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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—Weeks Ending July 11 and 18, 2015

  • The Economic Times (India):

    Global IT major IBM CEO Ginni Rometty calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Excerpts: "Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM, calling on PM Shri @narendramodi," Press Information Bureau tweeted with picture of Modi and Rometty without disclosing details of discussions between them.

    Rometty is on a three-day visit to India and has met senior leaders in the government as well as from the industry.

    IBM CEO has expressed optimism for India citing strong GDP growth, expanding base of startups and growing trend of new technologies like cloud in the country. "I say this century, the 21st century is Indian century... I am very optimistic about the tomorrow ahead and this is a fact-based optimism," she said at an event on Tuesday.

  • Huffington Post:

    IBM Just Made Life A Little Easier For Working Mothers. By Andrew Lord and Emily Peck. Excerpts: It's hard enough going back to work as a nursing mother, making sure to hook yourself up to a breast pump several times a day, hoping you extract enough liquid gold for your baby. Traveling for work while nursing takes the experience to a whole new fraught level. Most airports still do not have any designated places to nurse or pump; you may not even be allowed to bring your breast milk through security. And if your flight is longer than a couple of hours, do you pump on the plane?

    A lot of women simply give up on traveling until their baby is weaned.

    IBM's aiming to make all of this a little easier. On Monday, the tech giant announced that it will ship working moms' breast milk back home when they're on business trips. It will be interesting to see if other employers follow IBM's lead.

  • Washington Post:

    Patents are a terrible way to measure innovation. By Dominic Basulto. Excerpts: On the surface, patents provide an easy way to measure innovation. After all, patent statistics are readily available, they are objective and they are quantifiable, so you can quickly tally up the number of patents by company, city or nation, and immediately have a sense of how innovation varies by geography, industry or even time period. It’s no wonder patent data is often used as a leading indicator of innovation.

    But just how strong is the link between patent activity and innovation in an era of exponential technological progress?

    Just comparing the absolute number of patents on a company-by-company basis is misleading, to say the least. For example, consider the number of patents that companies have received thus far in 2015. According to this metric, IBM and Samsung are far and away the most innovative companies in the world, with 3,059 and 3,052 patents, respectively. Google ranks number five, with 1,083 patents, just ahead of Microsoft (No. 7), with 1,037. Apple, typically considered one of the most innovative companies in the world, comes in at only No. 11, with 780 patents. Facebook doesn’t even crack the top 40. ...

    However, just because you have a lot of highly cited patents (and not just a bunch of junky, frivolous patents) doesn’t immediately mean that you can create valuable products from those patents. If you think about innovation as a process from first invention to final product, then patents only measure the front-end of that process — the actual invention — rather than the back-end of innovation: the launch of the commercialized product. If your research and development system is broken, you may be front-loading the system with a lot of patents, without very much to show for it.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Fantastic people and technology but heavy bureaucracy and poor compensaton packages”

      Current Employee — Various.


      • The number one priority is meeting Revenue, Cost and Profit targets. The number two priority is meeting Revenue, Cost and Profit targets. The number three priority is meeting Revenue, Cost and Profit targets.
      • Great opportunity to work with some of the most recognized brands on the planet...if you are in the right role.
      • Industry leading research — think Watson Unrivaled technology product suite with much breadth and depth.
      • Fantastic people who in spite of (not because of) the Corporation still give the very best to clients.
      • It is much much harder than it use to be...but can change career without leaving the company.
      • Working from home.
      • The company is over 100 years old so it knows a thing or two about re-inventing itself to be relevant to the marketplace. So if you are flexible and know how to do politics well then you can prosper.
      • Great brand to have on your CV.


