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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—April 25, 2015

  • Dubuque Telegraph Herald:

    Grassley challenging IBM on jobs. The senator asks the corporation why it is laying off Iowans while seeking to hire foreign guest workers. By Jeff Montgomery. Excerpts: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is requesting details from IBM regarding the company's use of guest workers from foreign countries, emphasizing that this information is particularly important at a time when layoffs of American workers are ongoing.

    In a correspondence dated April 16, Grassley asked IBM Chairwoman, President and CEO Virginia Rometty for an explanation of IBM's apparent plans to "hire thousands of H-1B visa holders." Grassley's concern arose when IBM petitioned for 5,800 H-1B visas on April 1.

    "It has come to my attention that IBM will be laying off employees in the United States this year while at the same time apparently seeking to hire thousands of H-1B visa holders," the letter states. ...

    Grassley told TH Media on Monday that U.S. companies have not always followed the spirit or the letter of the law.

    "Since it was passed, (the program) has been based on the assumption that whenever we are short of labor, we want to help these companies get help where they need it," Grassley explained. "We have found situations where that wasn't the case." ...

    Clint Roswell, director of external communications for IBM North America, defended the company's use of foreign workers in an email statement to TH Media:

    "In order to serve the evolving technology needs of clients in high-growth areas such as cloud computing, data analytics, mobile, social and security, IBM and the tech industry must utilize a global talent pool. Today, there simply are not enough American workers with expertise in these areas to fill the thousands of U.S. job openings IBM currently has available," Roswell stated. ...

    IBM informed workers in late January of a "permanent mass layoff event" of 202 employees at the company's Dubuque facility, which became effective Feb. 27, according to documents submitted to the state.

    Rick Dickinson, president and CEO of Greater Dubuque Development Corp., estimated at the time that the move dropped IBM's employment in Dubuque to between 600 and 650 workers -- about half of the jobs the company reached during its peak employment of 1,300 in the fall of 2011.

    Lee Conrad, national coordinator of Alliance@IBM, a union representing some IBM workers, said IBM has been using foreign worker visas to fill positions vacated by American workers for years. ,,,

    Conrad, meanwhile, said Alliance@IBM has received reports of layoffs to take effect at the Dubuque facility at the end of June.

    Grassley said Monday he has not heard back from IBM since issuing his letter. His letter asks IBM to respond to his inquiries by April 29.

  • Wall Street Journal:

    Behind Ginni Rometty’s Plan to Reboot IBM. Big Blue’s CEO pushes it toward analytics, mobile, cloud computing. By Monica Langley. Excerpts: The disconcerting messages started popping up on Virginia Rometty’s screen not long after the IBM chief executive began a webcast to explain to her nearly 400,000 employees in 170 countries how she planned to reorganize the tech giant.

    “I can’t hear.”

    “I can’t see you.”

    “Is this on?”

    When the January presentation ended, Ms. Rometty fumed at colleagues, “We’re only the IBM Company—we’re better than this,” according to people who were there. “Get this fixed now!”

    That is a directive Ms. Rometty is giving a lot these days as she tries to reinvent the nearly 104-year-old icon while it continues a yearslong slump. International Business Machines Corp.’s sales for 12 straight quarters have fallen from the year-earlier quarter. ...

    At the design lab, IBM’s team showed Ms. Rometty a demonstration on a large flat screen showing a real-time view of corporate hacking around the world. IBM is designing a security product, code-named “X-Force,” in which businesses share intelligence on security threats. “Fellow CEOs,” she told her team, “will see the values I do and want on this platform.”

    She dropped in on a group of young IBM developers, some with tattoos and piercings, who are responsible for IBM’s new email offering, called Verse. A team leader promised to hit a year’s-end rollout target.

    At that, Ms. Rometty pivoted sharply on her high heels. “No, no, no! Too slow,” she interjected. “What can I do to help you move faster?”

    Speed is of the essence, she says later, because the industry is fast moving. But remaking a company IBM’s size can be complex: “I have trained my life to fly a 747. That is way different than piloting a two-prop engine plane.” ...

    Ms. Rometty is relentless in pushing staff. Jeff Smith, an IBM vice president, says he was at a Starbucks with his baseball cap pulled low on a recent Saturday morning and didn’t think Ms. Rometty, who lives near him, would notice him.

    She made a bee-line for him, tea in hand, lifted his cap and asked: “What are we doing to change the company?”

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • This article reads like a commercial for IBM. There's a single quote from the "tough critic" at Bernstein stating that IBM's future "is not clear." It would have been nice to know ... Why? Also, who is to blame for IBM's failure to pivot for years ... Rometty or Palmisano or both? Lame article.
    • How could this be missing from the story: Buying back shares using debt as a strategy to buy time. Seems like unwillingness to invest in itself and its opportunities. Big RED Flag to me. Sounds like old GM approach of cutting off 1" off the tailpipe each year, and declaring progress. IBM is better than this.
    • IBM has been in a cloud of their own making for some time. They sat on their laurels for too long they forgot how to innovate in ways that produce revenue and profit. They sold assets and didn't do anything productive with the proceeds. The buyer (Lenovo , China! ) is doing better than IBM with their purchases! They could have sold to a U.S company and kept their hand in the game!

      Rometty says “We’re only the IBM Company—we’re better than this.” They may be the only IBM, but it's not the same IBM that was once a world leader, an innovator and a progressively productive company. Its people like Rometty who ascend to a corporate position that they are not competent to hold. It used to be called the "Peter Principle". I guess we can also call it the "Priscilla principal!

      Longevity at a firm and company cultural affinity is no substitute for leadership and creativity. Rometty needs to be replaced and IBM needs to get off its high, but old horse and mount one that can run to win!

    • "Ms. Rometty sold off low-end servers and divested IBM’s chip maker—which her CFO likens to “spinal removal surgery”—once integral elements of its hardware business. These units were producing revenue but not profits, she says, dubbing them “empty calories.”

      This is just one example of what is wrong with IBM. They have a line of business that was profitable and competitive, but they've let it languish, and it becomes unprofitable and not competitive. Rather than fix it, they dump it and move on to something else and repeat the process. Now they've almost run out of things they can't do. They can't do disk drives anymore. Or tape drives. Or PCs. Or printers. So they offshore jobs, they lay off experienced people.

      "We’re better than this.” No, you're not better than this. This is exactly who you are, and you are just the latest in a long line of incompetent and grossly overpaid pretenders

    • Those businesses that IBM dumped all have one thing in common: They require an innovative soul to be competitive. IBM lost that innovation when they attempted to cut their way to success years ago.

      How does a company the size of IBM (or HP for that matter) re-kindle the fires of innovation? That's the real question, and, as far as I know, it's never been done before.

      Unfortunately, nothing in this excellent article shows IBM is on the path back to innovation. A new email service? Puh-lease! (1995 called; they want their business model back.)

    • Two points: 1) Like many corporate CEOs (and Obama), Ms. Rometty uses the word "I" a lot. She comes across as arrogant and imperious. Whatever happened to "we" and sharing responsibility and credit?

