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Rediff.com  » Business » Infosys logs on to luxury with world's largest training centre

Infosys logs on to luxury with world's largest training centre

Last updated on: September 21, 2009 

Infosys logs on to luxury with world's largest training centre

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Ravi Menon & Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Bangalore

The ambience prompted Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who inaugurated the 1.44 million square feet mega-structure on Tuesday, to joke that she wouldn't mind "bunking" party politics, at least temporarily.

Gandhi wasn't alone in appreciating the grandeur of the world's largest corporate training centre that can handle 14,000 employees at any given time.

"The kids here are lucky to study in a place like this," says architect Hafeez Contractor, looking fondly at his own creation - the Global Education Centre II set up by Infosys Technologies.


Image: Infosys' Global Development Center - I, Mysore. Inset: Hafeez Contractor.
Photographs: Courtesy, Infosys
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The centre took him three months to design and just over two years to execute. And no, this was not his toughest project, though he is delighted with the results.

Located at its 337-acre Mysore campus, Infosys spent over Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) in setting up the centre, of which Rs 1,700 crore (Rs 17 billion) was spent on education- and training-related infrastructure.

T V Mohandas Pai, Infosys' head of HR and administration, says: "We have looked at balancing the best infrastructure against the right training vision. GEC-II is the largest building to be built in independent India in the classical Roman style. The main foyer of the building is modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, only the floor area is bigger."


Image: Multiplex theatre at Infosys' Mysore campus.
Photographs: Courtesy, Infosys.
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The magnitude of plexiglass, marbonite, landscaping, greenery and all the stylised concrete is grand enough.

But most breathtaking is the Renaissance-style library (it has 80,000 books) lined with pew-shaped reading tables, balustrades and wood-panelled floors.

In the training room, a student can project her computer or laptop onto a wide screen for others to see.

"Smart Classrooms", as the training rooms are called, are networked to broadcast or webcast lectures and presentations to other Infosys campuses across the country.


Image: The Pyramid at Infosys Bangalore.
Photographs: Courtesy, Infosys
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For a "conservative" company, as founder N R Narayana Murthy loves to call it, Infosys has pulled all the stops to design 95 world-class facilities.

These include hostels, luxurious guest houses, gyms with world-class equipment, seven gigantic food courts, a world-class athletic track, six badminton courts, the world's biggest laundry, four squash courts, pool and snooker parlours, swimming pools, a glitzy bowling alley and swish jacuzzis.

It also has a synthetic eight-track sprinting oval and a sphere-shaped multiplex housing three 145-seat theatres.


Image: Infosys' Pune campus.
Photographs: Courtesy, Infosys.
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But Murthy justifies the costs: "We saw a world-class training facility that could impress our clientele as a necessity of the times.

"Many of our clients stay at the Mysore campus when they visit us and it is important that they take away a positive view of the company."

If the capacity of the earlier training centre is added, Infosys will now bring to the table 147 training rooms, 485 faculty rooms, 42 conference rooms, five assessment halls, an induction hall, a cyber-cafe and two libraries which can together house over 1,40,000 books.


Image: Infosys' Mangalore campus.
Photographs: Courtesy, Infosys.
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Even though the company hires the best brains in the industry, a little over four out of 100 candidates it hires fail to qualify the test that follows a six-month rigorous training period (from three months earlier).

"Training a person for 16 weeks costs us Rs 250,000 per person. We now spend Rs 870 crore (Rs 8.7 billion) every year on educating and training our workforce as against Rs 750 crore (Rs 7.5 billion) earlier.

"The new centres have helped us add value to plain vanilla software development and maintenance training, and widen the horizons of our student trainees," explains Pai.


Image: Development Center at Infosys Bangalore.
Photographs: Courtesy, Bangalore
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So, is all this just sheer grandstanding or is there a purpose to the spending?

"We can't build campuses looking at current requirements," asserts Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan, adding: "The Mysore campus has provisioned for space keeping in mind capacity requirements five years down the line.

"We are looking at training 50,000 people at the campus by then, and the infrastructure has to be in tune with future requirements."

More than 16,000 entrants into Infosys were trained in 2008-09 and 16,000 more are expected to be trained this year.

Infosys has also trained students from countries like Australia, Japan, Bhutan, China, Columbia, the UK and the US at the centre.


Image: Global Development center, Infosys, Mysore.
Photographs: Courtesy, Infosys
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