In the world of business, there are leaders who rise above challenges, transform adversity into opportunity, and create lasting impact. Phaneesh Murthy, a name synonymous with resilience and innovation, is one such leader. His journey from humble beginnings to becoming a driving force behind some of the technology industry’s most significant transformations is a testament to his unwavering determination and visionary mindset.
The global IT industry veteran and CEO of Primentor Inc sat down with Nitin Bajaj from The Industry Show to demystify the rise of companies like Infosys, iGATE, and now Primentor Inc.
A Visionary Emerges
Phaneesh Murthy’s story began with a vision – a vision to create something impactful, something that would make a difference. In the 1990s, India had gone through a massive balance of payment crisis mainly due to a reliance on imports. At the same time, Murthy, who had graduated from two of India’s most prestigious colleges, the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management, had embarked upon a journey that would redefine not only the tech industry but India itself.
While his first career break came at Sonata, a software startup, he was soon tasked with mobilizing the Global Delivery Model for Infosys – the poster boy for India’s tech industry in the 90s. Murthy helped Infosys grow its revenue from less than $2 million in 1992 to an astounding $750 million in 2002.
Within a decade, he had not only transformed Infosys into a multi-billion dollar company but also cemented India’s place as a leader in tech exports. “I think it was a really fascinating time because I believe I was not just part of a company in the making, I believe I was very much part of an industry in the making, the Indian IT industry,” reminisced Murthy. “But more importantly, I actually do believe I was also part of a country in the making at that time.”
On The Road To Success
While reflecting on his success, Murthy spoke about the acquisition of his startup Quintant by iGATE, which at the time was a publicly listed company that was struggling with poor operating margins and a myriad of other problems. “The iGATE founders and the iGATE board had always been after me to come in and join as CEO, and I had started my own stuff,” he said. “It had happened before I started my company, but they continued to pursue. And I said, look, I’ve already started my company and they said, we’ll buy your company.”
When iGATE acquired Quintant, they also acquired the services of Murthy – who over the next 4-5 years completely transformed the company. “I took the company from about a negative 20% margin to a 25% operating margin, and from about $65 million enterprise value to about $4 billion of enterprise value,” he said. Murthy achieved this growth by introducing the iTOP’s model and by making the bold move to acquire Patni Computers, a company twice the size of iGATE in terms of revenue. As he reflected on his tenure at iGATE, his words revealed a profound understanding of turning challenges into opportunities. “If you don’t have any problems, an acquisition can help you quite dramatically,” said Murthy.
Primentor and The Rise of The iTOPS (Integrated Technology and Operations) Model
While Murthy was at iGATE, he pioneered a model that focused on the convergence between technology and operations. He leveraged this model to increase the enterprise value of iGate from $70 Million to $4.8 Billion over a span of 11 years.
At Primentor Inc, Murthy uses this same model to help senior executives break cycles of stagnation and promote hyper-growth. Primentor’s IT/Ops strategies are rooted in practicality. They involve evaluating a company’s existing technology and operations, designing more efficient operating models, and supporting the migration process. This approach ensures that businesses not only adopt modern technology but also adapt their operations to fully leverage their potential. By providing actionable insights and hands-on support, Primentor empowers businesses to navigate the challenges of digital transformation and achieve sustainable growth.
By leveraging these offerings, Primentor empowers organizations to smoothly navigate the shift to an integrated Technology & Operations business model, ushering in a new era of enhanced efficiency and value creation.
A Family Man and a Golfer
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Phaneesh Murthy cherishes his role as a father. He takes pride in watching his children’s journeys unfold and in sharing moments of joy and exploration with his youngest daughter. “My daughter is just five, so she’s still in the happy-go-lucky world and it’s great,” he said. And I’m going back to all of these Disneyland’s and Sea Worlds and all of those things through her eyes, which is fantastic.”
Murthy is also an avid golfer, finding solace and challenge on the greens. While he modestly describes his skills as average, it’s clear that he approaches golf, much like his business endeavors, with determination and a desire for improvement.