      2) The article mentions she "grabbed the elbow" and got in the face of a male analyst while she was arguing with him. Hmm. If a male CEO did the same thing to a female analyst - how long do you think it would take for the media to flay him and for the board to fire him?

    • WSJ’s Ms. Langley’s interview was an “eye-opener” for me. Ms. Rometty appears to have a clear vision for transforming IBM into “Solutions Company.” I found her definition of what being a “cool technology company” much more relevant than what is typically hyped daily on CNBC. As Jim Lebenthal (CEO of Lebenthal Asset Management) correctly noted, for Ms. Rometty, it’s a question of balancing her transformative strategy with effective tactical execution…IBM was just placed on my “Watch List.”
    • Umm yeah, but the email ship sailed back in the early Zips, with the launch of the Web email systems culminating in the launch of Gmail. Unless they have some completely new insight into email - and it would have to be across the board, from UX to integration to servers - email is a dead end as a new product.

      All the other platforms mentioned in the article - cloud, analytics, etc - are in nearly the same boat: there are already established offerings in each of these spaces, and no one is desperate for an IBM product.

      IBM needs to offer innovation, and they need to offer it 'in size' as the say on the street. So far that's not happening.

    • IBM killed most of their inhouse innovations in the name of cutting costs and started acquiring companies which never never really helped IBM get ahead in any means. Now they are behind in Cloud platform, API Management to name a few.

      I don't think Ms. Rometty has the right vision as their current approach is just to follow the crowd and buy competing products. From what I have seen they have lost too much ground to competitors and will be hard to gain ground as equivalent IBM products are relatively more expensive to implement.

    • The article implies that she likes to scream at people, which may work at the executive level but doesn't work with staff. You can't cut people, cut budgets, cut benefits, and underpay staff and then make up for it by pushing them harder.

      It takes years for cuts in quality to show up as loss of sales. The quality cuts started almost 10 years ago but just translated into customer loss in the last three. It's very hard to recover from a loss of reputation.

      In my opinion, after working there for 11 years, IBM's biggest problem is that the executives do not realize that it takes talented staff to accomplish goals. The employees that actually do the work are entirely replaceable, numbers on a chart. No need to motivate, they can always find someone cheaper to do it. It's like the anti-Google (who seems to work hard to keep employees engaged). Everything in this article only reinforced that view, as it paints Rometty as someone who thinks she can fix the company by cracking skulls.

    • It shouldn't have taken her 3 years and increasingly desperate share buy backs to realize the stupid "roadmap 2015" couldn't be met. It destroyed the soul of the company, to the point where even overflowing toilets weren't getting fixed because of "roadkill 2015" cost controls.

      IBM lost its way as a technology company under Sam Palmisano and became a financial engineering company.

      The worst part is instead of firing 6 layers of VPs, they have demoted some excellent Distinguished Engineers which has been devastating for morale. Can't be a Tech winner by demoralizing the best technologists you have.

    • "On trips, she carries a backpack with paperwork, school-sized notebooks and pencils—along with her iPhone." A giant pile of paperwork? Anyone see the irony of that? Does she have a typewriter back at the office? Not sure this is the image you want to project at a company selling technology "solutions" to other large companies.
  • Time:

    IBM Is Stumbling Its Way Into the Future. By Kevin Kelleher. Excerpts: Despite ambitious plans for its future, the technology giant faces serious hurdles. ...

    In the past few months, IBM has rolled out innovation after promising innovation. The company launched an analytics tool for the healthcare industry based on its Watson artificial-intelligence platform. Watson tools for other industries are on tap, and meanwhile Watson has written a cookbook.

    IBM is also building a cloud platform for the Internet of things that companies can use to make sense of data collected from far-flung sensors embedded in a wide variety of devise. The company not only announced its Hybrid Cloud–meshing IBM’s own cloud with a client’s on-premise machines–it signed the US Army up as a key customer. Oh, and it’s building new computers that mimic the human brain. ...

    This all sounds encouraging, but now look at the first-quarter earnings report IBM delivered on Monday. Revenue fell 12% year-over-year to $19.6 billion and came in $100 million shy of analysts’ consensus forecast. That marked the 12th straight quarter of falling revenue and the eighth time in the last nine quarters that IBM missed its revenue estimate. In fact, it was IBM’s lowest quarterly revenue since the first quarter of 2002. ...

    How can IBM have so many promising technologies and such a weak financial performance? The answer is a classic innovator’s dilemma, in which successful companies struggle to stay atop their industries as they face newer, more efficient technologies and business models that slowly drain life from their cash cows. ...

    The catch is that areas like cloud-based services are growing because they’re cheaper, lither versions of the legacy services IBM and others have depended on for profits. In a conference call discussing earnings Monday, CFO Martin Schroeter talked about “a pretty dramatic shift of spending within IBM… Some of what you’re seeing in that core business decline is that engineered shift toward the strategic imperatives.”

  • The Register:

    IBM feathers pillow with System z cash – but still losing sleep after 12 quarters of decline. Not a wink of sales growth in THREE YEARS. By Neil McAllister. Excerpts: As has become a common refrain among tech execs, Big Blue CFO Martin Schroeter blamed some of the company's woes on unfavorable foreign exchange rates. But even correcting for currency fluctuations, IBM's revenue for the period ending on March 31 was $19.59bn, which was essentially flat, year-on-year. Read on a strict GAAP reporting basis, it was down 11.9 per cent.

    IBM saw its revenue decrease across every reporting segment, but that wasn't entirely due to lack of customer demand, and there were some bright spots. One significant item that affected IBM's results this quarter was an approximately $870m charge for "workforce rebalancing." That's layoffs to you, and the charge was taken across multiple reporting groups. ...

    Revenue for the company's all-important services businesses, meanwhile, looked gloomy. Global Technology Services saw its revenue decline 10.9 per cent from the year-ago period, to $7.89bn. Global Business Services, on the other hand, brought in $4.32bn in revenue, a 13 per cent decline.

  • Missourian:

    IBM job growth in Columbia falls short of initial promises. By Jacob Steimer. Excerpts: On May 17, 2010, IBM came to Columbia with the triumphant fanfare of a governor's welcome. On that day of celebration, Mayor Bob McDavid called the tech firm's arrival "the second most important public-private partnership in the history of Columbia," exceeded only by the founding of MU.

    Throughout the festivities, one number came through loud and clear: 800.

    "We anticipate creation of up to 800 jobs by 2012," Tim Shaughnessy, then-senior vice president for IBM’s Global Technology Service, told the crowd gathered outside the Daniel Boone City Building.

    In May 2011, Shaughnessy reiterated that the goal was to employ 800 in Columbia by the end of 2012, and he made the additional promise that half of the jobs would come by the end of 2011.

    By the end of 2011, however, the service center employed 338 people, according to annual employment records IBM submits to the state. By the end of 2012, it reported employing 513. ...

