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Glorious 5 Years in Arowana Consulting

Glorious 5 Years in Arowana Consulting

I am really amazed to see myself from the year 2009 to 2014… How I was in 2009? What kind of great changes in 2014? How is it possible?

I am not sure whether it is because of Arowana or because of my Age. One thing is for sure that I am working with a good employer and probably I can say as best employer for me.

Why is it a big deal for me to write about 5 years in a company? 

Only very few know with whom I am very close to from 1994, that I hate to continue in one company or in one stream and I will not be able to do a monotonous job.  My resume also will speak about my switching careers, but it is part of life, but somehow I wanted to stick with one company at least for 3 years. My patience level with most of the companies is 11 months and maximum was 19 months, I will learn and earn and leave the company. (not matured to serve the company)

I can say that whatever I learned, I utilized all my experiences with Arowana to stick with them for 5 years. Apart from Utilizing my own experiences, I learnt the art of patience from Arowana. I have to thank them for the way they have given me the opportunities. I have shown my attitude, arrogance as like others but when it is required to show my self-respect and not to damage the reputation of the company.

Now I know that I can’t beat this record of 5 years with any other companies as I don’t have that much patience to work for long time.

I remember how I joined Arowana and it was not a decision I made to stay here for 5 years. In an anger, I resigned from my previous employer. Initially I thought to take it as break. I was working continuously without any break. Due to the market situation/recession, I was forced to take a long break almost for 5 months and Arowana’s offer was the first one on my way while I was enjoying the break. I took it to give an end to my break, thinking that I will work for 3 or 6 months with them and I will switch over. That was the opinion provided by the friend who was with Arowana at that time.

Arowana might not be a ROSE flower to smell and enjoy the fragrance but it is not a cactus. If anyone is feeling it as a cactus, please find your way is what I will say as an employee of Arowana. No one is forcing you to hug a cactus for your survival and the more you are hugging, you will feel it as pain and create pain for others. We are the plants and we make it as a rose or cactus and I believe in it, I move with that belief.

From the day of joining, I know the people who are close to me, known to me who was working with arowana, left the organization and from other companies friends also left, but I never felt that I have to leave or even I have not given a try to find a job outside. Couple of years ago I tried with one of the company in India, and that was a trial to brush my skills to attend an interview.

4 years back one of my best friends who know me since 1995 asked me about my whereabouts in Skype, I told her that I am working with Arowana consulting and am into ERP Oracle practice from 2004. To her great surprise, she questioned me, how come you are still with Oracle, I thought by this time you would have switched to SAP/Siebel or out of IT.

After a short conversation with her, she asked how long you are with Arowana, Please change your company as soon as possible. I was surprised to hear this, because one side she was happy that I am into ERP for long time and she doesn’t want me to work with Arowana. She is like one of my best friend whose words are like bible for me, I will follow her.

But this time, I asked her the reason for it. She said, the reputation of the company is not good, the more you stay with them, you are going to lose your value. May be that is one of the reason for me to continue such long or what I don’t know.

I told her with a smile in my face, company’s reputation is based on the employees not based on the employers. Arowana does well means its employees are doing well and Arowana is doing worst or bad, then it means employees are not doing well.

Above all, I don’t have any issue with Arowana and I am happy to be part of it. I will not search a job as long as I am working with them. If I feel that I have to resign from Arowana, I will do it without even thinking for a minute, but as of now I am happy. Absolutely there is no issue with the company. She knows how I came out of Singapore, in 1996, I have thrown resignation on the Manager’s face for not approving the leaves and I am still proud of that act. But I will not do such thing for sure in future, you learn from your mistakes.

There are people who used to leave the organization without giving the notice period, without serving the notice period. We do have some hiccup issues but I can manage with it. I am thinking myself as an employer as I have faced these kind of heat and I know the difficulties of running an organization. If someone wants to leave for such reason, let them go and even I will say don’t stop them.

I don’t have any issues either with holding the passport (I hold my passport) or with the leaves or with the medical reimbursements or with any other thing for that matter. There is a delay but it is a known fact and even when I refer someone, I used to tell them all these as facts and if you wish, you can send your CV.

Whatever you are reading from the consumer complaints or any other social media are based on the individual employees reviews and comments. Everywhere it is same that when you are going to leave the organization, we have to see the hatred at both the ends. No Company is good in that matter. If at all I have to get relieved smoothly or for any other reason, I have to do the needful. Tomorrow I might have to face the heat but I am sure that I will not face like others or cry for that matter.

At times companies like TCS, Infosys sends a team out. Arowana has not gained any bad name of sending its employees. Here and there they would have asked one or two cases to leave based on some comments or feedbacks from their customers.

The reason for sharing the above incident is to say that WE ARE THE PILLARS of the company and without me spoiling the name of the company, it will not get spoiled. I am trying my best effort not to harm my reputation and I expect the fellow Arowanites to do the same. At least for the salary what you get (even delayed, but still you are getting it), be sincere and faithful for what you are getting today from your employer.

Today on the day of completing 5 years, I can proudly say that I have got increments with my employer and I am happy with what I have got. The last increment was not satisfying but I don’t complain or crimp about it because it was done across the organization in the similar manner. I cannot demand more as I know what is the revenue that I am generating for the company. Apart from my Salary there are other components which needs to be considered and the profit margin will be less. I am an employee only, I don’t need to consider it, I can change my job. Yes no one is stopping me or Arowana is also not saying that “Dont Go” If I have something better than this, they will be happy to send me.

In one of the clients place, a CFO during the course of our conversation once said that Arowana has not done it properly and I asked him to repeat it, he said I have high respect for you, but Arowana has not done it well. I told him politely that whatever you are saying as Arowana implies only to me as I am representing AROWANA and how can you contradict with your statement?

In the Same Company, CEO has said that Arowana has got the best employees whereas I have not get the best.  When I heard that I am very proud of Arowana and not of that Company.

