With the county's largest private employer, IBM Corp., reportedly trying to sell its microchip manufacturing business, doubt about the future of workers at the East Fishkill chip site has added urgency to the jobs issue. ...
Steve Salamone, who chairs that council, said it is developing a strategy to put a spotlight on a dozen available buildings or sites that have strong potential to attract investment. These include the East Fishkill IBM Corp. campus, the former West campus now controlled by Linuo Solar Group, the 708 Building on IBM's Poughkeepsie campus; and the former Southeast Container plant in New Hackensack, Wappinger.
Though IBM is still active at its Hudson Valley Research Park in East Fishkill, it has extensive vacant space there. It has been reported that IBM was trying to sell its chip-making business to GlobalFoundries.
According to those anonymous sources, GlobalFoundries was really only interested in acquiring IBM's patents and chip engineers. It was less keen on paying a premium for the company's aging manufacturing facilities, which it reportedly saw as having "little or no value."
The problem is that Big Blue ain't what it used to be, and even its CEO, Virginia Rometty, admits that it is going through a "rocky time". In short, it's going nowhere fast. Its sales have been down, on a year-on-year basis, for nine quarters in a row. Its annual turnover of $99.75bn is lower than it was in 2009 ($103.63bn) and barely above what it was in 2004 ($96.5bn). For comparison, Apple's sales have exploded from $8.28bn in 2004 to $170.91bn in 2013, and Google's from $3.19bn to $55.52bn.
Even Microsoft under Steve Ballmer doubled its sales from $36.84bn in 2004 to $77.85bn in 2013. If IBM had done as well as Ballmer over the past decade, it would be a $200bn corporation, and still bigger than Apple. ...
Rometty justified the company's strategy to the New York Times by saying: "We don’t want empty calories. So when people keep pushing us for growth, that is not the No 1 priority on my list."
Indeed, IBM's strategy is focused on finance rather than technology. Its stated objective, in its 2012 annual report, is to deliver "at least $20 operating (non-GAAP) earnings per share in 2015", up from a low of $1.81 in 2002. But one of the main ways it's doing that is by buying back its own shares.
David Stockman, a former Reagan government economist, has poured scorn on this approach. Recently, he wrote at Seeking Alpha: "For more than a decade now, IBM has been eating its seed corn. Since the beginning of fiscal 2004, Big Blue has posted $131 billion in cumulative net income, but saw fit to reinvest fully $124 billion or 95 percent of its earnings in its own balance sheet, which is to say, in buying back its own stock. […] In short, IBM has become a stock price inflation machine."
Stockman notes that IBM has also taken on debt to do this: "In 2004 IBM had $13 billion of net debt. Today the figure stands at just under $37 billion." It still has the cash-flow to buy companies to fill holes where it has missed out, but it no longer has the deep pockets of Apple, Google and Microsoft. ...
IBM used to be the world's most powerful corporation but today it's only the third largest tech company, behind Apple and HP. Unless there's a turnaround, IBM is on track to be overtaken by Google and Microsoft. Maybe it can flog millions of iDevices to its mainframe-based users, but then again, maybe it can't. (Sure, enterprises will buy iPhones and iPads, but they are already buying iPhones and iPads. From Apple.) ...
The old IBM would have wanted to own everything: cloud, software, apps, devices, maintenance and financing. The current one doesn't have the foresight, ambition or sheer guts of Jeff Bezos' web-based retailer. It's certainly possible that Rometty will be able to reverse IBM's decades of relative and sometimes absolute decline, but I wouldn't bet on it.
But it's probably bound to be the worst-performing tech stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the foreseeable future. High performance isn’t a requirement to remain in the Dow, but if IBM can't do something about its flat-lining revenue, it might eventually force the Dow's handlers to do the unthinkable and replace it with a more appropriate company. ...
Yesterday's titan. IBM is still one of the largest companies in America, and its cloud-computing revenue is still growing at a brisk pace. This hasn't been enough to offset problems in its other segments, and IBM can't rely on buybacks and financial wizardry to keep meeting its stated EPS goals forever. Having a share price higher than all but one other Dow stock may insulate IBM from eviction for a while, but even this won't justify its place on the index forever as multibillion-dollar competitors seem to spring up almost overnight.
Seems like no matter how good the quarterly numbers come in, more employee layoffs result in the U.S. and the number of employees increase in India and China.
In 2000, IBM had a U.S. workforce of 153,587; in 2014, it’s an estimated 83,000.