      • The number one priority is meeting Revenue, Cost and Profit targets. The number two priority is meeting Revenue, Cost and Profit targets. The number three priority is meeting Revenue, Cost and Profit targets.
      • The constant internal fight to ensure that clients get the very best IBM experience
      • Poor compensation packages. Just read the other reviews and you will realize that IBM pays just under average the going market rate.
      • The roles that are valued involve much traveling and being away from home at least 3/4 nights a week.
      • A behemoth of an organization which is extremely bureaucratic with absolutely NO trust given by the Executive and Senior management team to the foot soldiers (first line managers and team leaders).
      • If you don't work in one of the "sexy' Business Units then getting investment in creating new offerings that match client needs is a fight ....add to that list, getting investment in quality skills enablement and education for staff (not just self learning generic online courses).
      • No investment in IT tools to run its own operations — the whole company is run on Microsoft spreadsheets as none of the systems link.
      • If you are not plugged into the old boys network, then progression to exec roles is out of the question.
      • Appraisal system is based on the subjective views of your manager and their peers (groupthink). When linked to the fact that each manager is given annual guidance of awarding a low appraisal rating to at least 10% of their team, then disruptive behaviour can manifest, which does not benefit IBM or clients.
      • Expectation to work long work hours; especially if you want to deliver over and above in order to get a great appraisal rating at the end of the year.

      Advice to Management: If I was brought in as an external consultant to review IBM, here is what my recommendations to Ginni and team would say:

      • IBM is a people selling business so nurture your both your front-end and back-office staff as without them clients will not keep signing contracts with IBM.
      • Move away from the superstar culture which says only 10% of the population are doing exceptional things for the company. Remember the 10% are standing on the shoulders of the 90%.
      • Disrupt empire building and short-termism by rooting out the old guard in the Executive, Senior and Middle management team.
      • The CEO's vision will never be realized unless someone is brave enough to tackle the politics and clean house.
      • Encourage more entrepreneurialism and risk taking at all levels of the organization.
      • Stop the micro managing from the top and trust your foot soldiers (first-line managers and team leaders) more.
      • Give each first-line manager realistic annual P&L targets but give them the freedom to make the right decisions to meet those targets.
    • “Great company, lack of leadership”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Great company that is as caring as a multinational conglomerate can be; strong ethical moral core; good place to work if you are happy to be steady and unambitious; home working commonplace; opportunity to contribute to mega-projects and leading edge technology; high degree of personal autonomy. Cons: Difficult work environment for ambitious people — due to lack of job role rotations, promotions or salary increase; tendency to pigeon-hole staff; perpetual headcount reduction programme makes internal moves very difficult; no training (unless internally provided free online); general staff lethargy can make cross-divisional team working difficult; inherent drive to apply production line style process to everything. Advice to Management: You cannot cut your way to growth. Forget the innovative financial engineering and begin investing in people and give them incentives to perform .
    • “Good place to build experience and move on”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Hursley, England (UK). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Flexible employer, large organisation with lots of different roles, good location (Hursley), worked with some very talented folk, clubhouse, opportunity to get a good brand on your CV (just don't spend too long there).

      Cons: Focus in recent times has been on cost cutting, doing more with less. Flexibility is great but only if it works both ways. (Nowadays it is more about what you as an employee are willing to give up). Education budgets slashed. Professional development is down to you as an individual with limited support from the organisation. High focus on differentiating contributions of employees which demotivates the majority of the staff. Bonuses are a rarity and not worth writing home about. Salaries are below market rate (need to negotiate well on entry as raises are small and few and far between). Pizza evenings are used as a means for cheap labour out of hours to get more work done and meet insane deadlines, and deliver rubbish quality (as a result of cost cutting).

      Advice to Management: Ditch the PBC system. Motivate employees by enabling all of them to feel a part of the success of the organisation and not just the top ones. Respect employees' work life balance. Offer competitive salaries.

    • “Vague values and poor execution”

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant in Raleigh, NC. Pros: Many potential paths for career development are highlighted, Good high-level PR and marketing. Generally good folks in the trenches. Cons: Zero to no support for any innovation from employees despite plenty of management rhetoric about vitality. Companies purchased for this are bled dry. Direction changes quarterly based on poor financial results, latest reorganization, and incessant rise of next "executive resource". Once dominant sales culture has been replaced by finance and HR. Advice to Management: Define target markets based on what inspires customers and employees, then execute toward these versus trying to be all things to all people and responding to "trend of the day"
    • “Not a pleasant place to work”

      Current Employee — Senior Software Engineer in Poughkeepsie, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Flexible work schedule including work from home as needed/desired.

