Mohit Joshi is the President of Infosys, responsible for the software services of many financial and fintech businesses. Over the last 25-years, he has split his time between the US, Mexico, India and London, and until the global pandemic hit, Joshi would spend around 20 days each month travelling around the world.
Yet despite a complete halt in his business life, the company has embraced remote working and continued to win new business, embarking on an adventurous growth trajectory when many other sectors are still struggling to stay afloat.
Infosys is a global company, most prominent in the US and Europe, but revenue from Asia Pacific is increasing. With the company’s headquarters in Bangalore and frequent trips to Australia, Joshi spent most of the year away from his London home. He remembers having to travel to Singapore just for a one-hour meeting with a client, so has embraced the accessibility that video conferencing has brought.
He told The Fintech Times, “Previously I’ve been a sceptic on home-working, imaging people working in the pyjamas watching TV all day. We were a bit suspicious as in the B2B enterprise business, we place a value on ‘showing up’. But during the pandemic work just didn’t slow down, it stopped. Then when you have to go through it yourself as I did, you realise that you don’t care how the work gets done, as long as it is completed. That can be from home or an office.”
And while Joshi’s working day hasn’t relaxed – he’s actually busier than before often on calls from 6am until 5pm, the time he has had to spend at home with his family has been invaluable. He said, “I used to do an insane amount of travel, and with the benefit of hindsight it was just ridiculous.”
Thinking back to mid-March 2020, Joshi reflects that for the first 15-days the company simply didn’t have a sense of how things would shape up. It was a gigantic operational challenge to pivot to a work from home environment, ensuring that 250,000 people across the world had access to a secure internet connection and laptops. Many colleagues had to deal with occasional electrical outages, and at the same time, there was a lot more communication needed between teams and employees.
Despite having only used Zoom a handful of times before, within days Joshi and his colleagues were pros, and what’s more, productivity was still high. Whether that was due to a better working environment or fewer distractions, colleagues were happy. The management team quickly realised that this wasn’t a blip, remote working was continuing to be productive, and it was something that no one had expected.
Joshi was prepared for the business to shrink dramatically, as many clients had come to Infosys with security as a priority – especially those working in financial services. It meant that the company had to tackle the personal infrastructure environment as well as the working one. But once this was set up, and the level of novelty died down, the business continued to flourish. Infosys revised its calculations from a revenue drop of 10% and actually ended the year with a 5% growth.
New business revenue from partnerships with companies such as Vanguard became the icing on the cake but when the autumn hit and the second lockdown became apparent, the company realised that they needed to put additional policies in place.
Joshi said, “We were aware that our employees were suffering from fatigue, and missing the social aspect of working in an office. We made sure people didn’t feel like they had to be on video and employed mental health experts to guide our policies. What’s more, as a company we wanted to lead by example. I forced myself to take time off, and not feel the need to be present all the time.”
While new shoots of inspiration are already on the horizon – in America, colleagues have started to travel to internal meetings – Joshi enjoys making new connections via remote working. He adds, “When you plan a meeting you have to take into account the waiting, being made a coffee, even sharing the room with two or three other people who also want to talk to the client. Now I can make an appointment and speak to someone in person without the travel and the waiting. It’s been amazing how business has reacted to the pandemic, and I won’t be in a hurry to go back.”
While the world has changed, the focus for Infosys remains the same. It wants to continue offering strong IT services, including the Finacle banking platform which can look after a range of options, from pensions to mortgage wealth and asset management.
The company is also investing heavily in recruitment, Boris Johnson has already announced that there will be another 1,000 jobs created in the UK, and Joshi confirms that a further 1200 are needed in Australia and 25,000 in the US.
Joshi explains that companies – especially fintechs and financial services – are spending more on technology. What’s more, they don’t want to take risks with their partners. This mindset is then coupled with a huge shortage of talent in the market.
It all adds up to a year poised for growth for Infosys. And while the company weren’t delighted about Brexit, as of yet there hasn’t been a great amount of disruption to the services industry. As the movement of talent was hampered, mainly due to the pandemic, the company has committed to investing in the UK, alongside other parts of Europe such as the Nordics. With countries such as Japan and the Philippines also offering big opportunities, the only concern for Joshi at the moment is his lack of air miles and even then, it’s something he is happy about.
He said, “From a personal perspective for me and other clients I have spoken to, the reconnecting of the family is a wonderful thing. Obviously, we haven’t been able to see our extended family, but to bond and re-experience the rituals of day-to-day life has made a lot of people shift their perspectives. It certainly has for me.”