Lately, it looks like IBM HR is manipulating annual employee performance review scores as a way to cut workers and then skip paying full severance to those they lay off. This was GE CEO Jack Welch’s favorite way to keep employees on edge and goose up earnings. ...
Subsequent IBM CEOs Sam Palmisano (2002-12), and now Ginni Rometty (2012-present), have continued with the slash and burn approach Gerstner started. Palmisano retired in 2012 with a lavish retirement package estimated at $271 million. ...
Today, it’s not uncommon to see a report about IBM and shoddy work for a customer. That’s what happens when experienced people are cut, and shortcuts are used with inexperienced people and outsourced work. Quality suffers and customer satisfaction declines. ...
Back in the 1930s during the Great Depression, the founder of IBM Thomas J. Watson, Sr. would not lay people off despite the horrendous economy back then. Eventually, he convinced the U.S. Government to let IBM process Social Security payments, which started the growth of IBM. Out of FDR’s New Deal approach of government investment, IBM found a way to survive and grew from that.
It shows us all today how different current business leaders are from their predecessors. It also shows how short-sighted today’s leaders are and how devoid they are of the skills and thinking needed to run a business for the long term.
Pros: Opportunity to gain true global experience and to meet IT people from many other companies who have been outsourced by IBM. Opportunity to work with many other large companies and gain the insight of how they run.
Cons: "Resource Actions" (layoffs) all the time; never know when your number is up. Exempt employees are often expected to work 60 to 80 hours a week and often for months at a time. Often the job requires travel, still need to do all the work with what hours remain in the week. Compensation is not that of the competition unless you are a new hire and negotiate real well. This year the lady running IBM canceled variable pay.
Advice to Senior Management: If the only thing you pay attention are the finances then that is the only thing you are managing, the business and the people are suffering.
Pros: Still with so many resources and talents and good products so you can find good materials to fight a war in a way and win.
Cons: The management is losing focus; not know a future direction but a bunch of sugar coated talks. The real core business value is confusing. In a way it is to sell the new software focus strategy (even though it is not ready to be sold), and in a way they need the hardware business to keep the company profit. They are just Wall Street monkeys now.
Advice to Senior Management: They need to stop pleasing Wall Street and start some really strategy work instead of playing with all numbers game in finance.
Pros: Flexible hours, ability to work at home. Sometimes the global nature of the job is interesting, but that also means work time can be outside of normal business hours.
Cons: Employees feel like they could be let go any quarter. NO raises in three years! Management is only interested in covering for themselves, not in their direct reports.
Advice to Senior Management: Remember the customer. It's not always about the cost cutting. Customer satisfaction fails when the bottom line is all that matters.
Pros: This is a good place to learn; have challenging jobs which allow you to constantly be learning new skills and developing yourself. The salary is OK and management at least in Denmark (where I am based) is trying not to 'squeeze' people too much so that we still have some sort of decent work/life balance (even though for some types of jobs, e.g. sales and service management, the culture can be a turn and burn/high pressure environment).
Cons: IBM is providing products and services customers don't believe in any more; as a result business is not good any longer and the company is in trouble; everybody here is worried about being downsized and we live in constant fear of losing our jobs.
IBM is very hierarchical and bureaucratic; free spirits might be at odds with the culture of the organization and are unlikely to be happy or successful in IBM. When it comes to career prospects, once you decide that you don't want to be one of the billion managers this company has (!!), and you end up outgrowing your current job, you'll find out that there is no room for you to be promoted or take on more responsibility.
Advice to Senior Management: Many employees in IBM don't agree with the corporate culture or the direction the company is headed any more. We need to go back to giving the customers what they want and not what IBM thinks they want. Outsourcing so many jobs and functions has negatively impacted customer satisfaction.
Pros: High paying; offers work from home once a week or as needed.
Cons: Hard to get to other internal teams for personal growth very hard to take vacation leaves...even if you're entitled to do so because they always want to reach a target of work hours for the team/department, which probably did not consider that employees are entitled to paid vacation leaves.
Promotion process is very tedious; the company does not help you reach your goals even if you seek help.
Mandatory 9 hours of work per day.
Advice to Senior Management: Management should look into giving their employees the much needed vacation leaves (as per contract) and should allow compensatory day offs for holidays wherein employees still worked.
Pros: IBM provides good employee benefits but they are also leader in reducing cost by introducing some interesting policy twists. It has a lot of good internal opportunities. Good learning opportunities for new and upcoming technologies.