    In 2014, IBM's global workforce declined by 12 percent, its revenue fell by 5.7 percent and its revenue from Global Technology Services, which is the area the Columbia location contributes to, dropped by 3.9 percent.

    While IBM confirmed it laid off Columbia workers on Jan. 28, it has not disclosed the extent of these layoffs. IBM does not share workforce data with the public beyond what it's required to report to the state in exchange for taxpayer support.

    This support has totaled $10.26 million so far and could reach up to $28 million if IBM adds jobs and increases payroll. (Click here for a detailed summary of the various incentives and how IBM has performed.) ...

    Despite its $10.26 million investment, the state of Missouri has no idea how many people were hired or fired at IBM during the past 15 months. The most recent information the state had on IBM employment as of April 13 was the 606 figure from the end of 2013. Officials with the Missouri Department of Economic Development have not expressed interest in discovering the extent of the Jan. 28 layoffs.

  • New York Times:

    IBM Creates Watson Health to Analyze Medical Data. By Steve Lohr. Excerpts: IBM is taking its Watson artificial-intelligence technology into health care in a big way with industry partners, a pair of acquisitions and an ambitious agenda.

    The initial three industry partners are Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. On Monday afternoon, after the close of stock trading, IBM also announced it would buy two start-ups: Explorys, a spin-off from the Cleveland Clinic whose data on 50 million patients is used to spot patterns in diseases, treatments and outcomes; and Phytel, a Dallas maker of software to manage patient care and reduce readmission rates to hospitals.

    The IBM plan, put simply, is that its Watson technology will be a cloud-based service that taps vast stores of health data and delivers tailored insights to hospitals, physicians, insurers, researchers and potentially even individual patients.

  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM: The Box Closes In. By Dana Blankenhorn. Excerpts: I write from the point of view of growth, and seen from that perspective this is a company circling the drain. Without its mainframe monopoly, and the company released a new line called System Z during the quarter, the current quarter would have been an unmitigated disaster. Mainframe sales grew 50%, allowing it to report a growth in hardware of 30%. ...

    The bullish case, meanwhile, is based on capital extraction, the same thing we look for in a Real Estate Investment Trust, the same thing we loved Gordon Gecko for in Wall Street. The stock yields 2.7% and is expected to raise its dividend later this month, all part of a systematic program of financial engineering meant to keep the stock up by giving money back to shareholders and buying shares back.

    This kind of thing is great if you're running nursing homes. It is not so good if you are running a tech company. In technology you either grow or you die. IBM is dying. This was a $104 billion sales company just a few years ago. For 2015 it may bring in $80 billion.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Nonsense. 12 quarters down. That's 3 years. That's well beyond a normal 'transformation' and recovery cycle. They are failing.

      zSeries was a one time revenue hit due to a product refresh cycle. It sits in a shrinking market that is being eaten up by efficient capacity distribution and utilization from cloud. Their services businesses cannot scale as they are labor driven and increasingly not meeting client requirements on the services delivery side. Their single digit share in cloud is hardly anything to be proud of. That market is and will continue to be fragmented and eventually become 'free' to harness apps and functions that users will pay others for.

      This behemoth is buckling at the knees. The 'flat' reported growth includes high growth in strategic areas. This is a fabrication constructed by adding anything that moves to a mobile, cloud or analytics deal and counting it as such.

      I deduce this because, no matter how they arrange the optics the net result that cannot be hidden is that revenues declines are being papered over by the financial engineers and marketing spin artists who want you to believe otherwise. Look forward to a $50B company in 3 years.

    • Thanks Brian. Definitely want to own something that has more than patents and goodwill. Goodwill and a quarter won't get me on the tollway. What bothers me are things like IBM announcing that it would PAY $1.5 billion to SELL its chips business to GlobalFoundries last year. In the world I come from, one pays to buy, not to sell. Just wacky all around, nothing makes sense any more.
    • The mainframe biz is about a 8B segment and declining slowly over time as mainframe apps are converted to contemporary tech. Running thousands of Linux instances on a mainframe as a form of hardware hypervisor is a clever use for those who are locked into the platform but will always be beat by commodity processors running advanced matrix processing software. The inertia of reverse engineering ancient mainframe software is the only saving grace in this pic.

      Every other segment of IBM's business is riff with severe competition many of whom know how to work the consumer space as well as commodity products which IBM says it does not want to be a player in. The IT industry really gained traction in the 1950s and is therefore only 65 yo and headed each day for a a higher degree of commodity status in all segments and now with the mobile revolution upon us with multiple processor on our person and possessions their avoidance of the consumer space is truly counter to the realities of future opportunity. other than being a catcher of monitoring data sold by others.

      IBM therefore is by its own definition headed for either a permanent slope of contraction or a buy out by a stronger company or country i.e. India, China as its cap continues to contract; their recent hiring of counter take over lawyers shows they too are planning for this possibility. Meanwhile the leaders of IT continue to grow, thrive, and fund their own moon shot projects that build true mindshare.

      Also the top 3500 execs take out as much as they can now and keep packing their golden parachutes with bigger ones much like any oligarchs on a sinking ship or company or country.

      If ever there was a company that needs an outside real restructure not a rewarmed hash of failed initiatives its IBM just like Gerstner gave it.

      As a turnaround investment IBM simply is not being lead by the kind of execs that can compete in the current environment.

    • Unfortunately, Rometty’s need for speed has been tempered by internal and external forces: Her moves aren’t made in a vacuum. At IBM, Rometty was handed an unrealistic set of financial goals (which she has since abandoned). She has also had to steer one of the largest and most bloated technology companies through not one but a handful of what are quite possibly the fastest-moving technological shifts in modern history: The move to mobile, social, the cloud and analytics. More recently, she has had to contend with ramifications of a strong U.S. dollar—IBM makes more than two-thirds of its revenue outside of the United States.
    • And? The management after Gerstner were milking this big cow, and abusing its customers, and its workforce, like crazy. Even Rometty knows exactly what the problem is; it will take forever to do something good the way she's doing it. And she may not know where those problems are and where to start to fix them.
    • What reason does high tech talent have to work at IBM or stay there? I think this is an issue the bulls skip over, but talent is a real problem for IBM. Pay is not great, raises are paltry, the tech is not industry leading, and there are no perks left. Finally the existing workforce is aged as IBM has been mostly focused on trimming rather than recruiting. As someone who worked there and left on my own, I would not recommend it. All said I still hope they are able to turn this ship around. My advise would be to invest in the people again. Investors do not make products or keep customers happy.
    • Momintn: IBM is in the top 20 companies where engineering graduates want to work and they are hiring in the growth initiatives. I would not spend much time worrying over people's posts and buy value stocks with dividend growth because the rotation into value will happen. You have to put new money somewhere or sit in cash and wait for a pullback. Even then a growth stock can become a loser once the party is over.
    • @Momintn. "IBM is in the top 20 companies where engineering graduates want to work..."
    • Do you have any data to support this statement? Maybe these are non-US engineering grads?

