There are newer employer reviews for Opera Solutions

6 people found this helpful  

Smart, motivated, excited junior employees...wasted

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Senior Associate  in  New York, NY (US)
Current Employee - Senior Associate in New York, NY (US)

I have been working at Opera Solutions full-time for more than 5 years

Pros

People at manager and below levels are great
    - Smart: top schools, top performers
    - Personable: normal people you'd want to grab a drink with
    - Creative: willing to suggest new ideas, and try to learn new things rapidly (as the firm shifts focus)

The idea behind "predictive analytics" is a good one. That said, so is the idea to time travel. Success takes more than an idea. You need to be able to execute on it. Execution is not hiring a bunch of smart people. You need leadership and direction.

Cons

Employees are Mistreated
  - Pay is below market, especially for the hours put in
  - You work 80+ hour weeks, only to be told retroactively you won't get a bonus (3+ months after you were supposed to get it, with ZERO communication or lies in the interim)
  - I have been bonus eligible for 4 years here: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012: No bonus in 2009 (financial crisis, understandable), decent bonuses in 2010 and 2011, No bonus in 2012 (even though we were told all year it was our best year ever). 50% bonus rate is unacceptable.
   - Management is sneaky, deceitful, and totally unethical: Both times we got zero bonuses, we were strung along by lies. Management would tell us bonuses were "delayed" for weeks, then months, then complete silence on the matter, then the hammer would drop and we'd be told the truth. They're literally just trying to squeeze water out of rocks.
   - More unethical practices: They closed the Paris office and told the employees they'd have the option to transfer. Then, they stopped answering all communications from the Paris employees, declared bankruptcy in France, and didn't offer transfers (after months of saying they would and leaving the employees in limbo). The French employees had to scramble to find jobs, after being lied to for months. On top of that, management told everyone that the French employees simply didn't accept the transfer offers.
   - You're still expected to work like a consultant, but be paid like

Horrible Execution by Management
   - Senior Management was tasked with facilitating the shift from "consulting" to "technology / product". They have failed. Horribly.
   - Whenever someone who knows what they are doing in the big data / product world (e.g. senior folks from SAP, Oracle, etc.) is brought in, they realize what a mess Opera is and leave within 6 months.
   - Many managers and principals are former consultants, and have no idea what they're doing in analytics projects or product driven projects. Not their fault - they're consultants, but it makes projects extremely frustrating. They haven't been trained, and many have no idea how to deliver a product driven project.
    - Horrible cash management: Hired tons of scientists and sales people who have yet to deliver anything really, while the consultants deliver project after project in "services", working typical consulting hours. Then there is no cash to pay the revenue generating consultants, because cash was burned on scientists, sales people, and failed products.
   - Everything is pretty much smoke and mirrors. Product names and ideas keep changing, but there is nearly nothing tangible to show for it. Consultants are then tasked with spinning this smoke and mirrors into something during business development and sales efforts

Offshore Model
   - The offshore model is extremely frustrating. On analytics projects, huge chunks of teams are in Shanghai and India
   - Hours become unmanageable if you want to be in any way productive due to time zone differences
   - Turnaround times are slow because of the timezones. Though the "24 hour model" is pitched, what it really means is everything takes at least twice as long to do because you can only talk to your team at the beginning and end of each day, and deliverables can then be reviewed, with more wait time in between
  - Communication can be very difficult and inefficient. Lengthy, detailed emails are required, compared to traditional consulting firms where you can just sit with your team, brainstorm, review data together in real time, etc. Huge waste of time, and very stressful, because if the communication is not clear, you lose an entire day of work from the offshore team
   - It is all stemmed from Opera's reluctance to bring teams to the same location to work (because this costs money)

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Remember that your "resources" are people. Though we claim to be a technology and product firm, everyone knows we have basically no real ground breaking products or technology. The magic is in the analytics done on bespoke projects and in the delivery of services projects by consultants. Those results are driven by people. The people are what makes this firm tick, and you are driving your best people out.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

162 Other Employee Reviews for Opera Solutions (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Opera has what other companies lack

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Opera Solutions full-time

    Pros

    Opera Solutions is full of young, smart, optimistic people. Maybe too optimistic. As someone who's worked at several companies and in a completely different industry, I find many of the things that others are disgruntled about at Opera refreshing. The company is trying to redefine itself from a consulting firm to a product-based company, which is a very difficult task. But instead of just laying off consultants (and those who are a bit stuck in the consultant mindset), the company (from my perspective at least) seems to be trying to hold onto them, valuing its people more than any other company I've worked at. After many rounds of layoffs at other companies, this is a nice change of pace, even if it is to the temporary detriment of others.

    The CEO is incredibly smart. He knows big data, he knows business, and he's smart enough to know what he doesn't know—and hires the best scientists and domain experts to make his vision a reality. I find him refreshingly honest, able to admit to his mistakes and humble enough to learn from them and move on. The company is forging through uncharted territory, and you need a leader who is willing to self-correct.

    My favorite part about Opera is the employees. The company spares no expense in the hiring department (it seems), and that is a huge benefit. Many companies hire the least expensive people who can barely do the job that's necessary in order to save money. When that happens, growth is impossible, as no one can excel or learn, and the company becomes stagnant and dies. Here, you have a company full of overachievers--Ivy League grads, some with years of experience in their fields who can really help shape the careers of the younger staff. In my experience, this is no longer the norm most places.

    Other quick notes from my perspective:

    --My hours are great. There has been some evening and weekend work, but on average, I'm home an hour earlier than was I used to be.

    --While I haven't participated in many of the extracurriculars, that there are any is rare. A company that volunteers, has happy hours, reaches out to the community, etc. speaks to the forward-thinking company culture, as well as to the level and type of employees here.

    --This is a fluid, dynamic environment. While that may make some people crazy (and it makes me crazy sometimes, too), it also means that employees can move around a bit. I think some employees give managers too much power to control their experience here. *Everyone* contributes to the overall dynamic, and each of us is ultimately in charge of our own experiences. Those who are willing and able to take on additional responsibility and/or leadership roles seem to move up very quickly. This is rare and should be seen as a benefit and opportunity.

    Cons

    The "flat" organization isn't really flat--nor is it beneficial. It just makes transparency that much more difficult.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take some management courses. As with most companies, you're all adept in your fields, but managing people isn't it. Get on the same page and provide a clear, unified company structure and direction, and then stick to it.

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Promising ideas, mediocre execution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engagement Manager  in  New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Engagement Manager in New York, NY (US)

    I have been working at Opera Solutions full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Unique approach to solving large business problems by combining consulting and analytics/software, at least as an idea
    - Very smart, personable, kind and creative people with high willingness to learn and teach
    - Good place to learn how to do a little of everything, although that is partly due to massive lack of formal structure
    - Decent compensation and work hours flexibility

    Cons

    - Highly disorganized organizational structure that changes every few months
    - Lack of communication and transparency
    - Lack of clear and consistent career ladder - expectations are always shifting and employees are expected to hit moving targets each review cycles
    - Too many product ideas with nearly not enough staff to execute on them - no good products firm was built by chasing 10+ targets
    - Some people in senior management are trying to do some good, but it may be too late

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Communicate honestly with your employees and trust that they can help turn the company around - you hired them because they are smart and capable, you use them to solve clients' problems, so why not your own
    - Pick 2-3 products, at most, and invest in them
    - Identify a growth strategy and stick with it
    - Make HR do it's job of actually helping people manage their careers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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