      Cons: Management at all levels renege on their promises, from earned retirement pensions and medical benefits to earned comp time. For example, at 2nd line management direct request I put in over 400 hours of unpaid overtime over a 3-month period to help get a hot project out and when I went to use the banked time after project completion, per prior management agreement, management denied it and allowed me to have NOTHING. Working 60+ hours per week, my raises average 1.1% for the last 4 years. Insufficient return on investment for this job.

      Advice to Management: Keep your critical employees happy or you'll find no one with sufficient skill left to keep the company afloat. A happy employee makes for a productive employee. An unhappy employee makes for poor quality of service. Two of IBM's official policies are: 1) hiar only the best employees, 2) pay average of the job market. Does this make sense? Why would the best employees want to work for average wages?

    • “No respect for the employee at IBM anymore...Thanks Sam!”

      Former Employee — Marketing Manager in Austin, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Work from home is the only positive that I can think of. Cons: Everything else: Low pay and raises are very rare. Appraisal system is terrible and only rewards people who maintain "status quo". If you want to be innovative in any area except R&D then do NOT apply. Advice to Management: Kill the PBC process. Fire Ogilvy and get some fresh new ideas for marketing. Bring back "respect for the employees". Happy employees lead to happier customers.
    • “It´s easy to get fired even you are a great employee.”

      Current Employee — Account Manager in Mexico City (Mexico). I have been working at IBM (less than a year). Pros: Great working environment, starting salary is very good. Cons: Not many positions to grow; they fire a lot of people each 6 months and never replace the people that are fired. Advice to Management: Focus more on your employees.
    • “Program Manager”

      Current Employee — Senior Program Manager in Minneapolis, MN. I have been working at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Many opportunities to change positions and grow. Cons: Bonuses and awards are part of your annual objectives and, ultimately after the review period, all 'increases' or bonuses are 'put on hold' for a year. (This happened the last three years). No incentive to do great work.
    • “Not the same IBM...”

      Current Employee — Middleware Administrator in Columbia, MO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Flexible work schedule. Work with great people. Great place for someone first getting in to IT. Cons: It can get stressful, especially when you are left to deal with the customer, when it is supposed to be the job of the account team. They hire anyone who has touched a computer. I have been with IBM for 2 years. never saw a promotion, can't apply for other jobs in IBM because I'm a critical player in my team, but people who have to come to me for help on a constant basis are favored for promotions. For a company that thrives off of innovation, whenever I innovated something, it took a long time, and a lot of reaching out to dead ends to bring my ideas and innovations to life. It is definitely a company that looks better from the outside than it does from the inside. Advice to Management: Instead of letting go of the people who perform the work that generates your revenue, get rid of the multiple managers that are not needed. There seems to be a manager for every person. Who needs that much management?
    • “Never Work for IBM!!!”

      Current Employee — Senior Sales Engineer in Dallas, TX. I have been working at IBM (more than a year). Pros: Softlayer was a great company until IBM arrived. Cons: IBM is the most dishonest and unethical company I have ever worked for run by an inbred robot management who will lay you off / fire you without warning after fabricating lies. Stay very far away; it’s a dinosaur in a freefall and hemorrhaging money. Yes a 100-year old company can go out of business and this one is on its way. Read the Wall Street reviews; no profits in 10 quarters. Advice to Management: Fire all the management and start over!
    • “IBM review”

      Former Employee — Senior Software Engineer in Austin, TX. I worked at IBM (more than 10 years. Pros: For those interested in trying different things, lateral movement is still possible, though not as much as it used to be. As a large company, IBM has lots of resources. Cons: You are worked hard without much credit/compensation. If you're not in sales or marketing, you are treated merely as a fungible resource. It's a somewhat stodgy company. They try to do modern things, like agile development, but that philosophy doesn't go very high up the management chain. Advice to Management: Learn to treat people as people, not as resources. When laying off people, be honest about it rather than play games such as changing how reviews are managed without telling the employees.
    • “Neanderthal Management”

      Former Employee — Senior IT Architect in Dallas, TX. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Being in management, you can survive off of others work and if eyes are all of a sudden on you, you can take one from your staff and slawter them to show how you are being efficient. Cons: Company is lost and run by a bunch of corrupt management. They are in place because they have learned how to manipulate the system to survive as they know that if they lost their job no one would hire them. Advice to Management: Fire yourselves! Oh, that's not going to happen. I guess IBM is just screwed.
    • “Not the best, but not the worst for hardware engineers.”