      Here's a recent Forbes article that would seem to contradict your statement. "The Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2015" http://onforb.es/1DiAlDX

      You'll notice that IBM is waaay down the list and that the IBM CEO is not even listed.

      Taking a common sense approach, let's compare IBM to Google from the perspective of a young, talented engineer. Which work environment would you want to work in?

      • IBM - sterile cubes, no free coffee, no free office supplies, no money for training, years of regular and continuing indiscriminate layoffs, us vs. them management attitude, employees treated as "costs", employees are never mentioned by IBM as being valuable to the company.
      • Google - I think this New York Times article about Google's work environment clearly illustrates how Google views their employees, which is in very stark contrast to IBM. http://nyti.ms/1AP9dKP

      Here's a very telling quote from that article, "Google’s various offices and campuses around the globe reflect the company’s overarching philosophy, which is nothing less than “to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world,” according to a Google spokesman, Jordan Newman."

      From Google's culture statement "It’s really the people that make Google the kind of company it is. We hire people who are smart and determined, and we favor ability over experience." http://bit.ly/1d0aiG2

      So, if you were a young, talented engineer, which company would you prefer to work for?

  • New York Times:

    U.S. Plans Stiffer Rules Protecting Retiree Cash. By Tara Siegel Bernard. Excerpts: Federal regulators on Tuesday proposed rules, more than four years in the making, to provide greater consumer protection for retirement savings, requiring a broader group of investment professionals to act in their customers’ best interests when handling their retirement money.

    The financial services industry can be a minefield for ordinary investors, who often cannot tell whether their advisers are putting the investors’ interests first; the legal term for this is fiduciary duty. The rules, proposed by the Labor Department, which oversees retirement accounts, are part of the Obama administration’s declared mission to support the middle class.

    The proposed rules would eliminate some of the loopholes that allow brokers to avoid acting as fiduciaries when providing advice on retirement money held inside accounts like 401(k)’s and in individual retirement accounts, which hold roughly $7 trillion, as estimated by the Federal Reserve. ...

    Investors are particularly vulnerable when they roll over the savings they have accumulated in 401(k)-type retirement accounts, which are overseen by their employers, into individual retirement accounts. Brokers who are advising customers on that transaction do not necessarily have to act in the customer’s best interests and may be influenced by higher commissions or other incentives the firm has put in place.

    As a result, investors’ money may not end up in the most appropriate investment, potentially costing them thousands of dollars over many decades. In 2012 alone, rollovers to I.R.A.s exceeded $300 billion, and that is expected to rise steadily in the years ahead.

  • Wall Street Journal:

    The Trouble With Grading Employees. By Rachel Feintzig. Excerpts: Can a year’s worth of work be boiled down to a stock phrase like “meets expectations”?

    As companies reinvent management by slashing layers of hierarchy or freeing workers to set their own schedules, performance ratings—which grade workers on a 1-5 scale or with labels like “on target”—stubbornly hang on. Companies like Gap Inc., Adobe Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. abolished such ratings after leaders decided they deterred collaboration and stoked staffers’ anxieties. Yet other companies are having a harder time letting go.

    Intel Corp. has long rated and ranked its approximately 105,000 workers on a four-level scale, from “outstanding” to “improvement required.” Devra Johnson, a human-resources director at the chip maker, observed that ratings tended to deflate morale in a good chunk of the 70% of the company’s workforce that receives a “successful” rating each year—the second-lowest label.

    “We’d call them the walking wounded,” she said. ...

    Companies that have gotten rid of ratings say their employees feel better about their jobs, and actually listen to managers’ feedback instead of obsessing over a number. John Ritchie, a Microsoft human-resources executive who goes by “J,” said the technology company’s practice of rating and ranking employees discouraged risk-taking and collaboration; since discontinuing the practice in late 2013, teamwork is up, he said.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Worst company to work for if working in contract positions”

      Former Contractor — Anonymous Contractor in Bangalore (India). I worked at IBM as a contractor (More than a year). Pros: Only the brand is a "pro" in the company. And it's good company to work for if you are in permanent payroll of IBM and if you belong to same region as your manager belongs to. Cons: As Title suggests it's the worst company to work for in contract position. You are no better than a slave, if you are a contractor. Lot of linguistic politics by managers, the highest in any companies I have seen. Don't expect any appraisals or appreciations. They will squeeze every bit of your energy if you are working for service-related profiles such as Service desk, call center, etc. Advice to Management: Please work out a formula to consider contractors' performance also and also look into root out linguistic politics in the company, instead of enjoying firing contractors.
    • “Financial interests only”

      Current Employee — IT Specialist in Boulder, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 10 years). Pros: A company with a great "distant" past with lots of accomplishments and definite patent mill. Current opportunities are mostly for an oversees work force. Promise with its acquisitions and Watson technologies, but the talent from those companies will likely not adapt to the archaic IBM culture. Cons: Very little concern for employee morale or even knowing what employees actually accomplish on the job, because management is so disjunct from the scene, generally in far away locations. Company does not manufacture much any more nor does it have a culture that encourages the entrepreneur spirit. Advice to Management: Invest in your good people and quit trying to manipulate the financial market.
    • “Overall culture is OK, sloping revenue, globally fine but locally not the same culture”

      Current Employee — Advisory IT Specialist in Bangkok (Thailand). I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 8 years). Pros: Good work/life balance. Nice knowledge sharing (globally). Nice international consulting company. Cons: Locally the and value culture is different. Regional influence sometimes doesn't reach locally. I don't quite agree some of the assignment locally. The benefit is lower than the same level of international company. Regional senior management is nice, but locally I don't think they found the right person. Advice to Management: To deliver the global company culture and value directly, it would be better to use assigned foreigners as directors instead of local people. Measure people by real work and who did it, not by who was the one sending out the email. Better welfare will bring higher talented people. If this situation keeps longer, this company will be difficult to move forward as a high tech company instead, it will become a financial institution to follow the trend and use money to invest only. Even for investment, now things proved that might not be a very wise choice.
    • “Watch out for the PBC”

      Former Employee — Product Manager in Hursley, England (UK). I worked at IBM full-time (More than 10 years). Pros: Some of the greatest people and if you are lucky, great products. Cons: Huge company. Totally impersonal and watch out for the yearly mass ranking; this review is called the PBC. Each manager must give 10% of his direct reports a failing grade. If you get one of these PBC 3's your life is hell. Even if you get off the PBC 3 you'll not get a pay rise for at least 2 years. If you fail to get off the PBC 3 you are out of the door. Advice to Management: Start caring about people again.
    • “Company needs some serious fixing and fast”

