VB: I think today customers are pushing large global legacy players to have an offshore capability. They want the same advantages they get from us. But these firms will have to do it slowly. If they do it too aggressively, it will hurt them. They've got to integrate Indian delivery centers into their global sales models. So today, India is a cost center for them. They've got a lot of short-term challenges to handle and short-term pain and integration issues. It will be very interesting to see how that the whole model will evolve in the next few years.
IW: How will Infosys respond to the challenge from companies such as IBM?
VB: We're changing our mind-set and getting strong domain experts who can talk to customers in their own language. Customers want end-to-end players that can scale up to meet their demands quickly. At the same time, we've got to liberate our model, so the services we do, whether application development or BPO [business process outsourcing] leverage re-useable solutions.
IW: Infosys got hit hard after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. Do you think the company has diversified enough that you're insulated from a big downturn like that?
VB: The dot-com bubble bursting affected every player in the business. Still, our business grew by 32 or 34 percent in 2000. I think you have to watch out for the U.S. economy right now. I'm not seeing any impact on the ground of a U.S. slowdown. We've estimated 40 to 41 percent growth in revenue in dollar terms, and we're on target to achieve that. But this industry is difficult to predict for the next 10 years. There aren't many companies that could give you guidance for the next one year. We're projecting to grow by around 35 or 40 percent for the next three years to $60 billion by 2010. I think that looks achievable.
IW: You've noted that India only accounts for around 2 percent of your business. Do you expect that to change in the near future?
VB: The Indian market is still evolving and we're in the initial stages. I don't think the Indian market is ready for service players today, but our economy is growing at 8 or 10 percent. So it could become interesting in the next two or three years.
IW: Are there things the government can do today to help the process along?
VB: I think most of the liberalization has already happened. As for the country as a whole, being a democracy is a big plus point. But Indian companies have to spend more on IT and be ready to pay value for service players like [Infosys].