Infosys exec starts Vic information manager

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Infosys Australia founder and second-in-charge Ananda Rao has started a Melbourne company targeting global opportunities for information management and solutions.

Ananda Rao, executive director and second-in-command at Infosys Australia, said he was leaving Infosys on 31 October to head up his new information management provider Benchmark Group Holdings.

Rao founded the Australian arm of Indian service provider Infosys in 1999.

He said he had noticed there were few companies that could manage all of the information available in different file formats for large organisations.

"It will be anything from audio files, internet files, structured data, unstructured data. It doesn't really matter, the kind of information. We will also allow you to change your information and format it in a way you can use right away," Rao said.

Rao said he decided to leave Infosys and form Benchmark Group to take advantage of that opportunity. He was one of a number of investors bankrolling the new company, but added that the amount of investment and other details were still being negotiated.

Benchmark Group Holdings would also comprise various information solutions businesses. The first, Value Chain Integration, was slated to launch in early 2006, Rao said.

A press statement released by Rao said Value Chain Integration would use the collective knowledge of various "well-known IT heavyweights".

Rao said in an interview that Australia was a good place to start such a company. While companies existed that could manage part of a company's information, few could manage the lot.

"Infosys, IBM [and others], they're all about the creation of the information," he said.

Rao said Benchmark Group would work with service providers, such as content aggregators and mobile applications providers.

"We'll become the glue when it comes to content acquisition [for example]," he added. "It will also be useful for governments globally."

Australia had many good IT architects and other skilled IT people. Also, it was a relatively safe environment to incubate such an operation, which could then expand globally, Rao said.

Benchmark Group was eyeing office openings in the UK, US and China by April 2006 and a public listing in five years, he said.

The company has six staff, five of whom are based in Melbourne, including Rao. Another was due to come on board soon and Benchmark Group expected to field 40 by the end of its first year, Rao said.

Rao was speaking by phone from Bangalore in India, where he was closing a deal to acquire some intellectual property for the group, he said.
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