      Current Employee — Consultant in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 3 years). Pros: I can work from home AND they give me a Lenovo(R) laptop to use for completing my work. Cons: Technology, processes, administrative overhead, large corporate politics, lack of quality reimbursement of actual business expenses. Advice to Management: Listen to us. There are lots of really smart people here who know how to fix things, but we are held back from doing so because, "that's not the IBM way." There are some bright spots in the organization, but we are bright spots because we break the IBM mold. Senior management sometimes says the right things, but yet it seems that there is not follow through. Fix the help desk. It's self service which means we spend most of our time trying to figure out which version of Java is compatible with which applications so that we can uninstall and reinstall the right versions. Seems like the technology is held together with duct tape and old National Geographic magazines by some guy in the basement at Armonk.
    • “SW Sales”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Flexible hours...not much else. Cons: Unrealistic targets, no motivation, no pay rises, isolated workforce, management with no skills. Advice to Management: Employ experience, stop workforce attrition, stop relying on graduates to backfill critical roles
    • “Software Engineer”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Not much really. A good stepping stone maybe if you're willing to put up with boring work and a poor work/life balance. Cons: Anyone in software is treated as an easily replaceable commodity. So, needless to say there is very little appreciation for contributions. That is, if it's acknowledged at all. The work environment does not foster personal learning or growth. Advice to Management: If you hire fresh graduates, don't be afraid to let them explore other avenues of software engineering like development, testing, support.
    • “Management only focused on numbers”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: The people and peers are excellent. Wish I could say the same of management. Cons: Management focus shifted from taking care of employees to taking care of stock price. Advice to Management: Focus on people and things will be better. Share price and stock market isn't everything.
    • Machine Culture”

      Current Employee — Business Analyst/SME in San Jose, CA I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 5 years).

      Pros: Lots and lots of access to smart people — smart meaning a deep skill set and / or a good understanding of how to maneuver within the company. Lots of opportunity to move to a different job role or geographic location. I would recommend IBM to some people, for others not so much. It really depends on your personality and your approach to work.

      Cons: Machine culture isn't very personable. Employees are treated like machines. The employees who succeed here (and there are many who do) do so because they know how to set boundaries and advocate for themselves and their human-ness aggressively while still being professional. An example of setting a boundary and being a self-advocate would be letting management know that you are not willing to work more than 55 hours a week.

      Advice to Management: None — the culture is what it is. IBM is successful because of its culture which is simply not for everyone. If you feel comfortable here you're probably going to be very successful right along with the company.

    • “Senior IT Architect”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Miami, FL. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 10 years.)

      Pros: Several years back, it was a great company to work for. Lots of flexibility for learning and opportunities. There was no limit on what one could achieve. No limit on which class one could attend. Continuous learning was promoted to better support our clients. It was great to be an IBMer and to work with very, very smart people. Great memories!

      Cons: Frequent layoffs since 2007, almost every quarter employees are laid off and employee selection is not based on performance. It is a numbers game. The IT resource model is being transformed into an off-shore resource model.

      Advice to Management: The off-shore resource strategy is likely to fail. It is like witnessing a train wreck.

    • “Pre-Sales Systems Engineer”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Decent benefit package, good work/life balance, flexible work locations, ability to expand your experience by moving within the organization into different roles. Cons: Stagnant wage increases, benefits less every year, poor morale due to lack of job security. Corporate is too top heavy due to deep cuts in the technology base workforce. Advice to Management: Stop bleeding off your technical workforce. These are the resources that helped build the IBM brand. You're short-sighted focus on shareholder value is killing the company.
    • “Sr, Consultant”

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 3 years).

      Pros:

      • Flexible working conditions are the primary reason I stay.
      • Lots of software to play with.
      • There are some truly intelligent and professional people to work with here.

      Cons:

      • Very short term outlook.
      • Software does not integrate well together.
      • More concern about the contract than customer service.
      • Have to spend significant time appeasing internal system rather than working on anything customer focused.
      • Management seems to care about my billable time, not whether or not I do a good job.
    • “Was amazing, could be again, lost it's way recently”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM (More than 10 years). Pros: Benefits, range of roles, range of markets/clients. Cons: Demotivated staff, work related stress, lack of salary growth for long term staffers. Advice to Management: Invest in people again, motivation has dropped to a point where the best people are leaving.
    • “Availability manager”

      Former Contractor — Service Delivery Manager in Longmont, CO. I worked at IBM as a contractor (More than 8 years). b Large international company with many opportunities. Cons: Low employee retention due to outsourcing. Poor pay scale, unstable work environment for contractors. Advice to Management: Bring jobs back to U.S. And regain place as customer service leader.
    • “Managing Consultant/Project Manager”

      Former Employee — Senior Project Manager in Beaverton, OR. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 5 years). Pros: Opportunities to learn and build experiences, worked with great companies as a consultant, travel perks. Cons: Metrics-based evaluations; utilization is all that matters. IBM no longer builds the relationship with their clients; it all about billing them more. Management is disconnected and there are too many layers. Expect a 3-5 year work window with IBM; learn as much as you can with them as your next employer will reap the benefits of your skillset. Advice to Management: Reevaluate the Blue Page manager format; there are no trimester reviews.
    • “Wide global coverage but limited in scope.”

      Former Employee — Managing Consultant in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM full-time (More than 8 years). Pros: Global organization makes it easy to take on projects from anywhere in the world. Good for people looking to get into analytics, cloud, big data, artificial intelligence. Cons: Not people friendly, limited benefits, limited training, mediocre projects, diminishing reputation, subpar pay, short sighted. Advice to Management: Stop financially engineering the books to keep up with Wall Street demands, invest in the company and its people for long term success.
    • “Senior Managing Consultant”

      Current Employee — Senior Managing Consultant in Boston, MA. Pros: Lots of opportunities to self learn. Cons: Most of the GBS partners only concerned with meeting their own profitability; would not even hesitate to throw their moms under the bus and you are just a number. Many partners lack basic ethics (even though HR blares out on ethics year after year). Advice to Management: Take out the deadweights based on merit and performance; do not keep rewarding your cronies and surrounding yourself with mediocre performers
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 04/17/15:

    Seven people from the Watson group just recently left IBM to join Dave Ferrucci at Bridgewater Associates. Ferrucci is leading a new AI unit according to this: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-27/bridgewater-is-said-to-start-artificial-intelligence-team -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/18/15:

    David Ferrucci was made an IBM Fellow May 2011. Sometime in 2012 he was "escorted out the door" (due to a disagreement with how he felt WATSON should move forward. He then joined Bridgewater Associates. -Anon-
  • Comment 04/18/15:

    "I'm confused. Why would your counselor be surprised that you got FHA? From what I'm reading, with >15 years and age 55, you were eligible. What's this 6-month limit you are talking about?"

    I was RA'd at 54 years 7 months old, with 18 years of service. I was given a "Bridge to Retirement" that would take me to my 55th birthday. That timeframe to 55 years old was within my 6 months of severance pay window. The IBM retirement counselor from Fidelity told me not to expect the FHA, I asked why he did not believe I would get the FHA and he was vague and avoided a direct answer.

