Focus On Tony Morgan, NOA Board member and Chief Innovation Officer for IBM UK & Ireland - Getting Outsourced
Tony Morgan looks back on his career so far in outsourcing – which kicked off when he himself was outsourced.
There can be great opportunities for people transferring from end user organisations to service providers, particularly when functions being outsourced are not core business functions for the end users. The challenge for end users, service providers and employees is to focus on creating the best possible outcomes for all concerned.
I worked for an employer which decided to outsource parts of its IT department. The rationale was that these functions weren’t core to the business and could be more efficiently delivered by a service provider.
During my career to that point, I had gone through a progression of junior, senior and lead technical specialist roles. I had already begun to wonder what options were available for further career development within my employer. With this new development, I wanted to find out as quickly as possible what was going to happen to me, what would happen to my role and who my new employer would be.
In 1998 I transferred into IBM, a major provider of technology based products, solutions and services.
After transfer, my first role was leading the technical aspects of the project to move my previous employer’s data centre to an IBM location, a project which ran to time and budget. My role transitioned into a support team but I wanted to find out what wider opportunities were open to me.
With some help, and some personal pro-activity, I successfully applied for a technical solution design role on new outsourcing bids and large projects for existing clients. I was on a learning curve. Working for a service provider was a mindset change from working in an end user organisation. This role was the making of me. It was my first real stretch. I moved quickly out of my comfort zone but also quickly built confidence.
I was provided with a formal mentor who gave me career and professional advice. It was at this stage I discovered much more about IBM’s professions structure. Options included Specialist, Architect, Project Manager, Consultant and Sales. I opted for Architect.
I found myself within a profession of my choice with a career path and options. Did I want to be a technology architect, an enterprise or perhaps a data architect? There were tools and methods I could use to develop my experience and deliver my role. Crucially, there was a supporting documented education path.
The professions model pioneered within IBM is now being developed much more widely and is externally recognised. My current IBM senior certified Architect position qualifies me at the Distinguished IT Architect certification level with The Open Group. The NOA of course also has its own qualifications and outsourcing profession Pathway education programme.
Aligned with the IBM career model, I took the next steps on my journey with Chief Architect roles on outsourcing client engagements. I was identified as a potential future technical leader and allocated to the technical leadership programme.
I was building a longer term career plan I couldn’t have dreamed of in my previous organisations. I became a mentor myself, providing support for people who had come through similar client to service provider outsourcing journeys as my own. I’ve seen a number of my mentees receive their own Architect accreditations and certifications which has been hugely satisfying.
My thirteen years in IBM have been in the outsourcing business. There have been many changes in this time but some things haven’t changed that much. I see people come into IBM and develop their careers in a similar way to myself. There is high demand for good people with positive and pro-active outlook in my area of the business and elsewhere.
My advice to end user organisations looking to outsource is help and encourage employees going through the process to be pro-activein finding out what is on offer for them with their new employer. Good service providers understand that transferred staff can be a great benefit to their organisations and clients. Services providers who actively develop the careers of their new staff reap the benefits. In my view staff from outsourcing, and acquisitions keep a workforce vital and innovative and deliver a wide breadth of expertise back to the clients they work with. Long may this continue in IBM and beyond.