The media headlines seemingly suggest IBM is finally pushing aside Amazon.com Web Services and Microsoft Azure, while winning cloud business with enterprise CIOs worldwide. The wins certainly come at a critical time, considering IBM revenues have been flat or dropping for 10 consecutive quarters.
But take a closer look at each "cloud" victory and you'll discover a somewhat different reality than the media suggests: The deals also involve a healthy dose of IBM's global IT services, infrastructure management and even mainframe revenues. So while I'm skeptical of IBM's cloud victory claims, there's still potential reason to celebrate here.
Pros: IBM Global Business Services is engaged in a decent amount of very interesting and cutting edge work with their clients and if you manage to get on one of those projects you'll learn a lot and probably do some pretty cool stuff. Work/life balance has been very reasonable; I might be an exception but I rarely work over 50 hours a week. Brand name is still very well recognized and respected across all industries. At least in Consulting by Degrees, job security is pretty much guaranteed unless you do something horribly dumb. The people in general are really great, specifically in CbD.
Cons: Where to start? Huge company means horrible communication, very disorganized, inability to pursue interests and a serious lack of investment/care in employees. CbDers are just considered a cheap resource so you basically become a victim of supply demand, i.e. if there's a need for you on a project, IBM couldn't care less if you're interested or not, you're cheap so you're going.
The actual work and roles you are typically given is often associated with 'secretary work' or a very repetitive process. Your manager is pretty much useless and only there to make you feel like one person in the company cares about you.
Networking to get on projects you are interested in is very difficult, be prepared for a lot of people saying no.
The training you have every 4-6 months is a joke and shouldn't be called training.
Very difficult to get recognized for performance and annual reviews are chaos since your manager, who doesn't know a thing about you, is reviewing you along with a hundred other CbDers.
Advice to Senior Management: If you're going to design a 2 year rotational program that enables entry level employees to fast track to seniority, then put the incentives in place to actually keep people interested in the program and work they're doing. Design mini 4-6 week boot camps for typical areas of interest (analytics, project management, mobile development, customer experience, etc) and give CbDers the skills and knowledge they need to actually do meaningful work.
Pros: Good name recognition in tech consulting. If you are looking for work-life balance, you can find it on long-term implementation projects. A lot of GBS consultants end up transferring to other IBM divisions to reduce travel/workload stress. This is common and a perk of working for a big company.
Cons: The work is not interesting on long-term implementation projects, but that's GBS's bread and butter. Strategy is just a foot in the door. If you want interesting strategy projects, you need to find the right partners and you will spend a lot of time chasing the work. No matter how GBS positions itself to recruits, it simply isn't seen as a strategy firm by clients or peers. If it is interesting work, it's usually oversold by a partner (read: terrible work-life balance with minimal assistance/resources because the budget doesn't allow for it).
From a promotion standpoint, delivery is only half the equation. The rest is proposals and making sure you work on visible projects with influential partners. If you're not willing to play the game, you're not going to get promoted. GBS is always restructuring, so you may have two or three different managers in the same year and never meet the person who is supposed to advocate for you. That makes building a relationship and getting them invested in your career very difficult.
The pay...well, just look at other consulting firms on Glassdoor. You'll see the reality. The fine print is that there were multiple years when there were no year-end bonuses (despite reported division profits) or raises unless you were top-rated (which usually included literally two people). However, there are always backdoor channels to get extra pay, like retention bonuses. Again, you have to ask for it and then it's hush hush so your peers don't get jealous and ask for the same thing.
Advice to Senior Management: Pay people what they deserve. Incorporate 360 reviews and make people management a core part of the annual performance review process. Otherwise, your best people will continue to fly out the door.
Pros: Generally smart workforce. Support remote work environment. Opportunities for training and development. Company still has many "tentacles" into clients and prospects in order to pursue potential business.
Cons: Workforce is overwhelmingly apathetic and tired. Most employees are motivated primarily to do whatever is needed to cruise into retirement. No focus on employee satisfaction. No focus on enhancing loyalty. First and second layer management talent is generally weak and primarily focused on job protection and internal politics.
Advice to Senior Management: Culture and processes that support culture are old and not congruent with new direction to sell software and services solutions, i.e. cloud, analytics, mobile. Customer satisfaction is suffering big time. Job protection is priority vs taking action to improve customer satisfaction and grow new customer business. Difficult decisions need to be made because the current product/solution mix is not leading edge nor cost effective.
Pros: Employees are intelligent, professional, and definitely sweat the details. It is a big company and has big company benefits and opportunities.
Cons: It is a big company and has big company cons — lots of red tape; company politics are outrageous; middle managers have the worse job — looking for their next jump and will step on anyone to achieve it. No trust in leadership. No communication; management makes employees feel like the they are the enemies.
Advice to Senior Management: Communicate with your employees, not just talk at them.
Pros: Friendly colleagues who are willing to help you at any cost. Good environment.
Cons: They won't push you to work unless they have to but when they need to, they ask for results for impossible things at an impossible time. They think they don't have to share anything with you so employees are nothing involved in changes at all. (By changes I mean minor changes as development process, or test coverage techniques).
Advice to Senior Management: Try to listen more to your colleagues and employees. Making you the boss does not make you a leader or even a specialist at it, just means that you're good with people and management.