Every client will throw the bone pieces to its contract employees by saying that you will be offered here in our own payroll. When I was given the bones from the couple of the clients of Arowana,  I told them, am not a fool to join this company, which means I am at a better place.

Couple of days back, I got the chance to visit the client, one guy asked me, how is your career growth in Arowana, I said I am satisfied with my growth. When I shared my experiences, he said it is marvelous.

I always used to say that I am at a better place and if at all I wish to join some customers, I will do it on own not against Arowana. It is not an ethic to join their clients without their concern and also I love consulting. If I wish to leave consulting, then also I will get the other choices from Arowana. That is the belief and faith what an employee should have with their employers. Whether they guide me or they ask me the option I leave it to the situations.

Whether the career growth is measured in terms of money or position or the knowledge, then I am getting wise, wiser and wisest with the opportunities provided by my employer.

I may not use this knowledge after 5 years, but I will be using it for the next 5 years J

I am not a mouth piece of Arowana or I don’t have any share with Arowana Management , I am one like you who is waiting for the salary to come on expected date, waiting for the appraisals to happen and so on. I will also get the same treatment when I am going to leave the organization, but I give respect to my Employer, at least till the day I work for them. It doesn’t mean that I can write bad about the company for whom I served for so long.

As per the saying, Don’t love your company, I love my job and I don’t love my Employer but I give respect to my Employer for providing the basement for me to love my job.

When you are satisfied and content with your life, you can see happiness in anything and everything

Don’t compare a company which is in growing stage with the grown companies. If everyone opts only for MNC’s, how can we have many more MNC’s? In few years we will have some changes in Arowana also, but before that everyone will do the damage and leave the organization for their own benefits. If that is the case, then how a company can show its prosperity?

I know that I have learned in my learning path much ahead of the MNC’s. MNC’s Can utilize these skills but they can make us to learn what I have learned from Arowana.

What I sow is what I will reap and I want to be at peace. I am contented with what I have and I am happy with my employer. You can see lot of changes in me, both physically (Glowing because I am always happy), professionally I am growing matured (I have not raised my hands or voice at any one in the last 5 years)

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Project – Consultants Vs Internal Team

This is one such pathetic experience what I am going to share now. In most of the Companies, either the business is driven by IT or the IT Projects are driven by the Business Process. I don’t know how to consider the below given experience as a business driven project or IT driven project.

This is one of the worst projects ever in my long career. I have seen many failed projects, but all those failures has valid reasons like scope was not frozen, due to time lines, due to changing factors in the requirement, due to the confusions from the consultants and adaptability from the customers to understand the functionalities that are available with the new system, Greek and Latin are the languages between the business and the consultants due to the lack of business knowledge for the customers.

I really don’t understand on what basis a project is being implemented in such a big organization. Is it to say that we have these products implemented in our organization or we use this product for our requirements? I really want to know 🙂

This is a scenario in which my role was a support consultant. Ultimately there was not role for me to play in this project. I was there to assist the vendor team with the current process (what is the current process, GOK – God only knows). With the support load, I was not able to be part of any of the discussions with the business or with the vendors and the way the project started its phase was really ridiculous.

Already they have a system or solution in place which is not 100% productive or in other words with lot of issues. Everyone knows the flows and flaws of the system, but they were not ready to clean up the mess which was already there in the system. Instead of cleaning that mess, they wanted to add some more features and functionalities which is being done out of the system.

The system which was used by them was like a broken boat, and we wanted the new system to be build based on the same broken boat. I don’t have a strong base and I wanted to build a huge ship on top of the broken boat.

As a support consultant, if you say that you are already in a sinking boat to the project manager or to the colleagues, beautiful answer from them was I know swimming, you don’t worry about it.

Hey man, I have to worry about it because I don’t know swimming and I can’t take the responsibility of my suicide because of you. It is not suicide and you are trying to kill me that was the thing going on in my mind.

Voice of the contractor doesn’t goes to the head of the department or the project manager or anyone who works for their own company. All my projects have to go on time, irrespective of whether it is being used by the business or not.

As usual for every success of the project the project manager will take the credit and for every failure, they will blame a scape goat.

I will start with the scape goat.

Scape Goat : Nevertheless to say

Sponsor of the project: I don’t know (whether it is from the business side or IT)

Steering committee: Only the same faces who involve discussing the issues and who has not taken any decisions for the same.

Project Manager: There was no such person who involved to be a mediator or to act like a professional bridge between the vendor and business.

Vendor : XXXX company

Vendor Consultant: A consultant to break her head for the project.

IT Team : Support team, whoever is free on that day, they will be called to attend the meetings and the information’s will not be shared with anybody else. If no one is free, no problem, we will handle it.

Testing Team: It is always said to be by business but in our case, we go with the vendor and the internal IT team, as they know the entire business in short span of time. Is it implementation or a part of add-in functionality like a new feature being introduced?

At times they will ask you to attend few meetings and later they will say not to be part of the project, because if you continue, you will not allow it to go live in the similar fashion, so as they can blame you for their failure.

Start Date:  The day they did the kick off

End Date: Business is unable to move ahead without this and the Scope is limited so ASAP (it was yesterday but today is fine),

Support: Support is not by the vendors who implemented the system, it has to be by the internal support team because the internal team has a rapport with the business users and was doing the support for the entire 250 or 300 users, who has twenty ear’s and 10 mouths to respond to all the queries from the business users after go live.

Height of this support is there should not be any escalation. (Who is Chariman’s Secretary, who is COO Secretary and who is what and who is normal user all this should be known to the bl**dy support consultant)

Go Live Date:  After go live one person has to go dead (They have already decided the scape goat and were waiting for the scape goat to come after the vacation)

Is it agony makes you to write, no it is my real feeling for that project and for the sake of the business.

After each day of my work, I sleep peacefully because of the satisfaction what I get, I am not here to entertain any foosl and I am here to serve for the organization goals is what needs to be in the minds of the project initiator and the driver of the project.

