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Highlights—July 25, 2015

  • Poughkeepsie Journal:

    Alliance says IBM job cuts underway in services unit. By Craig Wolf. Excerpts: A workers' group says another round of job cuts is underway within IBM Corp. The Alliance@IBM has posted several comments from anonymous posters claiming they've been told their jobs are ending. As of Friday morning, about two dozen comments had appeared. ...

    While a recent discussion by the company's chief financial officer confirmed that a "rebalancing" of the workforce occurred during the second quarter at a cost of $200 million globally, there was no specific mention of any planned actions for the third quarter that began July 1.

    However, there was one comment from Martin Schroeter on the brokerage analyst conference call, discussing the third quarter. As reported in a transcript by Seeking Alpha, he said, "When you look at some of the other dynamics and the third from a year-to-year perspective, currency impact, investments, workforce rebalancing, the third quarter profit trajectory looks a lot like the second." ...

    "After 13 bad quarters it should be no surprise that it would be IBM workers that would be punished and not the executives. IBM is no longer known for innovation but disintegration," said Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the group, backed by the Communications Workers of America. ...

    "At this time we do not know the full impact. We do know multiple locations are being hit in IBM GTS," he said, referring to Global Technology Services, one of the company's largest blocks of employees. The site mentioned in several postings was Boulder, Colorado.

    "We also have reports that work is being moved to India and Brazil and the U.S. workers terminated," he said.

    IBM has not responded to a request for comment. The company does not announce its job cuts and when it confirms them at all, does not provide numbers or locations.

  • Business Insider:

    IBM took a $200 million charge for ‘workforce rebalancing’ actions but refused to use the word layoffs. By Julie Bort. Excerpts: IBM won't talk about its ongoing layoffs, except in the broadest Wall Street jargon using words that do not include "lay" or "off."

    But in that financial jargon the company did confirm that it is, and will continue to, shed and shift employees, while also hiring new people.

    Specifically, IBM CFO Martin Schroeter told Wall Street analysts on its quarterly conference call Monday that the company took a $200 million charge for "workforce rebalancing."

    Workforce rebalancing" is IBM-speak for layoffs, but it also includes other things that move workers from declining business units into growing areas like cloud computing, mobile, analytics (including Watson). ...

    He also said that IBM is using some sort of "alternative labor models" to help keep costs down:

    We remain focused on our cost competitiveness through alternative labor models, more aggressively shifting resources to higher-value offerings and enhancing our global delivery capabilities. ...

    Phrases like "alternative labor models" can be a euphemisms for hiring contractors, offshoring jobs, hiring H1-B visa workers from overseas, or any number of things. (We've asked IBM to clarify all of this, and will update when they respond).

  • The Register:

    What's dying on the vine and rhymes with IBM? Unlucky Big Blue suffers 13th straight quarter of decline. By Neil McAllister. Excerpts: t was business as usual for IBM in the second quarter of its fiscal 2015 – which in Big Blue's case means it once again posted revenues that were lower than the same period a year ago.

    It was the thirteenth quarter in a row of which that could be said.

    Of course, to hear CEO Ginny Rommetti tell it, it's still all part and parcel of her ongoing turnaround plan, which she maintains will see IBM exit 2015 a more valuable business than when the year began.

    "Our results for the first half of 2015 demonstrate that we continue to transform our business to higher value and return value to shareholders. We expanded margins, continued to innovate across our portfolio and delivered strong growth in our strategic imperatives of cloud, analytics and engagement, which are becoming a significant part of our business," Rometty said in a canned statement.

    While all that may be true, however, one thing Big Blue didn't manage to do is boost its sales or profits.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Big Blue -- Lost Identity: IBM, the powerhouse of technology lost it's identity when it starting selling off it's hardware division, from chips to mainframes. With it went some of the greatest minds ever to be in technology as IBM imagined, designed and developed the future for us to enjoy. Today, they are mostly concerned with only profits...they forgot what made them great. Yes, I know they continue to file and are granted patents, in the thousands each year, but, to me, the spirit is gone.
    • Lack of R&D in Enterprise software will be costly... The IBM emphasis seemed to switch to end to enterprise software delivery with little support for R&D on real innovation. They have over decades made acquisitions in this sector which by definition is "old" technology and related delivery models. Powerful marketing messages have a limited life if not supported with reality...looks like time is up.

      Enterprise software is at a tipping point with emphasis on digital which requires a very people driven approach. There are very significant long overdue changes coming which will see a commoditized approach that delivers customisation something that will further hurt likes of IBM.

    • Gutted from within I've said it before, and I'll say it again: IBM, in its current form and under its current management and management culture, is moribund. It could be years dying yet, but that's what it's doing. The outside world possibly may not be able to see that clearly yet, but it's plain as a pikestaff once you get inside.

      And its problem isn't sell-offs per se — those are just visible symptoms of a wider culture of "money right or wrong" (and "money for my share options") that came in when Lou Gerstner replaced John Akers in the 90s, and the bean counters took over from the techies. There's no money available for anything.

      Pick any 10 grunt employees at random, and ask them how much real education they've had in the last couple of years, say — you'll be shocked at the answer.

      There may be something in there worth salvaging — but it's not going to amount to anything under the current board, any board likely to replace them, or indeed the sort of middle management appointees that the culture fostered by the board produces.

    • Don't share Trevor's view. The IBM I've worked with is an organization with incredible long command chains, where a small army of lawyers is dedicated to shift all the blame for anything bad done by IBM to its own customers and with another, this time much, much bigger, army of managers turned accountants who are clueless about anything their business does but only focus on their bottom line.

      The very few IBMers left that do anything useful or productive (the ones that have not yet been "resource actioned" outside India) form a demoralized team that have to struggle daily with incredible tight reporting requirements and project and service workloads that span what was previously spread across many more people. All this for an increasingly small salary and benefits in the name of corporate profits they know will never get to enjoy. And make no mistake, the Indian IBMers don't share the same culture and values that made IBM what it was in the past century; they see IBM as their springboard to their next job elsewhere. One with a higher pay and better benefits.

      I can't see how this can turn into the company Trevor describes. Large scale computing? Where are the potential customers? The same ones that currently feel being ripped off by an IBM that is constantly trading local people with offshored resources to increase its profits at the cost of worsening service to its customers? The same customers that bet five years ago on IBM server hardware only to see it abandoned? The same customers purchasing IBM branded storage only to discover that it is a mere repackaging of someone else's product, only with an additional layer of overworked support staff?

      And where are the products? Watson? The perfect death trap for the risk averse IBM: no customer wants to sign off a contract where they will be footing the bill to set up an incredibly complex system with no ROI guarantees whatsoever.

      All I can see is IBM slowly fading into irrelevance and reducing itself to two almost independent companies: one a very small, highly profitable, cluster of captive mainframe customers (these will remain IBM customers literally forever). Another made of the small army of lawyers, this time specialising in patent licensing. But this part will not last more than 30 years: on the long term, IBM can't sustain any significant R&D investment if they can't turn it into profits outside patents, something they have been unable to achieve for the last 20 years.

  • WRAL TechWire (Raleigh):

    IBM layoffs? Top finance exec sees more 'workforce rebalancing'. By Rick Smith. Excerpts: Reports continue to trickle out that IBM continues to cut jobs in the Research Triangle and elsewhere, but Big Blue seldom if ever talks publicly about cuts. However, in a conference call Monday to discuss IBM's 13th straight quarter of losing revenue, its CFO conceded that "workforce rebalancing" continues.

    Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter dueled amicably with analysts in the call - and the layoff word wasn't mentioned.

    But Schroeter on numerous occasions talked about how IBM is hiring, is shifting workers around, and continues to rebalance as it continues to move more toward cloud, software, services and Watson supercomputer offerings.

    On the hiring front, he noted:

    "For example, we've hired over 2,000 incremental resources into our mobility practices and shifted almost 1,000 to analytics projects. The remaining profit decline was driven by the lower revenue on what is a relatively fixed cost base in the short-term. We remain focused on our cost competitiveness through alternate labor models, more aggressively shifting resources to higher value offerings and enhancing our global delivery capabilities."

    Interesting terminology - "alternative labor models."

    More contractors?

    More lower-cost foreign workers hired through H-1B Visas?

    The server sale to Lenovo helped cut headcount, but IBM kept rebalancing.

  • Yahoo! Finance:

    As Collapse of IBM Continues, CEO Under Pressure. By Douglas A. McIntyre. Excerpts: As International Business Machines Corp.'s (IBM) financial results continue a remarkable collapse, its CEO, Ginni Rometty, becomes ever more optimistic in her view of the company's future. Rometty's public comments are either a sign of self-delusion or a means to keep a job on which her grip weakens by the quarter.

    Consider that IBM posted a 13.5% drop in revenue to $20.8 billion in the second quarter and that net income fell 16.6% to $3.6 billion. Measure that against her reaction:

    Our results for the first half of 2015 demonstrate that we continue to transform our business to higher value and return value to shareholders. We expanded margins, continued to innovate across our portfolio and delivered strong growth in our strategic imperatives of cloud, analytics and engagement, which are becoming a significant part of our business.

    The marks of the transformation are that sales across every major IBM division fell last quarter. Rometty's excuse for results is that the company has entered new businesses that show promise. ...

    In point of fact, the cloud computing and business analytics fields are among the most crowded of the efforts of the world's largest tech companies. In what is called the "cloud infrastructure services" sector, IBM will need to claw its way ahead of leaders Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. and fight against other companies such as Oracle Corp. and Google Inc. for a barely modest piece of what is left.

    Rometty's comments try to support her case that IBM's cloud efforts can grow quickly enough to offset the rapid fall in sales from its traditional businesses. As it turns out, the results show her efforts are not anywhere close.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Just means that massive layoffs are around the corner, this will be done to support the lack of management / direction throughout the company.
    • As a former IBM employee (10 years) the problem isn't 'lack of management/direction'. The problem is TOO MUCH of that! IBM is the most hierarchical, top-down company I've worked for. It's run with military obedience to command. Therefore if the company stumbles it's totally attributable to executive management and not 'execution', as the IBM execs always claim.
    • The executives need to go; this has been going on for sometime now, increase profits, buy back stock, yet fail to grow. The next move is more layoffs because IBM has no vision and keeps digging the hole deeper and deeper! This CEO is the same CEO blaming its resources as not having the skills, yet the lack of skills resides on the leadership side!
    • IBM CEO's traditionally retire on or before their 60th birthday. Rometty just turned 58, hopefully the board doesn't plan for two more years. Massive layoffs are undoubtedly close at hand, and I would hope they look outside the company for its next leader.
    • IBM has just been trading on its name for years now, when the truth is their products and services are mostly sub par. Anyone who has worked there in the past 10 years knows this. Some divisions within IBM won't even use IBM products. But people see IBM and say YES!. Expect layoffs, outsourcing and a bunch of that magic math that makes stockholders happy by keeping prices while doing nothing for the health of the company itself.
    • As someone who was there until a year ago, after successful stints at two other high techs, I can say most assuredly that you are spot on. The most dysfunctional company I have ever had the misfortune to be associated with. Also the most inept management I have ever seen in the industry. If people on the outside really knew how this company has squandered opportunities and resources, the stock would plummet.
    • I quit my software services job with IBM in 2012. They had us working unholy hours with unbelievable workloads and pressured us not to take holidays or vacation. I was a US worker and they kept telling us to our face 'how expensive' we were and how they intended to replace us with workers from India. And we'd have to train them. A totally demoralizing experience.
    • That is exactly what IBM does. They make you feel enslaved. When you have a family, bills, and everything else, you have a lot more to worry about. They prey on this.
    • Started under Lou Gerstner when he moved the company out of engineering and R&D and into commodity "consulting". They became another "me too" company with nothing to differentiate themselves from every other consulting company. But Lou was praised by Wall St. for his insight and genius and for cooking the books.
    • The CEO and the entire upper management chain need to go. They cut employee benefits to the bone, stole pension from old timers, force layoffs, destroy innovation, reward management generously while earnings and profit decline consistently.
    • Until the friendly, sleeping, non-technical Board of Directors wake up or multiple big institutional investors yelling out "We can't take it anymore", Rometty will keep her job.
    • As an IBM Business Partner for 30 years, I disagree that their products are subpar. The problem is their products are non-existent for the SMB market place. They are focused 100% on Enterprise level software and services that only apply to the top 1% of businesses. They built the company on providing reliable products and solutions for businesses of all sizes, but have completely abandoned those businesses over the years. I doubt there is a fix at this point.
    • Under pressure?!?!?! Are you kidding? She is a CEO with executive compensation. She just received a 38% pay raise and this is her fourth massive pay raise over 13 quarters of declining revenue.

      In the end, it doesn't matter. Her golden parachute is something like $1.5M per month for the rest of her life, use of all IBM assets: club memberships, jet, personal cooks for life, personal security guards for her and family. On top of this, she has over $150M in compensation to boot.

      It doesn't matter how bad executives are, they still get theirs while the workers pay the price. Bye bye 10,000 US workers and another 40,000 around the world during this quarter.

    • I worked for IBM for 10 years. Here's the scoop: Ginni Rometty was promoted because she is an IBM lifer. That's what IBM does. It promotes lifers. Of course it helped that she's a woman but the main reason is that she's a lifer. But to be fair to her, she inherited a bag of #$%$.

      Her predecessor, Sam Palmisano, seemed to spend much of his time haughtily belittling competitors. For example: He once said that Apple was a 'toy maker'. He stated that he believed Apple could never amount to anything because it simply made consumer gadgets. Now, this same Apple (with a market cap 3 times that of IBM) is being begged by Ginni to do deals with IBM.

      In short, IBM needs outside blood to run the company and do away with IBM's notorious internal arrogance that's propelled them to 14 straight quarterly revenue misses.

    • Was an IBM employee for 35years, I saw Rometty come up as time went by! Every division she managed suffered revenue failures. The thing was before the financials were disclosed both Gerstner and Palmisano would move her to another management position! Perfect example was the Price Waterhouse mess.

      It's time for her to go along with other executives, They have been there long enough only to fail consistently at making the mark. Their performance rating is a 4 - does not meet requirements and is on notice!

    • Palmisano was the one who started down the path of "managing the investors" and working the financial engineering strategy, combined with the EPS roadmap. So in Ginny's defense she was handled a turd that was poorly positioned to capitalize on the shift from IT services/contracts to IT as a low margin commodity.

