I’m James Gale, and I’m bringing you the final edition of the Project Management Graduate Blog from the 2017 intake. I’ll pause quickly to allow you to shed a tear… Thank you to my colleagues who have written the editions before me, providing you all with updates regarding our progression through the programme.
The last 7 and a half months have flown by, and we are really starting to feel settled into our projects and working life at Computacenter. In this final edition, I thought it would be a good idea to update you on where everyone is currently working, and how the graduate rotations have helped them so far in their new projects.
Firstly though, please allow me a little self-indulgent waffle! I’m from a town called Lechlade, kind of between Swindon and Oxford, and graduated in July 2017 from the University of Reading with a First Class Honours in Business and Management. My early experiences of work, as a waiter and later as a tennis coach, developed my soft skills and showed me how much I enjoy working with all sorts of customers in different types of teams. These experiences, coupled with an interest in technology developed through a 13 month placement at IBM, is why I thought life as a project manager at Computacenter would suit me.
So far, so good! Since joining Computacenter I have been overwhelmed with the time given to us graduates. Gaining exposure to most areas of Computacenter has accelerated our development and allowed us to build a network that is proving invaluable to our project work.
I’m currently working with Mark Goddard (UK Data Protection Officer) on an internal GDPR implementation project. It’s a fantastic first project to be a part of, helping to shape something very important to Computacenter’s future legal compliance (this is where I insert a subtle plug to do your online training). The knowledge gained through my rotations of project management practices has allowed me to own certain work streams already. Understanding the different departments at Computacenter has enabled me to positively contribute to discussions in my project about how different areas of CC handle personal data. My highlight of the programme so far was travelling to Germany to work on development of an online tool for the GDPR project. Working across the Group has shown me the international scale of Computacenter which has been challenging and rewarding.
Now, back to the group of 2017. We are all fully engaged with our projects, which is allowing us to truly appreciate the benefits from our rotations. Here’s a short update from each of the 2017 Projects Graduates…
- My first project is on the Post Office account in the POL Deployment Team. It’s a very dynamic, reactive role which involves a lot of liaison between scheduling teams, engineers and technical support.
- A fictional project assignment in our rotations gave us some useful exposure to the pre-sales and governance process. Now that I am on a big deployment project, I can really appreciate the logistical problems and challenges during deployment and how difficult prediction is during the Pre-Sales process.
- My highlight of the programme so far was getting our hands dirty with TRG. I will fondly remember my time dismantling and reassembling laptops (probably doing more damage than good)!
- I am currently on the Managed Print project for The Authority. It’s interesting to see how lots of projects fit together to empower the customer’s work force and remain secure.
- Currently I am managing risk, change and tracking finances. The rotations helped me understand how these activities I perform fit into the wider picture at CC, i.e. how the finances I track will input into the E-WIP database and be used to forecast Projects Practices’ contribution to the company.
- There were many highlights during the 6 months of rotations, however the ultimate highlight was the International Project Management rotation in Barcelona. It was my first time in Barcelona and what a great city! Over a few days we learnt the importance of thinking and acting globally to grow and protect our business.
- I am currently working within GMS on various Automation Projects with the aim of driving Service improvements. It’s really interesting to see how we are driving service improvements, creating value for our customers and ourselves.
- The wide exposure to different business units through the rotations has allowed me to understand their key business drivers. Understanding how automation benefits these different units really helps with progressing and overcoming issues that arise.
- The highlight of the rotations for me was travelling around the country and across seas to really understand what Computacenter do for our customers and what sets us apart from competitors. Now putting what I learnt into practice is a huge benefit of the programme to aid my development.
- I’ve been working on the Hays PPO for just over a month now. In this time I’ve grown my project portfolio from just 1 project to 11! I’ve had to quickly become familiar with a PPO structure and processes, along with gaining more knowledge about the different technologies we support.
- From our rotations the most useful knowledge for me has been the different ways the departments within Computacenter are structured. Understanding the priorities, workloads and processes of different teams has helped my interaction with them.
- My highlight was the Service Management rotation, where I went to Edinburgh for 3 weeks to shadow Brian Rutherford on Standard Life and Scottish Power. It really opened my eyes to the services Computacenter provide – which considering the enormity of this side of our company, I had little knowledge of before I went.
