Clients Thinking About Contingency Plans In Wake Of Infosys’ Continued Visa Woes
Infosys’ continuing visa issues are causing concern for Infosys clients. While at first, the problem sounded isolated and related to a single whistle-blower, the continuing coverage suggests that the problem may be more widespread. Two recent events are increasing client concern. First, there was a CBS Morning News broadcast which seemed to support the original whistle-blower’s accusation. Then, Infosys itself disclosed that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had found errors in a significant percentage of I-9 employment authorization forms.
To make matters worse, clients are puzzled by Infosys’ lackluster response to these charges. For sure Infosys has denied all charges, but this is not a sufficient response to clients that rely on Infosys to keep the lights on every day. Clients are worried about things such as: the impact on Infosys visa-carrying employees if Infosys does “lose” the whistle-blower case or is penalized for irregularities in its I-9 processing; and the public relations risk if Infosys becomes an election year scapegoat for American job loss. Clients want to understand what the worst-case scenario is and work with Infosys to mitigate potential risks. So far, Infosys’ response has been to re-iterate that there is no risk. However, a good sourcing and vendor management expert knows that he or she needs to do more than hope for the best.
So what should clients do? Well, I will tell you what some Forrester clients have been doing: putting contingency plans in place to insulate themselves and their companies from risk. This includes:
- Asking Infosys for documentation about the visa status of all on-site employees.
- Ensuring that all documentation related to Infosys staff activities is up to date and stored on the clients’ network.
- Determining which on-site Infosys resources are mission critical and determining whether they are permitted to hire this staff in the event of a problem.
- Discussing possible disruption with alternate suppliers to gauge their ability to accommodate Infosys’ workload should the need arise.
- Discussing with alternate suppliers their ability to hire Infosys’ staff should the need arise.
Clients are hoping that Infosys will start working with them individually to explore worst-case scenarios and discuss which measures can be put in place to ease their concerns. Infosys has always been considered a reliable and scrupulous industry stalwart, but its response to its recent visa problems (not the accusations, but its response to the accusations) is making clients question their judgment.