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A day in the life of...

Find out more about IBM Global Business Services form the people who know best - our employees!

Pinar Guner – Strategy Consultant for Organizational Change


It is Monday morning and I travel the 450km to Ankara where my client is based. I am a Strategy & Change consultant working on a large Telco project and so I travel on Mondays and stay the working week in the Turkish capital city.

The week starts with a Project Team meeting led by the IBM Project Manager. In this meeting, we review the work completed in the previous week and plan the week ahead to prevent any delays in the deliverables. With a completed project plan for the week, the IBM team can work together to common goals.

The rest of the morning is dedicated to workshops with senior client stakeholders to understand how their organisation is structured and what their pain points are. Facilitating each workshop is a unique experience since different stakeholders participate each time and each of them has different needs and expectations. Even graduates could be called upon to facilitate this type of workshop with senior leaders of the customer organisation. In IBM, responsibility is quickly bestowed on new employees and support is offered via close mentoring relationships with experienced consultants.

After having lunch with my project colleagues, we must prepare some information to respond to client questions raised in my morning meetings. As always it seems, this is required in short timescales and we must present best practices in this afternoon’s Executive Presentation. My team colleagues and I research IBM’s Intellectual Capital to find the required information before the deadline. Since IBM is a global company, many similar projects have been completed before and the outcomes with “Lessons Learnt” were loaded into IBM’s databases.

Experiencing the depth of this knowledge capital at IBM, I feel fortunate to have the chance to work in such a large network of people from different countries, cultures and disciplines.

Amira Elias - Strategy Consultant for Organizational Change

I started by planning my day. We use organiser software that puts yellow “sticky notes” on my Windows Desktop to which I refer throughout the day. As a Strategy and Change consultant, I am currently managing a multi million $US complex bid with numerous interdependencies that calls for a number of sales bids to be run in parallel. It takes a lot of juggling, but luckily, there's a huge network of experts and mentors available to me around the world to make this possible.

I also manage a small team focused on the preparation of client bids. This involves collating pricing proposals and other inputs from Subject Matter Experts, Legal and Technical Assurance to produce finalised documents. Much of my morning is spent working with Service Line Executives to finalise proposals and prices for inclusion in these bids.

At lunch I'm going to take the time to grab a sandwich and a quick coffee while I research some IBM e-Learning courses I think I might need.

Later, I'll be catching up with my team to create IBM's Midde East & North Africa view of the Global CIO study. Worldwide, IBM interviewed over 2,500 CIOs in person and we review the content, analysis and presentation to finalise the output. This is where our online collaboration tools come in handy - I can always find someone to help or bounce ideas off of.

This evening, I have a 'phone meeting' with an IBM Consulting Partner to fine tune the presentation for a perfect finish. He's in a different time zone, but no matter – I've got the tools I need to make sure I can keep the meeting and still have plenty of time to tuck my daughter into bed!

James White, Associate Partner, Financial Operations Improvement.

James White

"Today I am flying to Adelaide with a colleague from the Oracle practice to present a proposal to the Chief Finance Officer of a major client. This is the culmination of several weeks work by a muli-disciplinary team of consultants, and will provide work for consultants in three separate practices over the next year. The tender is competitive, so it is important to make a good impression, both in presenting our material, and in listening to, and dealing with, the client's concerns.

In the taxi from the airport to the client site, I will arrange for one of my staff to take a role on a project in Sydney and another a role in Brisbane. Managing utilisation of my team is another important measure of my personal success. I have team members working across Australia - I don't know how we managed before mobile phones and wireless broadband - but they are great tools for communicating across a widely dispersed team."

The major benefit of working for IBM is the opportunity to work on game changing projects for a diverse range of Australia's leading companies.

John Hutchinson, Project Manager : SAP

John Hutchinson

"First up is planning the day by listing down all my activities and prioritising them. Today, my weekly report is due and I prepare this report based on review meetings with my team leads. I am managing an SAP Upgrade project which will provide the client with new and improved functionality that will be a platform for innovative solutions.

My team are made up of client staff and contractors, with myself being the only IBMer. This does not concern me as I have a strong network within IBM to support me. Our intellectual capital database is a great reference and the SAP Practice, of which I belong to, are always happy to provide advice or comment on any questions I have.

For me, this project is a return to managing SAP projects, allowing me to refresh my SAP knowledge. Over the last 2 years I have managed non SAP projects to broaden my knowledge and experience. This is one of the benefits of working for IBM as there are many opportunities to experience a wide variety of projects. "

Rowena Smith, Business Transformation Consultant, HR Process and Service Delivery.

