Many well-known events occurred in the leap year 1992: John Major led the Conservative Party to an unexpected fourth term in power, Bill Clinton was elected as President of the United States of America, the signing of the Maastricht Treaty formed the European Union, Denmark shocked the sporting world by winning the European Football Championship, Pakistan beat England in the Cricket World Cup final (Sachin Tendulkar who finally won the trophy this year also played for the first time in the 1992 finals), households started using the “World Wide Web”, Brazil held an Earth Summit, Barcelona hosted the Summer Olympics, and the pound was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on Black Wednesday. Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation, (and nineteen years later their first born child is about to get married).
So why is 1992 under discussion, well the 1st April 1992 was a momentous day, not just because of it being April Fools’ Day and events such as the political meeting of the Labour Party ahead of the General Election “the Sheffield Rally” and the world’s seven wealthiest nations agreeing $24 billion aid for the former USSR, it was also on that day that Capgemini acquired an Operational Research (OR) capability.
The original Capgemini OR team came from British Coal, where they had been practising Operational Research since the 1940s. However by 1992, British Coal was in steep decline and could no longer support the same scale of OR work that it once had. Some people from Capgemini saw the opportunity, and acquired the team of almost 100 consultants who worked there.
Much has changed since 1992. According to data from the Office for National Statistics: food prices have risen by 52% in the UK. A pint of beer that now costs £3.20, only cost £2.11 back then. A litre of petrol which now costs around £1.30 only cost 50p! Tobacco prices have gone up even more, by around 160%. However, GDP at market prices has risen by 134% which demonstrates a considerable rise in the standard of living. 10 countries have been created since then including Serbia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There have been many other changes since 1992, we experienced three terms of a Labour Government, booms in houses prices and recessions, technology has changed immensely and there has been massive increases in the use of the internet, computers, and mobile phones. It is hard to imagine a time when the internet and mobile phones were not an important part of our daily lives.
However, some things have not changed. The OR team is still delivering value for Capgemini and its clients. Of the original consultants, 7 are still with the company. The OR team is adding its expertise to a wide range clients issues and challenges in both the private and public sector. The group has been through an interesting adventure and it will be amazing to see what will be experienced over the next nineteen years.
So, Happy Birthday Capgemini’s OR Team and we hope that we have many more to follow!