If someone feels that I am surviving in this organization by blaming someone for my failures, god is watching it and you have to answer for your mistakes.

Success is not measured by survivals, it is measured by the Effective Utilizations.

Scape Goats are not failures and everyone knows that it is blamed for others mistakes. I can say firmly that the projects handled in the above fashion will not yield any success either to the IT team or to the Business.

Jai ho with all your projects in the similar manner 🙂

Survival of the Working Women

Today I was in a mood to write about house wives, but suddenly something in my routine stuck me very badly to write about the sufferings of the working women.

It is a known truth that the women have to face problems by desirable feature of being women.  I am discussing today about the women who are paid for their employment. This article is not about the bread-winners of the family. For the bread winners there is no option, they have to work for the sake of the survival, but these women are not working for their luxurious life. There are some who are very ambitious and wants to shine in their professional life. There are some women come for work whose husbands do not earn enough or they are unable to handle the burden of the family.

Those women who are at home are not anyway lesser than the working women, but working women has to do both the role with utmost care and concern without being disturbed in both their professional and personal life. 

All the successful women in their career are through sufferings only. All our success are with great sufferings.

It is a subject which is going on in my mind for some time but now the time has come by seeing the struggles with the married women who are working with me. I wanted to discuss about those working women to their husbands and to tell them about the problems of the women who earns equal or more than their husbands and doesn’t know or don’t have time to know anything about the outside world other than the family and working environment.

There was a time where the women will choose their career like nursing, teachers, secretaries and those jobs that are in the assembly sector (routine job), wherein they restrict their career growth for the welfare of the family and to take care of their beloved kids. Now the trend has changed drastically, wherein women work more competitive with men and spend equally or more time in the working environment.

The struggle for the women starts even before getting a job; she has to start the fight for the role as the gender bias creates an obstacle at the recruitment stage itself as she is a woman.

The age-old belief of male superiority over women creates several hurdles for women at their place of work. The age differences comes in as an issue, if she is young, then it is harmful to have her within a group of guys, if she is older than also it is difficult to have her in mid of young guys as they don’t feel comfortable.

Women on the way up to the corporate ladder find it very difficult because that they have to be much better than their male colleagues to reach the top. These women are not given equal importance to climb up in the ladder but they have to give extra mile to climb up.

Once at the top male colleagues and subordinates often expect much greater ability and efficiency from a woman boss than from a male boss.  As a woman even I have the bias due to the social and psychological belief, I don’t lend support to have women in my team.  (Because they cannot stay back and work)

Working in such conditions inevitably put much greater strain on women than what men experience. These problems tend to make women less eager to progress in their careers. Indeed many of them choose less demanding jobs for which they may even be over-qualified. A woman’s work is not merely confined to paid employment.

It is really irritating factor for me to feel for them because I don’t like to feel pity for someone or for self. If at all I can do something, I will prefer to do it for them and not feeling pity for them.

In the recent times, when I see the sincere, hard-working women who are married and sufferings back home after their work or during the working hours really makes me to feel irritated and I want to become one more Kannagi to destroy these kind of men in the society.I can hear that someone saying why not as Phoolan Devi, Yes I do want to become anything to stop these atrocities, arrogance of the stupid men.

These married working women who have to almost or always shoulder the burden of household chores very well than the working environment. A woman could still bear up with these problems if she had control over the money she earns. But in most families even now her salary is given to father, husband or in-laws. So the basic motive for seeking employment of getting independence is totally nullified in many women’s case.

There are some women who don’t know what the pin number of their ATM cards is and simply they will say husband will take care of everything. I don’t even know what is their bank balance is, he handles the financial part for our family.  He should handle the financial part of the family without depending on the women’s salary is the role of the head of the family.

A woman has to work, earn, be at home on time, take care of the kids, serve the husband like a slave, are we calling this as women freedom?

When I see the husbands calling their wives to know about their whereabouts during working hours and I see some of the male colleagues receiving the calls from their house wives who are at home.  By large there is a lot of changes in the communications of a call from a husband to wife and from a wife to husband.

When it is from a husband to wife, the woman who is working has to tell he husband about her whereabouts or what she is doing without even thinking about the surroundings.

Indian working women do not get the respect they need from their male colleagues in the workplace, it is because of these Indian men who doesn’t know to give respect to their wives as a professional.

When it is from a house wife to her husband, the guy from his desk responds instantly that he is busy with work without even thinking about the surroundings. Is it because of the gender bias or is it because that the house wife is disturbing the man who is at work? Is it not a disturbance call for the working woman from her husband when she is at work?

When these husbands will realize that their wives are not given a separate cabin to discuss or explain the routine of hers from office. Even those guys sitting inside a cabin will not be lovable or soft speaking to their wives as everyone works under pressure.

Why don’t these men think that these domestic pressures in women will lead to physical and mental problems like depression and psychiatric problems?

When our gentlemen(still I am calling you guys as gentlemen for the care and concern) will realize that women also have the career aspirations?  

I really don’t understand these men, why do they want their woman to work, if they don’t trust or give them the liberty to work?  We women are not fools to spend our time at office unnecessarily. There are men who will go for playing snooker, billiards, table tennis or any other sports as part of their working time, but it will be very difficult for these men to find out such woman who is ready to leave their responsibility of their kitchen and kids and going for playing for their self relaxation or for health consciousness.

My dear gentlemen, provide your wife the comfort that she is a professional and accept that you are a husband of a professional woman. I have seen guys who never question their wives while they are at work. I really admire those guys for giving that freedom to work. It is a boon for the wives and these wives can see success in the corporate sector and it is easy for them to climb the ladder when they get the support from their better half. Even if they don’t get the support in the household works, women can manage it, but if the husbands become bitter half, then their personal and professional life goes for a toss.