      I'll commend her for at long last doing the obvious and ditching the 2015 EPS roadmap, though it was really too little too late. The years of meeting EPS at the expense of organic growth and strategic investment is what lead to 13 Q's of revenue decline.

    • IBM is a great company, I doubt there is another company in existence that treats its employees with such compassion as big Blue, IBM is as big as the smallest department. Employees have held IBM to the ultimate standards, proud to be an IBMer. That was back in the days of the Watson family, yup a great company.

      IBM never had a layoff, but all that changed, I thought the announcement was a mistake, times have changed and so has IBM. IBM has had the best in leadership roles, unfortunately even IBM has to admit it made a mistake in their selection for a CEO. Time to get the company back on track, clean house.

    • IBM's downfall was after 1995! They no longer preached full employment, and as time went on continually took away from employees. First biggest one was taking pension plans down by changing the formulas in 1995, then converted pension plans to lump sum until called on the carpet by Congress, then took away retirement medical, then froze pensions, all at the expense of long term employees. There were more, but this was just a short list!
    • I worked for IBM for more then 10 years and I HATE this company. IBM treats people like commodity and doesn't care about anything except big bucks for upper management.
    • IBM "WAS" A GREAT COMPANY. But unfortunately it no longer is. I retired from them years ago after 35 years and the downhill slide started with Gerstner and continues to this day. It could become great again but it would take a whole new management team and mindset.
    • IBM is nothing but a shell of a once great company. My dad worked there for 35 years and he was so glad to get out of there when he did. The last 15 years there he said were terrible since the mid to late 90s it was a horrible place to work. It will be gone in a couple of years. That's what you get when you don't make good products and try to make profits by cutting workforce, pensions and pay for the workers.
    • As another for IBMer, I can tell you that this is a result of the "managed earnings" #$%$ that started before Rometty, but that she did not have the courage to stop. She would have won huge accolades for trashing Palmisano's "cut jobs for financial prosperity" but was too loyal.

      IBM's Project Phoenix was designed to eliminate US-based jobs and hire cheaper workers overseas. This was done with intent and by design.

      IBM is now reaping the "benefit" of getting rid of its US workers and trying to find cheap replacements in low-cost countries.

    • When you treat the rank and file workers as though they are liabilities instead of assets, this is what you get. This started long before Grandma took over, but she is continuing down the same path, and there is no low hanging fruit left to pick to prop up the bottom line.
  • I, Cringely:

    IBM is so screwed. By Robert X. Cringely. Excerpts: I’ve been working on a big column or two about the Office of Personnel Management hack while at the same time helping my boys with their Kickstarter campaign to be announced in another 10 days, but then IBM had to go yesterday and announce earnings and I just couldn’t help myself. I had to put that announcement in the context you’ll see in the headline above. IBM is so screwed.

    Below you’ll see the news spelled-out in red annotations right on IBM’s own slides. The details are mainly there but before you read them I want to make three points. First, IBM’s sexy new businesses (cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security or CAMSS) aren’t growing — and probably won’t be growing — faster than its old businesses are shrinking and dying. This doesn’t have to be. IBM could carefully invest in some of those older businesses and become a much better company and investment.

    Second is something that doesn’t immediately fall out of these slides but I think it should be said: from what I hear IBM’s analytics sales (the very essence of its Big Data strategy) have been dismal. Nobody is buying. ...

    Sadly, IBM has already lost the cloud and analytics wars, they have yet to be even a factor in mobile, and social is a business that IBM has yet to even explain how they’ll make money. Of all these new businesses that will supposedly drag IBM out of the mess it’s currently in only data security has a chance, and that’s if they don’t blow that, too.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Revenues are down even in constant currency and adjusting for divestitures, AND they keep acquiring companies all the time. Even with the acquisitions their sales are dropping continuously. Horrendous performance.
    • It’s sad they are taking so many acquired companies down with them.
    • I haven’t been “in” ibm for many years now, I got out while the real perpetrator of this downfall was still running the show, Captain Palmisano.

      I don’t envy Ginni. She took over for Sam who had clearly set IBM up on this steady state path to profits based on a completely static future, meanwhile everything was changing. When Ginni first came in, shaking things up wasn’t really an option; IBM was doing well at that moment and changing a good thing (as far as investors were concerned) would have been heresy on Wall St. She was simply expected to carry the baton across the finish line with that ridiculous $20 by 2015 goal.

      She’s definitely made her own mistakes but to some extent she's in a lose-lose situation that was being built years before she took the helm.

    • Another quarter and news of more layoffs continue whilst the number of managers and new appointments of senior staff who are apparently going to save us from this mess continue and as another person leaves it makes life harder and harder for those of us remaining making it impossible to deliver great customer service that will keep the customers we have.

      We all just feel like sitting ducks, regardless of skills, abilities and performance waiting for our one on one manager meeting to tell us that we are no longer required. We never have the proper skills such as industry certifications and the like because there is never any money for training but rest assured there are a bunch of internal free courses available that offer little or no value and would be worthless with any other employer.

      And then there is the PBC process with a very small number of employees able to get a bonus or pay rise due to quotas so people work the bare minimum and if you are like me give up part way through the year after you hear other employees (your competitors who it is best not to collaborate or share information with because you might help them get your pay rise) have already done much better than and you will never “catch them” so best to save the petrol for next years PBC chase or just give up all together and do the bare minimum or start looking for another job.

      So we are a company in decline and a workforce lacking motivation with no training, old skills and no hope of a pay rise or bonus unless we some how manage to outperform God during the year whilst looking over our shoulders waiting to be told we no longer have a job. Anyhow have to go my manager has organise a one on one meeting out of the blue – must have something important to tell me

    • Talent exodus is in full flow in UKI. No one is being replaced so this is snowballing. There is now already a serious lack of top talent, and IBM is not competing in the marketplace unless the position is in CAMSS. Recruiters are targeting IBM talent, fed lists of strong candidates via ex employees.
    • "Continuing high level of investment and shareholder returns” I guess they’re not even pretending to care about customers any more.
    • The rot set in long before Rometty took over. Palmisano’s focus on shareholder value (to the exclusion of almost all else) was the beginning of the end and it was the legacy Rometty perpetuated.
    • Agreed. Gerstner set the stage, albeit one which corrected course and allowed Services to carry the day for quite some time. It was Palmisano who had ZERO vision and therefore applied the ‘wet towel effect’ i.e. twisting every drop out of the company via cost cuts, offshore labor arbitrage, minimal investment and completely missing new paradigms right under his big nose (cloud, mobile). History will show it was he who doomed the company while walking away with a cool $200m.

      Rometty was handed the turd but even so, she was part of Sam’s gang so she too has blood on her hands.

      Couldn’t happen to a more ruthless team of executives.

    • IBMerToBe: I have been extended an offer to work in one of the “hot” CAMSS areas for a senior position. The offer is generous and equivalent to big tech companies like Google or Facebook. They accepted my counter offer because I had multiple offers. Is there anyone who is working in the CAMSS areas at IBM here? How is your experience? Is there a future career at IBM?
    • ToIBMrTobe, watch out man. You will be going into an environment where everyone is unhappy, very unhappy. And very unmotivated. Managers no longer have any control of what happens to you and there is no career path there. Just did 12 years and was happy to take the package. I was in a CAMSS group and it's total chaos.

