Lately I had a conversation with a potential customer for a BI project in IBM Cognos. Everything went well just up to the last moment. And then suddenly the guy comes back to me with a friendly story trying not to do business with us. Fair enough of course. But apparently he wanted to do the work with internal people because he wanted to keep the knowledge in house, they knew the business and all in all he thought that would be more dependable in the long run and that is what he wanted to do.
I couldn’t believe my ears. After some sleepless nights and an elephant sized batch of Prozac it got me thinking …
What if I was the guy and I had to decide, what would be important to me in a resource?
- Must be able to understand my business and my requirements.
- Must be dependable, if he says he will do it, he will do it.
- Must be able to communicate properly and correct.
- Must be willing to invest time and effort.
- I want to have some sort of control over the guy.
- Must know his technical stuff.
- Must want to document and share knowledge.
- Must be available to explain and train people.
- Must be loyal.
- Must be flexible.
Honestly. When did you think that you had any grip on an employee? Most likely they will work for ICT, so they don’t report to you, they report to their own boss. And it will depend on that guy if they are willing to invest time and effort into it, if they are trained, if they have a decent setup for knowledge capturing and sharing. And let us forget communication, I mean ICT and business communicating properly? Employees have their own agenda, maybe they are loyal, flexible and dependable. Maybe they are not and they leave next month, not sharing all their knowledge, but au contraire, taking as much as possible with them. Many managers, and thus employees think knowledge is power, and power translates into the next promotion. So the last thing they want to do is sharing their value with others. OK, I might be a bit black and white here, but you get the point.
With an external resource or company it is simple. If they don’t deliver up to your expectations, they will not get a new contract, so no pay cheque. And usually you will have a contract, detailing what you want, how you want it and when you want it. And they have to deliver. You have a direct impact on that, you are hiring them. You are paying them to invest time and effort into it. They will have a decent method of knowledge capturing and sharing and they will communicate properly, as it is their business to sell their knowledge. The more knowledge they sell, the better, not the other way round. And I can’t speak for everyone, but I have been around roughly 10 companies over the last 5 years, so I know a bit or two about businesses and their problems. And not unimportant I have no resistance to change as that is as well part of my core business. And loyalty, dependability and flexibility? Well for me that is a two way street, if I can count on you, then I will do everything in my power to get things done exactly as you want them. I also think that any business owner or independent consultant prefers to work for a customer as long as possible, opening up an opportunity to make a difference, to have a sustainable impact on a company, instead of hopping around. Anyway …
So it’s all about the right people, regardless where they come from. And whether you source them in or outside your company, there is only a legal difference. So next time, please be open minded about it. Thanks.