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From a young consultant´s diary

A young girl sticks yellow task cards on a glass board. In the background there is a man

To paraphrase the title of a series of the humorous radio sketches by Ewa Szumańska, I am going to tell you about the beginning of my work as a consultant for the HIS[1] system at Comarch. Those days were sometimes very stressful for me and sometimes they were funny.  One thing I know for sure. From the beginning of my adventure with Comarch, every day is like an ocean wave - it comes and goes. Sometimes it's like a storm, and sometimes like a delicate wave on a calm lake surface.

When exactly one year ago I decided to visit the website kariera.comarch.pl, choose the Katowice location and search for job offers, I did not expect that next year I would be an expert in concepts such as sample, defense, appeal, KIO[2], PZP[3] and working as a consultant. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you associate the word “sample” with cosmetics, if “defense” brings back memories of your own thesis defense and that unpleasant stomachache, “cancellation” sounds like the old school days, when a class would get cancelled and KIO or PZP sound like sport club names. It was the exact same thing for me, but...

I made it, I got a call from Comarch and visited the company's headquarters twice. Ladies and gentlemen, here I am: an HIS system consultant at Comarch. Since July 2018.

The beginning

On my first day of work I was taken to a room where a bulletin board was hanging. I remember that I saw lots of dates and abbreviations and a map of Poland with some of the locations marked. As it turned out later, they were public bids, which we are trying to win. A public bid is an official order for a service or product, placed by a public institution - in our case - medical. Medical institutions obtain money from public funds to implement these plans.

Some places were additionally marked with the letter "P". I had no idea what this could mean. The letter "P"? Maybe it stands for “pilne” (“urgent” in Polish) or “legal assistance” (“pomoc prawna”)? It got me thinking for hours until I heard the magic word "sample" (“próbka”)! In fact, it wasn’t the word alone that I heard. It was a question (quite typical for our area): "Which computer can I configure the sample on?" And so, I passed the first consulting level. I got to know what the last and the most important element of many orders. A sample is a part of the ordered system whose goal is to confirm that the offered IT solution has the specific key functionalities requested by the client.

It feels almost like the GEC test

As the deadline for the verification of submitted bids for a public order approaches, a date for the sample presentation/defense is set. On that day you better make sure that your white shirt is perfectly ironed, your nerves don’t betray you and you keep your head as cool as ever.  Does it sound like an exam?  It sure does!  The only difference is that if you fail your school exam, you get a bad note. But if you fail your sample defense, you lose a contract worth millions of zlotys. There are no second or third chances here. There is only one. So, you better bring you’re A-game.

Before the "defense date" is set, the bidding documentation needs to be analyzed. Usually it consists of a dozen or so extensive documents, the most important of which (for me as a consultant) is the description of the ordered product, in Polish: “OPZ”. This document describes the exact requirements that the requested solution must meet and which of them are the most crucial for the client. The collection of all documents is a compendium of knowledge about the contract and must contain information about its every important aspect, from the list of modules for the ordered system, through information on any necessary integrations, to staff training.

From the consultant's dictionary

Imagine that on the second day of work I heard the following sentence: "I’ve sent you a link to the SIWZ[4], so please analyze this OPZ, see if the sample is on call or for an offer, and whether it would be necessary to appeal to the KIO in case something is incompatible with the PZP ". Now I speak such language myself but at that time I thought my colleagues didn’t communicate in Polish.

Today, as I write this text, 329 days of my work as a HIS consultant have passed. I have already mastered the use of sophisticated shortcuts and methods to quickly read through extensive documentation. I now remember to have my access card with me all the time. I don’t confuse sample defense with school exams anymore. I do well at meetings with potential clients. Every day brings new experiences and new knowledge, which makes me happy to get up every morning and come to work.

To sum up, every day is like an ocean wave - it comes and goes. Even the toughest day finally ends. Before I go to sleep, I think about my work at Comarch and how much I enjoy it.  

[1] Hospital Information System - it is a system aimed at archiving, processing and sharing data related to the implementation of the diagnostic and therapeutic process. It is a foundation that integrates and combines various applications for different hospital areas, such as Finance, Accounting, HR, as well as patient attention app.
[2] National Appeals Chamber (Krajowa Izba Odwoławcza) is an institution established by the Act of 13 April 2007, amending the Public Procurement Law, in order to hear appeals lodged in the course of public procurement procedures (before 2007 appeals were examined by teams of arbitrators).
[3] Public Procurement Law (Prawo Zamówień Publicznych) - Polish Act of 29 January 2004, adopted by the IV term Sejm of the Republic of Poland, regulating legal issues related to public procurement.
[4] Essential Contract Terms Specification (SIWZ) - is the key document required for public bidding. It includes the conditions the contractor must meet, a list of elements to be included in the offer and basic data regarding the order.

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