- I’m currently working with Hannah Andrews and Angela Smith on Project Charon. It’s an internal project implementing CyberArk technology as the link between Customer environments and our own. It’s stretching me technically and I get to work across a range of customers and ISPs. Throwing in some German occasionally is a bonus!
- The rotations enabled me to hit the ground running. With a strong understanding of how Computacenter operates internally and externally, I feel like I always know where to go whenever there’s something the project needs, which has proved invaluable.
- The highlight of the programme has been my time spent on Customer sites: whether it be Eversheds or Schroders, Tesco or TFL or even Sky or Heathrow, interacting with a range of customers has been a humbling experience as I begin to understand just what it is that Computacenter can deliver.
- My first project is at the Home Office. I am currently in a Data Manager role, so I handle data for over 60,000+ devices, which can be overwhelming sometimes but I have become a pro with excel and I find it fascinating that I know where each device is located.
- I really enjoyed the rotations, apart from increasing my network, I have come to appreciate how each department contributes to the success of delivery of a project.
- My highlight of the programme so far was spending time with the International Projects Team in Barcelona. It was interesting to see the presence we have globally and the world wide opportunities that there are.
- During rotations as part of the Projects Graduate scheme, I was fortunate enough to get an insight into the operational side of the business, including our service offerings and what really sets CC apart from competitors.
- As a result of this time spent in a multitude of areas within the business, it also enabled me to build a network, whom have already demonstrated their willingness to provide guidance and support during my move to the Sales Associate scheme at the beginning of this year.
The next blog post will come from the 2018 Project Management Graduates in August. Most of us have met some of the prospective candidates over the last couple of weeks. I’m sure they will be a great intake to bring more fresh ideas to Computacenter (although I’m also sure their blogs won’t be quite as good). Thanks to everyone we’ve met along our journeys so far for all of your help and support. And thank you for reading this slightly extended blog post. Now it’s time for us to create value for our projects and Computacenter as a whole. See you all around!
2017 Projects Practice Graduates
Welcome to the first 2018 edition of the Project Practice Graduate blogs. In the last blog we had finished our rotation in the international team and were shortly to be heading off into the Christmas break. I am writing this now as we end our time rotating around the business and are eagerly taking up roles on our first projects.
First off and an introduction to myself. I studied Management at the University of Hertfordshire, during this I spent a year’s internship working for Hewlett Packard which sparked my interest in the technology sector. Whilst at, and then having left University I took a role in the public sector working for the emergency services, which was extremely eye opening to say the least. This gave me the opportunity to see a world of extremes, the happiest moments in life and the not so. On a personal note, I enjoy spending time with Family and Friends, who you’ll find me with most of the time. More recently I have taken up going on a number of camping holidays and spending my free time (when the weathers nice) to be outdoors.
From a work life perspective I find it fascinating how technology is rapidly changing the world we live in. The new opportunities it brings, and in fact some of the fundamental improvements it can make whether that be in peoples working or private lives. I have always wanted a career that is focused around people and customers, so project management fits quite nicely into this. I could see an opportunity to progress and succeed and so far with everyone that I have come to pass, and those that have invested their time in the programme, this has become ever apparent.
The past six months, which having read earlier blogs from my colleagues, would have given you an insight to the areas of the business we have undertaken. Our time with various areas of the business will be invaluable during our future with Computacenter. It is only now going onto projects that the true value of getting a guided tour around a large proportion of Computacenter will show its true worth in allowing us to be effective and of value to both our colleagues and our customers. For me this is what the rotations have been about.
With the initial rotations around the business at an end I feel it best to thank everyone that has given up their time to input into the programme so far, there were many of you! So thankyou! On behalf of all the grads on the programme.
Our most recent and last rotation was with Service Management. I was lucky enough to join the team for three weeks at HSBC. This gave a real insight into how we engage with our customers on managed service engagements. On a personal note a thankyou Ed Kwok for your time over the 3 weeks!
