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Old 30th January 2023, 12:15   #811
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Originally Posted by GeneralJazz View Post
This is something I face as an engineer, who actually has to answer the query. The customer would mail A, A will ++B, B will ++C and so on. By the time it reaches ++Z, which is me, the customer would have escalated the issue, then A will mail me with all the ++B to ++Y in between, asking me why the query is still unanswered!
The issue is bad training and unclear SOPs, much more than the layers themselves (which also contribute significantly).

All the +,++,+++ happens because it turns into a game of hot potato and CYA (cover your arse), people often not knowing who can actually solve the issue, and not wanting to be the last one holding the potato when the big guns are brought in, so they toss it to someone else, 'anyone but me' at work.

Smaller setups rarely suffer from this, because there just aren't many people to pass the potato to and the correct person is known and found quickly, but the flip side is smaller setups usually can't handle scale by dint of their size.

Solvable by better processes, training and a clear escalation matrix, instead of scattershot 'Someone please do something! Anything!' tactics. But better processes are notoriously difficult to sell to bean counters, because it needs resources and resources cost $$$, $$$ they're loath to spend because the RoI is often intangible in the short-term, and nobody has patience for long-term when their bonuses and often employment are tied to next quarter's results.

Anything that can't be represented as $$$ gained on a Quarterly Business Review (QBR) PPT becomes a 'frivolous expense', until it starts costing real $$$, then $$$ are thrown at a temporary 'what will make this look good at the next QBR?' fix. Rinse and repeat.

'A stitch in time is foolish when nine stitches would be far more visible and profitable to me', says the corporate suit.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 30th January 2023 at 12:16.
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Old 30th January 2023, 12:17   #812
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But I hope you get the drift that a large company needs a lot of work beyond project execution to act as a coherent unit.
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...but the doers also often fail to realise the amount of paper-pushing necessary to enable their 'doing'. Paper-pushers are like umpires/referees in sport, nobody notices them until something goes wrong,...
Thanks to both of you for articulating this so well.

In the initial part of my career, I was also very "doers vs. enablers" opinionated (ignorant!). Thought end executors like me could handle everything and made the company. Fortunately my boss sent me out on some client engagement visits and sales calls/dues collection visits along with the people in that role. Eye-opening to say the least. Quite often, the skills needed by an individual contributor (coder, creative person, engineer) are the opposite of what are needed by those roles, especially in India where even in the most process-oriented multinational orgs, the personal connect with the client rep often makes things move.

Later I was a very "what do we even need HR for?" kinda guy. Till I worked at an org without HR and realized what all can go wrong when serious employee issues crop up and there's no one trained to handle them.

As an individual contributor still, I think the problem is that people in my role are usually exposed to the less ideal examples of these functions on a daily basis and not the better ones higher up, who as you guys say, prove their worth when things go wrong or whose absence is felt only when they are missing. And we're usually totally shielded from the business side of things and those functions.

Last edited by am1m : 30th January 2023 at 12:19.
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Old 30th January 2023, 13:08   #813
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... I think the problem is that people in my role are usually exposed to the less ideal examples of these functions.
The reverse holds too

Extrapolation, friend or foe based on how one treats it. Useful when done right, but we often end up going down the 'my experience is the one true experience' path.
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Old 30th January 2023, 16:37   #814
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The question is not whether we need the paper-pushers at all or not, but how many do we need.

My (product) company reports a general administrative and management costs which does not include product development, support, tech infra/hosting, or sales costs.

For a service company, a logical metric would be the "Total Cost of never-billable employees"/"Total Cost for all employees". I tried to look in Infosys annual report but could not find any similar metric.

A high/increasing ratio for this metric indicates more paper-pushers than Doers.
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Old 30th January 2023, 17:11   #815
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The question is not whether we need the paper-pushers at all or not, but how many do we need.
Exactly. As I said in my earlier post, 1:1 is what I feel should be the top limit. But when it goes beyond that, then the customer is getting a raw deal.
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Old 30th January 2023, 17:40   #816
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For a service company, a logical metric would be the "Total Cost of never-billable employees"/"Total Cost for all employees". I tried to look in Infosys annual report but could not find any similar metric.
Service companies have a metric called 'Utilization' which shows something similar. This is tracked and analyzed by the management like a religion.

I am not sure if they publish it openly but that is what you can try looking up in the annual/quarterly reports.