      Current Employee — Systems Service Representative in Ashburn, VA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Gas mileage reimbursement makes a nice bonus to base pay. Cons: They're cheap. They want to pay less than average. Expect you to work overtime or commission to make any real money. HR is outsourced to India and most functions to run the company are very impersonal. Advice to Management: Treat employees like real people, instead of blue collar factory workers.
    • “Changing, shrinking US work force”

      Former Employee — Unix/Linux Systems Administrator in Bartlett, IL I worked at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Work from home. Good coworkers with experience. Cons: May have to train your replacement offshore replacement. Declining benefits package. Good coworkers with experience losing jobs.
    • “Start your career here, but then move on”

      Current Employee — Sales Leader in New York, NY.

      Pros: Tremendous opportunity to learn about everything from technology to how industries work in great detail; especially for marketeers, an inside view of the finest marketing machine in the world and how one company can create a market for something by articulating a new problem or a problem differently.

      Cons: Virtual employment is hard for millennials. You have to work to stay in touch with your co-workers. Loyalty only works one way...there are regular 'redistributions' of the workforce. And many are packaged out at one time. Get used to it. If you start your career at IBM, you have tremendous value elsewhere over time. IBM's salesmanship at field level has taken a big hit over the last decade—the management keeps things far more tactical and short-term than strategic. This has undermined customer account continuity and customer satisfaction. The finest sales school in the biz is no longer.

      Advice to Management: Develop a policy towards employee development that is not self service and goes above first line management (even if it is, truthfully, hard to hear.) Fix the disconnect between the 1-3-9 at the executive level and the field and insure that there is alignment between the way IBM treats customers and the way it treats IBMers. Remove or retrain first line and second line in people management skills.

    • “IBM will be the next Titanic”

      Former Employee — Smarter Workforce in New York, NY. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: The name on your resume — although that name is getting more and more tainted with all the bad news in the press about IBM. Strong work from home culture. Cons: Paralysed by process. IBM couldn't care less about their clients or their employees. Poor pay. Don't even dream about getting a pay rise or bonus. No performance management or manager check-ins to get feedback. Employee engagement data so poor that they don't share it with colleagues. If you do go into the office, you're lucky if they provide cups for water and paper towels! And, buy your own coffee. And dish soap for the pantry! Advice to Management: Listen to your employees and your clients and keep up with the times!
    • “IBM PM”

      Current Employee — Project manager in Amsterdam (Netherlands,) I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Groot internationaal bedrijf met veel doorgroei mogelijkheden, verticaal en horizontaal. Echte technologische kennis firma met veel aandacht voor voortdurende innovatie. Combinatie van SW HW en services in 1 firma. Translation, courtesy of Google Translate: Large international company with great growth potential, vertically and horizontally. Real technological knowledge company with great attention to continuous innovation. Combination of SW and HW services in one company.

      Cons: Gemiddeld huidig salaris -in tegenstelling tot 10-15 jaar geleden- is aan de lage kant. Kostenbesparingen en excel spread sheets staan hoog op de agenda. Korte termijn wint het te veel van lange termijn; kwantiteit vs kwaliteit. Translation: Average current salary in contrast to 10-15 years ago, on the low side. Cost savings and Excel spreadsheets are high on the agenda. Short-term wins a lot of long term; quantity vs. quality.

      Advice to Management: Maak zsm een einde aan het overschot aan onnodige procedures en processen. Zorg er voor dat nieuw instromend talent bij IBM blijft; niet alleen een opleiding komt volgen en dan snel weer vertrekt. Salaris speelt hierbij een belangrijke rol. Translation: ASAP, end unnecessary procedures and processes. Make sure that new talent inflow remains at IBM; not only will attend training and then leave quickly. Salary plays an important role.