My first project is internally within the Group Managed Services (GMS) focusing on cloud and automation which I was looking forward to. I am ending my fourth week on the project whilst writing this blog. So far, so good. The project so far has given me the opportunity to understand GMS further and in addition to this develop my understand around how Computacenter delivers outcomes for our customers through the managed services we provide. Not being technical by any measure this has allowed me to broaden my technical knowledge in the automation space.
From my personal perspective and that I am sure my colleagues on the programme would agree with, is that now, being on our first project within our first teams outside of Project Practice it is nice to be able to ‘Earn our Stripes’. On that note I will leave it there, the next entry will come from James Gale.
I’m Isobel or Issie for short, and I would like to welcome you to the Christmas edition of the Projects Practice Graduate blog. Thank you to Tom for running through the many things we have learned over the past month and for thanking everyone that has hosted us. In this edition I will take you through some of our most recent tours, rotations and Christmas parties.
Before I get into what we have been up to these past weeks, here is a little bit about me; I am originally from the Isle of Man but have now moved to the big vibrant city of London. Which as you can imagine was a bit of a culture shock, causing me and the Sat Nav to become joined at the hip. I graduated this year with a 1st class honours in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University and jumped straight into the graduate scheme here at Computacenter.
Whilst our time here at Computacenter has been short, I think all the Grads would agree that we have learnt an exceptional amount, not only about projects but about the Computacenter values and the many different teams involved in delivering a great service for our customers. I would like to thank all the teams we have met for taking the time to speak to us and for all the help and support that has been offered along the way. In particular I would like to give a little shout out to our buddies from all of the Grads, for really going the extra mile to make us feel welcome and preparing us for starting on an account in February. Thanks Ben Rodney!
Over the past couple of weeks we have been very busy, starting off with the RDC tour; where we learnt about the different services RDC can provide us and our customers and saw in action the capabilities of the giant shredder prepared to securely destroy data and devices. A big thank you to Jodie for hosting us. In this same week, we also had the opportunity to tour the London datacentre where we learned the extreme examples of good and bad cabling. Along with getting an insight into what our datacentres can provide our customers in terms of security and maintenance. If you get the chance I would strongly recommend visiting, thank you Chris for showing us round.
A major highlight for all the Grads was the Computacenter Christmas party at Willows Farm, it was bigger and better than any of us could have imagined and it was a lot of fun catching up with some of the people we met whilst on our rotations! For those of you that couldn’t make it, the night was filled with giant dancing skeletons, dancers, cocktails and casinos. To the 2016 Grads, James and I won on the bumper cars!
The final rotation of 2017, a personal favourite of mine, was the opportunity for us to fly out to Barcelona to meet the International team. It was a brilliant insight into the international capability that Computacenter has and the vital role international plays in its growth. It was a great experience meeting some of our Barcelona colleagues and seeing how our values align so well across the wider organization. It also gave Alex and I, a chance to practice the Spanish we had been learning in preparation for the trip. Gracias Mark Peter, Ben Lawton y Computacenter Barcelona, fue excelente! (Thank you Mark Peter, Ben Lawton and Computacenter Barcelona, it was excellent!)
So as we prepare for the challenges of the New Year and reflect over the lessons and experiences of 2017, we can look to how we can improve in the future. For me the way I start off is by thinking about my new year’s resolutions and particularly since starting at Computacenter, how I can improve on our values, not only in working life but also in my personal. Although I will be working on all of them, in particular I will be focusing on ‘Inspiring Success’ within Computacenter and recruitment …… What will you choose?
Thank you very much for reading my first blog post, I hope you enjoyed it. The next update will be brought to you by Tom Darwin.
Happy Holidays everyone and a Happy New Year!
I’m Tom and welcome to the fourth instalment of the Projects Practice Graduate Blogs. We’ve been with Computacenter around four months and have had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the business. I’m here to take you through the most recent month of our rotations which we have spent with Consultancy, GIO, Presales and TRG.
But first, some background info about me. I’m originally from Peterborough and studied French, German and (a bit of) Spanish at the University of Exeter. So as a company with major bases across the European mainland and operations across the globe, Computacenter is a perfect fit for any graduate with an international outlook.