Pros: Honestly, I don't have anything positive to say about IBM right now. Initially it was a great company to work for, but now it's all about cost savings and job losses.
Advice to Senior Management: Learn to value and reward staff more. A lot of people work very hard, for no reward while the top cats still line their pockets.
Pros: Smart! The average IQ of the company and ability to access big thinkers, new ideas and exciting innovation is everywhere, if you are willing to look for it. The character of most of the people is solid. IBM cares about the customer and the client's success. The products IBM brings to market are typically very good quality. The overall culture of the company is good, laid back but professional...adult.
Cons: There are WAY too many chiefs and not enough Indians. The company is so large and has so many vice presidents fighting for turf that the people who actually do the work, innovate, bring value to customers and make decisions are used until lost in the nonsense. Middle management makes bad business decisions and manages people poorly due to short-term thinking and self preservation. The overhead of "being a company" has overshadowed the value we deliver to our customers. Different divisions don't work well together and are often working at cross purposes.
Advice to Senior Management: Fire/re-purpose half of the middle management structure. Push more people closer to the clients. Provide incentives for different divisions to work together and share the same strategy. Improve compensation to retain good talent and be faster about getting rid of the lazy. Reduce "internal enterprising" and focus more on our clients.
Pros: It gives you an appreciation of what happens ‘at the sharp end’ – at the customer interface. As a sales person you’ll mix with a wide variety of other people in your industry. You’ll be better informed about changes and opportunities occurring within your market. No matter what job you hold in business, you spend a lot of your time selling: selling ideas to your bosses, your colleagues, your juniors, your suppliers and your customers. To have spent some time in sales trains and prepares you to communicate effectively, and to ‘win friends and influence people’
Cons: Rigid vertical organisational structure, metric driven environment.
Advice to Senior Management: Managers should have a small portfolio of their own customers that they manage and prospect to keep them current and help lead by example? It would build trust with the reps, allow them to create some buzz by doing, not asking.
Pros: The environment is very good, and the job is challenging. There are also many lectures to attend from which we can learn a lot. Work/life balance is pretty good; never work over time.
Cons: Don't allow to use any version of open source code. We can't even look at them. It is a stupid rule! IBM wastes a huge amount of time to implement something that others already implemented, such as Java. IBM write a JDK by itself! That's really not necessary.
Pros: Friendly people — in fact the people really make the company.
Pros: Not sure why anyone would join IBM today. From compensation and benefits, to stability, to opportunities for meaningful work, it just is no longer relevant. Employees are underutilized.
Cons: Company has been downsizing for decades; little opportunity; growth is through acquisitions; endless reorganizations and layoffs; working with management and people that don't know you — then another reorganization hits (entirely different from earlier IBM where people knew you and your skills.)
Advice to Senior Management: Need fewer levels of management and more stability in the organization. The objectives and evaluation system is invalid. If you don't want to give raises, just don't give raises. Need to be more open and honest with employees.
Advice to Senior Management:Modernize. Leave the place to younger people.
Pros: You can work from home. Get up at 6 am and shut down the laptop after 6 pm. You will have some flexible hours during the day.
Cons: There is no raise. No bonus except for the top 1% contributor. The bonus amount is in the embarrassing scale. The average base salary is consistently below the local market. This is their business model. Believe it or not, they are proud of it. The competent workers left for the fair market value.
A lot of employees who are still with the company are either too old to change, or reduce the working hours voluntarily to match the pay, or just too out dated technically to compete in the market to find another job. This is the reality in US.
In Indian, the turn-over rate is very high since they give minimum pay for the new graduates. Within 2-3 years, they left for other companies for 100% increase in the salary.
No wonder this titanic ship is sinking. Do not jump on it unless you are fresh out of college.
Advice to Senior Management: Keep those competent employees happy. Cost is not everything. The moral of the your employee base is not so good for years already.
I even spoke to a CFO who said he didn't focus on the share price, but was more concerned about the pipeline of products as they meant long term sustainability rather than one quarter's numbers. I speak to people still at IBM who tell me their managers say "it's like this everywhere" when they complain, but from my experience, that's not true. -Refreshing-
My advice to the alliance is this, lock down this message board to dues paying members to weed out the riff raff from anybody who actually gives a damn. There's not a resource like this at Lenovo nor do I ever expect their to be given the communist ties. I wonder if GSK had an alliance type movement given they just whacked 900 people in RTP, or if anyone there cared. As much as I can't stand Lenovo it is actually is tremendously better than IBM. Either organize or get out (and please do what you can to float the stock back to 170 so I can cash out). Corporate America rocks does it not? I sincerely wish you guys the best of luck as you're certainly going to need it... -IPaidMyDuesDidYou?-
No financial consideration is being offered to IBM employees now trapped. Most never signed a non-compete deal. Only hope is that RA will free you from no-hire rule. IBM now has a huge team of people that must lower their performance in hopes of a RA so they can move on to greener pastures. Good for employees that want to stay as others will take the fall to fill RA quotas. Good for employees that will have an extended work vacation getting qualified for their RA, ending up with a severance check and freedom. Not so good for IBM. Idiotic Business Morons. -Stuck at IBM-
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