Rowena Smith

It is a crazy day today! It's Friday afternoon and my final deliverable for the project is due by 12:00pm. I am currently involved in a large scale Shared Services implementation for a public sector client and have been working on client site by commuting to Brisbane for the past few months.

I have been writing end user Work Instructions in order to support and facilitate process and technology improvements which will be delivered to the client over the next three years. My role has been to liaise with the client, the process experts and functional experts to pull together instructions for exactly how an end user should perform an individual task. This process is a key step in making our overall shared services solution effective for the client. The role has given me great exposure to understanding the complex solutioning which goes behind a large business transformation.

Today, I am going over our deliverables with a fine tooth comb to make sure everything is perfect. Of course, at this point there is always a crucial point missing and last minute decisions are made which means most of my morning is spent frantically rewriting what we thought had been finalised 3 weeks ago.

After the craziness is over and my adrenalin rush has subsided, I have a meeting with my mentor. This is something I really look forward to after a busy couple of weeks! Although we have never met in person, we have a built a relationship over the phone through the IBM mentoring program. As an IBM employee who has succeed in her career, and taken a similar career path to which I aspire to my mentor is able to provide me career advice, guidance and sponsorship for upcoming roles. Today our phone call is really just about catching up on what I have been up to and discussing what approach I could take in my next role.

Then its home time. At the end of a busy week everyone on the project hops in a car or bus and heads to the airport. Back to Sydney for me!

Warren Vonghack, Managing Consultant Technical Team Leader : SAP.NW.ABAP


Today I have to meet with a third party vendor to finalise a deliverable that my project has been waiting to commence integration testing on. If everything goes to plan I'll be meeting the various project stakeholders to gain the necessary signoff approvals. In the afternoon I have my weekly conference call with my development team based out of India to follow up on any outstanding issues and discuss the tasks for the coming week. I also need to begin preparing a resource plan for the next phase of the project so I will need to meet with the functional leads to discuss their development requirements.

I have a follow up meeting tomorrow with an external auditor regarding the deliverables that I am responsible for and assisting with the completion of a risk mitigation plan for our upcoming go-live. I need to provide the necessary documentation on the sample of deliverables that have been requested for audit. I have a meeting with the internal security team to ratify protocols that have been put in place and amend where necessary.

I'm currently involved in assisting another project with drafting development metrics and architectural design considerations. This lets me "jump out" out of my current day to day environment and to be exposed to other ongoing projects within the region and also allows me to collaborate and share my ideas with other IBM colleagues.

Marina Scaffidi, Project Manager: SAP


Its the start of my third week on this new account - a large SAP Migration project. The day kicks off with an 8am war room meeting. The project has many inter-dependencies and activities that impact the critical path. Its a global executive call to ensure the right focus and escalations are in place to get the integrated plan back on track. Then its off to a project kick off meeting. The team has been identified so the meeting is held to ensure the team understands the client, the requirements, the job ahead and the deadlines that need to be met. The team is in good spirits and keen to get started on the challenges ahead.

Lunchtime is fast approaching but its time to commence weekly project status reviews with my Project Managers. The projects are progressing well but many new issues and risks have been identified. This is followed by a status meeting with my manager on the account - the SAP Program Director. Progress is reported and items requiring escalation are discussed.

My 'things to do list' continues to grow...Now its time to check in with the Project office. I need an update on the progress of the Project change requests (PCR's) that have been raised for my projects and an overview of the project financials. The project office provides an update on the PCR's and the financial health of the project.

The Project Director role is full of many rewarding challenges and opportunities.

Alex Lau Sie Kieng, Package Solution Consultant : SAP Finance


Being a SAP consultant, it is not just about ‘system configuration', the most important thing is how we manage our client expectation by creating a platform that supports its business growth. We were being challenged with client unique requirements and will need to find resolutions based on best practice. The knowledge database that is made available within IBM is very well established and it is never difficult to find someone that has the right skills, capabilities and knowledge to share their experience with local and colleagues from other regions.

At times, stress level can be overwhelming and the clients can be quite demanding. In return, we enjoy great satisfaction at the end of the assignment, knowing that the clients are satisfied with the services provided to them. We also know that each project will end one day and that itself accelerates the drive for us to perform utmost until the completion of the project. The job scope is dynamic and we get the opportunity to work with global clients in multiple diversified industries. So, this job can never be boring, with challenges ahead and the opportunity to learn new things.

Flexible timing and working hours in our line of business means that we are responsible for our time at work and also for our time to enjoy ourselves. Exploring "best-of" places known during lunch hour for its famous foods in the small corners of the town, our lunch venues will vary depending on where our client site is. Best of all, it is during this time that we get to know the team better and strengthen the ties within in order to produce the best for the client. Work smart, deliver, and have a bit of fun in our daily life to serve the client at our very best.'