    • “Great experience but not a long term career.”

      Current Employee — Senior Financial Analyst in Somers, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Promoted fast and lots of experience gained in roles, good people you work with in Somers. Work from home whenever possible. Cons: High turnover, no experienced hires, minimal training, work until you break, low compensation. Advice to Management: Worry more about revenue to make profit and not cutting headcount that sell the products. Every year doing a massive layoff doesn't sit well with morale. Coe was set up for basic tasks but is now getting more and more important roles but most of the projects on headquarters or Somers. Treat employees a little better: 2% for PBC 1 rating is an inflationary raise at every other company. Used to hire best and brightest; now just look at ways to hire cheap resources.
    • “Single minded focus on profit”

      Former Employee — Project Manager in Melbourne (Australia). Pros: Some great IP that can be leveraged. Access to huge knowledge bases. Flexibility to work from home when not on client engagements. Truely a worldwide service provider. Cons: Very low morale. Endless travel. Overbearing bureaucracy. Always short-term profit over people. Fragmented, broken performance management systems. Advice to Management: Focus on people, innovation and growth over the endless chase for increasing profit by cutting costs. Current strategy has not worked, stop before the damage is irreparable.
    • “Tough place to work”

      Current Employee — Software Client Leader in New York, NY. Pros: Intelligent co-workers, dynamic work environment. Cons: Very political. Current leadership are not experienced software sellers. Leadership are institutionalized IBMers. Advice to Management: Compensation should be on activities that drive revenue, instead of activity that measures activity. Time for new blood. Thin the heard at the GM and VP levels.
    • “Industry SME”

      Current Employee — Industry Consultant in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM (more than 5 years). Pros: Vast resources and diversified industries expertise. Recent industry expertise lead consulting approaches more align to competitors. Cons: Lower pay than other consulting companies and economy class flight even for 16 hours flights. Advice to Management: Focus on retaining good employees with longer view.
    • “Company has lost it way...”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years.)

      Pros: Good benefits. Outstanding professionals in the company. It used to be an outstanding company that valued their employees.

      Cons: Managers are looking out for themselves and not employees. Product strategy changes? You may be out of a job. They may give you a low rating (first one in your long career) to force you out. Same review cycle, I received positive feedback from VP. Manager bullied employees so they would leave. Blocked from going to HR to report behavior. Manager made decision on which projects each employee received. High billable projects taken away and replaced with low billing/no billable projects, which hurt billable expectations in performance review. Suggestions to improve outcomes were ignored. An "emperor without clothes" syndrome. High turnover in dept. as a result and by design.

      Advice to Management: Get rid of managers who bully their highly skilled employees. Open the "Open Door" policy again. Keep an eye on your managers. There is a reason for high turnover. Don't move managers to areas they are unqualified to manage. You have lost a number of outstanding contributors along the way.

    • “Amazing Company to Work”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM (more than 8 years). Pros: Amazing growth. Excellent learning platform. Professional management. Cons: It is a company which creates benchmarks in the industry and hence I don't see any cons. Advice to Management: NA
    • “Cutting to the Bone”

      Current Employee — Software Marketing. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: Flexibility in hours. Ability to work-from-home. Average to a bit above-average salary RRSP match.


      • Only driven by quarter-to-quarter metrics, no long term vision (the reason IBM is suffering in every one of the megatrend areas like Cloud)
      • Continued cost cutting has affected every element of the business; the most pressing concern is that lack of funds/headcount has eliminated innovation, even in the 'favored' businesses (Analytics, Cloud, Security.)
      • Development teams barely able to keep the lights on.
      • Senior execs are lifers 20 or 30 years in the business; they are unable to see the company failing miserably from their place in the bubble.
      • Pointless (if not misleading) press releases to hide all of the above, which front-line workers must sugarcoat for customers, analysts, press.
      • 'Span of control' means that headcount is cut, then managers are demoted, then headcount is cut again, and managers are demoted; this happens annually if not quarterly.
      • Bonus is nonexistent; do not expect a bonus. Even top performers (band 9 and below) might see 2% on a good year these days.
      • Travel expense policies mean you either eat at McDonald's while you're travelling or you pay out of pocket. By the way, lunch isn't covered in your travel expense as "you'd have to pay for that at home anyway."

