3.5 Potential threats
implementation of the WMI required investments of more than US$100 million and
five to seven years period to be able to evaluate the results and declare if
the initiative was successful or not. Even though the broad of directors
were convinced the initiative would be successful some potential fears still remained.
Will the WMI worth its money?
Danger that high costs of implication and time consuming procedure that will
not overweight the costs.
The initiative has proofed to
be successful and profitable tool that can be used not only for IBM’s entire
purposes but for clients’ needs as well.
With a total
investment of US$230 million over the course of its five year business case,
IBM received about US$1.5 billion in benefits from the WMI; US$453 million of
these significant benefits were hard benefits, flowing directly to IBM’s bottom
line. (Boudreau 2011)
One of the most
significant results that the WMI showed was the effect of optimizing
contractors’ workforce. As contractors make up much more workforce than the
full-time employees the payoff of the transfer of outsourcing firm to the IBM’
system had demonstrated the greatest financial result. The issue of this matter
lays in the fact that the skills the supplier says the worker has in reality
turned to be the opposite. After the implementation of the IMW among the
suppliers IBM managed to create a pool of workers that were really needed and
matched the positions.
The implementation of the WMI might
need extra stuffing and would increase the administrative costs at the
beginning. At the very first step the implementing process demanded extra
efforts form all the IBMers in deed. As the managements tried to explain the
effect on the future of the workers and benefits form using the WMI more and
more people entered the system.
that the same result can be brought by an alternative low-costs HR solutions.
As well as that competitors can steal the idea of WMI and offer it at lower
costs. Fortunately, it did not happen even though there are much more talent
management solutions in the market IBM managed to conquer its own market share
of consulting services for other businesses who wants to manage their talents.
Used only by HR
that the new system will be used only by HR specialists and the employee will
not estimate all the benefits.
The system is
used by 80% of employees as a tool for planning and tracking their individual
achievements and developments and for managers to control the talents
requirements and availability and to be able to predict future trends and
challenges form the “living market”.
“A very key lesson learned in developing the
Expertise Taxonomy was that it doesn’t work if you can’t get business units to
support it and have all employees populate it and use it.” So the system must be supported by those who knows the work best – employee
The idea of creating a completely new globally integrated approach to HR
processes was attractive and interesting but at the same time these was a
danger that this new system would collect somehow the limitations of alternative
solutions on the field and will be implode from complexity. To put it simple, the initiative will be too complicated for ordinary worker and will not
provide the needed connection across business units and geographical borders.
In their first pass, in March
of 2005, the team came up with 650 roles. By 2008, the number of roles needed
to define IBM’s workforce capability was 331. By the end of 2009, it was under
300. Considering the massive size of the IBM workforce, contractor base and
applicant pool, each role covered more than 1,000 employees, hundreds of
contractors and hundreds of applicants worldwide. (Boudreau, J.)
The system is not finished and
cannot be finished as it was designed to be flexible and updated. It is meant
to be open continuously for new elements and improvements and become more and
more useful in the future. The potential of the WMI is huge even though some
imperfections are might exist which is a sign of any ‘living system’. The IWM was created to be a transparent and
comprehensive system which relies on “common language” and expertise taxonomy.
In recent years a focus on
talent management is dramatically increased. Tendencies like globalization,
skill shortages and changing demographic trends made companies include the
talent management issue into global development strategy of any successful and
competitive organization. It is no not possible anymore to simply hire a new
worker any time the company needs new competences. Many leading companies
prefer to invest into development of existing workforce, which already proved
to be successful. One of the IBM’s financial success factors is recognition of
preferred to create its own, unique talent management system that fits the
challenges of the market and fulfill the internal needs from the one hand and
allow to build up talent management strategy for clients. This approach changed the company’s vision from a
“seller of solid technology” to a “deliverer of high value