Oliver Spanke – Senior Manager Strategy & Transformation
Vincent Griffe – Senior Consultant Strategy & Transformation
Can you introduce us to Cognizant? What are the main challenges and objectives of Cognizant?
– Oliver : Cognizant is one of the world’s leading consulting and professional services companies, supporting organisations in their strategic, operational and technological transformation in the digital age.
The digital transformation has become an imperative for companies, which need global partners ready to commit to them in order to succeed, combining performance and innovation. Cognizant is one of them, and works with the world’s 10 largest groups in all sectors of activity, with a unique approach that focuses on business knowledge and consulting, with a network of 100 service centres and nearly 300,000 employees worldwide.
In France, Cognizant has been developing for over ten years with its clients: by giving them access to its global innovation and execution network, and with local multidisciplinary teams committed to meeting their current and future challenges. Cognizant France’s Cognizant Consulting is our management consulting structure, with nearly 300 consultants: it combines the know-how of our consultants and the expertise of our clients’ businesses to help them accelerate their transformations, both business and digital, in the banking, insurance, industry and services sectors.
The human dimension is an essential element of these transformations: at Cognizant Consulting, this subject is therefore “taken care of” by an entity dedicated to Human Resources and Change Management. And among the most important issues for our clients, and therefore for us, skills management, which is at the heart of Human Capital management, is of course very high on the agenda.
What is the role of competency management for your customers?
– Oliver : One of the key challenges for HRDs is to define the skills needed to implement the company’s strategy. It is not easy to define future skills and to have a clear visibility on the level of employees for these target skills. We note that this often involves identifying soft skills. We are also seeing the emergence of discussions about mad skills (extreme skills in certain areas). Good skills management can give companies a competitive advantage.
– Vincent : As Human Resources relies on competencies to help the company achieve its objectives, a good understanding of competencies is key to adapting action plans related to talent management, training, recruitment and mobility.
What issues do you address by setting up a skills management project for your customers?
– Oliver : Our Human Capital offer accompanies our clients in responding to the forward-looking management of jobs and skills (Workforce Planning) and the resulting action plans.
In concrete terms, we help our clients to define their mapping of target jobs and skills according to their issues and strategy. Then we build up the current skill set to assess the gap between the target and the existing one. Finally, we co-construct and deploy HR action plans with our clients to close the identified gap.
We have developed a strong expertise in this field by carrying out numerous missions in different sectors.
Why did you choose a partner like eLamp?
– Oliver : Our clients also need to sustain the management of their skills over time in order to have the right skills in the right place at the right time, but also to make it more effective and efficient. When Olivier Rohou (Co-founder and President of eLamp) presented his project to me, his speech was particularly striking for me: “I want to do one thing: I want to replace all HR sheets and Excel skills repositories by implementing eLamp”.
– Vincent : The partnership with eLamp allows us to offer a tool-based approach, which creates obvious synergies with our business expertise. eLamp’s solution optimises the collection of reliable data in order to build up an up-to-date skills base. Furthermore, the solution allows us to perpetuate the repository and the skills assets that we set up during Workforce Planning missions by updating them over time. In this way, the repository and the asset base evolve continuously and remain relevant, rather than starting the work over again from an Excel file that is frozen every 3 years.
What are the points of vigilance to watch out for when deploying a solution such as eLamp?
– Oliver : I think it is very important to understand the expectations of companies in order to meet them as well as possible. To do this, it is necessary to clarify the functional and technical needs, as well as their priorities, from the very beginning of the mission, in order to implement a solution that is adapted to our clients.
eLamp is a solution with a very clearly defined functional scope. It is the first brick to optimise the operation and make this material, which is a skill datum, more reliable. Before going any further, it is necessary to stabilise this skills base by improving knowledge and understanding, then ask the right questions and set up appropriate action plans.
There are many solutions that help to manage skills and which can be complementary to each other. For example, I think that Saven (a tool for identifying soft skills) could be complementary to eLamp.
In concrete terms, what prospects do you offer your customers by getting to know their employees better?
– Vincent : The benefits are multiple for both the company and the employees!
For the employee, who can receive individualised support with training and career plans that are better adapted to his or her needs and motivations, but above all by giving him or her responsibility for his or her own professional future. The employee has a better understanding of his or her strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities available to him or her.
For the company, a sharper vision of skills enables a better allocation of its resources according to its needs, thus optimising its costs and efficiency.
– Oliver : A tool like eLamp can also help anticipate the need to renew certifications. This is very important for positions where certifications are mandatory.
Conclusion / the final word
– Oliver : There are different levels of maturity among customers regarding skills management, and the same can be said in terms of tooling.
– Vincent : Some companies are very well equipped and take advantage of new technologies to optimise their skills management, while others still use Excel files. This observation can be extrapolated to the maturity of companies for all human resources information systems (HRIS).
What will companies invest in the aftermath of the crisis?
– Vincent : I see a strong link between current events and the skills management we have just discussed. Containment has the impact of making employees more responsible by reducing the manager’s level of control. Employees have had to adapt the organisation of their work and quickly become more proficient in the use of remote communication and collaboration tools. This reflects the employee’s sense of responsibility in his or her development and professional future.
After the crisis, I think we will have to continue to invest in the collaboration tools made available to employees and skills management tools to obtain accurate and up-to-date information. It will also be necessary to continue to adapt managerial postures and practices to the needs of the company and its employees, taking into account the constraints imposed, which will continue to evolve.
– Oliver : We must start now to prepare for the future and provide employees with the necessary means to do so. For me, digitalisation is one of the key issues. The companies furthest behind in the digital world have realised the necessity of digital tools. It is necessary to continue these investments after the crisis and especially not to go backwards!