"The accumulated effect of under-investment by IBM, poor performance, and continual disregard for the protective obligations of the (contract), has resulted in harm to state agencies, exposure to unnecessary risks, and failure to achieve the objectives set and agreed to by IBM," Karen Robinson, executive director of the Department of Information Resources, wrote to the company. ...
"IBM promised an investment in people, processes and technology to bring the benefits of data center consolidation to the State of Texas," Robinson said in a news release. "We have had continual problems with basic service delivery and IBM has failed to deliver on their promises."
Jeff Tieszen, a spokesman for IBM, said the company "has fulfilled its obligations under the contract and today's action by DIR was unnecessary and unjustified." "IBM very much regrets the state's action and will aggressively protect its interest going forward," Tieszen added.
Selected reader comments follow:
The point is, this contract is not working the way it was intended. That is no secret and I'm not risking anything by saying that. We (the state agencies) have worked tirelessly to try to make it work and to partner with IBM for a successful outcome. However, as DIR notes, there have been lack-luster results from IBM consistently. And yes – when the state employees took care of their own equipment, we did a MUCH better job. We took pride in that. I know. I work for IT. So don't you dare sit in your ivory towers and look down your noses at state employees and the work we do. You have NO idea. IBM needs to get their priorities straight and start working toward meeting their obligations.
"We always have a responsibility to look at the best practices anywhere," Manchin said. That has union members invoking the example of Texas, which recently awarded an $863 million contract to unite the data center for more than two-dozen state agencies. But IBM's handling of the work earned it poor marks from nearly all the agencies involved, according to press accounts. IBM has been consulting West Virginia officials on ways to reduce its information technology costs.
Selected reader comments follow:
IBM is now a good company for any fresh-out-of-school newbie that wants to gain some standard 21st corporate world experience. Plus the pay is not bad for newbies. For more experienced workers however, IBM is very limited. Executive management's not-so-secret agenda is to layoff as many "high priced" USA-based employees (and in other developed countries) and outsource everything possible to the 3rd world. Any gaps are theoretically back-filled with the "layoffees" as contractors, assuming they can't find work elsewhere.
Cons: At this point in IBM's history, it's a lot like life during the decline of the Roman Empire. There were worse places to live during the decline of the empire but the Visigoths were coming. When considering the eradication of IBM's developed-world workforce (and compensation packages) throughout a never-ending quest to transfer the payrolls to cheaper 3rd world countries, there is a lot of risk involved with working at IBM long term. In the short term, it's a decent place to pay your dues for a few years and then leave for greener pastures with 'IBM' on your resume.
You'll have lots of exposure to different technologies at IBM. Unfortunately, a lot of what's forced on you is either proprietary, obscure, or rapidly vanishing outside the world of IBM (think Lotus Word Pro, Lotus Notes, Domino, etc). Many US-based jobs at IBM are "tenuous", so the workplace feels a lot like dining under the Sword of Damocles. Since your co-workers know that the end could come at any moment, and their survival depends upon how well they rank compared to you, the result is reduced information flow/share, cooperation, participation, and general workplace camaraderie among your co-workers.
On the subject of "how you rank", the PBC system (performance reviews) at IBM is a TOTAL FARCE. It's basically a random system of ranking by the managers. Worse yet, you usually already have a performance number assigned before the evaluations ever begin -- based on who the manager's favorite employees are, how many people in the dept the execs said will need to be laid off in the next year, etc.
Specific to a bonus/commission/performance-based role at IBM like the TSM position, another rub is that you don't pick your assignments - they're given to you. So, if a manager needs to get rid of someone, it's far easier to assign the "DOA" and "tire-kicking" deals (which are almost certain to go nowhere and therefore result in lower performance) to anyone targeted for layoff than it is to deal with concocting other reasons to get rid of them and thereby meet executive management's employee attrition goals.
Advice to Senior Management: Keep an eye on employee morale and don't delude yourselves into believing that the workforce thinks the mere opportunity to work at IBM is a reward in itself... those days are long gone. The bad economy is a double-edged sword. Yes, it helps IBM hold onto employees until they can be laid off & outsourced but if the economy ever turns around (admittedly a BIG "if") and better employment options emerge, employee retention is going to be the most difficult job of ANY at IBM. Finally, consider the cliche "our people are the company's most important asset." Then ponder if those are truly "important assets", why are they regularly tossed out like used Kleenex?
You're right, they *should* try to give a damn, but reality says it gets you nowhere, so why bother, because damned if you do, damned if you don't, and THAT is leading to IBM's continued decline in quality, innovativeness, customer service, etc... It's more of (if I may paraphrase those friends), not so much of a "don't give a damn" but more of a why bother, caring (the way we used to) gets you no further, so why invest emotionally knowing it will change nothing? -RAed Jan 09-
Sam Palmisano's morale has never been higher then when he got his contract. When IBMers have employment contracts like their CEO has then they will be able to concentrate on competing against their competitors instead of each other. They will be able to do their jobs without worrying about who is screwing them to get ahead for their 1 percent raise. They can go back to being friends and true team members with their coworkers which will make their work environment nicer. If bad things come their way they will know by their contract how things will be handled.
