3.1.1 executives desired the integration of their


1 Talent management inglobally integrated worldAs IBM became a GIE(globally integrated enterprise), the human capital strategy started playing acrucial role for the company’s competitive success in the future. Several newHR issues has appeared in terms of new organizational structure and shift frommultinational to globally integrated organization. IBM faced the challenge witha new vision and reorganization such as duplication of roles, increasing costsand efficiency impairing. The new challenges asked for the new ways andsolutions for IBM. Ultimately, executives desired the integration of their HRinfrastructure and the businesses’ strategy.Taking into consideration that at that time (2003) IBM had approximately350,000 employees, 90 thousand contractors and tens of thousands of jobapplicants.  The existing IBM’s talentmanagement system did not consider the talent needs of globally integratedenterprise.

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What IBM really needed was globally integrated approach andstandard implementation process for its subsidiaries all around the globe.Focus on accurately projecting demand and a creating a sufficient supply oftalent in spite of against multinational model, which usually tends to beoperated separately in each region. The new approach that considers peoplebeing the company’s most valuable asset.”The talentlifecycle includes not only attracting and retaining the best people but alsomotivating and developing, connecting and enabling, and effectively deployingand managing them around the globe.”Moreover, from strategicperspective the full potential of the other production areas cannot be achievedunless the company does not find a globally integrated approach to its humanresource.  Among existing HR solutions inthe market at that time there was no completely suiting all the parameters ofGIE. „…no organization had successfully developed a way to provide atransparent view of workforce capabilities and needs that could guide planning,employee career decisions, business leader talent and strategy decisions, andat the same time be engaging and compelling enough to become a natural part ofthe management processes.

“The core idea of IBM’s HRchief was to create a constantly updating supply talent management systemrather than a simply database of jobs and skills. This new system was meant to fulfillthe gap of global organization to have a comprehensive and transparent overviewof its talent supply, job needs, and implication of business strategy. At thesame very time the new approach should have included different elements like softwares,technologies, trainings and others. Simultaneously, the new system needed to beeffective at different levels of business.From corporation’s point ofview, the task was to build up a system that will help to move talents betweencountries when necessity arise from the company or from clients. In addition tothat, shift the HR department form operating in one country or region to theglobally integrated network. “We’ll manage each person within each group as an asset and develop themaccordingly. You’ll have talent, learning and compensation people all managingpeople within their assigned levels.

“(Grossman, 2007)From workers perspective thegoal as to create a constantly updating system where they can track and plantheir developments and achievements as well as monitor the global andinter-department possibilities for their future growth considering IBM workersas the most valuable asset.From client’s perspective toprovide unique propositions, considering international needs of the businessbased on the good knowledge of the client industry and global implicationsprocesses. A global client strategy of IBM was to provide their customers withsoftware, hardware, business processing, consulting and more – wherever andwhenever customers need it .Moreover global customers wanted to deal with one IBM, not manydifferent national units.

Considering all the challenges that were described, IBM came to the idea ofapplying the supply chain concept form the operations management to HRprocesses. The concept of the talent management supply chain is based on fourcore elements:·        Resource management Needs elements like accurateinventory of skills and talent, demand forecast, capacity planning, andworkforce rebalancing.Talent and mobility management requires a commontaxonomy, common profiles for all sources of labor, and decision support.Learning opportunitiesInclude tightalignment with business objectives, accurate skills assessments, skill-gapmanagement, and alignment with skills development systems and programs.Supplier or vendor management requires alignment ofsupplier strategy with resource management strategy.

However, to implement the talent management supply chain into to theeveryday process was not possible as the following technical elements weremissing:No design for end-to-end resource supply chain.No central accountability for workforce management.No standard for defining the workforce.Labor pools managed independently by business units.Limited forecasting of anticipated resource demand.Difficulty in linking training investments with market needs.

No unified sourcing strategy.Management systems that did not encourage cross-unit collaboration. To sum it up, the company’s executives understood that for IBM to build a sustained competitive advantage in thisnew world, it would have to have excellent human capital.

People and theiracquired skills were the foundation of competitive advantage. Companies thatrely on technological or manufacturing innovations alone cannot be expected todominate their markets for a very long time. In IBM’s view, the quality andstrategic deployment of human capital is what separates winners from outsiders.This was particularly true for a company like IBM, which increasingly relied onits people to build and deliver world-class services.To execute this strategy,global product divisions were created, but that alone was not enough. IBM’sexisting human resource systems were not aligned with the new strategy.

Much ofthe hiring, training, and staffing functions of HR were still based in nationalunits. The company lacked a global approach to managing and deploying its humancapital. The vision of integrated talent management supply chain became areality when the Workforce Management Initiative (WMI) was implemented in IBM.


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