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Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again

 
#1 Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
17/02/2010 10:44

Insider

Any truth in these rumours after last year's botched takeover attempt?

It makes a lot of sense for both companies, giving Cognizant access to the UK public sector market, and giving PA some credbility in the global outsourcing market.

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#2 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
17/02/2010 13:51

Bored PA-er to Insider (#1)

Let's hope so - the place needs shaking up, and it may add some variety into otherwise linear career options

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#3 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
18/02/2010 09:22

Anon to Bored PA-er (#2)

Bored PA-er - why don't you do something about the sort of work you are involved in or are you going to adopt the usual whinger's defence of there is nothing you can do about it?

The better option is for you to take the linear career option to somewhere else.

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#4 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
18/02/2010 15:59

Insider to Anon (#3)

Usual attempt to kill any conversation of the company from the cheerleaders. Oh dear.

So is the company in talks with Cognizant or not?

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#5 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
18/02/2010 17:23

Anon to Insider (#4)

Insider - usual attempt by a whinger to kill any view that doesn't match their whine. 

And do you seriously think anyone in your company who has the information you are so desperate to find out would actually post it on here? The fact you don't know means nobody trusts you with secrets!!!

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#6 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
19/02/2010 15:01

anon to Anon (#5)

PA up for sale?

Ha !! How much?

Two bowls of rice and a memory stick?

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#7 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 12:41

Investor to anon (#6)

No huge surprise in this. Both companies have been courting each other for a year now.

It doesn't augur well for pay rises or bonuses at PA though as the partners try to reduce the cost base (and maximise profit) in advance of any sales negotiation.

It could be good news for shareholders though. From memory SAIC offered three times the then share price, when they tried to take over PA five or so years ago

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#8 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 13:05

PA-er to Investor (#7)

Investor - firstly, you clearly don't understand how PA's financial model works. But as usual that hasn't stopped you from trying to show you do.

PA is employee owned so we all benefit in the long run. I know some will benefit more than others but that's just life. The opportunity is there for people to move up the food chain and reap the greater rewards. It isn't for me though.

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#9 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 13:42

Investor to PA-er (#8)

"PA is employee owned so we all benefit in the long run."

Common misconception.

PA is owned by shareholders, who happen to be employees.

At bonus time each year – 65% of shares are offered to the partners, with other employees getting a mere 35%.

The result is that the longest serving partners own the company, and benefit from the cr@p way it treats staff.

These are the ones who want to sell up to cash in their riches before retirement, and to heck with the employees

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#10 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 14:18

PA-er to Investor (#9)

Investor - the model is not a secret. If people don't like it they should leave. No I'm not a partner.

Not one of the 20+ (and different) partners running jobs I was on treated anyone on the team cr@p.

But please don't let that fact detract you from your clearly bitter view. And the usual dull suspects voicing the same on here don't count. To answer your next point I know there are some rubbish partners here. I just disagree with the sweeping statements people like you make.

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#11 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 14:39

anon to PA-er (#10)

"If people don't like it they should leave."

Whoa. That's harsh. That's kinda like a British Rail jobsworth saying "Too bad the trains are late! If you don't like it, get lost and walk instead! Loser!"

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#12 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 15:11

Not again to anon (#11)

anon - your analogy and by extension your logic is completely flawed; it compares an employee with freedom of choice to work where they wish to a customer of a service with limited alternatives.

If you insist on using British Rail (a bit dated - but that is another matter), then it would be like one employee of "British Rail" saying to another, "part of the job is to get the trains to run on time, if you don't like that, then I suggest you look for another job"

Such an analogy (as with PA-er comment) seems rather a sensible point of view to me.

If you don't like swimming don't go to the pool.

If you don't like beer don't drink it.

If you don't like Florida don't go there

If you don't like PA don't work there

... or by all means change it - that is what consultanst are meant to be good at isn't it?

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#13 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 15:16

PA-er to Not again (#12)

Not again - beautifully put!

