A few days ago, on 1-28-2020, the annual party for the employees of the SDP program at stc was an internal celebration attended by the president and the executive staff, I felt that I had something to say on this occasion.
First of all, I do not like to delve into what is ignorant, so this article was delayed to come after 22 months of joining the SDP program within stc, which is an abbreviation for the Specialists Development Program or the Professionals Development Program , so what is this program and what makes it distinguished from others?
In major technology companies such as stc, the company is based on two types of people, business workers and technical workers, it cannot be said that one of them is the element of success, as both are important and essential for this type of company, the main problem facing the heads of these companies is that good people in their technical specialties Critical When they graduate in their positions to the administrative levels (the majority of employees are looking to move up to obtain better advantages, which is a legitimate right even though they may not want to manage) they start to distance little by little from technical work and certainly in an accelerated world their technical expertise decreases and their experience in management increases. Kabeer makes specialists in critical technologies often have little experience (less than 10 years) due to the involvement of those whose experience exceeds that in administrative work, so what is the solution?
What are the critical disciplines?
Specializations vary according to the field in which the company operates, but there are specializations that can apply to many technical companies, such as data science and big data, cybersecurity, digital products, marketing techniques, digital law, and many others.
What did stc do?
The fastest solution was to benefit from the experiences of others, so the human resources at stc requested the opinions of the consulting firms in 2016, and the best solution was for the company to establish a technical ladder that enables specialists in critical technologies to graduate to the top and obtain the same advantages that occupants of the administrative ladder get without engaging In management, and for the company to invest in their professional development to be a technical reference in their specialties, so that the company does not rely on consulting firms significantly, but the problem was that stc will need until the year 2023 to have at most 100 specialists only in several fields. The vice president did not like it. For the human resources and those in charge of the competency development program, it seemed a very distant date for a company that wants to be an example to follow in the rapid change of being the number 1 digital potential in Saudi Arabia and the region, but the aspirations are not enough, so they decided that the company should develop the program internally and from scratch with goals It “seemed almost impossible, so what?happened?
The Vice President for Human Resources, Eng. Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, formed a small team led by a man from the Eastern Province carrying a Japanese idea that he acquired from a PhD study in Japan, his name is Shakir Al-Mahasna . This small team worked day and night to establish a practical framework towards establishing a number of specialized technical paths to qualify Saudis to be As consultants in their fields within the company, what can be called SME = Subject Matter Expert, starting from the most important point in the beginning of the year 2017, which is the Technology and Operations Unit, and then worked with the CEO of stc, currently Eng. Nasser Al-Nasser, when he was Senior Vice President for Operations and Operations towards establishing specialized technical paths, including:
- Software Engineering
- Networking performance
- Data science
The steps were slow, but the hope is great, this team started working with other units such as marketing, legal and project management, today the program includes about 64 paths and 110 specialists at the end of 2019, while the consulting firms promised that this number is impossible before 2023.
How do you join? What does it mean to be a member of the SDP program?
The joining mechanism is simple, the company executives in cooperation with the human resources choose the critical specializations, then establish paths for them, then these officials nominate members of the work team that they see fit for this program, these candidates undergo several tests and interviews before being accepted, so in short Joining the program is not easy at all, and acceptance rates are very low because the program is looking for distinguished people in their specialties and personal skills, you can measure this by knowing the number of enrollees (110 people out of the total employees of the company 17 thousand = 0.64% only).
As for the idea of the program, it is, as I explained above, that there is a person who specializes in a specific field that can always be referred to in all his money related to this specialization, this means that the company has an In-House Consultants team in multiple fields, but what does the joiner get To this program, it can be summarized in a simple way as follows:
- Deduction of 30% of the employee’s time to develop it through: direct training + remote training + expert accompaniment programs in other companies + attending conferences and workshops directly related to the specialization + obtaining the necessary specialized certificates for the specialization.
- Working on side projects within the company that enables him to understand the overlap and integration between the various units within stc, which is classified as a giant organization in which it can work for years without ever having the opportunity to intersect with other departments or units at all, this intersection creates people with high flexibility who can look at the picture And finding solutions that go beyond red tape and bureaucracy.
- Full support for ideas that would: Increase the company’s income – reduce costs – improve the experience of external or internal customers or work procedures.
- Complete exclusion from occupying any administrative positions and focusing on technical or practical specialization only with the possibility of obtaining promotions that match administrative positions and have similar advantages and incentives.
My personal experience:
I was nominated to join the program in the end of 2017 when I was served an average administrative position, I had tests and interviews , I was accepted to give up management chair and joined the program in the digital path, and I still remember my talk with Deputy Supreme Institutional Affairs Engineer Abdullah Kanhal in August 2017, which was a deputy Marketing at the time about my decision to join the program and leave the administrative ladder, “Getting managers is easy, and you tried management and you were good in it, but getting specialists is very difficult.” So his opinion was from my opinion of joining the program, at a time when many of those who believe that administrative positions blamed me. More prestigious and more influential, but I followed my heart and what I love, and I love technology and digital and I will work on them and develop myself more and more. I joined the program in March 2018 and set a clear goal in mind, I want to contribute to moving stc forward in terms of marketing techniques and what is sometimes termed as theMarketing Technology = Martech , I want to make stc the first company in Saudi Arabia to explicitly and explicitly adopt this field, especially since its general strategy revolves around digital transformation and changing its skin from a traditional telecom operator to a digital enabler.
I worked with my friend Osama Dweik (yes, a team of two people) towards launching new products, building Analytics-Stack and Ad-Stack, using big data technologies in ads, and here I would like to thank without fawning my friend who never made me feel that he is my direct manager “ Ahmed Al-Sahhaf “(Ahmed is my direct manager from 1-1-2016 until today) who was the first to believe in what I do and supported me in all ways. He was the one who before I gave up my administrative position at a time when I was most needed, encouraged me towards stc being an example to follow in the martial arts Or marketing techniques, our work that we started early in 2015-2016 continued as side initiatives to be my entire time directed to this field since I joined the program in 2018 until the beginning of 2019 when Senior Vice President Alyan Al Waleed joined us. And who decided to take work in this field to a new level, so our small team grew with him and our business list grew, and to be frank enough, this work would not have been completed without the real support from these two people first, and from all the company’s units (information technology – data – customer experiences – development Products – Institutional Communication) that I worked with during these two years without exception. It is true that working in large organizations is cumbersome to the large number of sectors and units, but the lessons are the conclusions, so what was the conclusion of this work?
This great movement towards embracing talent and developing Saudi consultants was culminated yesterday and during the annual ceremony when the human resources sector announced the launch of the Marketing Technologies Program, which is the culmination of the effort made by our small team in cooperation with human resources and the fruit of the development that I personally went through in the SDP program and for all the support we got. From all our colleagues in stc with all its units, to be the first Saudi company to establish a special team for marketing technologies, met on the other side by a larger movement in the technology and operations unit led by the Senior Vice President, Engineer Haitham Al-Faraj Towards the institutionalization of work in critical technologies related to networks, information technology, cybersecurity and data science, and building the largest possible number of Saudis who are actually qualified to be a mini-consulting company within stc. On the personal level, my source of joy was the support and belief in what was just an idea 3 years ago to be Actually, on the ground today, with the grace of God first, then I devote myself to work in this field after I joined the program and the support I got.
This is my story, and my answer to the question that has been asked to me a lot during the last two years, “What are you doing exactly?” And I am sure that there are many stories that others will tell, who have found their way in this enjoyable journey of developing competencies.