How severance, retraining, job search assistance can all be defined in a contract. Going it alone is not a good thing anymore. If you think things are pretty bad at IBM right now then you understand what life without a contract is like. Try life with a contract. Ask yourself if it could really be worse. Remember that contracts are very good for you and the company you work for. It allows both you and the company to be able to budget resources defined by the contract. That's why company executives in ALL the companies have contracts. That's why you need one also. -Doyathink?-
But here's the rub, GBS employees are leaving in droves! They can't staff projects and hardly anyone responds to external job postings. So, that begs the question, why continue with this high performance crap which continues to demoralize employee with unfair performance rating. My manager actually said at a department meeting that he has a team of Olympic Gold Medal winners and it's up to us to convince him how we stand out against our peers.
Oh brotha! All employees see through this sh** and managers look like fool spewing this crap. The Bench Management Process has been discontinued but not before it caused horrible damage to morale amongst the rank and file. We, the average employee, will NEVER change how things are. The best we can do is join the union and have a collective voice. -darwin's radio-
I can't tell you how many idiots in Brazil, India and Argentina I had to 'hand-hold', and deal with over the years. The big difference between the American worker and them is that American's generally get up to speed and are able to do their job. Employees in places like Brazil, India and Argentina never get to that point...they just continue to perform terribly, and try to get the few Americans that are left to do their work for them.
I don't know about the other GDF locations, but IBM Boulder continues to get rid of full-time technical people on a quarterly basis. The company then plugs IBM Bangalore resources into these same positions...right here, on our US own soil. The company is beyond a disgrace at this point, and I'm happy to be out of there.
It's still a shame that the Obama administration handed over $30 billion to Palmisano under the guise of 'creating jobs'. If that isn't high-crime and fraud, I don't know what is. I agree fully with the comments that have been made on here on how people that kiss ass get to keep their jobs indefinitely. Those 'types' also tend to be the least skilled US employees. I suppose kissing ass is the logical course of action for those that are completely talentless. The sociopathic first lines do the same thing with their management, and don't really understand the business, nor how to manage people properly. -ibm_spiral-
"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.
By now, you'd think we'd have buried this issue. But like Dracula it refuses to die. And so, I return to the subject with the hope of driving a stake through its heart and giving it a proper burial. Among the claims we need to put to rest: ...
If the public knew that the top ten hedge fund managers were averaging $900,000 an hour (not a typo) during the worst economic year since the Depression--and paying lower income tax rates than the rest of us--the American public would be outraged. Of course, to push this plan the politicians would need to have the guts to upset billionaires. (Meanwhile, Timothy Geithner is signaling that the Administration will hold down capital gains taxes on the super-rich.) ...
Despite all the perks we've been giving to corporate America, it's not at all clear that the private sector will ever again create enough decent jobs to support a middle class society in this country. Right now the economy is supposedly growing, but employment isn't. So what is growing? Well, the obscene bonuses and pay packages of corporate America and Wall Street --- the only growth that counts for our financial elites.
We're at a critical point in the jobs crisis. Nearly 30 million of us don't have jobs or have been forced into part-time jobs. It's not like there's no work to do. We have millions and millions of kids to educate. We desperately need to slash our energy use--and with an army of workers, we could weatherize every home and business in the country. Our bridges and roads will take decades to repair. We need to build an entire national system of efficient public transit.
When Wall Street is in trouble, we come to the rescue with trillions in bailouts. We've poured hundreds of billions more into two wars. But when it comes to investing in our people to get needed work done, we can't seem to summon the will or find the cash.
There's a one-sided war going on between financial elites and the rest of us. They've engineered the economy to enrich themselves at our expense, with Wall Street taking the lead. The numbers don't lie: In 1970 the top 100 CEOs earned approximately $45 for every dollar earned by the average worker. By last year, it was $1,081 to one. (See The Looting of America.)
Meanwhile, a much smaller group of Americans' earnings are back in the stratosphere: Wall Street traders and executives, hedge-fund and private-equity fund managers, and top corporate executives. As hiring has picked up on the Street, fat salaries are reappearing. Richard Stein, president of Global Sage, an executive search firm, tells the New York Times corporate clients have offered compensation packages of more than $1 million annually to a dozen candidates in just the last few weeks.
We're back to the same ominous trend as before the Great Recession: a larger and larger share of total income going to the very top while the vast middle class continues to lose ground. And as long as this trend continues, we can't get out of the shadow of the Great Recession. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don't have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing. ...