As someone who is technically minded, our rotations with Consultancy and GIO were two of the rotations I have been most looking forward to – and I wasn’t disappointed by them. With Consultancy Practice, we had the opportunity to meet key members of the Consultancy team and also witness their expertise ‘in the field’ at customer sites. The highlight for me was most definitely the time I spent collaborating with one of our data analytics partners, Splunk, at Transport for London. The session was all about helping TfL learn how they can best make use of Splunk’s powerful analytics intelligence and it was great to see Computacenter working with our partners and our customers in the same room to achieve a common goal. Our thanks to Jay Horsley for organising the week.
Our time with Global Infrastructure Operations (GIO) was an opportunity for us to discover our managed services from another perspective. Over the week we learnt how GIO operates a 24/7 service with global reach, meeting members of every Service Line team to give us a full understanding of the services we can provide to our customers. From a projects perspective, this was an important rotation as it teaches us the need to communicate well with the GIO teams from the start of a project when we are transitioning a Customer’s service to a CC provided solution. This focus on collaboration is something we are all hoping to bring back to the Projects Practice at the end of our rotations. Many thanks to Karen, Louise and Jo for organising the week.
Our week with Presales was a particular highlight for the whole graduate group. Nigel Reeve, the Practice Lead aligned to Presales, arranged for us to take part in the fantastic Commercial Negotiation course alongside some of last year’s graduates and other members of the Projects Practice. This was an incredible learning opportunity for us since this course is usually only reserved for Level 2 Project Managers and Senior Project Managers. There are two main lessons I took away from the course: Firstly, a negotiation will only go as well as the planning and preparation that goes into it. Secondly, a negotiation is about establishing a Win-Win with our Customers, not a Win-Lose. This means that collaborating with our Customers is the key to both of our successes. A thank you on behalf of all the graduates to Nigel for a great week.
Our most recent rotation has been with the Technical Resources Group (TRG) where we had the opportunity to learn more about Computacenter’s largest department. My highlight of this week was seeing our engineering team in action at Heathrow and Sky: both were busy Customer sites undergoing lots of changes and our engineering team are at the forefront of enabling this. Something that has been mentioned to us as projects graduates is that we are often some of the best sales representatives of Computacenter as we are constantly working with the Customer at their sites. Though this is true, it’s only half the story: it is in fact our engineering team who have the most day-to-day interaction with the Customer’s end-users and they’re the ones who ultimately effect a change or resolve an issue for the user. As a result, it was great to hear some of the fantastic customer feedback about our engineering presence at Heathrow and Sky. Thank you Bhupa for organising a fantastic week.
What I want to leave you on is this: the thing that has struck me most since joining CC is our can-do collaborative attitude. No matter how technically challenging, no matter how nascent a solution and no matter how tough a customer request may seem at face-value, as long as it’s good business for Computacenter, we always go the extra mile for our Customers. We work with our Customers to enable their users and their business to achieve their goals. This is something we have seen internally as our rotation hosts go the extra mile for us projects graduates, and externally as we have visited various customer sites where Computacenter collaborates for a Win-Win with all our Customers.
Over the coming weeks we will be on the road visiting our device recycling partner RDC, our Romford Datacenter and will be jetting off for a very exciting trip to Barcelona to see our International team in action; but I’ll let Issie Ferris tell you all about that as she will be writing the next blog.
Thanks for reading!
“Which of these do you agree with?”
- Intelligence is fixed at birth.
- Some people are creative, others aren’t.
- You can become a world-class expert through enough practice,
whatever your starting point.
- You can change your personality.
“If you agreed with the first two statements, you’re coming from a fixed mindset. If you agreed with the second two, you’ve got a growth mindset.”
I am Arolape Adebowale and welcome to the third edition of the Projects Practice Graduate Blogs.
I remember my first day in Hatfield; driving through the business park and looking at how big the CC Estate was, walking through the glass doors filled with so many people, it was where I wanted to be. When I got the call that I was one of the 8 selected from the over 700 candidates who applied I was ecstatic!
It’s fascinating how quickly time flies when you’re occupied with things to do. We started here just over 3 months ago. I remember my first 3 weeks, meeting so many people all from different streams in the business, people who had been here before I was even born. Being the traveller that I am, I get bored from just staying in one place for such a long period of time. I remember thinking don’t they get bored?