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#14 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 15:35

anon to PA-er (#13)

It does suggest a certain type of inflexible attitude though, don't you think?

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#15 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 15:45

PA-er to anon (#14)

anon - not at all. We spend way too much time at work to put up with cr@p as it was described earlier. We are all in this for ourselves (hopefully not in a trample over others kind of way) and it is up to us to change the things we don't like. If you can't change the company you are in then change the company you are in.

It is just not on to stay and complain all the time. To pinch Not Again's comment we are in the business of change after all.

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#16 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 17:00

Not again to anon (#14)

anon - could you suggest a firm with a more flexible ownership structure with which we could compare?

I think you'll find workers co-operatives that provide everyone with equsal share of the profits, regardless ot tenure, seniority or effort...

...exist only in the minds of marxist students just before chucking out time...OR

...are limited to hippy potato farms in the Outer Hebrides..

If you are aware of a proper consulting firm where ownership of the long term profit can be found in the hands of non-tenured staff, do share. I and many others would be interested in joining up.

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#17 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 17:08

DCF to Not again (#16)

Listed ones?

I'm going to be a bit flexible with the "proper", but people who have been at places like Datamonitor have done well from listing and options. There are probably better examples.

So never mind the workers' collectives. You can have one of the most capitalist company types of all, and it can still be one of the most equitable.

The partnership model is the ultimate joke in terms of value for customers and equitability for the staff.

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#18 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 17:11

anon to DCF (#17)

i just don't like it when junior staff have concerns or worries and are told to go away :(

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#19 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 17:23

PA-er to anon (#18)

anon - nobody has said that. Better to accept you are wrong and stay silent than to try to spin what has been said.

And to DCF - the partnership model works. People who aren't the main beneficiaries still keep on joining and staying. When you say it is a joke do you really mean it isn't for you? So don't join.

I find it staggering the number of people who post on here that don't understand their working life is theirs to control.

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#20 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 17:42

Control freak to PA-er (#19)

If you want to control your career, PA is the place to be. You have the choice of either crappy local or central government clients that no-one else wants.

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#21 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
22/02/2010 20:56

Azela to Control freak (#20)

We're pretty desperate for them at EY, actually. PA-castoffs are about the only thing we can get these days.

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#22 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
23/02/2010 07:05

Anon to Azela (#21)

Control Freak - good one with that tired (and wrong) old joke. I've been at PA for six years and have only done two public sector jobs out of 22.

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#23 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
23/02/2010 09:00

anon to Anon (#22)

How can we be sure you are not an exception? I refer you sir to http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html

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#24 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
23/02/2010 09:15

DCF to Anon (#22)

@PA-er - err, no. I didn't say it didn't work. But it is not the most equitable model - you asked for a more equitable model and I suggested one. But the partnership is a bit of a bad joke for customers and the majority of staff. The joke is largely customers 'expense, as the high cost of consutling services flows back to excessive rewards for partners, rather than being reflective of the cost of the work plus a profit margin within normal bounds. Excessive? Yes, when a partner with c.10 staff commands more than a C-level executive in a FTSE100 company.

As for the staff, it is also inequitable. I haven't said it's not for me; like many, the prospect of partnership (and some excess for me!) appeals. That's the high risk gamble you take; if it pays off, it pays off very handsomely indeed.

I can't really be bothered to enter a whole discussion about why people still keep joining and staying - it suffices to reflect on the number of bright people without professional training produced by the universities who want to "get into consulting" and the endless posting on here about "exit options" - something you will not find on top-dentist.com or top-lawyer.com despite bthe the undoubted strains and dissatisfactions of those professions.

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#25 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
23/02/2010 09:49

PA-er to DCF (#24)

Anon - nice one.  Hadn't thought of that attempt at rubbishing anyone who doesn't fit in with the tired joke about the public sector.  So I asked three other people this morning about their public/private sector split and they were all at least two thirds private sector.  I also asked them how much process mapping (another tired old joke on here) they had done and out of the four of us only one person has done a process mapping job and that was for a bank.  I do, of course, accept that we may be the only 4 people in the whole company who aren't always on a public sector job doing process mapping.