      Don’t let the money fool you; you're going to make a big mistake if you go there. Good luck and choose wisely.

    • I do not recommend joining IBM, recently left after 5 1/2 years and it is one of the most bureaucratic organizations I have ever worked for. Things could easily be improved but management is too scared of blotting their copy-books to raise issues. Twice I was warned to stop complaining (issues like only 30GB space for developing databases) or I would be asked to leave.

      I have decades of experience at development leadership level, but feel that the time spent at IBM was a waste and hindered my career, a stagnation of my abilities rather than increasing them. They are a spent force, and Ginni got the job since she was able to cut to increase profits, not a technology leader IMHO.

    • IBMerToBe I agree with what the other ex IBMers are saying. I spent 16 years there all in Global Services. To give you some perspective on how things devolved there. My kids were excited every time we were somewhere and they saw the IBM logo. IBM would host picnics in the summer and Christmas parties in December.

      That all stopped when the EPS targets were created and my kids excitement at seeing the IBM logos turned into disgust at the company that was making their dad work 16 hour days and travel 75% of the time. My last year at IBM I did not get a day off, including weekends and holidays, until the 4th of July.

      I hope your experience is like my first 10 years when I enjoyed what I did and felt like I made a difference.

    • @IBMer ToBe – I would dig down into the specific CAMSS area to see exactly what they consider to be a part of that definition. All of IBM SW has been redefined as CAMSS, including old legacy products. So, unless you will be working with newly acquired and/or developed technology it may simply be a label on old technology.
    • If you decide to go, make sure you have a good outside-of-IBM network and can get hired elsewhere fast. This also implies keeping your skill set up-to-date and marketable. The company no longer fosters the beliefs of its founder, T.J. Watson Sr. and his sons plus the the first couple of CEOs that followed T.J. Jr.

      Two events beginning back in 1970 led to IBM management becoming myopic. In the 80s, Ignoring the advice of those who recommended that all PC development (H/W and S/W) be done in house, added to that less than stellar vision.

      Once Gerstner turned it into a “service company”, it lost even more of any vision that was still left. Now, unless you are in the inner circle, you are nothing more than a disposable commodity. If the project you work on is highly successful, you have a good chance of being retained for the next project. Otherwise, even if you were a stellar performer, you could be insulted by being told to train your replacement before you are shown the door.

      There is also a good chance to be shown the door even if you were a good performer because management considers you are being paid too much. So if you decide to take the position, be sure “to keep your irons in the fire” so as not to be unemployed too long and best of luck.

    • Exactly, keep that external network ramped up and hot. You’re gonna need it sooner or later, the stacked ranking system (PBC’s) guarantees that. Your rating will not be a factor of your performance so much as a factor of your relationship with your management – friends don’t get cut if it can be helped. I loved working there, did over 15 years but everyone is going to get laid off sooner or later to cut costs and retain the illusion of profit.
    • @IBMerToBe Absolutely, there’s some great people there, but they’re leaving in droves.

      IBM has lost its soul. Ask anyone who is working there today, or who has left in the last 10 years (and who have or had a soul themselves). They will tell you. Don’t be seduced by the immediate opportunity and think you will be unharmed by what’s going down all around you.

      No vision, no values, no soul. It is sad, for a company with such a legacy. But it can be the source of some great business school analysis to counter the thesis that a company is all about delivering shareholder value, and that is what should consume senior executives 365 x 24. Also, a great example of how long a company its size can get away with financial engineering to look successful.

    • Current IBMer here (15 yrs), and yes, IBMerToBe, you are stepping into a difficult position. There are still great people at IBM, but we’re overworked, have little clear direction or achievable goals, and are jerked around from bad idea to bad idea (under the guise of being agile, when it’s actually just reactive because Exec A, who drove last quarter is in opposition to Exec B, who is driving this quarter). It’s frustrating and soul-killing.

      Morale stinks across the board. I still do my job, because I’m paid to do so and I’ve not yet found a workable alternative, but my enthusiasm for doing it well left a long time ago. My group looks “outward,” and in theory, we serve an external customer, but our only mandate is to please executives (internal stakeholders), who often are very out of touch, and when their ideas/policies/decisions don’t fly, they not only don’t take responsibility, but they lay blame at your feet for doing what you’re told.

      We’re also under constant paranoia that the next RA (layoff) will include our number. A good many people have been set adrift for no other reason than cost cutting. A good rating, if you manage to snag one (my 1 last year cost me 55+ hrs/ week, and my reward was 1% raise), is no guarantee of continued employment either.

      It’s demoralizing and sad. This place used to be awesome. Maybe it will be again. Good luck to you.

    • I came to IBM Australia as part of an outsource deal they signed with my previous company nearly 5 years ago. Right from day one I could see that they were not serious about the Services part of their business. The M.O. seems to be to sign a big deal, then strip out all the resourcing and run as lean as possible – always too lean. IBM is happy to pay penalties of a few million each month when they are making over $1B per year from one customer.

      The upshot of running your business like this is that the reputation damage is fatal. Because of their poor performance on major accounts, IBM has not signed a major deal in Australia since 2010. And even more so, I’m told by my sources still within the company that they have been asked NOT to re-tender for business that are are currently contracted for.

      I got out earlier this year and I pity those who are still there.

    • IBM announced massive layoffs yesterday. Mostly to GTS, after she said half of the income came from them in a video, and announced that they were “hiring like crazy.”
    • I worked at IBM for 10 years and quit voluntarily. Now I work for an IBM customer. I can see front-row that things has not changed since I quit. The company treats is customers so badly that I’m often embarrassed to say I worked there. There are many great IBM’ers working there, but much fewer than in 2010. Many people have quit, and those that had a chance has jumped. The only good people left there are those working in a specialty area where they have difficulty finding a job in another place. And even those don’t perform that well since they are essentially told to spend as little as possible on the customer, and that the account is already in the negative etc.

      For this reason, serious stability and security incidents that 5 years ago would have had everyone on their marks, can now go on for months without anyone doing anything serious. It is just circulated among IBM incident handler and managers who are usually clueless about how the systems work. Only after high-level management pressure from the customer side is there any chance the incidents will even see an engineer. Oftentimes the incident managers will outright lie to the customers.

      It also sucks to be an IBM employee, at least if you are an engineer with many other options. Meager pay raises (on top of an already below-market pay, cut bonuses and benefits. Also all the intranet articles are totally about abstract cloud and social ideas, making little sense to an engineer who might actually try to visualize how the ideas are going to be realized at the customer side, let alone how it might make money. But as I remember, Ginni said some years ago, that these big “arcs” make it easier to steer the company. Yeah, I am sure it becomes easier to manage if you just ignore all those annoying details and can live in la-la land thinking IBM will magically become competitive in the cloud and that IBM still has serious credibility with customers.

      I think IBM has maybe 1-2 years with some chance to turn the ship. There are still many clueless management types at the customers who don't realize how bad it is yet (partly due to the IBM lies), and who will continue to buying IBM for some time. But sooner or later, even those drones realize who bad it is and new projects will be outsourced to other vendors. Soon after that, the old cash cows will either move or will disappear from the balance sheet as they are decommissioned. This is what IBM is already seeing, albeit at a limited scale. But if this accelerates, as it very well might, history from IBM and other companies shows that things can go down so quickly, that it is not unrealistic to think IBM might find itself bordering on bankruptcy within 1-2 years – just like in the 90s. The Q2 results, and the 13 quarters with declining revenue, is a stark reminder of that. If IBM thinks this is bad, just continue down the current road for 1-2 years… then you will see bad!