But every day, every new person I meet, attributes to the fundamental principles that CC is built on: “Understanding that people matter.”
It’s been an interesting journey so far and I anticipate that the remaining 15 months of our 18-month scheme will be as great if not greater!
As Alex and Laura said, we have had an induction for 3 weeks, meeting people in Projects Practice such as Andy Moffitt, Zam Kaderkutty, Project leads and a couple of Senior Project managers. We then went to the CPO, scheduling, BECS, Practice leads, Sales, PPO’s and are currently with the Consultancy Practice, gaining good insight as to how they work closely with Project managers and engage with clients. We will be moving on to spend a week with GIO. My time at the Hays PPO has exceeded all rotations and been the best experience for me. It was a good time to engage in live, active projects and get a taste of what life as a Project Manager really is. The team I was working with were so supportive, the PPO Lead Tanya Hayes, was so supportive and encouraging. She literally allowed me “get down into the mud”. By Day 2, I was already handling my first project, with my buddy, Fahad who coincidentally was on the Hays account! He explained all the templates, took me through raising my first MARs request and so much more.
The biggest project I did on the Hays account comprised of decommissioning servers. I had to facilitate the initiation of this project and communicate with over 10 ISPs. It was a very interesting challenge but very good experience in seeing how, as a PM engaging with ISPs differ and is not just a standard process. The Hays PPO team were fantastic and I thank them all and really enjoyed the experience.
It was sad to say goodbye but who knows, I might be back sooner than I know it!
My future at CC is looking bright! I anticipate that the upcoming rotations to be intellectually stimulating as the first few have been. There are still so many fantastic people to meet and great minds to collaborate with. I hope to increase my network over time. Do tune in next time to read a fantastic blog written by Thomas Weston!
I’m Laura Springall and welcome to the second edition of the Project Management Graduates blog update. Many thanks to Alex for an excellent update about the whirlwind of our first two months at Computacenter.
To give some background about myself, I am from St. Albans and I graduated this year with 1st class honours in Sociology from The University of Manchester. My biggest misconception of joining Computacenter was that everyone who works at Computacenter comes from an IT background. With applications open for the next year of graduates, I encourage anyone without an IT related degree to not be deterred from applying to the Project Management Graduate programme. A top tip I can give for anyone applying is to not focus on promoting your technical skills, but instead focus on promoting your soft skills. These soft skills are so very critical to the Project Manager role, such as excellent communication, proactivity and leadership.
Computacenter is fantastic for personal development and this has been recognised by The Job Crowd for being a top company for early careers. If you haven’t already, I recommend seeing if Computacenter is visiting your University’s Graduate Fair for some extra hints and tips about the application process and what to expect.
A personal highlight of the Graduate programme so far has been our rotation with the Practice Leads. Over a week we covered many grounds, discussing from the future of the digital workplace to why the Service Operating Model (SOM) emerged, to the Practice Leads’ own career journeys and lessons learned which they kindly passed onto us. The rotation also got pretty intense when a competition was introduced on one of days, all about Digital Me hosted by Steve Hyde, Faizal Ali and Amit Mistry. Unexpectedly it brought out all our competitive sides! Congratulations to James Gale, the (lucky) winner. Thanks again to the Practice Leads for taking time out of your schedules.
The sales rotation also sticks out in my mind as a high point. This was a one week period where we gained an understanding of the different divisions within sales, both the Account Manager and Solutions Specialist role, and a sales perspective of what makes a good Project Manager. A key take away from the rotation was how by only being transparent with customers, gaining their trust and putting them first we can do business. Towards the end of the week, we were also introduced to Basement Jacks, which was a great opportunity to network with the sales team and hear about their journeys into sales.
More recently, over the last two weeks us Graduates have begun our Projects Portfolio Office (PPO) rotation. I am currently on the Post Office PPO and based up in Manchester. I’ve loved being back in Manchester and it’s been great getting to work with the team. It’s also nice to see some familiar friendly faces from Central Projects Office (CPO) who we met a few months before on our rotation. As much as us Graduates are missing each other, we are all thoroughly enjoying this new experience. This rotation allows us to get hands on with smaller projects where we can see them from the beginning of their life cycle right to the end. The rotation further offers the opportunity to put into practice what we have learnt so far, for instance SOM is no longer just theoretical! I have seen first-hand how it fits into the customer request process and the benefits it brings to Computacenter’s projects. I look forward to seeing what the next two weeks of the PPO rotation will bring!