DCF - I didn't ask for a more equitable model as I know they exist. It's a shame you can't be bothered to discuss why people join and stay as you seem quite happy to be bothered to trot out the same dreary material.  Attributing the continuation of the model to grads with no professional (consulting) training is very naïve.  Models like PA continue because most people are ok with them and those that aren't move on to a model that works better for them.  There will always be significant winners and plenty of losers in the models.

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#26 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
23/02/2010 10:37

Mr Cool to DCF (#17)

DCF are you sure you are a business consultant? A listed company is possible the best example possible of separating wealth creation (the work of the employees) from wealth harvesting (the ownership of the company’s capital).

There is a tiny percentage of start-up companies that list on an exchange allowing a small circle of senior managers to make a personal killing. The occasions where all the employees share in this can be counted on your fingers (google and microsoft for example). Even this is a transitory phenomenon – public listing almost immediately transfers the future profit stream of a company into the hands of pension funds and other investment vehicles. Only those employees involved at the very point of listing share in the excess profit.

Offset against these very few successes is the fact that most employees of start-ups work for below market salaries, with limited benefits packages, and the threat of funding shortfall and immediate company insolvency and personal redundancy. This high risk/high reward strategy is totally unsuited to consultancy firms where no decent client would take on a firm that might well disappear mid-engagement.

There are of course consultancy start-ups, but almost without exception they are based on the partner model (not legal partnerships – they are nowadays ltd co’s) whereby those who start the firm take the lions share of profit.

Dude – you are either seriously crazy or have a worrying tendency towards Marxist daydreaming!

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#27 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
23/02/2010 10:58

Ding Dong to Mr Cool (#26)

"...work for below market salaries, with limited benefits packages, and the threat of funding shortfall and immediate company insolvency and personal redundancy."

Sounds just like PA !!!

;0)

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#28 RE: Congnizant rumoured to be in talks with PA Consulting again
23/02/2010 11:32

Anon to Ding Dong (#27)

Ding Dong - brilliant piece of humour. I am surprised this hasn't been said before.

The cynics on here might think you were a competitor desperate to keep the same tired story going.

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#29 .
23/02/2010 12:57

DCF to Anon (#28)

Mr Cool,

Better points than mine from a general and theoretical perspective, but I don't mean listed companies in general or start-ups in particular. I'm referring to consultancies which give their employees decent options. Again, I'm thinking in particular of colleagues at Datamonitor who have done much better financially than they would have done in one of the Big 4 at similar stages in their careers due to their options. Perhaps this is an isolated case. I also accept Datamonitor is not everyone's idea of a great company.

I just happen to be a great believer in employee ownership of companies - in idealistic sense, if not in some sort of co-operative / collectivist / kibbutz way - but as a means of sharing in profits, aligning interests, building loyalty, identification and commitment. Listing is one way of achieving this and a relatively straightforward way of owning part of a company. Its certainly not the only one though -for example John Lewis. Employee ownership on a broader "partnership" model must be one of the key reasons for that business's success and why the staff there actually seem to give a sh1t when they don't in, say, Debenhams or House of Fraser.

I would also argue that the partnership model is a very powerful means / example of "separating wealth creation (the work of the employees) from wealth harvesting (the ownership of the company’s capital)".

Good point on the role of pension funds etc but I do think its interesting to ponder on what the effect would be of such ownership on a consultany. It's hard to envisage major shareholders accepting that 10% of staff (as the partners would then be) taking as much out of the business in salary as they are accustomed to taking out as partner profit share.

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#30 RE: .
23/02/2010 15:10

Mr Cool to DCF (#29)

DCF – a spirited rejoinder – good on you!

Datamonitor – yes I’ll accept this as a good example. However, how much of the benefit that employees reaped was due to a shared ownership? And how much to the firm being acquired by Informa at a fairly aggressive premium to the then market value. Presumably in those cases the employee share options that would normally vest over a four or five year period, vested immediately? I may be wrong – I’m assuming this, because it is normally how it works. Errors gladly corrected.

