Indiana: What the H— Does INFOSYS Do?

No one likes reading the copy on business websites. Not the client, not customers and certainly not the writer. But for the sake of research, I spent several hours slogging through the equal parts ambiguous and ambitious language of the Infosys website to learn more about the company setting up shop at the Indianapolis International Airport to fill 3,000 jobs. Huge investment, huge opportunity, but a huge disappointment if it falls through. So here’s a few things you might want to know about this India-based company.

How do you pronounce the company’s name?

The answer is…In-FO-sis. How to write it is another matter. Many of the articles by Indian business writers capitalize all seven letters of the company’s name (INFOSYS), but most American and English writers are capitalizing only the first letter. I’ll do both, just to be an ass.

What does Infosys/INFOSYS do?

After reading at least a half-dozen articles on the subject, I am now going to summarize this as no one has ever summarized it before: they make dull software and help companies use it. Whew! Unless you fall asleep to visions of Microsoft Access, what they make isn’t very interesting. In fact, it’s the coding equivalent of Perry Como and warm milk.

Ugh. Is there anything interesting about them?

Don’t get me wrong. Any company worth slightly over $37 billion is interesting. But I’ll toss out a few numbers, conveniently available on the Infosys site, to shake things up. This billion-dollar behemoth started in 1981 with seven founders, who pooled a grand total of $250 to start the company.  Four decades later, Forbes named it the 19th most innovative company in the world.INFOSYS employs over 200,000 people worldwide, and over a third of that workforce is composed of women. For a tech giant, that’s progressive. People must not mind the job too much either; it has a churn (attrition) rate of 15%, on par with the current US industries.   

Whoa, calm down. I don’t want you getting too excited. I’ll bring you back down with this bit of info: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India placed Infosys in its Hall of Fame after the company received the institute’s Best Presented Accounts Awardeleven years in a row. Yes, you read all that correctly. There’s a celebratory institute for chartered accounts, it has a hall of fame and it hands out awards.

Worst. Afterparty. Ever.

Have they done anything naughty?

Surprisingly, not really. They weathered a lawsuit in 2013 that accused the company of hiring workers with temporary H-1B visas, in an effort to save money on its American workforce by hiring foreigners inside the United States. Eventually they settled for $34 million, but admitted no guilt. INFOSYS just wanted the headache to go away, and the $34 million bought them the world’s largest aspirin. That is only skeleton hanging in their closet, and it’s not much of a skeleton.

Okay, so why does INFOSYS mean for Indiana?

To be honest, not much yet. Before the company hires workers to populate its training hub, it has to build it first. But Governor Holcomb, while promising plenty of tax incentives to INFOSYS, is also being cautious. Incentives will only come when Infosys demonstrates good faith efforts to follow through. That doesn’t mean PowerPoint and websites. That means concrete and conduit and Hoosier hires. Good thinking, Governor.

But the company hopes to break ground on the hub before the end of 2018, and its promised hiring quota (2,000 workers) isn’t projected until 2021 or 2023, with no timeline set on the additional 1,000 workers.

So what does that mean for Hoosiers?

It means we’ll have to wait and see.