    The FHA was granted when I retired August 2015 at 55 years old. The FHA can only be used for IBM healthcare now or in the future; you have to be able to prove coverage at all time until you use the FHA for IBM healthcare. I can get cheaper insurance with similar coverage through the ACA portal. I estimate my IBM FHA will cover about 9 months for 2 people. -BobK-

  • Comment 04/20/15:

    While there are multiple reasons why the Watson people chose to leave, I can assure that none of the reasons touched on anything that a union could influence. Can someone please articulate why experts in machine learning, NLP, and other high-end analytics would want to have union representation at IBM? -Researcher-

    Alliance reply: Why would those skill sets you mentioned want a union? For a variety of reasons. First a union gives you a voice at IBM and a seat at the table. You as an individual IBM worker do not have that.

    With a union terms and conditions of work, no matter what your skill set, must be negotiated between the workers represented by the union and the company.

    There are many IBMers that would like to see a union negotiate a more just system than the PBC for example.

    Resource Actions, (if needed, and they would have to be negotiated as well) would not be the brutal, non-caring actions that they are now.

    There are union members in Europe that work in research and we have Alliance members in research, that DO want union representation.

    At non-union IBM:

    • You are an "employee at will." Your employer can discipline or fire you at any time for any reason; you have no recourse.
    • "Open door" policy means the employer will listen to you...and then do whatever he or she wants.
    • Employer determines wages, benefits and other terms and conditions of work. If you're not satisfied, your only option is to get another job.
    • Wages, benefits and other terms and conditions can be changed by the employer at any time.
    • Hiring and promotion is up to the discretion of the employer.

    In a union workplace:

    • Discipline, up to and including discharge is subject to a grievance procedure and binding arbitration, depending on the terms of your contract.
    • Contract negotiations require both sides, labor and management, to listen and reach reasonable compromises acceptable to both sides.
    • Wages, benefits and working conditions are negotiated. If you are not satisfied, you can work for changes during contract negotiations.
    • Neither labor nor management can make unilateral changes to a signed contract. If modifications are necessary during the life of a contract, both sides must agree.
    • Hiring and promotion is covered by contract. Seniority and other factors can be written into the agreement.
  • Comment 04/20/15:

    In typical IBM fashion, my separation date comes and goes. No exit interview or documents. I send emails and SameTIme pings to the person who I now am under on blewpages the Monday after. No replies. I reach out to former first-line manager and Sha-Zam! Emails come with the needed paper work from the exit manager.

    Now here's the kicker. I asked why I had to chase him down for this; no answer. So I try to contact the next 2 levels up, guess what!? The calls don't go through! I call the service center and ask why I had to chase this down; got a circular answer that the final check wasn't approved. I told the person that it wouldn't be approved until I sent back the laptop. I asked why I had to go chase this down, again same answer. I politely hung up the phone after declining to speak to a supervisor. So, here is my question, if I hadn't chased this down, when would I have gotten it? -On Toppa That-

  • Comment 04/20/15:

    Just announced in the earnings call: 2Q "rebalancing" will be about the same as 1Q. It's getting to the point where IBM should stop reporting these as extraordinary events and reflect its true nature as an on-going expense line. -Anon-
  • Comment 04/20/15:

    Today was my last day at RTP SWG. It was an RA although there are a lot of "retirements" scheduled for today. Just wanted to post, to let others know there are Resource Actions going on, despite what you may hear otherwise. Walked out the door for the last time, and the sun broke thru the clouds. A good sign. -Happy to be RAed-
  • Comment 04/20/15:

    Yorktown OSHA 300 form: 1511 employees in 2014. -none-
  • Comment 04/20/15:

    Yorktown 1511 employees?! When I started there 30 years ago there were over 3000. They were working on the final three-floor six-aisle addition. Today's number includes about 500 from when they shut down the Hawthorne lab off shoot. For which IBM asked the town of New Castle for and received a tax break for "creating 500 jobs", never mentioning it was actually a consolidation. No wonder the parking lot is half full. Back in the day the auxiliary parking lot by the basketball court was added. People still had to park on the service road because there were not enough spots. -ANON-
  • Comment 04/20/15:

    GinniR, BrunoDL, SteveM, ColleenA, to name a few...do you not feel at all responsible for missing 12 quarters of revenue targets, the dying moral within the corporation and the hurting of the employees? What repercussions have you had?

    What has been your PBC's for the last 3 years? Should you not have been on a PIP after the first four quarters of missing revenue, followed by written warnings for the next four and then dismissal for the last four?

    I miss my targets for 4 quarters then I get a PBC 3 with a PIP; then within 60 days I am on a warning if I miss the PIP and then within 60 further days am out the door!

    You my friends are still around after missing twelve quarters and getting bonuses and pay rises! How is this fair? You blame the troops, you push them to breaking point, you take away all the benefits and support and they pay the price of your failed strategies.

    THINK and be on your way. Go start your own business and see how far you get with your failed strategies. If you understand any of the wisdom or the business acumen of the founder of IBM then you would do the honourable act of resigning before you send the company into history books and make it into an MBA case study! -Anonymous-

  • Comment 04/21/15:

    Southbury, CT OSHA 300 form lists 1315 employees as of 1/2014. No idea how they came up with that number, I don't see nearly that many on-site. -Southbury-
  • Comment 04/21/15:

    Bob K - you wrote: "I estimate my IBM FHA will cover about 9 months for 2 people." Mind if I ask the stated value of your FHA, and what the cost (say, per month) for two people is? I'm not RA'd (yet) and am in a similar timeline situation that you were in. Thanks. -anonymous-
  • Comment 04/21/15:

    It's amazing how many analyst reports on the 1Q earnings buy the smoke and mirrors, versus those that see through the deception IBM has been putting out there. The Fortune article is right on - they smell something rotten in Denmark:
    "While IBM said it’s cloud business brought in $3.8 billion in the first quarter this year as opposed to the $2.3 billion in year-ago period, it’s still difficult to pin down just what that figure means since IBM did not lay out the specifics in its earnings statement. Some analysts believe that figure might include older software partnerships that IBM now counts as being part of its cloud business as a way to puff up its cloud revenue numbers." https://fortune.com/2015/04/20/ibm-cloud-computing-earnings/

    Bottom line, earnings are down *again*. The ship is sinking; not turning around. The 'positive aspects' are all spin and lies; those of us seeing the apple from inside know this. Nobody is buying our cloud hodgepodge; the numbers are all internal and sales of other 'things'. Another $280 million for 'restructuring'. Those of you who have not yet joined the Alliance would be well served to spend a few bucks now. They are fighting for us, our only advocate, and it may be your turn. I'm sure the RA's slated for this quarter will begin soon now that the results are out. -ReadTheTeaLeaves-

  • Comment 04/21/15:

    I reckon David Ferrucci didn't have to sign a "non compete clause" that many IBM resources did when they were hired on. Maybe that is the only reward of making it to IBM Fellow these days? -Anonymous-
  • Comment 04/21/15:

    From the 1Q15 investor earnings call:
    "And we're continuing to rebalance our workforce, and this quarter, we took a charge of $280 million, but that's down $580 million year-to-year, so with a lower level of workforce rebalancing charges, drove another seven points of decline.

    As we continue the transformation of our business, I'd expect a similar level of workforce rebalancing next quarter, which will impact our year-to-year profit performance."

