BANGALORE, India and REDMOND, Wash., May 17, 2006 — The vast quantities of data available today — on the Internet, in intranet environments and on desktops — are forcing companies to re-think how employees find, use and share vital business information.
At the Microsoft CEO Summit in Redmond this week, Microsoft outlined a broad vision for enabling seamless access to people and information— as well as upcoming solutions to help employees find, use and share information more quickly, easily and securely. To help make this vision become reality, Microsoft is depending on partners such as Infosys Technologies Limited — one of Microsoft’s global Systems Integration alliance partners. For a better understanding of the partnership between the two companies, the trends and challenges in the search space that are driving the alliance, and the opportunities it presents to Infosys, PressPass spoke with Pradeep Prabhu, Associate Vice President of Infosys.
PressPass: What is your current relationship with Microsoft?
Prabhu: Infosys and Microsoft have a longstanding strategic alliance. We are part of the Microsoft Global System Integrator taxonomy. This is the fifth year of our relationship, and the partnership is centered on how Infosys and Microsoft can provide IT-led business transformation programs for our clients. Together, we share a commitment to accelerating competitive impact for a customer’s business and its people delivered with speed, predictability and high value.
PressPass: What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s announcements this week around enterprise information management?
Prabhu: The enterprise information management space is a very important space for our clients and for Infosys. Microsoft’s announcement of an expanded suite of search-related products is very welcome for Infosys as a partner as well as for our clients. Infosys has a vision around enterprise information management and we believe that it aligns well with Microsoft’s vision and the product suite they announced. Together we can help our clients be more productive, efficient and make better decisions through enterprise information management.
PressPass: Please elaborate on Infosys’ vision around enterprise information management.
Prabhu: We believe that Information is the backbone for an Enterprise. Companies who can holistically manage information, unstructured and structured, for both business and operational intelligence will accelerate their competitive impact in the marketplace. Infosys already has many initiatives around enterprise information management, and what we’ve done over the last eight to nine months is to really look across the various initiatives at Infosys and select the relevant emerging technologies in the market that will help us build a comprehensive framework and infrastructure to help our clients to be able to holistically manage enterprise information data in both the structured as well as the unstructured world. This will enable business intelligence and operational intelligence applications.
PressPass: In your view, what trends in enterprise information management make this good timing for the Microsoft announcement?
Prabhu: Search, and finding the relevant data, has been more important in the last few years with the deluge of information, access technologies and information management technologies. Our clients are looking at how to find the right data, how to find it quickly, how to find it most efficiently and how to make better decisions out of that data. So clearly, Microsoft’s unified vision here of Internet, intranet and the desktop, and bringing that all together, can help clients be more efficient and productive in accessing & sharing data.
PressPass: What are you hearing from customers around search pain points?
Prabhu: Many of these are common challenges such as information overload, but one typical challenge that we consistently hear from our customers is around the world of structured data and unstructured data living in silos. Companies are facing productivity and efficiency issues due to lack of technologies that can aggregate holistically both structured and unstructured data to provide relevant and actionable intelligence. We are committed to helping organizations with these problems and that’s really what Infosys’ vision is all about — bringing these two different worlds together and, as part of that, building the industry knowledge models so that building business applications and accessing data through those applications becomes very efficient and very effective.
PressPass: Can you give some kind of scenario illustrating what you mean by bringing structured and unstructured data together?
Prabhu: Let’s take an example in the automotive industry. When automotive companies sell their cars, there is a one-year warranty period. Let’s say the fuel pump on a particular model is faulty, thus generating a lot of customer complaints. Under the current system, the customer writes a complaint on a piece of paper, and a mechanic might also write certain comments on paper. For example, he might comment that the relay for the fuel pump is not working for whatever reason. The automotive company might have to process millions of such complaints and comments, and it’s all done manually. These documents are scanned and put into an enterprise content management system, and they constitute unstructured data — perhaps in the form of a Microsoft Word document, a PDF document or a Microsoft Excel document.
Structured data, on the other hand, has to do with information about the fuel pump itself — the part number, the name of the part and so on — which is stored in a relational database management system (RDBMS) such as a Microsoft SQL Server. To correlate these two worlds, an employee has to go through all these complaints one by one. What we are saying is there should be a mechanism to relate the structured world and the unstructured world seamlessly
PressPass: Are these challenges horizontal across all customers, or do they vary from industry to industry?
Prabhu: They are specific to particular industries. Where Infosys adds value is in bringing industry knowledge and building industry knowledge models. That’s why we provide the industry-specific search solutions using technologies such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server and 2007 Microsoft Office System.
PressPass: What are the areas of opportunity for Infosys in the enterprise search market?
Prabhu: Our opportunity is in providing a comprehensive enterprise information management infrastructure and strategy for our clients, and providing the industry-specific business applications and industry-specific search applications for our clients.
PressPass: Any other comments?
Prabhu: I would like to elaborate a little more on our relationship with Microsoft. Infosys and Microsoft enjoy a 360-degree reciprocal relationship – as mutual customers, providers and partners.
As a customer, Infosys is at the forefront of Microsoft technology adoption, within our enterprise to support the needs of over 52,000 employees. We are also a Microsoft Global Account and a strategic vendor to Microsoft for IT and product development. As a partner, we are part of the Microsoft Global System Integrator community and have scaled this alliance across many fronts.
Joint IT-led transformation initiative with Microsoft (http://www.infosys.com/catalyticit)
Over 30 service offerings and high value repeatable solutions on the Microsoft platform
Access to top industry and technology skills with over 15,000 people trained on Microsoft technologies
Center of excellence on Microsoft platform within Infosys driving thought leadership and solution development
Dedicated marketing and sales efforts between the two companies fostering customer adoption.