Cons: IBM is a slow adopter of new technologies and is a follower in the industry. Very slow growth and currently undergoing a lot of cost cutting measures. Lots of pressure on employees to meet the 2015 roadmap. Long-term development goals are sacrificed to make the quarter.
Pros: Pockets of great technologies and brilliance. Opportunities to move around in the organization to find something you are interested in.
Cons: Typical big company issues such as slow, rigid, stagnant, quarterly focus, etc. IBM likes to redefine things to fit its portfolio, such as IBM's definition of SaaS—it's a joke what IBM counts as SaaS.
Advice to Senior Management: Need to act—change nothing is the worst option. Management need to find a way to reestablish IBM as a high-tech innovation force to be taken seriously; if that means selling off 50% of the business to others, do it.
Pros: Worker-bees and low-level managers are overall good people. Most willing to help each other. Work-life balance and work-from-home is dependent on the department and your job role.
Cons: Personal growth is very slow. Benefits are now industry average. Company not investing in employees (like it used to) as technology rapidly changes. You're on your own to keep up. Compensation has drastically dwindled ever since Roadmap 2015 announcement. Many U.S. jobs quietly sent overseas. Not a place to work if you're hardware based. Most technical support folks work well over 40 hours per week including on-call duty after hours.
Advice to Senior Management: In past 10 years, IBM senior management continues to find ways to take from employees. Pension program gone; employee stock program discount reduced from 15% to 5%; cash balance plan is making 1% past several years; 401k matching funds now being withheld until year-end. Those with salary increases are getting ~2%, if any occur at all. Bonus plan reduced to "1" rated performers only. Newest twist is furloughs. Overall leadership not portraying a strong business direction. Continual new buzzwords with no real bite in market place. Cloud Analytics Mobility Social and Security is spoken non-stop but understanding of what cloud is by average employee is a lost concept.
Advice to Senior Management: Continue with the strategic transition, as it is key to the future growth of the company. Remove hurdles for career advancement of talented employees. Make it easier to promote top performers.
Pros: Numerous career paths from which to choose. Excellent opportunities for career growth or even a career change and still remain with the company. They have very diverse workforce. They also believe in equal pay for equal work, regardless of race, sex, religion or sexual orientation.
Cons: Bureaucracy! Too many layers of management. This tends to create a bubble up effect; when an issue arises at the staff level, by the time the executives are engaged they are told everything is under control. Meanwhile the fire rages out of control. Because of this, most executives seem out of touch with the teams on the front lines. The executives always tend to get low ratings on the employee surveys.
Also, work/life balance doesn't really exist. Most people that want to advance in their career are working 65+ hours per week.
Advice to Senior Management: Come down from your perch and meet with low-level staff. Listen to your employees on the front line. Implement their suggestions.
Pros: Lots of internal learning. You can find experts in any relevant field, most of which are happy to talk to you. Partnership with Apple is huge, brings a lot of publicity.
Cons: Culture. Too concerned with cost cutting and the bottom line. Do not treat employees very well, minimal perks. In consulting, they staff you where they need you, not based on interests. You can get stuck on a project in one role for years without much growth. They give their entry level consultants work that could be done by interns.
Advice to Senior Management: Work on expanding and new sources of revenue rather than cost cutting (partnership with Apple is good for this). Give employees some perks to make them happy. So many entry level consultants are unhappy as they feel they are being taken advantage of and the perks don't compare to those of other companies (subway passes, using pretax dollars, holiday parties, etc.).
Pros: The working people or the ones that do all the heavy lifting at IBM are fantastic and very intelligent. Once you get on a project the team of resources pull together to pull off miracles.
Cons: Pay is not to averages in industry. Heavily in cost cutting mode; this affects everyone. Behind the curve in the industry trends; mobile and smarter commerce has some promise. If you expect a raise, re-think coming; if you like 1-3% bonus, then this is not a "con." Expect to work 60-80 per week if you want a chance to move up.
Advice to Senior Management: Instead of worrying about the things you can cut that make people's life easier, work on increasing revenue by reducing the high overhead at the top. Remove all the process that may seem to help, but really burden the real workers making IBM what it is.
Advice to Senior Management:
Pros: IBM provides an excellent opportunity to work with smart people across many different lines of business. The benefits are excellent.
Cons: IBM is too focused on 2015 EPS target. There is way too much micro-management associated with selling in IBM, and the tools available for sales people to manage their business are relatively primitive.
Advice to Senior Management: Do more to provide our technical specialists and sales team with the training needed to keep up to date with changes in technology. Provide our consultants with more training regarding "soft skills"—there are times when we need consultants more than we need technicians.
