Vishal Sikka commits Rs 1,500 crore to fund innovation in India; to develop software to manage Ujjain Kumbh mela

vishal sikka Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and disclosed that his company will spend US $250 million (over Rs 1,500 crore) to fund innovations in software and services in India.

he chief of India’s second largest IT services firm also discussed with Modi ways in which the company can participate in the Prime Minister’s vision of smart and digitally empowered India.

Infosys will develop software for managing the kumbh mela scheduled in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) in 2016, he said in an interview.

Sikka, the first non-founder CEO of Infosys, said Modi has agreed to dedicate the company’s Mysore campus as the first model smart city in the country in April this year.

“Today, I had a meeting with the Prime Minister. We had a talk on smart cities, smart infrastructure, which is close to his heart.

“And the other big area is innovation. PM has a vision for innovation. As announced last week, we have a USD 500 million Innovation Fund. Of this, we have decided that half of this, which is a little over Rs 1,500 crore, will be dedicated to just innovation in India. We will call it Innovate in India,” Sikka said.

On smart cities, he said Infosys campuses are one of the most amazing places in the world. They are green and energy efficient and work as smart units.

“Our Mysore campus is a small smart city. It has 30,000 people living and working there at any given day. We are going to make our Mysore campus the first model smart city and the PM has very graciously accepted our invitation to the Mysore campus and dedicate it to the nation in April,” he added.

The stock price of Infosys was trading at Rs 2121, up by 1.61% on the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex at 14.59 pm

Infosys announced its third quarter results on January 9, 2015 where the company beat streeet expectations by posting a 13% increase in its net profit. Being the first quarterly result after Sikka took over the reigns of the company, they were a closed watched event.

Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys Ltd had said, “We are excited by several breakthrough results in Q3. Our “renew and new” strategy, is being received well by our clients and our ecosystem and we are already seeing its early adoption”.

“We want to make this a part of PM’s vision for smart, digital and swacch India. Everything is digital, it is completely digital (referring to the campus, including toilets),” Sikka said.

Elaborating on the discussion around Kumbh mela, Sikka said post the meeting, the teams have already started brain storming on the solutions.

“Ujjain is very close to where I was born. I was born in Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh and we will be very happy to do that. We have been thinking about how we will do this, to make software for the kumbh mela, clean toilets. It was a very very productive meeting,” he said.

The CEO added that the company will look at offering software for participants and organisers.

“Clean toilets is (also) one of them (initiatives) as lakhs of people will be using them, things like self cleaning toilet, water free urinals, etc,” he said.

Also Read: Infosys profit up 13% in the third quarter, stock zooms

Since his appointment as the MD and CEO of Infosys, Sikka has been stressing on the need for innovation and leading Infosys to reinvent the wheel. His mantra has been to focus onautomation and artificial intelligence apart from boosting the sales team to market the new products and services Infosys is developing under Sikka.

According to Sikka, at the centre of the new Infosys strategy is focussing on the corebusiness of BPO and testing, investing in innovation, newer technologies, design thinking, automation, et al.

Also Read: Infosys: Sikka’s “renew and new” to the rescue.

With over 16000 employees in t he digital practice, the company’s hiring in big data and analystics was up 59% over past two quarters.

Surendra Goyal and Rishi V Iyer of Citibank, in a report dated December 4, 2014 said, “Service innovation council, comprising of delivery leadership, has been set up to spearhead service innovation (3) Training – 1,000 employees trained on machine learning with plans to train 500 every quarter, trained 8,238 employees on design thinking.”

Source: DNA India

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