  • Time:

    IBM Posts Thirteenth Straight Revenue Drop. By Jonathan Vanian. Excerpts: IBM CFO Martin Schroeter did his best to reassure investors on a call that IBM is on the right track as it invests into areas that the company feels will one day generate high returns. Schroeter didn’t give any concrete details on how IBM’s “strategic imperatives” are currently contributing to the company’s bottom line.

    He reiterated the fact that cloud computing, big data, security, and other areas falling into the “strategic imperatives” category brought in $25 billion and represented 27% of IBM’s total revenue in 2014. By 2018, he said IBM is on track for these initiatives to generate $40 billion and account for 40% of sales by 2018, he said.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal:

    As 2,000 settle in with GlobalFoundries, IBM's Dutchess status declines. By Craig Wolf. Excerpts: Inside the sprawling semiconductor manufacturing site, there are about 2,000 former IBMers who now carry GlobalFoundries tags and get their paychecks from the new owner.

    A week ago, GlobalFoundries took over this plant and another in Burlington, Vermont, along with the employees at each, 16,000 patents, a book of business with IBM's chip customers and a 10-year contract to supply microchips to IBM. It also gets $1.5 billion from Big Blue. ...

    The loss of 2,000 people from IBM's payroll raises the question of whether Big Blue will still be Dutchess County's largest private employer. According to a report filed under an incentive deal, IBM had 6,370 employees in Dutchess as of the end of February.

    Whatever the total as of last Wednesday, there are now 2,000 fewer. The company doesn't make public comments on its workforce deployment numbers. Its other Dutchess plant is in the Town of Poughkeepsie, where large computers, mainly mainframes, are made.

    The transfer of IBMers means Big Blue is littler again, said Lee Conrad, who has tracked trends as a national coordinator for the worker group, Alliance@IBM. "In the mid 1980s, IBM had 230,000 U.S. employees. Now, with the latest move of IBM employees to GlobalFoundries, that number is around 70,600," Conrad estimated.

    "Job cuts, offshoring and shedding of business units have decimated IBM employment in the U.S." he said, attributing the decline to IBM executives' chasing after earnings per share of stock regardless of consequences.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “IDC Brno (hit and run)”

      Former Employee — IT Specialist in Brno (Czech Republic). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros:

      • multi-cultural environment, so you will improve your English level, if you are not a native speaker
      • you can learn interesting enterprise grade technologies (SAN, ESXi, AIX, DB2, RHEL)
      • possibility to switch team (if you are technically gifted and smart enough)
      • home office (depends on team, but generally 2 days per working week)
      • lot of smart guys around *stable job, almost impossible to be fired

      Cons:

      • very limited salary raise, even when you are switching from level to higher one
      • low cost center — cutting costs everywhere, literally no valuable benefits, no meal vouchers, hiring freezes
      • understaffed teams, huge amount of demotivated people, nepotism
      • politics, extremely huge gap between real IBM and IDC
      • massive amount of bureaucracy
      • almost no automation in place; obviously human labor is cheaper than implement and maintain software.
      • 1st line management are just toothless puppets (and sadly, some of them are also not so smart at all.)
      • high fluctuation, especially in technical teams
      • noisy and crowded open spaces
      • almost no external education, no team-buildings
      • extremely arrogant and useless service management
      • lot of overtime hours, some teams don't even have budget to pay them
      • constant transformations in order to save money (from competitors to Brno and from Brno to IBM India) is annoying wasting of time
      • Czech mentality is not always compatible with US company "culture"
      • lot of positions, which require only copy-paste skill and working with Lotus Notes (resending mails, putting others to CC, escalating others, etc.)

      Generally, best was how to handle IDC Brno is hit and run principle: Come here for 2-3 years, learn new stuff, get some education if possible and then leave for much higher salary. If you stay longer, you will simply start losing money literally every month.

      Advice to Management:

      • you can't deliver premium services and satisfy customers, when your own stuff is bunch of demotivated/underpaid guys constantly looking for new job
      • reason why nobody wants to come to Brno (so you are trying such amazing ideas as massive hiring) is, that conditions and salaries and generally known. yes IBM is cool brand and may improve CV, but this facts simply can't pay rent or food.
      • motivate people, what about free breakfast once per month?
      • people are your most valuable asset, not just tool/number, how to satisfy shareholders and make your Excel sheets green
      • throw away GDF, PBC — it is just demotivating people, nothing else
      • establish retention program, start taking care about your own employees and TALK WITH THEM — is too late to do something, when termination letter lands on your place.
      • stop cutting costs like crazy. moderate changes makes sense, but you are cutting directly meat
      • in current situation, you are using skilled people and top guns and hiring inexperience students in order to save money. this can works forever? I don't think so.
    • “Short sighted”

      Former Employee — Senior Business Controls Analyst in New York, NY. Pros: IBM was a great company to work for over the years and I had plenty of opportunities to work with great people and travel all over the world. Cons: As with many companies, IBM decided to stop caring about their employees and other cares about the bottom line for stockholders and the executives. Advice to Management: Remember the employees on the front lines can help make or break it with your customers and should be treated with respect that IBM used to care about.
    • “IBM Outsourcing the Machines”

      Former Employee — Advisory Engineer. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years.) Pros: Prestigious name. Excellent benefits. A wide array of product areas. Good engineers designing excellent products. Cons: Managed from the top of a deep management chain. Bureaucracy trumps local control. A company ostensibly devoted to business machines that is increasingly getting out of the hardware business. Advice to Management: Value your employees as something other than ledger sheet assets.
    • “IBM”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Great people to work with, especially in IBM research. Large company so room to move around and work with different projects. Cons: Lots of legacy IBM systems to have to interact with, can make like complicated. Money is not spent directly on employees, so employee satisfaction on day to day basis not a major concern.
    • “completely positive experience”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: good atmosphere, international environment, great team. Cons: nothing bad to be said, everything seemed pretty nice.
    • “Pay is competitive, work environment is brutal”

      Current Employee — Chief Engineer in Armonk, NY. Pros: You can move around in the company and get new experiences. The pay is good. Opportunities are good. Can often times get training or certification through the company. Can stay technical and continue to progress career or jump into management. Cons: It's not uncommon to work a 60 hour week. The benefits keep eroding. Layoffs are ongoing in my part of the business and it happens to really great skilled hardworking employees. Advice to Management: Market to our strengths instead of thinking we have to compete with the Indian outsourcing firms. Stop laying off skilled talented workers thinking you will save business cost. Understand the hidden cost in provisioning services with less skill resources
    • “Gone Downhill!!”

