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Infy's Edgeverve moves out of parent's shadow

Edgeverve, a subsidiary of Infosys, follows a different structure to compete with biggies like Google, Microsoft and SAP

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra  |  Bangalore 

Last week, Edgeverve Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IT services company Infosys moved to a new home, a building which stands opposite to the parent’s huge corporate campus in Electronic City here. It’s a seven storied white building with each floor been painted differently exactly in the same sequence of the colour of a rainbow, a symbol of collaborative environment that is key for innovation.

This is the place where the four-month old software product ‘start-up’ is now busy establishing a different identity -- laying an organisation structure, work culture and business model quite different from those of IT services companies, including that of parent Infosys.

Edgeverve, the spin-off from the Bangalore-based company, which focuses on (software) products and platforms space is now trying to inculcate some of the best practices of globally established IT giants such Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Salesforce, to mention a few. That, says Sanjay Purohit, its managing director and chief executive officer, will go a long way in not only establishing the kind of talent pool it would aspire to have for developing cutting edge products, but in creating an environment of openness and collaboration which would propel the free flow of ideas and thus leading to maintain the innovation stream.

It is also laying a compensation structure and reward mechanism which is way different from that of Infosys and even comparable with the bests of the world in the software product space, he added.

“For the kind of business we (Edgeverve) are into, we need a completely different operating environment, a different set of policy and mechanism because you have to support a different kind of talents. Because, my talent comparison is not the other SIs (system integrators who are also known as IT services companies) but product and internet-edge companies,” said Purohit.

“So, I am going to compete with the likes of the Googles, Yahoos and the Facebooks which means my entire operating environment has to be very different,” he added.

Before spinning off the products, platforms and solutions (PPS) business as a separate subsidiary in July this year, Infosys did a study among 21 globally known product and Saas (software as a service) platform create a structure which is best suited for a software product company. Based on the bench-marking, the company is creating the organization structure, leadership layer, career stream as well as compensation mechanism. For example, Edgeverve has decided to create just three layer of employee structure which will include Leads (of small developers team), Heads (of different products and platforms) and members. The members are individual contributors who can be even a fresh engineer known as the member of technical staff to principal product architect to distinguished scientists.

Purohit said that while many of the around 500-600 odd employees of Edgeverve transitioned to it from parent Infosys after rigorous process, the company also hired a lot of them from premier technical institutions such as IITs, NITs as well as for the industry. The company is now looking at hiring different kinds of skills from institutes like National School of Design as it understands user experience will hold significance in product business, going forward.

“We have an amazingly stringent entrance process which applies to all. Every employee who has entered Edgeverve, even from Infosys has gone through reassessment of tests, interviews and panel discussion. Because the premise was very clear. When you are setting a company with a different culture, there is a certain bar and that applies to insider as much as it applies to outsiders.”

Edgeverve which established itself as a fully-owned subsidiary of Infosys in July this year today has around 50 clients. The company has picked up six business areas to focus on including digital marketing, interactive commerce, distributive trade, micro-commerce, customer service, and experience and enterprise buying. The approach it has taken is 'co-creation’ which means it identifies the users first and then develops the products and solutions.

Purohit says given that the software product business are different from services, there is no pressure from the parent on the revenues front though the company has laid out a five-year strategy. “At the moment, I am not obsessed with revenue. I would like to see every day one customer go live on my platform and that is what my goal. I am still in investment mode and will continue to be like that for the next two years. Hopefully as per plan, we will break-even.”

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First Published: Mon, November 17 2014. 00:11 IST