    A transcript here: http://seekingalpha.com/article/3084026-international-business-machines-ibm-q1-2015-results-earnings-call transcript?page=1 -Anonymous-

  • Comment 04/21/15:

    I looked up the requirements for the OSHA 300 form that has to be posted. It only needs to be posted, according to the law from February to April 30 each year. It looks like information is still needed from most of RTP and Littleton, MA. People working at those sites need to report back in the 2014 numbers by the end of the month or IBM might take them down after April 30. -longtimebeemer-
  • Comment 04/21/15:

    IBM still makes claims on David Ferrucci even though they fired him. http://www-03.ibm.com/innovation/us/watson/research-team/dr-david-ferrucci.html -anon-
  • Comment 04/22/15:

    -longtimebeemer- IBM puts this information generally in out-of-the-way locations or places where people don't stop and look and also low foot traffic areas. Sure they obfuscate and try their very best to hide the site occupancy numbers. I wonder who actually verifies that IBM is telling the truth and not inflating the site population numbers? OSHA? -I'veBeenMislead-
  • Comment 04/22/15:

    -member- Wouldn't it be something if the Senator goes to the IBM Stockholder's Meeting and confronts Ginni on it? But I reckon Sen. Grassley will eventually get a reply similar to this from IBM Communications and not from Ginni (she is way to busy for these things!):
    "IBM continually rebalances it's workforce to meet the ever changing needs of it's customers and the demands of servicing and supporting new technologies such as the cloud and analytics on a global scale. IBM remains committed to Dubuque and Iowa and that is apparent from the jobs that still exist there"

    It will be the usual, typical IBM smug drivel wordspeak. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 04/22/15:

    Keep an eye out for 'Project Agile'. If the rumor is true, this is apparently an admission that LEAN has been a big failure for the company since IBM's version of LEAN wasn't really LEAN at all but instead just a means to fire mature market employees. The project is supposed to 'refocus' on the employee as the bread and butter for success. Sadly if true, it is about 15 years too late. -misty-
  • Comment 04/22/15:

    From an IBM response to Grassley's letter:
    "In order to serve the evolving technology needs of clients in high-growth areas such as cloud computing, data analytics, mobile, social and security, IBM and the tech industry must utilize a global talent pool. Today, there simply are not enough American workers with expertise in these areas to fill the thousands of U.S. job openings IBM currently has available," Roswell stated.

    What incredible baloney. They are laying off the most experienced people and only hiring young and cheap. This has nothing to do with "expertise in this area." I think he meant "there are simply not enough American workers willing to take a big pay cut so that we can keep our EPS deceptively high." -IBM_Values-

    Alliance Reply: Your last line is spot on. Bingo. This is the truth. This needs to be repeated more than the LIE about "lack of skilled American workers".

  • Comment 04/22/15:

    IBM will find any way to resource action US IBM employees. This is just another ruthless way to get rid of loyal IBM employees. IBM needs a union to stop this corrupt and unjust practice. The person who should be resourced is Rometty. How does she still have her executive position as CEO with 12 quarters of declining revenue, yet makes millions in salary and bonuses? What a greedy and corrupt organization.

    In a correspondence dated April 16, Grassley asked IBM Chairwoman, President and CEO Virginia Rometty for an explanation of IBM's apparent plans to "hire thousands of H-1B visa holders." Grassley's concern arose when IBM petitioned for 5,800 H-1B visas on April 1. "It has come to my attention that IBM will be laying off employees in the United States this year while at the same time apparently seeking to hire thousands of H-1B visa holders," the letter states.

    Get rid of the entire corrupt and greedy executive team, starting with Rometty. These executives' teams (Lou, Sam, Ginny) have done lasting harm to the US IBM employee. Join the union -ANA-

  • Comment 04/22/15:

    -none-: "Bridgewater has hired half a dozen people for Ferrucci's team, but it doesn't say they're from IBM. Can anyone confirm the team is actually coming from IBM?" I work at Research and know this is accurate. -drummercat-
  • Comment 04/23/15:

    This was sent to Austin site - did other sites get this as well?

    Dear Fellow IBMer:

    As Texas SSE (Kevin Nowka) and Austin SLE (Dexter Henderson), we were proud to represent the Austin site and IBMers throughout Texas at IBM's annual Fly-In to Washington, D.C. last week. We participated in a day of briefings on IBM's key priority policy issues and then spent all of last Tuesday visiting several Texas U.S. House members and staffers for our two U.S. Senators. It's always enlightening to visit these elected leaders in their offices and remind them about IBM's leadership in technology in improving our world.

    This week, Congress is poised to consider significant legislation called Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, that will facilitate passage of critical trade agreements that are vital to global companies such as IBM.

    The two of us are writing the House members and both Senators who represent us. For the first time, IBM is inviting any IBMer to help this effort by contacting your U.S. House member and both U.S. Senators from Texas to urge passage of TPA through the IBM Policy/grassroots advocacy tool. The U.S. Senate plans to take up TPA on Wednesday, April 22, so letters from you will be very helpful and timely.

    We're here to make this process easy. The IBM Policy/grassroots advocacy tool has been renamed "ibmpolicy.com". It now also includes links to IBM's positions on public policy and legislative priorities, as well as links to current activity on IBM's Policy twitter handle @IBMPolicy. There is a map to find the Members of Congress who represent you (if you don't already know), and a suggested text on TPA that may be customized. Indeed, based on your experience with data, working with customers in other countries and/or other perspectives, the more you can focus the letter, the more relevant and unique it will be for the congressional staffers to inform their bosses about constituent opinions. The TPA legislation includes provisions that will ensure the free flow of data across borders in an increasingly digital economy. We also need to prevent barriers to access data as some countries seek to mandate that data be kept within their borders - this so-called forced localization strikes at the heart of IBM's view of data as the new natural resource".

    -Anonymous-

  • Comment 04/23/15:

    Alliance is correct about the "American workers' lack of skills" LIE. This keeps coming out of IBM's collective executive mouth, to keep workers divided and against each other at their jobs. Alliance has been fighting this LIE for well over 15 years. I know, because I'm a dues paying member for most of that time. But what really disturbs me is how IBMers of all ages, FALL for this LIE year after year until they lose their jobs and finally see what's behind door #3...a booby prize of a bucket of BS.

    IBMers: You will NEVER defeat IBM's LIE about your "lack of skills" as long as you are divided against each other. NEVER. How can you really unite and fight back in big strong numbers? Organize a union. Alliance is providing that very opportunity to join together. Don't believe that? Then you must believe that door #3's booby prize can be used for something...like fertilizing your lawn. That's a win/win for you isn't it? I see your head shaking "no". So join the Alliance and skip the booby prize bucket of BS. Fight back. There's never been a better time for a union. -no more lying-

  • Comment 04/23/15:

    "We're the IBM company" LOL made my day. I am aware of the demos she and John Kelly were given. Glorified dog-n-pony shows. Glitzy WOW front ends behind the screen heck of a lot more work is required. Some of the security things she was shown look so cool, they can show blades of grass growing (attack wise).