Each of America's two biggest economic downturns over the last century has followed the same pattern. Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation's total income. After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the circle of prosperity. By the late 1970s the top 1 percent raked in only 8 to 9 percent of America's total annual income. But after that, inequality began to widen again, and income reconcentrated at the top. By 2007 the richest 1 percent were back to where they were in 1928--with 23.5 percent of the total. ...
Companies were allowed to slash jobs and wages, cut benefits and shift risks to employees (from you-can-count-on-it pensions to do-it-yourself 401(k)s, from good health coverage to soaring premiums and deductibles). They busted unions and threatened employees who tried to organize. The biggest companies went global with no more loyalty or connection to the United States than a GPS device. Washington deregulated Wall Street while insuring it against major losses, turning finance--which until recently had been the servant of American industry--into its master, demanding short-term profits over long-term growth and raking in an ever larger portion of the nation's profits. And nothing was done to impede CEO salaries from skyrocketing to more than 300 times that of the typical worker (from thirty times during the Great Prosperity of the 1950s and '60s), while the pay of financial executives and traders rose into the stratosphere. ...
What we get from widening inequality is not only a more fragile economy but also an angrier politics. When virtually all the gains from growth go to a small minority at the top -- and the broad middle class can no longer pretend it's richer than it is by using homes as collateral for deepening indebtedness -- the result is deep-seated anxiety and frustration. This is an open invitation to demagogues who misconnect the dots and direct the anger toward immigrants, the poor, foreign nations, big government, "socialists," "intellectual elites," or even big business and Wall Street. The major fault line in American politics is no longer between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, but between the "establishment" and an increasingly mad-as-hell populace determined to "take back America" from it. When they understand where this is heading, powerful interests that have so far resisted fundamental reform may come to see that the alternative is far worse.
Mr. Kyl's first line of defense was to dismiss Mr. Wallace's query as "a loaded question" because "the Bush tax cuts applied to every single American." Mr. Wallace pointed out that he was only referring to the top tax brackets, but Mr. Kyl persisted in his refusal to answer. "So let's, first of all, start with those that don't apply to the wealthy. Shouldn't those be extended?" Never mind that no one in a policymaking position -- not President Obama, not Democrats in Congress -- is arguing against extending those tax cuts, at least temporarily. So when Mr. Kyl contends that "all of that goes away," he is just blowing smoke. ...
Huh? No one's talking about cutting taxes on the wealthy to stimulate the economy. The issue is whether the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended, adding another $678 billion to the deficit over the next decade. The tax cuts, it's worth remembering, passed originally in 2001 with the argument that the surplus was so large that rates could be cut with budgetary room to spare. Now that the fiscal picture has deteriorated so badly, the questions remains: How are you going to pay the $678 billion? And if you don't, how are you going to justify the added damage to an already grim fiscal outlook?
Are they cutting back on any of the above elites, you ask? What a joker you are! No, no – it's regular folks who must pay the price for the decade of excess that these politicos lavished on the rich.
In recent weeks, for example, Republican senators have repeatedly blocked an extension of jobless benefits for America's hardest-hit families. They've also denied aid that would keep states and cities from firing hundreds of thousands of teachers, police officers, and other essential public employees, "Can't afford it," bellow these newly-minted spendthrifts, even as their failure to act is intentionally increasing unemployment and economic-pain across our land.
Governors are also running the same sort of budget scams on their people. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, for example, recently dealt with his state's deficit by slashing spending for public health, higher education, the elderly and the disabled. He then vetoed an income tax on Minnesota's richest people, declaring that this effort to balance the budget and share the pain was "nonsensical." Likewise, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is terminating state workers while vetoing a tax hike on millionaires, calling the wealth tax "irresponsible."
So, students, the lesson here is that public spending is only sensible if it goes to the moneyed elites, and budget cuts are only good when applied to the rest of us.
On election night, the two free-spenders issued a joint statement of triumph: "Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, DC, be warned – you now face your worst nightmare: two businesswomen from the real world."
The real world? Only a pampered CEO could think that the luxurious confines of the executive suite come anywhere near other people's reality. Aside from private jets and other platinum-level perks, they pocket absolutely unreal paychecks. When she departed Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was handed a $21-million fare-thee-well gift, and Whitman hauled off more than a billion bucks during her tenure at eBay.
And let's get real about the worthiness of their CEO experience. Fiorina was such an executive disaster that Hewlett-Packard's board dumped her in 2005. "Nobody liked Carly's leadership all that much," said a market analyst at the time, adding that "anyone will be better." Likewise, costly management missteps by Whitman caused eBay's board to conclude that the corporation was simply too big for her to run.
If they can't run a big company, why should voters think they can run a state that is bigger than most countries? Besides, a corporate CEO is head of an autocratic, secretive, top-down, self-serving, single-purpose organization – not exactly ideal qualities for leading a democratic government.
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