How does the COVID-19 crisis affect the way we work? How do Experts and decision makers adapt?
An interesting report on the concrete case of an Expert hiring.
Chronology report related to the COVID-19 and the impact on the search for an Expert in IT Enterprise Architecture
End of January 2020.
An important client contacted me to ask me to identify an Expert in a very specific subject: IT Enterprise Architecture. An appointment is quickly organised on January, 22nd. The business meeting takes place in a small modern conference room. The client, a major player in the supply of electrical energy in French-speaking Switzerland, gives me his expectations, both technical and functional.
The criteria given are precise and obviously difficult to find.
But professional networks are doing their job; very quickly, an Expert gets in touch with me. Communication is established, conversations are conducted and validation takes place very naturally. This Expert is also very compatible in terms of work culture, with significant past activity in the electrical distribution market.
My Expert candidate provides all needed references, one of which will be decisive: my Expert’s network has a lot of common contacts with that of my client’s IT Director.
The Covid 19 is only a word that nobody can write and has hardly been mentioned in the media.
A month later, on February 24
A month later, on February, 24th, a first session is organized, again at the client’s office.
The Covid 19 already has an impact, still light, on habits and customs. We use our hands with a kind of restraint. But social distancing is not yet strictly observed and coffee is clearly more abundant than hydro-alcoholic gel …
It is a pre-project session intended to validate on one hand my Expert’s understanding of our client’s expectations; on the other hand, the client thus has the ability to challenge the Expert, to validate his experience, his expertise, on very specific subjects. Enterprise Architecture is a major subject in the exposed scenario: the consolidation, from an IT perspective, of all my client’s branches and divisions, including about 10 different IT organizations into a unique one for about 3,500 employees.
Between February, 24th and March, 25th
During the following month, between February, 24th and March, 25th, communication quickly changed in nature. On the phone, by messages, the usually fairly innocuous question, “How are you doing”, takes on another meaning. New instructions, official measures, recommendations are announced every day. The screed is landing on us, more and more dark, more and more heavy … Baudelaire is not far away.
My Expert prepares his action plans, the client validates it and finally a first IT expert mandate offer is transmitted and accepted. It is a real success, made even more brilliant by the current circumstances. Our way of working together, with several actors, changes very quickly; modern means of communication perfectly fulfill their different roles. The customer, excited by the qualities of the Expert, makes a new request, just as decisive for the company’s strategy: Smart Metering. This somewhat barbaric term is a set of strategies, technologies, business knowledge and tools absolutely vital for the energy world; Smart Metering is what is more trivially called remote electric meters, allowing precise, reliable remote consumption measurements, in real time. Here, we put one foot, or even two, in the concrete world of IOT, Internet of Things.
This project excites my Expert! But … yes there is a big but. How to take responsibility for such a project in the current circumstances?
The project is urgent for our client. Decision is therefore taken, from the start, to make every effort in terms of IT structures, so that the project begins quickly. All of my client’s staff are working remotely. IT structures hold up, collaborative tools are deployed; I support my Expert from home. The telephone has become, even more than before, an extension of my arm. When we talk about meetings, we no longer think about calculating the travel time, no … we check the setup of Skype, Hangout or other Zoom and we make sure that screen sharing works.
Between March, 25th and March, 31st
On March, 25th, a session with 5 speakers, all locked down at home, is organized through the tools and solutions mentioned above. My Expert makes a strong impression during his presentations.
Decision is made, during the following 6 days, to start the project with my Expert. The start of the long mission is set for April, 1st, like a good joke, a snub at the Covid 19 which has barely slowed down the enthusiasm, barely blurring the business needs of my client.
Yes, my Expert started the 2 projects on April, 1st at noon being at home.
The need of the market, the availability of modern teleworking tools, the quality of Telecom infrastructures in Switzerland but, above all, the will of the various players has triggered in everyone an essential quality for progress and advancement: adaptability.
Experts Without Borders, the World federation of Experts, adapts to current circumstances and continues the work for Experts and Decision Makers.
More information on www.ExpertsWithoutBorders.org