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Phaneesh Murthy: Pioneering the Future of IT With Primentor

Phaneesh Murthy Pioneering the Future of IT With Primentor
Photo: Unsplash.com

By: Zach Miller

To be recognized as a leader in any industry is rare; to be an acknowledged pioneer is even more extraordinary. Phaneesh Murthy, the CEO of Primentor, is one of those few individuals in the IT space — a pioneer so singular he might as well be a unicorn.

Throughout his 30-year career, Murthy has established himself as a trailblazer in IT because of his ability to take calculated risks, his commitment to innovation, and his visionary ideals. This cocktail of skills has allowed him to develop industry-disruption strategies, putting him on the map. Unsurprisingly, virtually every mid-level company he’s worked with has been transformed into a global giant.

What’s his secret? At a recent conference, he shared, “My entire management model, it changes the way I’ve been working all my life. Can I adapt to change? Can I make that change? I’m unsure about myself, and because I’m unsure, I think many of us hold back from doing it, knowing fully well that it can give us better value. Right?

“So I think it’s really the FUD factor: the fear, uncertainty, doubt in our own heads about our own abilities to do that transformation. And remember, business transformation starts with individual transformation. If I can’t be the change, then I cannot expect my organization to change. So that’s the key thing.”

Phaneesh Murthy: Shaping the Future of IT 

When Murthy joined Infosys, the company had a lot of untapped potential. Under his leadership, this potential transformed into reality, and its revenues skyrocketed to $700 million. His resounding success with Infosys secured him a leadership position with iGate. This was his moment in the spotlight, and he displayed his true capabilities. He restructured the company and acquired Patni Systems. He transformed iGate into a Tier 1 tech company, and its value reached $4.8 billion. 

Murthy shared about breaking through at Infosys, “It was a strange world. I must tell you this because I was the first MBA in the company. At least two of the founder directors asked me, ‘Phaneesh, if you don’t know how to code, what will you do in Infosys?’ And I said, ‘Well, there are other things I hope in a company beyond just coding.'” 

Murthy’s success is attributable to his successful use of tech/ops convergence. This gives him a holistic appreciation of a company’s processes, allowing him to generate incredible value in relatively short periods. As the CEO of Primentor, Murthy is currently mentoring executives at multiple high-profile companies and helping them dramatically scale their companies. 

His efforts as an executive mentor have uniquely positioned him to shape the future of IT. Murthy founded Primentor with the singular intention of helping senior executives in large organizations create shareholder value by enhancing business agility in uncertain environments. 

He achieves this by helping businesses not only adopt modern technology, but also optimize their operations to maximize the effect. When he’s brought on, usually as a board member, Murthy immediately evaluates the existing technology and identifies gaps in the operations that could benefit from modernization and further optimization. The end goal is to make the operations leaner and more efficient. 

This adoption of technology doesn’t always translate into scalability. The reason for this is simple: Executives everywhere approach technology and operations in a siloed manner. Murthy helps break this mold and facilitates the company’s transition toward a more integrated technology and operations business model. 

A Visionary Approach 

Phaneesh Murthy earned a reputation as a visionary early in his career. From the very beginning, he was clear that he wanted his work to have a measurable impact. When he started, India was going through a massive balance-of-payment crisis due to a heavy reliance on imports. While at iGate and Infosys, Murthy mastered and fine-tuned his business model of offshoring costs. Stalwarts of India’s tech sector were highly skeptical of his business model, convinced it would backfire. But Phaneesh Murthy soldiered on. His idea of breaking down operations and carrying them out in locations with the lowest cost yielded surprising results — and eventually became the standard for India’s tech sector. 

“None of it is really rocket science,” said Murthy. “I think, in general, great services companies have been created because of discontinuities in the marketplace. So, if I just go back and look at all the discontinuities in the marketplace, there were many companies that came about because the technology just continued to change to client-server and e-business, and there was a whole range of companies that basically were born and created then.

“From the Indian IT industry, we created what I call the operating model discontinuity. And the operating model discontinuity is that we said, ‘We’ll just do the same thing; we’ll just do it faster, cheaper, better from India.'”

His ingenuity and fearlessness allowed him to become a market leader, and he urged companies to adopt a similar attitude. It comes as no surprise that Phaneesh Murthy is a staunch advocate of the early adoption of emerging technologies.

These technologies, he argues, are constantly changing the way customers interact with businesses, and companies must be responsive to these technologies and implement them early. The early adoption will give them the advantage they need over their competitors, allowing them to truly reap the benefits. The technology that has captivated Murthy’s attention these days is generative artificial intelligence. 

“Generative AI may seem like a buzzword right now, but I truly believe it has the power to provide organizations with an advantage when implemented strategically,” he told Ideamensch. 

Phaneesh Murthy is actively exploring successful AI integration into his client’s operations. What fascinates him the most about the AI revolution is how rapidly this field is developing. He’s been following each development closely and expects companies to do the same. It’s the only way they can stay ahead of the curve. 

Strategic Mentoring for Startups

Murthy’s advice to tech startups is relatively straightforward: Maintain focus. He advises that the only way companies can keep their edge is by maintaining a strong focus on their core competency. A company’s core competency is the thing that differentiates it from others, also known as its unique selling proposition. 

“When you start small, there are tendencies to scatter all over the place and spray around with a machine gun,” Phaneesh Murthy advised.

Maintaining focus is for more than just startups. It’s also needed for companies going through a transformation. This is where Phaneesh Murthy really shines. He has helped multiple international companies seamlessly transition through periods of digital transformation. He understands that maintaining focus is a difficult task, especially if you’re responsible for every employee’s focus. This is why he urges executive mentees to emphasize communication during these periods of flux. It helps everyone stay on task.

For companies struggling with focus, Phaneesh Murthy has some parting advice. Creating a catchy mission statement will get you nowhere. A company, on its own, is incapable of focusing on anything. Concentrate efforts on your people — they’re the only ones who share your values and can facilitate a smooth transition.

“I think it is important for leaders and business people to share their insights and goals with one another in order to make a more robust culture or company,” he said.

Published by: Martin De Juan

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