The John Lewis example is another good one, but it is the only single example of a reasonable sized retailer that has maintained this model. Interestingly it does have a rule that the CEO salary can only be 20(?) or some similar multiple of the lowest paid shop floor worker! For many years this has meant the JL CEO has been massively underpaid by peer comparison. Despite this, as you say, there is massive employee loyalty to the firm and brand.

But, (no offense to retailers) is the quiet, relaxed family culture of your local JL shop really transferable to the fly-to-singapore-tomorrow, work-the-weekend, kill-bill-for-a-promotion-to-SC, world of consultancy? I don't think you can detach compensation and ownership models from culture.

The true beauty of the partnership model is that it suggest to all employees that if they only work had enough then they too can achieve the same riches. The trick is that the input to output model is non-linear. It is a death-march where each person on the march sticks a pound in the pot for every mile they walk. The last five still walking (out of ten thousand starters) get to keep the pot. It is a tontine.

Like your principles, but can’t see how to make them work!

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#31 RE: .
23/02/2010 15:34

DCF to Mr Cool (#30)

Very nicely put!

I'm away to meditate on "new organisational models for consulting"...

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#32 RE: .
23/02/2010 17:07

PA-er to DCF (#31)

Mr Cool / DCF - really interesting and useful exchange. Exactly what this forum needs more of.

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#33 To get back to the original question
23/02/2010 18:22

ex-PAer to PA-er (#32)

The OP has posed a valid question which has been hijacked by PA cheerleaders.

A real shame.

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#34 RE: To get back to the original question
23/02/2010 18:39

Zoologist to ex-PAer (#33)

Sidetracked, yes. Hijacked, no.

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#35 RE: To get back to the original question
23/02/2010 19:04

Anthropologist to Zoologist (#34)

Hijacked, yes. Sidetracked, yes.

The real shame is that this was a valid point. The PA cheerleader(s) just jump on any discussion of this floundering company.

Come the election, when public sector consultancy spend is stopped, PA Consulting are up shi'ite creek.

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#36 RE: To get back to the original question
24/02/2010 07:45

Anon to Anthropologist (#35)

Anthropologist - you are so right. It is absolutely disgusting that there are people in PA who disagree with the negative things posted on here. The fact they then decide to express their views publicly to give some balance to what had been posted is just appalling. I hope they stop and just let the whinger(s) rule.

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#37 RE: To get back to the original question
24/02/2010 08:54

POE bear to Anon (#36)

This thread seems to have really upset the PA cheerleaders, which is a good thing.

The real driver for PA to sell up will be to maximise the partners can get for the company. The price now would be a lot higher than a year ago, so it obviously would be more attractive for them to sell up.

PA’s business is still heavily reliant on the public sector. Clients like TfL and UCL are described as private sector, even though government owned. I would have thought that the partners would be keen to sell up while the government contracts are still flowing.

To those cheerleaders who suggest that if you don’t like your terms and conditions, then leave, I would counter that this is classic industrial age workers relations where employees were treated as mules to drive profits for the owners. Where is the incentive for senior staff to leave, where so much of our remuneration is tied up in bonus that can be deferred from three up to five years?

This contemptuous sort of attitude towards employees by the PA partner group was shown in the cruel and callous way they treated loyal long serving colleagues during the last redundancy round. There is another one rumoured to be coming soon. I doubt it will be any different.

PA receives a lot of criticism on this board for the way it runs its business and treats its staff.

IMHO, it is well deserved

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#38 RE: To get back to the original question
24/02/2010 09:55

Another anon to deleted (#0)

POE bear - did you not learn reading when you did your MBA or PhD or whatever it was on management consultancy? I said we are bored of the cheerleaders as well.

As a company that claims to "add value", can you describe what value your previous post adds? You can't claim saying the same stuff in a slightly different way is adding value.

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