Balancing the personal and professional environment is not an easy task and those who are trying to show their manliness qualities of having rights to know about their wives, please try to handle these responsibilities of women for two weeks, then you will come to know who is the stronger/strongest and I wish that wives also should start questioning these men in such a way they have to leave both their personal and professional life which is very obvious from a man, but a woman will stay stronger with a smile and say them better luck next time.

There are lots of issues that they face in the working environment which can be shared with the husbands and few cannot be shared even with the husbands not in an intention to hide it from them, but to keep them cool and happy. The sufferings of women if known to men, we think that the men will feel for it and repent badly for making their wives to work for the sake of the family.

When we can think on your behalf, why don’t you think on our behalf? Is the brain of women only has got the ability to think for men? Why don’t these men think from their wives shoes? When will this change come in place and when can we see our ladies doing their work happily without having a fear of personal life? When can I see the natural smile of my fellow colleagues without any mental trauma?

I hope answers will get in few decades with the next generation or the male chauvinism will still go on forever?

Avoid at Work

Avoid at Work Place

Charity begins only at home and not at working environment. Nothing comes at charity in the work place.

I know I am very rigid and I have my own set of rules and I follow it sincerely whether those around me are good or bad. I have the tendency to help the people outside their work

I have a strong aversion to say I love you in the working environment, because it really gives an adverse effect. The only place where I have said I love you and I lost all my respect, dignity, honor, self-esteem, pride and above all my self-confidence is through that stupid lady.

I never had any over confidence. I am very sincere, I will tell my clients/customers that I don’t know, If I don’t know something and I never felt ashamed to say that I don’t know. It is better to say no than to say yes and feeling guilty at the end.

“I love you.” No, not at someone in the working environment.  When it is in my working environment I love you is for my work only and everywhere I mean it–and every time I used to feel it.

My Objective at work place  is “”I know for what I have come for, and I will do it with my head and heart open towards my goal of achieving my work or completing my task,” I will not give any rooms for sentiments or any kind of friendship in the working environment.

I don’t even remember the names of the guys with whom I was associated in the last 18 years. I remember very few names and all of them would have maintained a friendship with me after getting an exit from that environment. I know for sure there are many of my colleagues will remember me and they all will say that I am not a friendly person. But out of office environment, check my circle which is very big and am unable to meet out all of them due to time constraint.

I know for sure that the “I love you” at working environment will spoil our values. But I never expected that I love you out of office also will spoil everything and it can collapse us to this extent. I have some people around me from the same place as my asset, but the one because of whom I said I love you, I lost all my professional ethics and good values earned in the last 20 years. God bless her and show the pain of losing these values in professional environment through others.

I love my work and I don’t love the people for whom it is being delivered. I love to see the smiles of the people when I deliver the project/task successfully. I know I have some people as my friends after coming out of that organization. How happy I was with my personal discipline and morals? What happened to me? Why did she enter my life to make it as hell?

I lost everything because of one person who doesn’t know anything about working environment. I am a professional with white-collar and she is a proletarian. I am a professional who has gone to implement a solution for them and she is a person who is going to use it as an end user.

She works in an uncultured, uncivilized environment where there is no ethics, no equality, no serenity, no conduct and no rules.  How can I expect her to be something or how can I expect some high qualities in her? How long she can act that she has some high qualities? It was my foolishness to believe all her acting as real.

What kind of knowledge she can have and what is my level of knowledge, what is the need for me to see her face, feel for her? Why did I allow the personal relationship to grow in that environment?

Lessons learnt should not be forgotten and I am sharing my lessons with all those who know me and who want to know me. The reason for sharing this also is just to let the world know that what will happen if you skip from your own principles. I have not created something on my own, but being a good observer, I observed certain principles of others and mixed everything and I used to follow it.

Avoid @ workplace

Avoid friendship with colleagues, just maintain hi and hello.

Discussing about personal life, personal life is not private life to discuss with colleagues. Of course sharing about mother’s illness is not a personal of life, whatever is required for the other person to know about my personal only will be shared with them.

My belief and behavior are entirely two different entity and I cant mix up the belief of my friendship with my behavior. I don’t need to show my behavior with my friends in believing them. But I need to maintain my discipline and dignity at working environment.

Talking about Monetary benefits (Salary, other allowances or anything related to CTC).

When you talk about the monetary benefits, definitely there will be gap between two different people and which will result in jealous and it will create discord between 3 parties (me, colleague and employer) whereas the employer is not related in the conversation at all. I am contented and I accepted the package and I work for what they are supposed to pay me. No one in the world will feel that I am getting what I deserve. When we share the CTC with others, either it will have an impact in me or with the other colleague. It will create a rift by all means.

Talking about religion, Talking about politics, talking bad about the company.

At working environment, my work is the religion as well as god to me and I have my own rules to follow whether it is good or bad, my religion is best for me. Whatever I do as work, it is my prayers and offering to god and what I get as salary is what god gives me for my prayers. When I work with a company, I will ensure that I don’t talk bad about my company. Of course here and there we used to work with stupid superiors, but what to do, keep quite and let the stupid screw the happiness. Smile at him and say you are happy so as he will get more anger.

Dressing unprofessionally

Code of conduct comes from your dressing sense. Check yourself out in the mirror every morning and love the person that y0u are.

Don’t boast yourself too much on dress but this is another fact that the people who take care of themselves and properly dress have higher confidence.

People will pick up on your lack of confidence if you show that you are feeling unattractive and not confident enough. Dress smartly by concentrating on your outfits and it should show your dignity to resemble your character. Never say that you are sick when you are not sick

Just for the purpose of availing leave, don’t say that you are sick. I used to tell my superiors that I am going on half day leave with a note saying that I am going to watch this movie. If you say don’t go, I can sit in office but my mind will be in the movie, so please allow me to go and I will do my work tomorrow more efficiently. If you stop me, it will hurt my ego and spoil my work for the next two weeks.

Most of my superiors were not so stupid to stop me and they know how sincere I am as well as how Adamant I am.

