It’s truely amazing – in a sad way. I know I’ve been banging on about this for ages, but maybe one day the right person reads this and changes something in there own organisation. And after all, Blogs are supposed to expose a personal opinion to discussion rather than just spread technical facts, so here we go.
My best hope is that it’s merely a communication problem (bad enough) and Junior Consultants in large System Integrators and Service Providers could actually have access to the knowledge they need, but for some reason believe they have to get along without help.
Just today I’ve seen an employee of an offshore service centre of a large UK based service provider, who run SAP based payroll for a large number of clients and surely know how to implement all the latest UK statutory changes. Yet, this employee seems desperate for help in how to deploy shared parental leave – half a year after it has become a legal requirement. Sure, many employers lack behind, but I guess about half of their customers would have implemented by now, so the expertise must be there. Yet, the organisation doesn’t seem to know how to do shared parental leave (or holiday pay, or latest RTI changes). Only individuals know and their colleague on a far away island finds it easier to spend a lot of time on the SCN to find it. No best practise database? No culture of sharing and asking?
And still: she seems to be lucky. At least, she is allowed to use the SCN. Not long ago I had a consultant from a global SI, who knew my name from the SCN email me directly to ask a very elaborate question about ALE in HCM (it must have taken an hour to write and at least as long to answer). Much better chances for an answer on the SCN, but it seems they are “not encouraged” to do that. Nor did he receive much help from his colleagues, when I expect dozens should have been able to give this answer.
Why is this? Why are experts in Human Capital Management not able to develop their own Human Capital by sharing their knowledge about Human Capital Management? Don’t start the story of the cobbler’s kid’s shoes again! It’s not an explanation – just a poor excuse.
There is one guess from me. It’s the same reason, why I left a medium size SI back in the days, because collaboration and the ethos of doing the right thing for the client both died, when they went public.
What happens in these organisations, when you ask a colleague for more than 5 minutes of their time: they ask for a project ID to bill it to. Because that’s what they are measured by. Alas, junior colleagues (or seniors, who should really be asking just as much) don’t have an “ask a colleague” budget on their projects. So, they can’t ask.
It’s really sad. I’ve never managed a large SI, so the problem is probably not as easy to resolve as I think. But, if you are, are you even trying? How much do you invest in building and spreading knowledge? Compare that to what an oil company invests to get oil out of the ground and to the pump. Because knowledge is for you, what oil is for them.
The irony is that many young professionals join the big brands, because it looks good on CVs and allegedly they learn a lot. Maybe, when this perception changes (we certainly apply a discount factor of 30-60% to candidates’ experience from large SIs) and labour shortage kicks in, we see a change here.
Until then: if you are an SI’s CxO and you want to improve, please take your time. The day you’ll all get this sorted, small companies like ours will struggle to compete on quality and beat the brand.