Cons (Work Culture):
Cons (Work Tools):
Advice to Senior Management: CAMMS or SCAMM?
Pros: Home Office Infrastructure, Flexible Time, Great Team and good co-workers.
Cons: Bureaucracy, promotions are not attached to performance (per-requisite only), technical career left aside.
Advice to Senior Management: Frequently costs cut can drive the company to failure. Technical decisions been taken by non-technical people. Years without promotion even with an outstanding performance. Benefits cuts. Management don't know you. Bureaucracy. No global standard clearly set.
Pros: There still are technically very strong and dedicated employees from whom we can learn a lot. IBM also provides resources and more importantly "time" to learn while on job.
Cons: It's an anarchy—you cannot expect a timeline for your growth. Talented employees keep leaving.
Pros: IBM seems to have a lot going on; the benefits aren't bad and there are smart people everywhere.
Cons: The leadership cares about earnings per share...Period. The process and procedures are horrible, there are too many layers, and there is no vision. It is just too big and ran by people who are long tenured and have lost sight of how the company has devolved. In the end, they don't value employees.
Advice to Senior Management: Please pay attention to the employees! There are so many of us and you show no value for them. In a world where technology firms fight for talent - you should be fighting too and finding ways to pay, create incentives for a new form of IBMer.
Pros: Great learning ground...if you can unearth the offerings. Varied projects, self determination.
Cons: Travel can be an issue. Certain groups are not cohesive in strategy. It's who you know that determines success and many languish in bands without promotions or increases for years. Can be frustrating.
Advice to Senior Management: Many good consultants and managers lost due to myopic focus on bottom line and not investments in people.
Pros: IBM has spoiled me. I enjoy the autonomy and freedom—it's truly an organization that is outcome based. It's not about where you are during work hours but it's about what you deliver. When you are in a regional role, there is no guilt about popping over to the gym midday if you manage your deliverables well.
Cons: Flexibility cuts both ways. You find yourself working late evenings and weekends in certain roles. Outcome based management also means death by measurement. Review after review can extract every ounce of energy from anyone. This detracts from addressing the issue and focuses on "what is our story to the top".
Advice to Senior Management: Give time back to the folks to execute their to do that yields the results. Too much internal lobbying.
Pros: Employees are intelligent, polished and professional. The industry is exciting and fast moving and there are opportunities to move between functions and lines of business. Also IBM still has some brand cachet (for now) so a good place to begin your career.
Cons: Absolutely no trust in leadership up and down the entire management chain. Ginni Rometty lacks the vision, integrity and people skills to marshal IBM into this new technological age. IBM is not investing in the business or its people. This means no education, poor pay and rolling layoffs.
Advice to Senior Management: Be honest. Invest in the people who are working hard to keep IBM alive.
You will be working with lots of very bright, motivated people.
Advice to Senior Management: Moderate the strategic timeline to be more driven over a longer time span. Quarterly results-driven thinking does not build a happy work force and the frequent allocations of, and then chopping of budgets like travel or training is demoralizing. While stock price is a very important metric it is not the only metric defining success.
Yes, that's three lost decades.
Now, as you might expect, the middle class has been hit particularly hard by the Great Recession and the not-so-great recovery. It's all about stocks and houses. The middle class doesn't have much of the former, but it does have a lot of the latter. And that's bad news, because, even though the crash decimated both, real estate hasn't come back nearly as much as equities have. So the top 1 percent, who hold more of their wealth in stocks, have made up more of the ground they lost. But, as the Russell Sage Foundation points out, the slow housing recovery means that, in 2013, median households were still 36 percent poorer than they were a decade earlier. ...
Though, to put that in depressing perspective, it's still a heckuva lot better than households in the bottom 25 percent, whose wealth never grew during the good times, and then plunged 60 percent during the bad ones. That's because, for both the middle and working classes, real wages have been stagnant the past 30 years, and housing equity has taken a nosedive.
At this rate, it won't be long until the American Dream isn't even a memory for the middle class.
Wall Street and US Military tanks and fighter jets use System x servers because they are high end. X could be called "high volume"; however, with the growing uncertainty of the potential sale to Lenovo (US Gov might not allow Chinese x firmware controlling our military), it's freezing sales. If the sale doesn't go through, IBM will end up with a "low volume" and "high end" (but starting to trend down from neglect) business pulling along less of the more profitable SW and services. And, all those dedicated IBMers who put their hearts into building the best x servers in the world - many are doomed whichever way x goes. Join forces now - your job might be next! -eXer-
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