Friday, 30 December 2011

Incredible India: Improving the Koenig Solutions brand - Part I

Between expansion and improvement
As my trainingclasses draw to an end today, it has literally been 23 days of intensivecoaching with just Sundays off. There were days I just could not take in anymoreeither by reason of fatigue or incapacitation brought on by the differentenvironment I was in.
Koenig Solutions intheir training services have become a brand and one can understand that everyorganisation has to balance the demands of growth and improvement. As I havenoticed here and in many places, one always seems to take away from the other; the organisation has to be so utterly unique to manage both expansion andimprovement in tandem without falling a victim of its own previously acclaimed success.
The trainers are really good
The core resource poolof Koenig Solutions is their trainers, young, highly educated, probably drivenand maybe ambitious. It would appear the minimum academic requirement foracceptance into the training pool is a Masters degree, though I cannot say muchfor the other areas of their personal and personality development.
From what I haveobserved of some of them, they need some adventure and this cannot be acquiredby just meeting with trainees who come here from all the corners of the globe.
Language proficiency
English with allits complexities, exceptions and nuance is probably one of the most forgiving of international languages, even where the command of the language is nigh on appalling,if the trainer is quite conversant with the material, they can deliver thecurriculum well enough to the understanding of a majority of trainees who insome cases have English as a foreign language too.
In my view, I thinkKoenig Solutions should invest in more English language training for betterexpression and usage, not necessarily in the format of formal classes but inbonding encounters around debates, discussions, games and team-building. Thatway, people do not feel too exposed for their poor command of English eventhough they are brain boxes on the curriculum.
Koenig Solutionsrecently announced that certain courses will be conducted in French andconsidering the visitors from other Hispanic, Germanic and Lusophone countriesone would expect Spanish, German and Portuguese to follow; it is doubtful thatItalian will become one of those languages though Chinese will be aninteresting addition.
Employees include others
Koenig Solutions appearsto be a good employer when it comes to its trainers but those not the onlypeople in the employ of this organisation; I leave India mortified at theliving conditions of the staff of Koenig Inn and those of the people runningthe various apartments as reported by other trainees.
Beyond the maindistinguishing factor of good trainers, the only other basic advantage oftraining in India is cost and that is hardly a great differentiator anymore.Training organisations in Europe are trimming their costs and offeringincentives to attract the locals that will normally trot out to India.
Besides, Malaysiaand Thailand which I dare say are somewhat more exotic locations are offeringgreater competition and it is only a matter of time before experienced Koenig Indiastaff are lured away to train for these fledgling organisations that will behave newer and better equipment whilst offering even better support than KoenigSolutions has dared to attempt.
There are manyareas where Koenig Solutions is in need of considerable improvement and it is atask that requires purposeful and immediate attention.
The reason why Idecided to take my training in New Delhi rather than at the other 3 centres inIndia was because I felt there was no way I could visit India without seeingthe Taj Mahal. However, New Delhi is under a constant haze of fog and pollutionit is really unhealthy at the best of times. The winter months are probably thebest months to come here but Dehradun and Goa will be in my list of options thenext time.
It is surprisingthat there are no training centres in Bangalore, Bombay or Chennai (Madras), Ido not know if Koenig Solutions plans to open centres there.
Sometimes thingshappen within this organisation as if lessons are not being learnt. I can charta trail of management disarray and disorganisation from information I receivedfor getting my visa, through my being picked up at the airport, a poorintroduction process, tardy problem resolution from information dissemination,testing facilitation to internet connectivity and many other things that appearinconsequential but are major operational problems that show an organisationthat is not being run like a tight ship.
From observation,it is almost impossible to say that Koenig Solutions has been in this activityfor over a decade, for all the growth they seemed to have remained a tyroorganisation repeating the same mistakes, offering the same excuses and hardlyshowing characteristics of a learning organisation.
To suggest many ofthe systems are old is to proffer an understatement. I have taken pictures ofsystems that charities will probably reject. Much of the equipment is out-datedand they are not keeping up with technical advancements in the industry.
For instance, theyoffer a 3-month after course support but what is required beyond the classes isgood access to the labs, even lesser organisations put a lot of stuff on thecloud. As I have noted before, it is amazing that an organisation that trainsin current networking trends and systems cannot offer remote labs when we arepresent in India and for a limited period of time after we have left India.
Koenig Solutionsmight not be allowed to upload core curriculum material but having been in thisbusiness for over a decade, they should still be able to provide genericaccessible systems in the cloud for trainees and ex-trainees to use to helpreinforce the training they received in India.
Having been in theMN-1 & MN-2 buildings, I cannot vouch for the other buildings but it didcross my mind that fire safety rules did not matter, I could see the one accessinto the office areas and quite restricted exits if anything happened. InEurope, none of these locations will pass a fire safety test or be granted afire safety certificate.
All that said, Ihope that one fundamental piece of information has not been lost by KoenigSolutions, the idea that trainees that attend courses in December are probablyquite senior type personnel in a month that is not as busy.
They will formimpressions about the whole gamut of services apart from training provided byKoenig Solutions and that could well inform their recommendations in terms ofadvising others of attending courses here.
To think there ismuch incentive in the paltry sums offered for recommending others is a fallacy atbest, a service will be recommended if it exceeds expectations regardless ofcommission.
In general and myhonest opinion is this – Koenig Solutions offers excellent training in terms ofthe personnel, uses average equipment in the delivery of the curriculum, can bequite mediocre in addressing issues raised by trainees either at the trainingcentre or at the residences and really does not pass the muster of exceedingexpectations.
I might return toIndia, I am not fully persuaded of a second helping of Koenig Solutions butthen, I have only been in New Delhi; things can be different in Dehradun wherethey have their largest training centre, in Goa or in Shimla – there is much tobe desired but the experience has been eye-opening and wonderful.


  1. Hi Akin,

    Nice blog by the way. I've had a read through your blogs about Koenig. So, i just wanted to drop a few words.

    Like we were discussing the other day, there are many issues around the whole concept of "Intensive" Training with Koenig Solutions.

    One thing i would like to point out is that the trainers are good.

    They have been around for around a decade but i personally think that they will take another couple of decades to sort out the problems...

    I mentioned something to the "Delhi Centre Manager", who btw is a nice person but lacks a lot in Customer Service, that a student in Intensive training or whichever type of training expects to have 2 crucial things to be able to cope and be a good student. One is a "good" sleep and second is "good" food. From my point of view, I didn't get any of them. Thought that being a vegetarian, would be great in India, but Koenig made it really difficult.

    We are not asking for a 5* Hotel service but at least a decent service would have been much better.

    My overall experience with Koenig get be described as simple as all they are after is your money. Nothing else matters...

    Till then

  2. Hello Kamal,

    Thanks for your comments, I indeed have to agree with you on the points you have made about customer service, good sleep and good food.

    There is much that needs improving on with regards to the Koenig Solutions package. My hope is that as this views get more public airing via the Internet Koenig Solutions will be forced to make the necessary changes.