Most of the traits came from my parents and I do have to say that my parents were very sincere in their work and I have grown by seeing them.

Never say No to your responsibilities and never blame others for your mistakes.

It is not only no to say to your responsibilities and also don’t say to yes to do others responsibilities. Also don’t blame others for doing a mistake or allowing others to do the mistake.

It is easy to help others, but when something goes wrong the other person will not be interested to take the blame of your mistakes, even though it is their responsibility. It is better to avoid at first instance than repenting after doing a mistake.

Don’t do anything by which you will lose your credibility and confidence.

It is easy to show your hard face and lose the credibility and confidence, but very tough to gain the name and fame from the same people. It is easy to break the walls, but not to break the words. Be careful when you speak about someone and Don’t hesitate to speak the Truth.

Be honest and straight forward

I know that “Straight Trees are cut first” and a person should not be too honest. But it is in my blood. Both my parents are very straight forward and honest people. I can’t be a liar or a betrayer because of my DNA factor.

Even when attending the meetings I used to tell my superiors, make sure that they don’t ask me anything, I can’t tell lies and I will say only truth.

Avoid Gossip and dating with colleagues

The most important factor which I used to follow from my college days is consider all your classmates as like a friends. Don’t get involved in dating was my motto, when I entered my first day college.

Same thing I follow in my working environment, I don’t consider any of them as my friends because it doesn’t allow you to do your work sincerely as well as the friendship spoils their work as well.

It is better not to compromise on work and on the delivery and satisfaction. It is not only to provide satisfaction but also to get the satisfaction of our work along with the colleagues.

If you love your job, then we should not date with colleagues, not only dating even friendship should be avoided. When work relationship doesn’t work or if something goes wrong at the work place, the relationship what we maintain becomes awkward, even the relationship becomes awkward. You lose both the personal and professional ethics what you have built over a period of time, because of some small personal misunderstanding in the professional environment, which will result in resignations, transfer, quitting from the services, sometimes it leads to suicides.

Last but not the least, don’t search job from working environment, and don’t attend interviews during working hours.

Whatever I lost because one person, I know I will regain it shortly, but whatever lost is lost and it really tough

 

Great Lessons Come from Great Failures…

Great Lessons Comes from Great Failures…

People around me knows and feels that I am a successful lady in my profession, but only I know I have not achieved even 25% of what I wish to achieve in the last 18 years. It will be too difficult for me to write from the beginning as there are some sweet memories and there are some hard feelings and it will take ages for me to complete by that time, I will forget the important milestones of my life. I will write about my couple of job profiles but this one is going to be the more sensational and sensitive subject.

I started blogging very lately, of course after couple of successful steps. Now it is time for me to write something on ERP.

Why does most of the ERP implementation considered as failure?

Being in the industry for more than 8 years, I feel that it is the right time to write on this and the most important reason for me to write this is based on my last project in which I was working for last 2 years. Does it really take this much time? You will get the answer by end of this article.

Most of the organizations top management people like CFOs and CIOs start their ERP implementations with the expectations that their businesses will be transformed along the way.  An ERP system has got its own advantages and their own limitations. These Top people are not aware either the limitations or the advantages of the ERP system selected by them.

These ERP systems are not meant for drastic improvements in the reporting structures, it paves way for the change to go with the globally accepted processes.

Most of them don’t even understand the functionalities or the modules how does it work in the ERP system and they try to implement the system with great expectations. 50-percent of organizations fail to realize even half of their expected business benefits. Most of their expectations are unrealistic especially in the initial phase of the implementation.

Almost all the expectations from the ERP system which is not implemented are like I want to touch the sky from the top floor of the Burj Dubai.  Can we construct a building on air to touch the sky, if yes, and then we can touch the sky. There are some things which is not in the control of the ERP systems.

Up to me, the basic reasons for the ERP implementations to fail are

Why do we go for ERP Systems?

Why does your organization choose to go with an ERP system, when you have a very sound system which is user-friendly, amicable, easy to use. Does anyone who is working under the Information technology or the core department which uses the product understand it? It is not for the sake of using an ERP system or to give honor to that ERP system. 

Building a custom ERP system has never been this easy and affordable. Whatever system you are using is not said to be as a standard product or universally accepted processes.

The systems what you are using are process driven software which leads to a legacy or the in house developed product.

ERP is said to be the software driven process and these are accepted universally and accepted by the international markets with standard process. ERP products are not developed in just one or two years of time. Even a small change in these systems takes 5-10 years of time to deliver it as it requires that much effort and involves lot of coding, patience, testing, etc.,

Each of these ERP systems is common system which is designed in such a way to be utilized by all the industries. Most of the big companies those who want to follow the standard process prefer to go with ERP, as it provides the standard reports and ERP helps the team in preparing the reports in the required structure and all the financial reports which requires to be followed as per IFRS.

ERP systems are like gold and it is in the hands of the people who want to use it as gold or copper. It is the ignorance of the people who think it as copper and not the products mistake. It is better to follow the expertise than to be stubborn with your whims and fancies.

There is an option to customize the ERP products, but not in a way that it should look like a legacy system or to change the entire standard functionalities of ERP systems.

Choosing the Wrong Solution (ERP Software Selection) – being a positive person, I have to say choose the right product, but most of the cases I have seen the wrong choice.

Most of them don’t know why they are going for the ERP systems. It is not just like changing the mode of travel and it requires all the requirements and issues in the current mode of travel.

ERP systems are being used worldwide, and it can’t be a wrong product. But it might not be the right product to implement where there are no global standard processes and an in-house software made as per the requirement of the processes of the organization and which can be fine-tuned as per the daily changes of the processes – ERP is not applicable for you.

Those who go for the ERP should have the mindset that they are not going to change the software that is used for their process; they are going to change their business process to suit to ERP applications.

Changing the system from Legacy to ERP is like moving from a bullock cart to a Mercedes Benz. You should know your entire requirement and how does the Mercedes Benz work. A person who is using the bullock cart can’t cater the need for the Mercedes Benz.

