Tag Archives: Networking

The Power of Networking – Avtar Marway

Networking… What is networking?
Networking is when someone creates a group of acquaintances or associates and regularly keeps in contact with these people. For example, if you want to find out more about IBM, you can network with someone working at IBM. By networking with someone from IBM, you’re able to find out more about IBM, and the person working at IBM can find out more about you, and what you do.  There should be a mutual benefit between the person and the people in their network. A trust should be built over the time you have communicated with a person in your network.

A network can consist of managers, contractors, colleagues, friends etc. Networking makes you more known, can raise your profile, and can provide you with job opportunities.

When I joined IBM, I wanted a role within SAP (Systems Applications Products). I did not have any knowledge in this area, nor did I have any contacts in my network that worked in a SAP role. My Task Manager, and People Manager were aware that I was interested in working in this role but there was little they could do from their side. After expanding my network on my first client site, I was able to express this interest to more people, which led to myself getting a SAP Contact.

When I first spoke to this contact, I gave them background information on who I was, what I was doing, and the reasoning for my interest in the SAP Area. I also returned questions and found out more about the person. I spoke to this person a few times a month and obtained a trustworthy relationship with them. By speaking to them frequently over the phone and over IBM SameTime (instant messenger), they were able to find out what type of person I was. I was able to show the contact that I was a proactive person, willing to help other people and worked hard.

In January 2016, I was looking for a new role and a new project. It was one of my yearly goals to join a SAP project, and eventually undertake a role in the SAP Area, so I wanted to make this happen. It had been over a year since first contacting this person, and I had kept in contact with them throughout my time on different client sites. When looking for a new role, I asked this person, if I could shadow someone on the client site that he works on, to find out more about SAP. As this person had never received a request such as this one before, he spoke to the leadership team on the account that he worked on. The contact explained who I was, what I did, and my interest in SAP. He also gave them information on what he thought of me as a person, and about some key attributes which he had identified in me from talking to me. This led to them creating a role for me on the client site. The role was a SAP Performance Analyst role.

By networking, I was able to get a role in the area that I wanted, whilst making myself more known to different people. As mentioned above, Networking makes you more known, and can provide you with job opportunities, which Is what it did for me.

I’m still undertaking this role, and I have learned a lot about SAP. I am enjoying this role, and I am glad that I reached out to my network when I was looking for a new role.

If you’d like any more questions on networking, IBM, the IBM Apprenticeship Scheme, feel free to comment, email me AvtarMar@UK.IBM.COM or tweet me @AvtarMarway.



Is Networking All It’s Cracked Up To Be? – Gus Parkhouse.

In my first few days at IBM it seemed that one in every five words was “Networking”, now I’m a year in I can see why this was emphasised so much. I know working for a tech company you’re probably thinking why is computer networking so important to IBM and why does everyone keep talking about it? Although computer networking is important as connects components and nodes this blog is all about social and workplace networking. I’ve started to really see the benefits from good networking and constantly growing my network, these benefits are;

  • Opportunities
  • Connections – knowing people in different places
  • Advice
  • Positive Influence
  • Confidence
  • Friendship
  • Feedback

Through speaking to my line manager I have found many opportunities such as moving from an account in London to one closer to my home in Manchester, allowing me to spend more time with friends and also allowing me to be more sociable outside of work without having to stay in rented accommodation. Without knowing who to approach this would have been a lot more of a strenuous and time consuming task. It also helped me to know who to approach with certain aspects of work, for example Cognitive computing, as I found that just knowing one person in this area was positive as it helped to open up doors to other members of that team and eventually help progress an extremely tricky task.

Since starting as an apprentice in IBM and building a great network of apprentice architects in one base location, I have now moved to the other side of the country and don’t have the pleasure of seeing apprenticeship colleagues on a daily basis anymore. But this hasn’t stopped me from networking with them, it just changed the ways in which I do it. Face to face turned into instant messaging, phone call, text messages and e-mails. I still ask this network the questions that I feel would defy the quote “There’s no such thing as a stupid question” and they’re happy to help. I went from working in an office with distinguished engineers to working from home for 3 weeks, during this time I had to call upon my network for the majority of information needed. I found working remotely from home a very big challenge as I was getting minimal human interaction which is the opposite of what I had the week before. I also created some new connections in this period with the Chief Architect of the new account I was heading on too. My new network connections into the architects team came in incredibly handy when on-boarding and learning what was vital to learn and what could wait.

When I had settled in my new account, I was advised that a new Deputy Chief Architect was joining the account. When he arrived on the account I took the time to sit down and have a chat with him that eventually turned in to going to grab some lunch to get know more about what he had previously done and what he was expecting of me, but also a less work related chat about what he was interested in that turned into him becoming a mentor for me and helping me with architecture and learning.

On the new account I have been able to expand my network further in a very short amount of time as I now work with such a vast team, this networking has helped me to expand my knowledge and get involved in a lot more tasks. This ever expanding networking has been great for helping my confidence in meetings with both the client and senior members of the team as they are there to reinforce the information I’m putting forward. Not forgetting to mention the social benefits of being involved in a mixed team, and all of the networking I have taken part in has helped me to develop my LinkedIn profile and help create a strong virtual network.

At the beginning, I won’t lie, I was very skeptical about the hype around “Networking” but now after just a year I can see that this is and will always be a massively important tool throughout my career. I would now say I agree with the old proverb “It’s not what you know but who you know” and can see where it possibly came from.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, feel free to message me on LinkedIn for any questions. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/gus-parkhouse-288855101)

Gus Parkhouse.