      Current Employee — IT Architect. I have been working at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Work from home is about the only perk. Cons: The list is too long: Management disconnected, no raises, no bonuses, too much red tape, unskilled co-workers, etc. And this from someone who has had the top rating you can get in IBM for two years in a row after 19 years in. Advice to Management: Talk to the people that do the actual work not the middle people, and find out what is really happening.
    • “Product Manager”

      Current Employee — Product Manager in Longmont, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Incredible visibility and responsibility supporting worldwide enterprises. Cons: IBM thinks innovation comes from acquisitions. Worse, they stop investing as soon as the new firm is blue-washed. Advice to Management: Understand that in services, your employees are your product.
    • “Was great, but couldn't wait to leave”

      Former Employee — Senior Engineer in Research Triangle Park, NC. Pros: Lots of different roles, jobs, locations. Used to be bleeding edge. Cons: Horrible pressure and treatment of loyal good people. Advice to Management: Wake up, or as the Watsons used to say THINK.
    • “Sales”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Secane, PA. I worked at IBM (more than a year). Pros: Working for one of the largest and most recognized global companies. Cons: Too slow on vital product enhancements leading to many lost opportunities against the same competition. Unrealistic quotas, lackluster product training.
    • “Acquired, gave it a chance, ran for the hills”

      Former Employee — Advisory Project Manager in Toronto, ON (Canada). Pros: Opportunity to coast if that is appealing. Flexible working arrangements. Well known brand with obvious benefits to your resume and future opportunities. Cons: Stifling administration. Promotions are based on vacated space versus a meritocracy. If you're not part of R&D you're part of a supporting department that churns people through the slowest and most boring meat grinder. Advice to Management: The issues described above are due to IBM's size. Asides from separating IBM into multiple independent business units, I don't see how management styles could possibly change.
    • “Service Delivery Manager”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Some very good people and a wide range and choice of benefits for those that can stay the course. Cons: A cost take out strategy that is killing its ability to deliver outsourced contracts with an eroding customer base. Five years of consecutive head-count reduction and no obvious strategy to grow within the UK outsourcing market. Too many high-cost managers remain at the expense of those trying to deliver the service to the ultimate customer.
    • “Sales Engineer”

      Former Employee — Sales Engineer in Silver Spring, MD. I worked at IBM (more than a year). Pros: IBM is one of the most globally recognized companies and employment there carries a degree of status and credibility. Despite being a large company, working teams are small. Areas of IBM are incredibly innovative and cutting edge. Cons: If you do not aggressively negotiate the salary you want as part of the interview process, you are pretty much stuck. Getting respectable raises is nearly impossible. It is difficult to figure out the "culture" of IBM. So many small companies are acquired and absorbed into the organization, it is hard to see cohesion and really understand the corporate identity.
    • “Happy, but it has its challenges”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Work with some very great people on great projects. Challenges are available to keep you engaged and internal training is readily available (although not enough time is given to leverage the training). Cons: Leadership disconnect on team sizing and cost balancing keeps many people constantly in fear for their jobs and doesn't reduce the workload on the team. Advice to Management: Many cost saving objectives actually slow the productivity of the average worker, specifically related to consultants that spend almost 100% on the road.
    • “IBM is sinking”

      Current Employee — IT Manager in Dublin (Ireland). Pros: Flexible hours, some good people. Cons: Run by accountants. Offshoring is solution to everything. Advice to Management: Change in management and strategy are needed. People need to be motivated.
    • “Former Employee — Worked Long, Hard Hours — Great Performance Reviews — Laid Off”

      Former Employee — Project Manager. Pros: It's a job. Employees that remain (with exception of management) are great to work with. Cons: Always need to look over your back due to constant layoffs. High quality performance will not prevent IBM from terminating employment. Little or no pay raises — even for top performers. Long work hours/high stress. Loss of vacation time with no compensation. No one to back you up when vacation is planned. Too many layers of management.
    • “Consultant”

      Former Employee — Consultant in Dallas, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: Strong, stable company, but struggling to understand what the client-facing consultants are hearing — top management appears disconnected from client needs. Cons: While restructuring for the future (cloud everything), too many resource actions have left too much to be handled by offshore resources; clients want to deal with local, personable consultants. Advice to Management: Listen to client-facing consultants.
    • “Flexible workplace”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Flexibility at its best. You can plan your work your own. Resourceful teams. Good project management .Well formed systems and processes. Cons: Annual salary revision not done well. Promotions (designation and band change) is a cumbersome process and difficult to get. Entry level pay not good. Advice to Management: Improve on annual salary revision and bonus plans. Improve on promotions (designation and band change) process. Improve on entry level pay.
  • Washington Post:

    In big move, Accenture will get rid of annual performance reviews and rankings. By Lillian Cunningham. Excerpts: As of September, one of the largest companies in the world will do all of its employees and managers an enormous favor: It will get rid of the annual performance review,

    Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme told The Washington Post that the professional services firm, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers in cities around the globe, has been quietly preparing for this “massive revolution” in its internal operations. ...

    The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture begins this September. It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments.

    Accenture is joining a small but prominent list of major corporations that have had enough with the forced rankings, the time-consuming paperwork and the frustration engendered among managers and employees alike. Six percent of Fortune 500 companies have gotten rid of rankings, according to management research firm CEB.

    These companies say their own research, as well as outside studies, ultimately convinced them that all the time, money and effort spent didn't ultimately accomplish their main goal — to drive better performance among employees. ...

    Microsoft did away with its rankings nearly two years ago, attracting particular attention since it had long evangelized about the merits of its system that judged employees against each other. Adobe, Gap and Medtronic have also transformed their performance-review process. ...

    “All this terminology of rankings—forcing rankings along some distribution curve or whatever—we’re done with that,” Nanterme said of Accenture's decision. “We’re going to evaluate you in your role, not vis à vis someone else who might work in Washington, who might work in Bangalore. It’s irrelevant. It should be about you.” ...

    “Employees that do best in performance management systems tend to be the employees that are the most narcissistic and self-promoting,” said Brian Kropp, the HR practice leader for CEB. “Those aren’t necessarily the employees you need to be the best organization going forward.” ...

    “The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating,” Nanterme said. “It’s all about selecting the person. And if you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, the authority, the delegation to innovate and to lead with some very simple measure.”

  • The New Yorker:

    The Push Against Performance Reviews. By Vauhini Vara. Excerpts: Few institutional practices are as old, or have been hated as long, as the performance review. Job ratings were used (and criticized) in China as early as the third century; in the early eighteen-hundreds, an owner of cotton mills in Scotland hung color-coded wooden blocks over employees’ workstations to indicate their merit. The bureaucratic corporate culture of the nineteen-hundreds—the century of cubicles, assembly lines, and Six Sigma—enshrined performance reviews in corporate handbooks. With its numerical scales and reinforcement of rigid business hierarchies, the annual evaluation would seem uniquely designed for the postmodern age.

    Lately, though, the annual performance review has been falling out of favor in some quarters. Microsoft and Gap are among several companies that have reformed their evaluation processes in recent years. On Tuesday, the consulting firm Accenture, an emblem of traditional corporate culture if ever there was one, announced that it is getting rid of annual evaluations for its three hundred and thirty thousand employees, replacing the process with a system where managers will give feedback on a more regular basis. Accenture’s C.E.O., Pierre Nanterme, told the Washington Post that the existing evaluations are cumbersome and expensive. Plus, he added, “the outcome is not great.” ...

    Anyone who has been given a negative performance review by a mean-spirited or incompetent boss will be familiar with this effect, but its implications go beyond individual dispiritedness. As James Surowiecki wrote last year, in a piece about the gender imbalance in Silicon Valley, “In a recent study of almost two hundred and fifty performance reviews, the tech entrepreneur Kieran Snyder found that three-quarters of the women were criticized for their personalities—with words like ‘abrasive’—while only two of the men were.”