The road to my house can be reached in a bullock cart by 3 hours and by a bus in 2 hours and by car in 45 minutes. I have to choose the right vehicle for my convenience and in my budget. I have to consider my requirements what am I going to do by reaching earlier to home? How is it going to help me? If I come by bus what are the merits and demerits? Also I have to consider whether I know driving, what is my cost that I have to spend to get a car, maintenance of the car and at last what is the Return on investment. What matters most is whether reaching home by a car or by bicycle.

Legacy is comfortable system and ERP is convenience only when you know how to handle it. Legacy is maintained by the users for so many years and ERP has to be implemented in short time to reap the Return on Investment.

The more you look for improvement, the more it gets delayed. The more you delay, the more it becomes failure.

In my opinion, companies treat an ERP selection, evaluation and implementation comparable to buying a doll for their kids and which lead doom to failure.

Even to buy a mobile for our personal use, we will evaluate the entire model, whether it will suffice my requirement, whether it will give me the required result, whether it will be handy, whether it will make me feel good when I hold the mobile. This mobile can get lost in a day or people like me can drop in water and make it useless in few seconds. But the time spent on it before buying is worth using it.

Are you happy about the time you spent to buy an ERP product for your organization? Have you analyzed all the required features out of the ERP selected by you? Do you have the list of all the issues that need to be eradicated from the legacy system? Have you taken personal care to estimate the product and its life for the organization? Have you understood, how the ERP selected by you is going to work?

Is this product going to be used for a life of 1 year or 10 years or 20 years? Have you spent the real time to decide and finalize the product which will enable the organization to move on without changing or going for new software?

One of the worst situation what I felt with my most of projects whether it is the right product for them? Have they applied their expertise to take the time to get to know what is their requirement and what do they need from the ERP for their business, will this ERP work for their operational model, is there anyone who is expertise in knowing the ERP what they have selected for their organization? Have they engaged anyone to know what the requirement from their people is and find the right fit for their organization?

I really doubt but as an implementation consultant, I have to say that the product selected by them can do miracles but when I know their business and their way of handling their requirements, they don’t need ERP system at all, because no one wants to change their processes to suit to ERP.

When you are with your parents, you don’t need to change your attitude or behavior and you are always a prince and princess to your parents, but when you move on in your life, and get on to your toes and in the working environment, you can expect you to be a prince or princess to your boss and you have to change your attitude and you are supposed to follow him even if you feel that he is fool of an ass.

None of them were interested to go for a change in the business process. All these years we have been doing this and our existing system can do this. To all the top management people on their face I want to say this but due to diligence respect, I have not expressed it to them but now I have to vent it out “If your existing system can do miracles, why do you want to change it to the ERP system?”

Business Re-Engineering Process

I really doubt on this topic, because neither the vendor nor the customer has an approach for the business re-engineering process. This will guide the company to strive better than the earlier way of approach. It need not be a right approach followed in the legacy system and the users have to understand that they have to change it for the betterment of the company. Legacy system is your own system and you can fine tune it as per your whims and fancies, and this is not the case with the ERP system.

Before implementing any ERP system, the Organizations has to hire some consultants from the same ERP applications experience and they need to identify the current process and the future process. For the betterment of the time and cost effectiveness, an in-house consultant is very much required and who should guide the stake holders and the entire team.

ERP’s are not said to be for the business re-engineering process, but it gives more chances to improve the business process and it is a continuous process improvement. We can’t get in to the 15th floor without a basement. Business Re-engineering process is like a basement process and it allows you to improve continuously. ERP is the base product and you have to fit in your business processes under the wings of it.

Resistance to Change

Most of the time the employees who are involved in the legacy system gets panic to entertain the new system. They have an insecurity feeling and they are under panic situation and are possibly cause the most difficult hurdle in an ERP rollout.

Employees are resistant to change for a countless reasons, most of the times rooted in some type of fear.  They may be worried about their jobs are in jeopardy or that they will be unable to learn the new system.  For few the jobs are in jeopardy, if you are not ready to learn the new system. Try to get expertise in the new system, even before it is implemented. Some may just be afraid of new technology as they are well versed and conversant with their existing system. Whatever the reasons; education is the answer.  You can learn good and new things, if you have the wish.

We don’t start walking as a new born, it takes to time to crawl, stand, walk and run. Try to educate the employees and help them to see how the new system will benefit them personally.  So as they will be less stressed because the new system is going to benefit them in all their day-to-day routines by providing all the information they need is readily available.

Again they will get panic, if everything is readily available, what will I do? It is their responsibility to verify and to compare the results, and to concentrate more on their improvement activities. I have seen with the people in the same project how it was easier for them to use once they are out of the fear and they were actually excited about the new system.

The new system will have certain limitations like the users need to input more data or devote more of their time in terms of their legacy system, because the new system was much more explicit, structured, richer and standard in functionality.

Individuals Aren’t Held Responsible and Management have to get in to the project.

Management has to understand that whatever the concerns raised by the team as issues has to be resolved when they go for a new ERP system and it has to be the best system for the company.  It is the management that goes for the new system and they have to be part of it all through the implementation process, and support the plan throughout the organization.  It has to be done either through standard functionalities of the ERP system or by changing the process of the organization to fit into the ERP.

Management in smaller companies tends to be reluctant in holding people accountable for their performance and it is inevitable because the number of resources are limited, still there will be few members who are held responsible.

In most of the projects, Individuals are not held responsible or accountable for the development or the hindrance of the project. A team has to be set and each individual has to be given a responsibility and they are to be the sole responsible person. This gives the courage for the team to work with the vendors in getting what they want from the new system by providing the exact requirement. As a manager, a person can give a requirement on a top level and a solution will be provided instantly based on the managers concern, but the one who works will give the details as they are the one working in it and facing the problems, which might require some more fine tunings or  a change in the requirement.