Finally, I like to set a new motivational quote as my iPhone’s background each week, so I thought I would end my blog post by sharing this week’s quote which I felt has been relevant to me starting the PPO rotation and Graduate scheme as a whole.
As cliché as it sounds, I think it’s something all us Graduates believe and we are very grateful for the time and energy that has been invested in us since we joined in August.
Thank you very much for reading my first blog post. The next update will be brought to you by Arolape Adebowale.
Welcome to the first edition of the 2017 Projects Practice Graduate Blog. My name is Alex and I’ll be the first of eight to be updating everyone on the graduate scheme and what we’ve been getting up to over the coming months.
To first give a background of myself; I graduated from the University of Exeter back in 2016 having studied a bachelors in Mining Engineering – yes mining, nothing at all to do with computers! Having completed my degree, my first proper job was as a graduate civil engineer working in Cornwall before switching tact entirely and opting for a career in project management. So, not your usual route into IT! I must say however, having worked in a different industry and in the public sector gives to some very useful perspective!
Civil engineering is a very busy and prosperous industry within the UK and a fantastic thing to get into. However, as with many industries, the higher up you go, the less technical you become and the more people management begins to dominate your day-to-day working life. So if the end goal was to be a project manager, why not start now? And why not dip my toes into a different industry while I’m at it? Well here I am!
What is becoming increasingly apparent to me, is the wealth of tools and support that Computacenter makes available in order for you to reach your potential. Having briefly worked in the public sector, I was in a much more stagnant environment operating on a very much ‘dead man’s shoes’ principal. Now, maybe that was because I was working in Cornwall and I must say the pace of life is a lot more laid back there, but it’s certainly not what a lot of young people want in their early careers and this inevitably added to the reasons why I decided to move.
In our brief 9 weeks with Computacenter, the grads have had dinner with the Group Professional Services Director- Andy Moffitt, we’ve met the Head of Projects Practice- Zameer Kaderkutty and the Head of Consultancy- Martin Provoost to name but a few. All these hugely important and influential people in the company and they are able to spare the time to meet us and welcome us. I am overwhelmingly impressed; the only time I ever spoke to and shook the hand of the office manager in my previous job was to say “Cheerio, I’m leaving for London!” That was after six months in the job which you’d think is enough time to rub shoulders with your office manager; it wasn’t even a big office! What I’m trying to say is that I did not expect such important people to be concerned with or interested in graduates because my previous superiors certainly weren’t! I’m delighted to have been proved wrong in this assumption.
Aside from socialising with ‘big wigs’ of the Computacenter society, we have started our rotations where we delve into some of the core divisions of Computacenter. We have spent two weeks with the Central Projects Office which appears to be a very successful and rapidly growing section of Computacenter. It’s probably easier for me to tell you what they don’t do rather than what they actually do as it seems to me as nearly everything. This epiphany led to the development of our new graduate strategy going forward: “If you don’t know where to go, contact CPO!”
After the Central Projects Office, we spent a week with scheduling followed by a week with BECS. Scheduling provided a very useful insight and it’s great to know where all those iRequests that project coordinators raise actually go! The following week with BECS provided us with a grounding in the pre-sales process and all the work required to win a bid. We were also given a task of developing a background study and a tailored sales campaign for several potential clients entering the market in the future. So who knows? Our background studies may contribute in some small way to a few future bids!
That brings us nearly up to the present. I just want to reiterate how impressed I am with CC- and how well I’ve been received into the company. The guys on Glassdoor weren’t kidding about the level of praise the company deserves! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I’ve added a photo of us all on our first day, all trying to look as professional as possible! From the left: Tom D, myself, James, Issie, Laura, Rollie, Tom W and Nick (who seems to have lost interest in looking at the camera!).
The next entry will be by Laura Springall in the upcoming weeks.