My guess would be it stays above 65-70% (total hours billed/total hours available) for most financially healthy companies.

Last edited by warrioraks : 30th January 2023 at 17:53.
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Old 30th January 2023, 18:04   #817
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Service companies have a metric called 'Utilization'. This is tracked and analyzed by the management like a religion.
I may be wrong here but afaik, Utilization is the ratio of how well the billable employees were utilized. It doesn't tell how many unbillable employees are there e.g. delivery managers, HR, Facilities, Training etc. Again I am not saying that these functions are unimportant, just that the ratio cannot go high.

Last edited by DigitalOne : 30th January 2023 at 18:12.
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Old 30th January 2023, 18:26   #818
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... "Total Cost of never-billable employees"/"Total Cost for all employees"...
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Originally Posted by warrioraks View Post
... 'Utilization'..

...My guess would be it stays above 65-70% (total hours billed/total hours available) for most financially healthy companies.
Any well-run services organization closely tracks Billable Vs. Non-Billable Utilization, and tolerances are tight. I doubt a service provider can unilaterally decide to make these stats public, without their customers' consent.

A properly written service delivery statement of work (SoW) has detailed effort estimates and associated staffing plan for each phase (day 1, ramp-up, steady state, maintenance, ramp-down), any major deviations need separate sign-off. Moreover, most service-based contracts usually have efficiency gain clauses YoY (do more with the same money/people, or do same with less money/people) that act as a secondary control. Nobody wants to spend more money out of their own pocket than absolutely necessary.
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Old 30th January 2023, 19:57   #819
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I may be wrong here but afaik, Utilization is the ratio of how well the billable employees were utilized. It doesn't tell how many unbillable employees are there e.g. delivery managers, HR, Facilities, Training etc. Again I am not saying that these functions are unimportant, just that the ratio cannot go high.
You are correct on the Util. Based on some anecdotal experience, can share that the ratio of unbillable to billable employees is typically very low. Not more than 10-15 unbillable per 100 employees for well run companies.

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Any well-run services organization closely tracks Billable Vs. Non-Billable Utilization, and tolerances are tight. I doubt a service provider can unilaterally decide to make these stats public, without their customers' consent.
This might not have anything to do with customer data if published at a business unit or company level.

It's just like margins. The individual client's and engagements can have their own margins based on SoW and contracts. But what listed companies publish every quarter is aggregate company level operating margin with no customer data exposed.

Last edited by warrioraks : 30th January 2023 at 19:58.
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Old 30th January 2023, 20:48   #820
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...
This might not have anything to do with customer data if published at a business unit or company level...
I don't remember seeing utilization data on a publicly available financial disclosure, and I'm not equipped to comment specifically. Maybe someone with financial auditing credentials can enlighten us.

What I can tell you from anecdotal experience, 'Market Analysts' pick up data and speculate, so organizations are increasingly skeptical of voluntarily making even anonymized data public, esp. on parameters they don't want a public circus on. 'Don't answer questions nobody's asking' is a common refrain in auditing circles.

Unlisted companies of course don't publish anything they don't want to, except mandatory audit and regulatory disclosures they have no choice on (shenanigans there are a different kettle of fish, off-topic here).
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Old 30th January 2023, 21:13   #821
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I don't remember seeing utilization data on a publicly available financial disclosure, and I'm not equipped to comment specifically. Maybe someone with financial auditing credentials can enlighten us.

What I can tell you from anecdotal experience, 'Market Analysts' pick up data and speculate, so organizations are increasingly skeptical of voluntarily making even anonymized data public, esp. on parameters they don't want a public circus on. 'Don't answer questions nobody's asking' is a common refrain in auditing circles.
We are in agreement that companies have no incentive to publish it. My point was more around the fact that aggregate number at a company level does not give any customer data away.

Last edited by warrioraks : 30th January 2023 at 21:27.
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Old 30th January 2023, 22:47   #822
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Nice satire on the current situation

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Old 31st January 2023, 05:04   #823
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Nice satire on the current situation
I was about to share this but youve already posted this.

Its actually quite brilliant and not sure if Im reading too much but I daresay shes doing some messaging here too, both for corporates as well as for employees.
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Old 31st January 2023, 18:15   #824
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Just revisited the first post in this thread which was written during the initial phase of 2008 recession to check how was it compared to the current recession and where do the firms stand today.