It is mere lack of involvement by those responsible for working with changed processes causes a huge change or the difference in adjusting the new system. Always communications should be clear and inadequate communication within the team is very much required.

Everyone throughout the organization must believe that management is completely behind the project and will take any necessary action to ensure success. Best employees or the managers of the organization can lose their edge when they know they will never be held accountable. Sometimes, management must be prepared to make some tough decisions if an employee remains a roadblock to the project’s success.

If there is lack of visibility from top management and there is no support and commitment from the steering committee and sheer arrogance from the project team will lead to the failures.  A lack of buy-in often results from not getting end-users involved in the project from the very start, thereby negating their authorship and ownership of the new system and processes.

One Individual should not be held responsible for the entire project and this will cause major setback as the decisions taken by him need not be right always. He will walk with a mindset to cause troubles in the implementation and we can’t walk with a negative person in a project implementation.

An ego clash to be avoided in taking decisions and it has to be in favor of the organization not to prove who is superior or who has done the best. Project is not for the individual and process is not for the individual, a process introduced by an individual can remain in the organization even after he leaves the organization, which shows how sincere the person is.

Management is responsible for nominating the right people to drive the project successfully and to make their lives as well as their vendor’s life easier.

Inadequate Requirements Definition

This helps in the implementation of the project as the organizations are not ready to accept any business process changes with the new system, it leads to customizations and to drag the implementation time from 3 months to 3 years as the requirement from the customer never ends.

I can say that inadequate definition of functional requirements as part of the requirement study leads to failures for nearly 60% of ERP implementation. When there is a change, the changes have to be documented to great extent and identified the time to be spent on it from the documentation to delivery stage. This is not only a matter of serious concern, and it is because we are not comprehensively and systematically developing a quality set of functional requirements definitions. Even after the systematic requirements, even a small change comes to a developed program causes a disaster as it requires lot of changes, testing, re-testing etc and this leads to the greatest cause of ERP implementation failures poor package selection.

A requirement for the customization never ends as it keeps on growing because organizations are being charged for the additional work. It requires to be documented by the person who needs it and not by the person who is going to develop it. The developer can work on the requirement document and can identify the feasibilities of achieving the requirement.

Resources and Information Technology Department

The core project team needs to be established, consisting of the project manager and teams for IT, finance and control, project management and after implementation support team. Few key resources are selected from In house and few needs to be hired to cater for the internal preparation and project management activities due to the lack of such project manager or IT specialist or the specialist who can help them in convincing the vendor and users.

IT department is a servicing department and they should not drive the project from the front end. IT can lead a project in terms of monitoring and supporting, but they will never be able to take any decisions on the implementation process.

They are facilitating members not the users. They are in the organization to service the other department. In my last project IT was the driving factor for near about 1 year and later we got hold of the users, which is a major setback for this project. There have been too many projects. We cannot run them all at once is what the slogan that has to be with the IT team, but they have taken over burden and screwed up to this project by showing their anger to the project manager as he will speak on faces of his colleagues. As part of IT team I had a fight with my boss in my previous employment, why we have to drive this project and we are not the owners. Let the department expertise come and sit with me and provide the requirements, then I will work on it.

Project Managers are not responsible for the project failure if they come from the IT department but they are responsible if they are handling everyone as their near peers. They were not handling the position of project managers as project managers and were literally begging all their peers to help them in completing the project.

I will not blame them because we ITians are bonded slaves to do the services to the other departments. It is a curse for the IT people that they have to undergo this slavery and get beaten up.

Neither the CIO was involved nor was the CFO involved to great extent till the step down of the Project Manager. These things will result in changing the project sponsor from CIO to CFO and after few years of run time, there will be nobody among the top management actively supporting and sponsoring the project because it becomes like never ending project.

Out of frustration, there are many people who leave the project half the way and we can’t demand the consultants to stick on to a company or a project for two years as it is going to impact the consultant’s career in long run. If I show two years in one project implementation in my CV, will it have some value?

IT is in charge of the IT infrastructure of the company and as a member of the core team, the role either will be in facilitating the infrastructure or in serving them with the development of the new requirement. How can IT team member can guide a consultant in providing the business flow or the process?

What I have done with IT? I tried to learn and understand their current process only. What is the new process, neither IT knows or the users who are about to use knows it. Do I need to know the entire business to implement Oracle Financials? I need to know only their financial processes and how to handle it in Oracle Financials. Whatever time I have spent with the company, is it going to be useful for me after the implementation? I have to spend my time in learning how to accommodate their financial processes with the standards of ERP not learning their industry and having the industry knowledge is not going to take me anywhere.

To begin with, IT doesn’t have any proper documents to guide the consultants in understanding the business process. A system developed by the IT and it is being used for ages and if they don’t have any documents is quite predictable to understand how the IT department works. Basic flow diagram is not available and we have spent more time in learning it and creating the current process for them. They are there to facilitate only not to improve or give any suggestions to those users.

IT department is like providing the railway tickets to the passengers, I want to go to Chennai, I will get Chennai ticket, somebody wants to go to Delhi, and they will get the Delhi ticket. There is no documentation whether I traveled to Delhi or some other person traveled to Chennai. Why I traveled to Chennai is also unknown?

Estimating the Implementation time

Another cause of ERP implementation failure is the miscalculation of effort and time it will take to accomplish the project. ERP are very expensive and time consuming product which will provide the required results over a period of time.

One of the funniest implementation which I can say in my career will be this project. Because I was told in the beginning that it is a vanilla implementation by customer as well. I am not sure whether anyone in the organization knows what is the meaning of Vanilla implementation? A vanilla implementation requires only 2-3 months in a service industry where in we need to configure the existing ERP process without modifying anything and to fit in the business requirement to it.

