Getting acquainted with the city and working with Da Nang Telecom
01.09.2008 - 05.09.2008 -1 °C
We saw the U. of Da Nang and several buildings of the businesses we will be working with. There are many hotels along the river front and they are quite lovely.
At 2pm Monday we met our clients. Thuy (water in Vietnamese) is the VP of IT and has been with the company for 5 months. Thai, cut in Vietnamese, is the IT director, has been with the company 7 years and the company celebrated its 9th anniversary today. The company is Da Nang Telecommunications, a provider of web hosting and DSL service. They are a part of Vietnam Telecom. We had a social visit and all shared information about ourselves. Thuy is getting married this weekend. It was difficult using the interpreter since they are not familiar with IT or business concepts or processes.
My client is Da Nang Telecom and I spent my first day with them Wednesday. They are a subsidiary of Vietnam Telecom which is a $3B company. Da Nang Telecom provides DSL, web hosting, and cell phone service. They have 10 programmers and the deputy director said their number one problem was working on the quality controls and increasing productivity. They are not allowed to hire additional staff and the workload is more than they can manage. I have an interpreter assigned to me as do most of the team. This presents difficulty when the interpreter is not versed in business terms and also does not understand the client's business. We would have challenges communicating directly but added complexity with the interpreter in the middle. We will work through those challenges. It just takes time. After many hours yesterday that I am sure were as frustrating to my Vietnamese client as it was for me, we agreed on some issues and will start again today. Sometimes I am told foreigners believe they have agreement with their Vietnamese colleagues but they have not really agreed. So the test will come as we continue.
The IBM team had a discussion on our meetings with our clients that will continue in the morning, Tuesday. We only have 3 1/2 weeks and the first step is to scope a meaningful piece of work. We have agreed that we will meet 5-7PM every day to discuss our day and any assistance we might want from others on the team.
Tuesday was Independence Day, celebration of the removal of the French. The flags are flying and everyone is enjoying a holiday.
We are all making progress with our clients and have a good understanding of their current situation and what they are facing and how we can assist them in our time here. In addition to my client, I have also worked with Peter from Hungary with his client the Institute of Business Technology and the Chamber of Commerce. They had a conference, Use of IT in Construction Industry, on Friday AM and I attended with Peter. Afterwards we had dinner with the speakers, sponsors of the conference and the officials of the Chamber of Commerce. They had taken many delegations to the US and Europe to pursue business opportunities.
We took a walk along the river front Friday evening. They have a lovely promenade and some of the French government colonial building face the river and are beautiful. The Koreans have a major development under way on the river front with office buildings and condos planned. There were some young teenagers doing rap and dancing on the promenade
The end of our first week in Vietnam. Noone has been ill and we are making progress with our clients. A wonderful introduction to Vietnam.