Post link:
Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
Disclaimer: I am not the author for this, just posting a mailer.
Quote:
IBM --- Right now this is the most firing company for IT professionals. In the last 6 months, this company has fired nearly 20% of their employees because of BG check and performance issues. This is the most insecure company from an IT professional's point of view. They
don't have any strategic plans at HR policies regarding employee security. No appraisals (maximum 10%).
As per friends in IBM, Hike part still remains same or worse. But this firm made WFH mainstream way back in 2000s itself. I remember the HR mentioning that as a perk when I was interviewing with them back in 2010. Ofcourse was a bachelor back then in mid 20s and that perk meant nothing to me. However today that would make a world of difference
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TCS --- Previously its like a government IT Company . Now a days TCS also becoming firing IT company. Recently they fired on 500 people.( the people below 2 years of experience) and TCS losts so many projects recently( especially British Telecom Projects).
Even now perceived as a govt organization. But they did layoff in 2015/16 IIRC
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Accenture --- This is second top most firing company. The firing rate is around 5%. This depends upon outsourced projects; they have a unique system where Accenture development centers around the world bid for a project coming into the company. Currently Philippines centre is taking the cake and the Indian centers are in a firing mode.
Well they still hire/fire but pay pretty decent when compared to other service based firms, both in India and Onsite. Onsite I noticed while in Adelaide. For same tech, similar exp and identical job Accenture folks were paid atleast 10-20% more. Their billing was higher as well compared to TCS/Wipro/Infy.
Quote:
WIPRO --- Firing people with very frequent back ground checks and firing them with out even experience letters and relieving letters (will mention as terminated from services)but will promise the employees that
they will retain them. After the project is over they will fire away. Will threaten of criminal cases against such employees if they oppose the move and has also filed against some.
Spent quite sometime in this firm in the last decade but didn't see these cases. Maybe that was the case in 2008/09. Overall its a nice firm if you wish to travel abroad. In India its not among the best payers.
Quote:
CSC --- Excellent package but fires folks in Background check and those on bench regularly. Recently fired 400+ employees from its subsidiary Covansys.
Merged with HPE and known as DXC now. Colleagues there mentioned the first few years of merger were kinda stagnant from employee growth perspective, not sure how it is now.

Quote:
Satyam --- Currently stopped firing. The Attrition rate is very high. No firing from 2005 until now when 1000 employees were fired in Hyderabad.
A year later(2009) all hell broke loose in this firm. Now a part of Tech-M.
Quote:
Patni ---- They fired so many employees that currently they are facing understaffing and deficiency with number of employees. Very high attrition rate.
Now a part of Capgemini.
Quote:
EDS --- Most secure company in India. Not laid off any of its employees even during 2001. Has lots of projects in Defense and financial areas.
Wasn't this firm taken over by HP in 2008?
Quote:
Infosys --- Dream Job. On a way to achieve the status of a secured, stable Govt. company.
Till 2008 everyone thought so and then by March 2009 it started firing folks left right and center. Never attained that status.
Quote:
AOL, Google and Yahoo - Best companies to work with, great job satisfaction as well as great salary and work environment. Rarely fires an employee. As they are internet based companies' they offer lots of opportunities to grow.
Yahoo & AOL I dont hear of much anymore. Do they still have office in India?Google, well how times change. Now leading firm in terms of layoffs.

Last edited by SoumenD : 31st January 2023 at 18:21.
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Old 1st February 2023, 09:01   #825
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Opened LinkedIn again yesterday to another former colleague looking for work. That person had been with the (now both our former) company for over 12 years and I remember him being a good performer and one of the better middle managers that I've interacted with (never worked on his team though). Really surprising he was let go, especially when the company is still advertising jobs that he could have easily moved in to. What sort of planning is this. And this is not some startup running on funding, it's a 25+ year old profitable sw product company with a steady client base in a vertical that doesn't really shift suddenly or dramatically.

Good thing is it looks like my impression of him is shared by many, great to see several former colleagues of ours reach out and push his profile, am sure he'll land something better soon.

The lesson never changes- look out for yourself, re-skill, don't sacrifice your life for the company- they don't give a damn, build relationships with people instead, always look out for better opportunities even if you are happy in your present job- not necessarily for more money, but a more secure role, a role that adds to your resume, avoid unnecessary debt and save for an eventual layoff, it can happen anytime.

Last edited by am1m : 1st February 2023 at 09:17.
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