      Advice to Management: Wouldn't waste my time with advice; middle managers have no power (directors and below) and senior management (VPs and above) ignores the market and employees; only listen to each other.

    • “Review”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in New York, NY. Pros: Provide great flexibility to employees, especially women. You can switch easily across domains and grow laterally and also work across geographies. Cons: There are some cons to working at IBM as well, foremost is not competitive compensation. And the growth path is very cumbersome and the process for doing a simple thing can be cumbersome and time consuming. Advice to Management: The advice is to increase the compensation structure and make make it competitive in market and also reduce the processes so that things can work smoothly without much effort to employee.
    • “IT Professional”

      Former Employee — Business Intelligence Report Analyst/Developer in Broomfield, CO. I worked at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Good benefit plan and vacation package. Work from home flexibility. Cons: No raises for years at a time. Department went from 120 to 15 in my years there. Manager denied my move to a different division where I could have developed more skill because of lack of workforce in our department.
    • “Great Place to work”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Everything worked out great. The management is supportive and understanding. Cons: Compensation structure needs a revamp.
    • “Managing Consultant”

      Former Employee — Managing Consultant in London, England (UK). Pros: While working at IBM I experienced large global projects with good clients and opportunities to do different roles outside of your usual skill set. IBM brings strong methodology to projects and in most cases manages the client expectation very well. Use of PMO allows consultants to concentrate on the functional/technical side of projects rather than tracking and chasing. Cons: IBM believes itself to be a life style rather than a job meaning at year end having done very well on a project will not get you a bonus. Advice to Management: To keep your experience consultants you need to pay a little better and understand than working hard on a project all year has added value to your brand
    • “Designers: Avoid the Apple + IBM team at all costs”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Flexible work from home schedule. If you are a lead designer, your decisions may make it into the design. Good luck convincing the Cupertino team. Possibility to fly out to Cupertino a few times a year for "design workshops" where you spend a few days with IBM's Cupertino team sketching and chatting about a new qualified app concept.

      Cons: Very slow pace; I've been there almost a year and have only worked on 3 projects. They were drawn out for 6-10 weeks, but the bulk of the work was done in the first week or two. All the other work was busy work tweaking tiny things or changing things based on the whim of a few people. Incredible structure and culture of micro-management; the structure of this team has made it to where 2-3 people who have little to no involvement in the day-to-day of each project drive all decision-making and are able to override anything and everything with no reason whatsoever.

      No, you will not work directly with Apple; you will work with these three who are stationed in Cupertino a few miles from the Apple campus. Complete focus strictly on UI, no focus on experience, content strategy, information architecture, prototyping, testing, research, or anything similar.

      Most of the apps look very nice, but have an incredibly convoluted flow and serve little to no purpose for true users of the apps, because we do no research, focus solely on UI design, and if someone wants to change the flow or add features that would help users, they are shot down.

      The word "simple" is thrown around arbitrarily to mean "show less screens", but when the whole app is only 3 screens for an enterprise level solution, most of the features a real-life client would want are missing.

      Because so little work comes in, you will find yourself idle for months at a time. Even people that have been at IBM for a long time say this is very strange and more work should be coming, but it rarely does. The work that does come in is quite boring as most of the decisions are made up-front by small teams and once those decisions are made, there's no changing them.

      We've also fallen into a routine of making cookie-cutter apps. Almost all of the apps look and feel the exact same and there's little to no room for anything new or innovative. Very disappointing.

      You will be designing what they call "starter apps". This isn't an MVP, this is about the equivalent to 1/5 of an MVP, which is essentially a 10-15 screen Keynote presentation (yes, the only design tool you can use is Keynote) and we call that an app that we try to go sell.

