worry about dreaming big or bold, but always follow it up with changing the rules of the game...."

:06:14: Is there anything more that you can add about best practices and lessons for the founding of companies?
"....Never found a company with friends-only as your partners (if you don't know their work ethics, their appetite to run the long race, or what their stressors are in terms of liquidity needs)...."

:08:23: What are the tremendous opportunities for innovative IT approaches with businesses out there?
"....At the end of the day, the mega changes or the mega jumps you can make in your business performance is only by innovation. Incremental changes you can make in your business performance by process improvement...."

:12:14: What are the advantages of outcomes-based models?
"....With the 'dollars for time' model what you end up doing is you produce more time, which is not what the customer wants. With the outcomes-based model it creates a much better alignment between the customer and the vendor creating potential for better partnerships and at the end of the day it makes more people pull in the same direction of more outcomes....It's the integrated model and that is the big change I think that we are trying to bring about in the industry..."

:16:50: Why are large IT solution providers well positioned to take on more risk, and make the initial investments in technology and operations to better serve their customers?
"....It's just a question of resources, you have more intellectual capability available....more financial capital available....and you can deploy the two together to really invest something for the future...."

:18:29: Which emerging technologies or movements do you find exciting, scary, or that promise to alter our lives?
"....I believe that the world is going to get more and more complex; we are going to get better tools to get more productive. At the same time, it's scary as to how much technology overtakes our lives and you feel almost completely inept when you don't have all of that technology at your service..."

:23:43: What changes do you foresee to the skills needed for this future? How can we prepare the workforce for this new reality?
"....Most people, having been exposed to very sophisticated consumer applications, expect the same level of sophistication in the business applications....The ability to write such simplified applications requires complex thinking and work and I think that's where the future will go more and more. The biggest change I find is miniaturization....The concepts of how budgeting and planning will be done, in addition to the technical skills, I think will all start to change...."

:27:23: Do you feel computing should be a recognized profession on par with accounting, medicine and law with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, personal responsibility, public accountability, quality assurance and recognized credentials?
[See and the Global Industry Council,]
"....I believe that computing is a profession because at the end the day if you look at it, more than 55 — 60 percent of Fortune 500 capital investments have something to do with technology....As you formally get computing as a profession, the biggest improvement that I think will happen will be in quality standards and quality assurance for all the output in the industry, and I think that will be a very important thing...."

:31:26: Phaneesh shares some stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected or amazing), from his extensive speaking, travels and work.
"....You (can) assume so much about people....Never assume anything...."

:36:49: Phaneesh, if you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask and then what would be your answer?
"....What qualities or traits might make a good leader?...."

:38:55: Phaneesh, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.
"....Thank you very much, it was a pleasure...."


Music by Sunny Smith Productions and Shaun O'Leary