Indian IT companies need to mitigate visa risk: Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy

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Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy said boards of Indian software companies should identify visas as an important risk and ask their managements what they have done to mitigate this risk.
He said that in 2013, Infosys had come out with a visa independent global delivery model where it reduced the total effort onsite (at the client location) in a project from about 30% on an average to just 10%. “And we said this 10% will be delivered by local hires. We conducted several pilots and all of them were very successful,” he said.
Murthy was speaking to select journalists on Saturday on how to deal with the possibility of the US making it difficult for Indian IT services companies to obtain US work visas, including the H-1B and L-1 visas. These visas are used by companies to send Indian employees to the US to understand customer requirements and to implement and test solutions.
Asked about the progress made towards a visa-independent model, Murthy said journalists should ask the Infosys board and other boards where these initiatives are. “We completed about 7 or 8 pilots before I left the company (in 2014). I’m sure they would have taken it forward, but you may want to ask the senior management and Board of Infosys on its progress,” he said. The model, Murthy said, had not only reduced onsite effort (in the pilot projects) by as much as 200%, but had leveraged the same talent to grow the revenues by at least three-fold.
Murthy indicated that it may be less worthwhile to lobby and rail against the anticipated US moves than to take proactive internal steps to deal with them. “The reality is politicians in any country have the responsibility to ensure that unemployment levels in their country is as low as possible,” he said.
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