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Photos, Action Session Materials Now Available for 2015 National Legislative Conference
    • Senate Reauthorizes Older Americans Act
    • Tell the SEC: Disclose CEO-to-worker Pay Ratio!
    • Alliance Celebrates “Medicare Turns 50” and Social Security’s 80th Anniversary with More than 70 Events!
    • Alliance Letter to Senate: Don’t Pay for Highways with Social Security Funds
    • North Carolina Alliance President Dworkin speaks at Voting Rights Teach-in
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 07/19/15:

    Location: Austin, Texas Message: "Is IBM really hiring in the USA? We know they are RAing in the USA." IBM Austin is hiring, but mostly contractors. That's because the software support provided from India is terrible and most customers don't want it. Most development has been moved to India; there they don't even test their code. The pay offered will be the same for the years to come. No inflation adjustment. No incentive for better performance. IBM is confident you won't ever leave, because the skill set acquired at IBM support is not marketable elsewhere. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/20/15:

    IBM is not willing to use free cash for stock buybacks like they usually do so to sustain profits. With 13 (yes, 13) straight down revenue QTRs under Ginni you can bet there will be at least one significant RA. Only you can join the Alliance and help save IBM since IBM management is bent on it's destruction by continued bad strategies and questionable operational tactics. THINK TWICE. -IBMUnionYES-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Just got a call from my first-line manager and he acknowledged that RA's are happening today. It was the mandatory "I need to inform you" call, lasted less than 2 minutes since I am not on this quarter's hit list. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    SO Unix/Intel Transition and Transformation. Message: Got the manager call that RAs were going on but I am safe (at least for this quarter). Was told we lost several people this time around. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Senior IT Architect; Location: Boulder; Customer Account: [revolving]; Business Unit: GTS. Message: RA'd today after 19+ years. Standard severance package. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: SA; Location: California; Customer Account: Kaiser. Message: Layoffs are happening right now. Server admins in California. -Anonymous from CA-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: System Administrator; Location: Work from home; Customer Account: Large healthcare account; Business Unit: SSO. Was just notified of RA. My last day will be August 24th. I was told I was not the only one on my team affected. I am too upset right now to provide any more details, I will come back later. Thank you. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Business Unit: GTS. Message: Employees in GTS/RFS got calls about RA/layoffs this morning. Once again, GTS now resembles ISIS. Cutting heads for no apparent reason. -Gladtobegone-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Location: Boulder; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Got my notice today with just over 3 years as employee and about 5 as a contractor before that. Standard package offered. Was told part of the current initiative to move 60-80% work to India. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: System Administrator; Location: Work from home; Customer Account: Multiple accounts; Business Unit: SSO. Message: Notified today of RA. My last day will be August 24th. Others on my team also RA'd. Long history with the company and among the top performers. If this is the way they're going to run things, it's best if I move on anyway. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: TSM Admin; Location: Boulder; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Got the call this morning for my RA, Aug 24 last day. Little over 2 years with IBM, was told not the only one from our team, and a lot more across GTS. Standard severance package, bigger and better things await. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Database Architect; Location: Boulder; Customer Account: ViewPointe; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Got RA'd today after 36 and 1/2 years. I was told it was not because of my performance. I asked them why they are keeping the girl who calls in an average of 60 days a year. All he said was 'I know' -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Project Manager; Location: work at home; Customer Account: multiple; Business Unit: GTS. Product Line: T&T. Message: RA'd at age 38 after 16 years with 1 and 2+ PBC ratings. Received my first 2 PBC last year and saw this coming especially after dismal 2Q15 results. I've been training Global Resource (GR) replacements for several years now. With many of IBM's service contracts now stipulating "no GR", you'd think management would realize that cheaper workforce won't deliver the results our customers expect. IBM will continue losing clients and market share. Best wishes to those awaiting their turn out in the RA game. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Senior IT Specialist; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Got my RA call this morning from first-line manager. Was told that despite being cut to the smallest level yet by previous RAs, this is the biggest RA that our group has seen. Apparently hitting a lot of my colleagues. 25+ years. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    For all you people who got RAed. I pray for you. For all you people who found out you have not been RAed (yet) and have not joined the Alliance, and still will not join, I pity you...when are you gonna fight for your job and paycheck? Doing nothing doesn't do anything. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: IT Specialist; Location: Denver; Business Unit: GTS. Message: 11 people on my team RA'd today, including our boss. Worked 12 years for IBM and recently received special awards from my VP for customer service. Our India team does not have the training or background required to support our customer's specialized applications. This will result in GTS loosing more accounts. My spouse thinks that IBM Senior Management is so tight, they will want to be buried with their money! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Advisory IT Specialist; Location: Phoenix; Business Unit: GTS. Message: RA'd today. After 28 years and 1 ratings for years. Second-line manager called me since I have never spoken to the first-line manager. I guess he knew me better since we have spoken twice for about 2 minutes each time. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Storage Engineer; Location: Work At Home; Customer Account: Large healthcare account; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Got the call this AM from my first-line manager. Last day will be August 24th. Six years with IBM. Had been led to believe my time at my previous company (which outsourced to IBM) would be counted but it's not. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Senior IT Specialist; Location: Home and office; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: GTS; Product Line: Systems and security. Message: 16+ years at main account, 7+ as IBMer, deep cuts in GTS per first-line manager, all work flying offshore where possible, Even against contract agreements, mainframe jobs simply not workable in most Global Resource locations — they are not trained and not being trained or learning on their own. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Location: Australia; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Blood bath happening in Australia at the moment. Level 1 manger got hit. The Level 2 had a conference call to let us all know; when questioned as to the rationale behind the RA he replied "have you seen the share price today"??! At least he told the truth for a change. -Over-it-in-Oz-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Got the call today — 18 years, age 45 — always good rating. SDM. Standard package, out at the end of August. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Architect; Location: work at home; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: GTS. Message: 17+ year IBM employee w/PBC 2 or higher. Received RA call this AM from first-line manager. Informed cut was across all GTS; impacting multiple people within my organization. Standard package - 1 week for every 6 months; max 26 weeks pay. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: UNIX System Administrator; Location: Work from home; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: GTS|; Product Line: SSO, Message: UNIX SA supporting AIX, VIO, Solaris, HP-UX and RHEL on multiple accounts. 8 years in current role, 17 years overall. PBC 2+ with the occasional 1. RA'd today with the standard severance package. No indication of who's picking up the work. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Network Tools; Location: San Francisco; Business Unit: GTS. Message: The usual, 10+ years, 2+ ratings, 62 years old. Going to semi-retire rather than look around. I will absolutely need to find another source of income but I don't need to replace the entire amount I'm losing. The decision on who to let go frequently does not make good business sense. My heart and good wishes go to those who need to find another job in this market. I would be very bitter if I didn't understand that it's not personal but rather poor management making bad decisions. I actually believe this is a good thing for me and I'll be much better off in the end. I have to stay positive. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/23/15:

    Job Title: Product management; Location: Work from home; Business Unit: Corporate Finance. Message: Just found out about an RA in Finance for a corporate team, heard from my Finance peer that they are still recovering from having a bunch of people removed and they're trying to figure out how the survivors will cover the work. Not sure how we're going to get everything done, but hey, that's IBM, right? -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Intel Server Admin; Location: Boulder; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: GTS. Message: 21 years with the company. Good reviews. Same as all the others. Finally got my call this morning for the RA. It's finally my turn. My main customer requires US workers, but it hasn't stopped IBM from trying to secretly send the work to India before (until the customer found out). Not sure if they will try again, or if they will just transfer it to another U.S. team. I know that my team is too overloaded to be able to pick it up. Last RA hurt us bad; this one will likely drive my department under. So sad to watch IBM implode like this, as it used to be such a great company to work for. Looking forward to what the future holds for me! -LowlySA-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Wow for those that just got RA'd, because you won't be finishing the entire month of August (last day 8/24) you will lose that full month of vacation time, can't claim it; leave it to IBM to not pay out what they should. Do not fret; you will find another and better job. You are blessed to be RA'd with a full package. IT is hopping right now. You will find a job and a better job at that. Start with Right Management, the company in your severance package ASAP, and get a good resume. And, for God's sake, network, network, network; that is what found me my job when I was RA'd. An ex-IBMer hired me. Look at this as a positive. Get over the IBM PTSD and be happy and you won't look back, GUARANTEED!!!! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Regulatory Delivery Leader; Location: Work from home, New York State; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: GTS; Product Line: Regulatory Services. Message: 15 years, 2+ with occasional 1's, early 50s. 5 of the 6 RA'd employees I know of are women. (One is unidentified). Standard package, 26 weeks severance, 6 months insurance plus $2500 related education. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Project and program manager; Location: Work at home; Customer Account: All commercial Unix and Intel and IBM; Business Unit: GTS. Message: 18 years with IBM, 2+ minimum, praised by VPs for my efforts just last week...and, I got my RA call yesterday. Last day is August 24th. I was so shocked yesterday I could not post this. In a way it's a relief as the last few years I had to do the job of 3-4 people and it was really wearing me down, but at the same time there is the desperation of how am I going to pay my bills and support my son as a single parent. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Recovery Management; Location: Sandy Springs, GA; Customer Account: State of Georgia; Business Unit: GTS, IOT Delivery. Message: All Recovery Management and Help Desk functions are gone 8/24/15; the account team allowed the work to be sent to Capgemini. The account team has not a clue how to manage their customer, and now they believe they have the inside track for the State of Georgia Cloud contact. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Project Manager; Location: WAH; Customer Account: Major communications SO account; Business Unit: GTS; Product Line: SO; Message: Got call yesterday. 20 year IBM, 2 and 2+ performance. Client contract with named PMs and penalties to IBM be damned. Hits across account = big client sat issue coming = contract renewal may be affected. My math does NOT show how this RA will resolve 13 quarter revenue miss. Welcome to USA 'landed' replacements. -Anonymous-

    Alliance reply: We need information on what accounts L1/landed resources are being put on and how many US workers are being replaced. We also need everyone to contact their Senators and Congressional rep and tell them what IBM is doing to U.S. jobs. To those senior managers in the know: don't you think it is time to come clean with documents that show what IBM is doing?

  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Project Manager; Location: Boulder - Work from Home; Customer Account: Transition and Transformation; Business Unit: GTS; Product Line: Service Desk Message: 6 years as contractor, 2 as Reg. 2+ rating and an important contributor to our team. Notified of RA on 7/23. Last day 8/24. Manager referred to it as "work elimination" and not related to my performance. Work moving to Costa Rica — it was a business decision/direction. In the middle of a transition and removed from complex and difficult project and RA'd. Standard package offered, 1 week for every 6 months, career support, re-training money. Wish that my years on contract could be recognized as I only qualify for 4 weeks severance. Feels like a slap in the face. Also the 8/24 release date to avoid paying out 1 more vacation day is a cheap shot. Looking forward to my next non-IBM adventure! I will use all of the support I can get from the package and feeling hopeful about finding a new job! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Certified IT Specialist; Location: Work from Home; Customer Account: One main Industrial account and one smaller retail; Business Unit: GTS; Product Line: Lead Architect and Technical for client. Message: Got call yesterday. 31 year IBM, 1 and 2+ performance. Main customer contract requires US based resource in my technical lead/architect position. But that does not seem to matter. I was told I was eligible to retire with 30+ years. I responded that fired is more accurate. Looking to the next chapter in my life. Prayers are with everyone impacted. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Job Title: Sales Location: Seattle; Message: For those that are getting RA'd , leave it to IBM to make your end date 8/24...how convenient for IBM; you will lose that full month of vacation time! You won't be able to get it! Another way IBM hurts its loyal employees to not pay out what they should. Stay POSITIVE! If you want to go back to work YOU will find another and better job! You are LUCKY to be RA'd with a full package! I was pushed out with NOTHING after 32.5 years! You will find a job and a better job! Build a good resume, and contact those in your network! This is positive, get over the IBM BS and stay happy! You won't look back since IBM is very dysfunctional right now filled with weak leaders especially at the middle management level! Glad to be Gone already 1 year! -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/24/15:

    Location: RTP. Message: I gave my notice as the last day of May 2013 and my manager also filed it with HR/Fidelity as 5/30 not the EOM 5/31. Is IBM systematically doing this to cheat people out of their full vacation? I guess it's "small fries" in comparison to all the free OT I gave IBM by being salary. Directors say 44 hours a week is a minimum else you are screwing IBM. LOL. -Doug-
  • Comment 07/25/15:

    Job Title: Project Management; Location: Colorado; Customer Account: CenturyLink; Business Unit: GTS. Message: Seven project managers were RA'd from an account that was already severely short on the number of needed project managers to handle all customer project requests. Average time worked at IBM is 12 years, after being outsourced from the account. Maybe we should all bombard Ginni with e-mails of our families. Since we are just numbers to her, she should see the faces of those people whose lives she is greatly negatively impacting. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/25/15:

    Job Title: SA; Location: WAH; Customer Account: One of the largest; Business Unit: GTS; Product Line: SSO. Message: Got the call yesterday. Almost 15 years with IBM. Standard package. 2, 2+ and a couple of 1's throughout the years. Why am I losing my job? Because Ginny can't do hers. Why is she not held accountable for 13 consecutive misses? -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/25/15:

    I received a very unexpected phone call on Thursday. I have always been a 2+ and a 1 rating. Told by a very unfeeling human being jobs were being lift and shift to India and mine was one of them. I have been with IBM for 16 years with IT experience of 30 years. This is devastating and since this is an election year I encourage everyone to reach out to our lawmakers. I am so tired of Ginni talking about retraining. Has anyone been offered to be trained for one of the many job openings in WATSON? I know I haven't. All you see are positive comments regarding her webcast. SO proud to be an IBMer, what a bright future, blah, blah, blah. Yeah right. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/25/15:

    Job Title: IT Architect — Consultant; Location: Charlotte; Customer Account: Multiple; Business Unit: IBM Systems — Middleware (former ISSW); Product Line: Software. Message: Got a call from my first-line manager on Friday to let me know I was RA'd. 18 years with the company. Usual severance package. Glad to be making a boatload of money to be forced out. Massive layoffs will continue to compensate for the steep decline in revenues. There is just no way around it. Cloud is already a cheap commodity business but IBM is willing to bet its shirt on it. We are all witnessing the fall and death of what used to be a great company. We've seen other companies in the past going that way. No company last for ever! -Anonymous-
If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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