The bizarre poetry of Infosys’ influencer email

Infosys is the second-largest systems integrator in India, the epicenter of outsourcing. One of their analyst relations people recently sent a friend of mine an entertainingly baroque email.

infosysSystems integrators are huge companies that have trouble articulating their differentiation. They have various technical strengths and will build what you ask them to build. Differentiating is even harder for the big Indian outsourcers attempting to influence Americans who lack the cultural background to understand them.

With that in mind, read the opening paragraph from this analyst relations email. For your own safety, please put down your hot beverage before reading this.

Subject: IoT – Infosys of Things – How we are connecting the physical and digital world

Greetings from Infosys!

As the IoT juggernaut bulldozes aside the erstwhile world of disconnected things – Infosys too has motored along, sometimes piloting the strategic direction of the beast, sometimes fuelling the engine as an ecosystem integrator, and occasionally being a passenger – enjoying the view and sharing our viewpoint on the road ahead ! Now, as our world embarks on what will perhaps be the journey of our times, this is a good moment to take a brief pit stop and bring you up to speed on what we have been doing in IoT, and where we are heading.

The experience you get from reading this is not typically available without ingesting illegal substances.

A few observations:

  • While the theme of driving runs throughout, you can’t bulldoze, motor, pilot, and journey in one metaphor. Worlds don’t embark on journeys. And you can’t get up to speed during a pit stop. Please keep your metaphors going in one direction. I’m getting carsick.
  • Here are some words to avoid in business writing: juggernaut, erstwhile, up to speed. Ecosystem is problematic unless you define it carefully.
  • Exclamation points are like pepper. Overusing them is jarring. One per email is plenty.
  • “Infosys of Things” sounds like a major branding effort around the “Internet of Things,” similar to Cisco’s “Internet of Everything.” But it isn’t. The person who sent this email made it up. Don’t create new branding for your company without checking with marketing first.
  • Analyst relations — and any form of PR that attempts to persuade “influencers” — works best with personalized content. When that’s not possible, any email sent to a group of people (as this one clearly was) needs careful editing. A decent editor would have rewritten this paragraph (after spitting out her coffee) so the influencers didn’t have to laugh at it.

You can read the rest of the email, but it’s not nearly as interesting. It does, however, have two salient characteristics.

First, it is a list of “Internet of Things” projects that Infosys did, formatted randomly and inconsistently in various voices and tenses. This again creates the impression of a first draft that wastes the readers time.

And second, it is a truly impressive list. Infosys has some amazing projects in its portfolio.

Editors are crucial, especially when communicating with influential people across a cultural divide. Don’t skip that step if you want your targets to take you seriously.

Photo: Infosys team-building exercise by Thejovardhana Kote via Flickr

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