    An STSM colleague who left last year in disgust used to point out failures of the CIO and Security Services organizations, using his words after he crashed or broke their deliverables time after time. "I'm standing in front of you screaming in your face, beating you over the head with a 2x4 and you say you didn't see it?"

    There is something to be said for what someone mentioned a few months ago about Armonk using Berlin 1945 bunker mentality claiming super weapons and imaginary armies will save them. -anon-

  • Comment 04/23/15:

    It's good that Ginni got just a small taste of what her company is really like when there were technical problems on her call/webcast. Like Robert LeBlanc in 2014 when his demo in front of a huge keynote audience at the Impact conference didn't work; how embarrassing. The top execs get shielded from that reality by their admins.

    These essential internal calls and webcasts are *always* a Dilbert-esque comedy show. People don't mute, and it's clear most are distracted with toilets flushing, dogs barking, kids crying, background home conversations, TVs, etc.

    The audio and/or video don't work properly; they can't scale if more than a few people join, etc. Leaves you thinking, where is all this great technology we brag about? Surely not working in practice. Then there are the people problems. I'm on a call right now for 1Q results.

    The execs on here are a comedy show. They are all clearly reading from a script, which speaks to their communications skills and further lowers morale of the drones listening, and half of them can never figure out how to unmute themselves or do the slideshow thing.

    Pretty sad for a technology company, but then we're left now with the unmotivated or not-so-bright individuals who would actually stick it out on a sinking ship like this. Amazing how much red there is on the charts from all of the product areas and geographies that missed their 1Q targets so badly. Join the Alliance so that we can continue to fight to change the company and the culture and get these bozos out of here with some younger, fresh, motivated and motivational leaders in IBM, before it goes the way of Kodak and so many others. -LowMorale-

  • Comment 04/23/15:

    The "lack of skills" in the USA is LIE. The LOSS of technical skills and support within the company due to the frequent resource actions is NOT A LIE. Here is some evidence to support this claim. For those of us who have retired there is an obvious loss of support for things as simple as the websites mentioned in the document named "Your Roadmap to Retirement." We are supposed to find benefits available to us at a website that is mentioned several times in the aforementioned resource.

    Try finding www.ibm.com/afteribm/us and you will be greeted with a 404 error. It was always available to me in the past and suddenly, this year, I can no longer access the site. However, if I go to another site mentioned in the same document, I can retrieve the correct pages. This site is http://www-03.ibm.com/employment/us/benefits/afteribm/ Obviously some important maintenance support for IBM web pages has been lost.

    Next try to find the IBM Club pages mentioned in the same document. On some days they are not available in a legible format; today they seem to be there, however not updated for months in some cases. Even some of the links are no longer available, like http://www.rjcancilla.com/IBMClub.

    The point I am making with these somewhat trivial examples is that things are falling apart even on simple matters that should be extremely easy to maintain and without high-level skills. Heck! IBM Management would not recognize a valuable skill unless it was nepotism and sychophantism. It is all very disheartening. I am just hoping that all of you have VOTED CONTRARY to anything the IBM BOD has suggested prior to the stockholder meeting on April 28, 2015 so that we can make a statement about the disarray in the company. -- SKILLED but RA'D DUE TO AGE and UNSKILLED MANAGEMENT --

  • Comment 04/23/15:

    Ginni Rometty-led IBM has reported a 12% fall to $19.6 billion in Q1 revenue as the technology company continues to shed unprofitable businesses to focus on cloud-computing initiatives. IBM's revenue has been shrinking for three years now. Net income fell slightly to $2.3 billion How can this person still be CEO with these kind of numbers. TJ Watson Sr and JR would be rolling over in their graves if they saw this drop in revenue. There will be more RAs in IBM so this useless and incompetent CEO can make the numbers. Join the union. -ANA-
  • Comment 04/23/15:

    IBM continues to lay off the most experienced and SENIOR people and only hiring younger and cheaper. It has nothing to do with "expertise" in a specific technology or expertise. My opinion is that the IBM CEO and her top 100 chiefs are not willing to take a big pay cut and NOT accept bonuses while good and loyal senior people are cut.

    Why is the CEO and top execs rewarded and given double digit pay raises (remember 16% to CEO and 3.6 MILLION DOLLARS Bonus) for horrible leadership and driving the company in a spiral downward trend! How many chances do employees get if they don't produce results?

    Senior employees were promised a lot back in the 70s and 80s and one of the reasons we joined IBM vs other companies. To lay off senior-aged employees and reduce retiree benefits just because we make a fair salary after 25+ years is not right, nor fair, especially when executives are kept on with their huge pays, bonuses and stock options! I hope every member can get a minimum of five employees still remaining to see the light and join the ALLIANCE! -GladtobeGone-

  • Comment 04/24/15:

    -LowMorale- AMEN! You hit it right on! I knew a band 10 Senior IT Specialist that had to update Excel spreadsheets all day for their second line since both the second line and FLM had no clue how to update data cells. I reckon they only understood how to open Lotus Notes mail, forward notes and use Sametime. What a waste of time for someone with technical talents. Many managers in IBM are just like Mr. Pointy Hair Dilbert Manager. At least Wally in Dilbert would say he knows how but is not in his job description and is not an engineering endeavor he would aspire to do so the dumpee has to dump it elsewhere!
  • Comment 04/24/15:

    IBM falls behind in another very important, hot technology area - the 2015 Gartner Report on API Management has IBM dropped out of the leaders quadrant. This is a very huge fail on the part of IBM, to be dropped out of the leader quadrant in this area. Nobody is buying what IBM is selling anyway. APIs are as hot as cloud, which is why other companies have wisely invested in it and surpassed IBM, which doesn't invest in its products or new technology and spends all of its money on financial engineering, buying back its own stock, and rewarding executives who have failed for three years running with massive compensation while the rest of us try to pay our bills and worry about our jobs daily. This kind of greed and abuse is why unions were born, please fight back and join! Let's get re-invigorated and start moving that thermometer again, please someone get us off of 62 and sign up. It's a good thing, they are fighting for us, the only ones that have our backs. -ShipGoingDown-
  • Comment 04/24/15:

    @Anonymous "This was sent to Austin site - did other sites get this as well? 'Dear Fellow IBMer: As Texas SSE (Kevin Nowka) and Austin SLE (Dexter Henderson)..."

    Yes it was sent to Washington Metropolitan Area also. Sender was Dion Rudnicki. A few things jump out about this notice. Executive management is:

    • completely oblivious to the low morale their actions are causing, or
    • they aren't oblivious, but just plain stupid to think any non-manager would support IBM management in their drive to move IBM work off-shore (not explicitly stated in this management request, but reading between the lines leads to this conclusion), or
    • all of the above. IBM management has decided to set a new low in morality as well as redefine the word "chutzpah". Definition of chutzpah is unmitigated gall. Personally I intend to write my congressmen taking the exact opposite positions to what is being pushed by IBM management. I urge everyone else to do the same.
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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