What all we have not changed as per the standard functionalities R12? I can publish a book on the customizations what I have worked for this project. I don’t have much to write for a project wherein we customized an application on top of Oracle financials and not within oracle financials.   I have to think a lot, only couple of modules doesn’t have major changes. General ledger and Fixed Assets are the modules which are being used without much changes and I am happy that at least there are no changes in that.

When I had a chat for the first time with a senior manager in IT, I told him clearly that this project can be implemented as vanilla implementation in 3 months and if we have to go with the data migration and integration it might require another 6 months. But in reality, it dragged to two years, who is the reason- god only knows it.

Choice of the Vendor

It is very easy for the organizations to cover up their mistakes by saying that we have done the wrong choice by selecting this vendor. How cheap mindset these people have? How can you select a wrong vendor? Are you not in bidding process? Aren’t you ashamed to say this, how does the evaluation process happens for the product and vendor?

Choice of Vendor doesn’t make any difference as this is not a product to be developed for your organization. It is a ready-made product which requires to be fit into your requirement. We are not creating a product for you. ERP is a readymade, tailor made software which requires only fine tuning to suit to your requirements.

Without knowing what costume I have to wear, I bought clothes and after buying it, I wanted it to be stitched as suit whereas that material is for Salwar. It is my decision whether I have to compromise to go for a Salwar or to change the material to a suit. Tailor will stitch a Suit in that material warning me that don’t say it was stitched by me. Whole world will laugh at you if you go with this.

Choice is not with the tailor and it is only with the organization.  I should have the confidence in the tailor and I have to take his words either to change the material or to stitch it as a salwar.

The reason why I say as the Choice of the vendor does not matter much if you know the requirement perfectly. We are not going to change the legacy to ERP. We are going to change the business requirements to ERP.

To fulfill this, at times a process change is required and for some reasons, some customizations are required. Without having a basement, we can’t complain that vendor is bad.

I too agree that the consultants are not master of all, once the confidence and commitment is shown from the client side, automatically all the requirements will be fulfilled. All consultants in a project cant have the same degree of understanding, communication or even the subject matters.

One will be good in accounting, one will be good in process, one will be good in communication, one will be good in project management etc., All together only can form a group and it is common in both the vendor as well as from the customer/clients side. Only difference is consultants will give the respect to one and all in the same level and we consultants never get any respect from the entire organization which is also a curse.

Any relationship is based on the trust and you have to trust in the vendor, that they will do the best for you. When your own people are not co-operating the only team was ready to spend their day and nights to complete this project was from the vendor side. How could you feel that it doesn’t impact the vendor?

This project success may be a little thing for these organizations, but for the growing company this success means more and the individuals commitment is very high with regards to the commitment from the client side. As an individual I have given a word in front of all the stake holders that I will not continue to work in this profession if this project fails.

With the above discrepancies in any organization, even the Infosys Narayanamurthy or Azim Premji of Wipro can’t do miracles for you. Only small companies like my company can allocate resources and be with patient to say that we have implemented this product for this company. Neither these organizations will be thankful nor do they know to gain their respect from others.

Finally to conclude, changes are required on the organizational level, Project Level and Individual Level.

On the organizational level, all the political problems needs to be sorted out before going for a new implementation and this will truly save 80% of time for everyone. Distribution of powers to the individuals is highly required and it has to be given to the person who can do welfare for the organization or justice to the project implementation.

On the project level, monitoring and controlling activities to be with the project sponsor from the beginning of the project and the change management has to be followed strictly whether it is a time factor or cost factor.

On the individual level, changes in work roles and tasks would have been little more effective in the implementation process.

How Often Do Projects fail and how can this is measured?

Only those who have worked on many projects and failed can answer to this question. Most of the projects are successful only when it meets the client’s requirements. Or in other way, when you don’t have much complication in your business process and all your requirements fit in to the standard functionalities of the ERP system, then we can say that the implementation is successful.

For a Consultant, when the implementation can be successful is when it is being used by the users.

For a Client, when the implementation can be successful is when it is being used for the reporting purpose.

For the top management, when they get the reports instantly without any delays. But all these can’t happen in 3 months or 6 months’ time.

Success of the ERP can be felt only after few years not during the initial stage or immediately after the implementation. Up to me, all the ERP implementations are successful, only the time and the cost matters.

After analyzing the factors in the last few projects, I conclude the below given factors as the successful or challenged or failed projects.

The top 5 factors found in successful projects are:

1.            User Involvement

2.            Minimized Scope

3.            Requirements Specifications (Clear Defined Goals)

4.            Proper Planning

5.            Realistic Expectations

6.            Responsibility & Accountability of Team Members

7.            Competent project team members & Competent project manager

8.            Top Management Involvement

 The top 5 indicators found in “Disabled/Challenged” projects are:

1.            Lack of User Input

2.            Incomplete Requirements & Specifications

3.            Changing Requirements & Specifications

4.            Technical Incompetence

5.            Lack of Executive Support

And finally a list of all the top factors found in “Failed” or Dragging projects

1.            Incomplete Requirements

2.            Lack of user involvement

3.            Lack of Resources

4.            Unrealistic Expectations

5.            Lack of Executive Support

6.            Changing Requirements & Specifications

7.            Poor Planning

8.            Lack of Support for IT management

10.          Technical Illiteracy (Prior Knowledge about the product is very much essential)

With the above details, it is very clear that all the mentioned points clearly identifies that there is huge responsibility lies with the customer not with the vendor. None of the above has the vendor as a plus or weak point. Vendor has a role to play to limit the scope of the project but it doesn’t mean that they can say no to everything. When we say ‘Yes’ to everything the scope gets wider and the scope is neither redefined nor approved by the steering committee or by any stake holders, but it just drags the project and the lack of user involvement plays a vital role in all the projects.

Was the project successful one? In simple words “justice delayed is justice denied. I consider this   success as “Success delayed should not be considered as Success.”

Am I going to leave this profession? Why should I when the project is successful ? If someone feels that it is a failure, they have to leave their profession, because up to me it is very well defined and successful project….