s our bus pulled up outside the Infosys Bangalore campus, the first thing that caught my eye was a large sign that said something along the line of “WARNING: HIGH VOLTAGE.”
Upon entering the gates, our bags and cameras were inspected. They also asked for our passports and cross-checked it with the names on the list that was earlier furnished to them by the XP Ministry.
The security personnel were painstaking in their meticulousness to the point that it rankled, a scenario not unlike what I go through with the Philippine’s Presidential Security Guards during Presidential Visits.
This is just an IT park, isn’t it? I thought.
But after our visit inside Infosys, I quickly changed my mind. Calling the Infosys headquarters in Bangalore as just an IT park is like describing Titanic as just a boat.
The campus, which the headquarters is sometimes referred to, is a sprawling 80.5 acres of rolling greens and ultra-sophisticated high-rise architecture.
Our tour kicked-off with a briefing from Sadaf Khan, Infosys Assistant Marketing Manager, inside their AV room. The front wall is dominated by a gigantic plasma screen.
During the Q&A, journalists who asked had the pleasure of seeing their faces fill the expansive screen after pressing a button at the microphone base.
It was Habhajan Singh of The Malaysian Reserve who broke the ice during the Q&A when he pressed that button and his face flooded the flat screen in front. “Oh, I have no question. I just wanted to see myself up there,” he said, and then pressed the button off. Laughter erupted all around.
There are a total of 50 buildings housed within Infosys Bangalore, with 23,000 employees.
Infosys’ total workforce in all of its offices globally by 2012 (they have offices in 29 countries) is at 145,088, said Khan.
“We also have one of the lowest attrition rates out there, between 15.2% to 15.8%,” explained Khan.
It sounds like the Infosys workers are happy campers.
The benefits could be what keeps their workers from leaving. Infosys offers their workers employee stock option plans, world-class trainings, health care, life and medical insurance aside from competitive salaries. Transportation services are also available for workers who live far from Infosys.
Or maybe it could be the on-campus facilities, which can rival that of a city’s.
It must be hard to quit a job that not only pays good, but also gives you access to swimming pools, coffee shops, movie houses, gymnasiums, bookstores, a 500-bed hotel room, a golf course, clinics, food courts, retail shops, and athletic centers?
During our walkthrough led by Infosys Bangalore Facilities Manager Balakrishnan Palaniappan, I saw a couple of tennis courts, swimming pools and a group of women doing yoga stretches inside a two-way mirrored studio.
We passed by an outdoor coffee shop filled with smartly-dressed young Indians on their coffee break. Women in their colorful sari’s sat on tree-shaded benches along the road, reading books or sharing gossips. I also noticed bicycles parked everywhere beside the pathways.
“We don’t allow fuel-run vehicles inside the campus. So we have bicycles, all 1,500 of them, free for everyone to use in making their way around,” said Palaniappan as we rode inside an electronic bus.
Employees work from 8:00 am to 5:20 pm, Mondays to Fridays only. Their weekends are free.
Remember that warning sign that greeted us at the entrance area? The entire campus is electrically fenced with 8,000 deadly volts.
Palaniappan, who has been with Infosys for 28 years now, said that 68 heads of state have visited Infosys, along with more than 3,000 international delegates in the past 30 years.
“We entertain an average of 5 tour groups everyday,” he added. Tours within the campus are for free.
In 2011, Infosys was awarded by Procter & Gamble as their “Business Partner of the Year” for successfully implementing and order, shipping and billing program and providing hiqh-quality consulting, technology and BPO services.
Their eco-friendly efforts earned them a spot at Newsweek’s Top 10 Green Global Companies, a list that ranks international companies on their environmental impact, management and disclosure. Newsweek cited their “sustainable infrastructure” as 25% more efficient that the global energy efficiency standards.
In 2011, the company was No. 15 in Forbe’s global list of Most Innovative Companies, a survey of innovative done by Forbes and HOLT, a division of Credit Suisse. The list shows Infosys raking in 23.6% on their five-year average sales growth with their market cap pegged at USD$34.3 billion in 2011.
A side note: Interestingly, Forbes’ list of billionaires in the Philippines only contains four names, and majority of them are of Chinese descent.
Philippines’ richest of the rich is China-born Henry Sy of retail giant SM Prime. He is at No. 173 in the global ranking of Forbe’s billionaires.
India’s list, on the other hand, is 55 names long, and their richest billionaire hogs the No. 6 spot in Forbe’s global ranking- Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of the world’s largest steelmaker Arcelor-Mittal. He also ranked No. 47 in Forbes’ list of Powerful People. Lakshmi, like N.R Murthy, was born and educated in India.
The Wall Street Journal’s Asia 200 Survey recognized Infosys as India’s Most Admired Company in 2010, a distinction that the company has held for 9 years in a row. WSJ cited the software corporation’s revenue growth despite the battering that India’s IT sector received from the global recession and the growing anti-outsourcing sentiment in USA.
The footprint that Infosys is imprinting on the global IT sector makes India one of the new forces to reckon with in the East when it comes to the infotech industry.
“We are the symbol of a new India.” This was one of the lines narrated in the video presentation from Infosys during the briefing. It's a claim that can hardly be argued with, given how the company has pushed India to the forefront of cutting-edge technology.
But IT is not the only sector that's molding India's economic rebirth. India is also creating waves in science and the stars.
Up next: Day 6, Part 2: Biocon, where India makes its own medicines
This post is part of my 7 Days of Incredible India series. In case you missed the previous posts in this series, click on the following (at your own risk!) :
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