Over 800 flying hours is tiring Vishal Sikka but here’s how he is grappling with challenges and re-shaping IT sector

Infosys is facing a string of problems, first the governance issue between the founders and the board and then US President Donald Trump’s tightening H1-B visa norms.

It has been a tough year for the IT conglomerate but Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka is going strong. Even though he is tired and fatigued due to constant travel, Sikka is going strong to make Infosys at number one position.

"The whole thing has become quite complicated," Sikka told Bloomberg in a recent interview. Asked about his haggard appearance, the 49-year-old said he didn't sleep the previous night because he was thinking about the changes overtaking the industry.

Infosys took a different path and set out to build automated software and tools that would detect problems and solve them with less human intervention, freeing up consultants to provide more specialised and proactive services.

"Vishal Sikka is a great technologist and has all the right ideas. But he inherited a firm with a culture and history that doesn't lend itself to his vision," Ashutosh Sharma, who heads Forrester Research in India, told ET.


Sikka has set inspirational goals and in a bid to achieve them, he is travelling and spending more time with clients and scouting out opportunities across the globe.

Bloomberg reported Sikka took 99 commercial and 17 private flights in 2016, amounting to 800-plus flying hours. Sikka blamed his fading mirth on the constant travel.

"The job travel wears you down but it is the only way to level with customers," he said.

One of his initiatives is the Zero Distance program, which pushes employees to come up with ways to help solve customers' complex problems and needs.

"We are approaching a time when any problem that can be mechanically articulated can be automated. I want us to become a company of 200,000 innovators where entrepreneurship, risk-taking and agility are ingrained in everyone," Sikka told Bloomberg.

Sikka admits that he's running out of time to make all of this happen, even though his tenure was recently extended until 2021 despite the spat with the founders.

"This will be the last year when we can be ahead of the curve in technology," Sikka said. "Next year, we will be abreast. Two years from now, it will be too late."