Subu Goparaju - Innovating in flat world with Infosys
Infosys - the name is synonymous with Indian IT. Powered by intellect & driven by values, Infosys is one of the most respected companies in the world. Innovating in the flat world is a complex problem and a team of more than 500 researchers is handling it well at Infosys. SETLabs is the place where all the innovation happens!
We are extremely proud to have Mr. Subu Goparaju, VP & Head-SETLabs, Infosys Technologies for a Small Talk with CrazyEngineers!
Check out our Small Talk with Subu Goparaju:-
CE: Sir, could you brief us about your role as the VP of research lab at Infosys?
Subu Goparaju: SETLabs (Software Engineering and Technology Labs) is Infosys’ central research group. We focus on researching emerging technologies and finding innovative applications of these technologies, for use internally (help build and deliver software faster, better and cheaper) as well as in our clients’ businesses. As head of Infosys’s research arm I am responsible for driving the research direction, building significant Intellectual Property, effective protection of IP and commercialization.
CE: What exactly is innovation in services? Why is it important?
Subu Goparaju: Most countries today are experiencing significant growth in Services economy. In many countries contribution of Services sector to GDP is more than Manufacturing and Agriculture. So it is important to innovate in order to deliver services more efficiently as well as create new services opportunities.
Services innovation is mainly about creating newer and better experiences for the consumer using new technology, changed processes and more importantly, improved human factors. It is the design and delivery of new services, more efficiently (and effectively) in a fail-proof manner.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are great enablers of services innovation. For instance, ‘Self Service’, one of the best service innovations, has been made possible mainly because of advances in ICT. So our focus is on innovative application of ICT for services delivery as well as new services creation.
CE: Could you tell us more about SET Labs? Why and how did it come into existence?
Subu Goparaju: SETLabs was started in 2000. At that time we were probably one of the first few IT services/solutions organizations to create a research team.
Infosys pioneered the Global Delivery Model. We were able to manage and deliver complete projects from offshore centers. As we grew bigger and technology change became swifter with Infosys providing more end-to-end IT solutions, it was important for us to work on these technologies more proactively and find innovative applications of emerging ICT. Therefore we started SETLabs in 2000.
SETLabs evolved in many ways since the inception of Infosys. Today we are focused on applied research. applying ICT innovatively for software engineering, and our clients’ business problems. The same technology probably is available to everyone. The difference is in the ability to apply and exploit it. That is where we try to help Infosys’ clients.
CE: With more than 500 researchers, we’re sure that there must be some interesting things happening at SETLabs. Could you give us an overview of what’s cooking inside the lab?
Subu Goparaju: We have people playing various roles - researchers, engineers, and consultants. All our work is primarily focused on two themes: helping clients leverage emerging ICT technologies for faster innovation and building agile IT environments. So we are working on many interesting areas like Convergence, Mobility, Grid Computing, Knowledge Engineering, Analytics, Security, etc.
Building the next-generation software engineering models is another major area of research. The sub-themes in this area are automation, collaboration, simulation and software-assembly. Performance Engineering of systems is another focus area.
We are working with several collaborators (universities and others) in many of these areas. In the last 24 months or so we have filed for several patents in these areas. So a lot of interesting work is happening.
CE: What does it take to join SET Labs? Research is a dream job for lots of Crazy Engineers in our community!
Subu Goparaju: First of all passion for research and innovation; an ability to define problems and find innovative solutions for them; ability to define concepts clearly; and the ability to work in teams.
Every year, we recruit fresh graduates as Junior Research Associates. But the evaluation method is very different. Only about five percent of those who are interviewed are selected. Selection for the interview is based on a test.
CE: Do you see, in future, SETLabs opening up for collaboration with institutes, other companies & communities like CrazyEngineers?
Subu Goparaju: We are already doing that. In future it will only increase. We are working with several universities both in India and abroad; for instance, IISc and IIIT-H in India and Purdue and USC in the US and QUT in Australia. We are also participating in research consortia such as Smart Services CRC of Australia. The work we are doing with clients, for instance, is a great example of Innovation Co-Creation with clients.
With respect to communities like Crazy Engineers, why not? Innovation-Co-Creation is the theme at SETLabs and Infosys. We shall certainly explore opportunities.
CE: Do you have any plans to set up SaaS practice in the future? If yes, what are the areas you are looking at?
Subu Goparaju: Infosys already has a SaaS practice doing some very interesting things. Currently the SaaS practice focuses on Social Commerce and GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) platforms. Innovation in Web 2.0 technologies and others for differentiating the SaaS models is an area of research at SETLabs.
CE: Are you investing some of your efforts in product innovation too?
Subu Goparaju: Yes. Non-linear growth models are important for Infosys. We are trying to convert some of our more mature IP into products.
CE: Heading a talented group of researchers must be a tough job. How has life been at Infosys in general?
Subu Goparaju: It is a lot of fun and a learning experience. Yes, there are challenges like creating an environment for innovation, taking advantage of all the innovations we do. It’s challenging, but that makes it interesting.
CE: Sir, thank you for sparing your time for us. What is your message to the Crazy Engineers?
Subu Goparaju: Thanks. It is my pleasure talking to CEans. We all know the world needs a lot of innovation. Innovation in services is fun and challenging. Innovative application of ICT is as much fun as creating those technologies.