      Most of the apps are unsellable because they lack so many features, and there's a big, visible struggle between what we call "simple" and what's "sellable". The vast majority of the apps we create are the same app recreated over and over again. Not to mention, most of the ideas we have for apps are things that already exist on the app store and have a large number of downloads or sales. This makes us fall into a pattern of recreating the wheel and templatizing everything to where all the designer's job is is to copy and paste from an old Keynote.

      This role has a very production line feel to it, so avoid unless you're a relatively junior designer looking to get experience or you just feel like having IBM and Apple on your resume.

      Advice to Management: Allow people with talent to drive decision making and don't rely solely on the Cupertino team. UX is not just about how the app looks; it's about how it feels and functions. Place the focus on the user and the functionality first, and quit trying to force "simple" to mean "less screens". What we're producing is far from "simple" and most of the apps are bordering on worthless because of how little functionality they have. Allow flexibility for new idea for apps and new ideas inside each app.

    • “Unethical Contracts”

      Current Employee — Senior Bilingual Analyst in Mexico, Distrito Federal (Mexico). I have been working at IBM full-time (less than a year).

      Pros: I cannot think of any pros for this company other than be associated with the IBM name.


      • No schedule flexibility
      • Poor salary for Service Desk Analysts
      • Abusive senior management (shouts at employees)
      • The salary and benefits in the contract are untrue
      • Horrible company culture; employees are encouraged to shame others in order to move up.

      Advice to Management: Don't lie to your employees. If you say you are going to give a certain salary and certain benefits in the contract then actually give those benefits instead of making up excuses for not providing these benefits that were promised. IBM name may be prestigious but its values, culture, and ethics are the worst.

    • “Good company to work”

      . Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM (more than a year). Pros: Work-life balance is great. Business travel opportunities. Cons: Not many that I can find.
    • “Great comapny (sic)”

      Current Employee — Senior Designer/Researcher in Austin, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time (less than a year) Pros: Great team atmosphere and awesome working environment! Cons: None that have bothered me so far.
    • “Visual Designer”

      Former Employee — Visual Designer in Austin, TX.

      Pros: There were little to no pros when working for IBM Design. The biggest pro was that I got to work from home, and that got very old very fast.


      • Isolated team environment, everyone I worked with was remote.
      • IBM Design has little practice in creating a working formula for designers to succeed in a completely developer driven culture.
      • Management is a confused bunch of people that have a very hard time helping their team succeed.
      • IBM Design studio in Austin, TX is way overcrowded. I am sure that they are not meeting fire code standards.
      • Almost all products that you could work on are completely lame. Recruitment lies to your face throughout the process telling you that when being deployed onto a project they take what you would like to work on into consideration.
      • Three month design camp is like a shortened college class that you get paid for. This was extremely boring and monotonous.
      • Most importantly, as a designer at IBM Design you have very little say on the projects you are creating. Everyone in the studio puts on a daily happy face as they are all hating the projects they work on and trying to do anything to switch products. This makes the workplace a horrid environment to be in daily, with very little work actually getting done.

      Advice to Management: Get off your high horse and start listening to how unhappy your employees are. Start hiring developers that are under 50 and want to use design thinking to better the products that they are creating.

    • “IBM Intern living in MA working for an Austin Team”

      Current Employee — Software Engineer Intern in Littleton, MA. Pros: I get to work from home, and yet still have amazing support from my team. When in the office there are programs for continued education, networking, and post graduation job placement. It's clear that IBM wants you to succeed, and they want to take care of you. Cons: There are none that I have experienced.
      • IBM Response Jul 15, 2015 – Social HR Development Manager:

        One of the reasons why IBM is a great company to work for!
    • “IBM XIV XEST Tier III Support”

      Former Employee — IBM XIV XEST Tier III Support in Tel Aviv-Yafo (Israel). I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Solid company. Some growth opportunities. Up to date facilities and technologies. Good coworker atmosphere. Nice inter office perks. Cons: Upper management promotes unqualified individuals to team lead and management positions...people who are technically sound but have NO BUSINESS managing people. Unrealistic expectations exist at every turn, whether technical, logistical, or from a personnel perspective. No bonuses despite overall company growth and division results. Severely outdated ratings system for employee reviews. Zero employee schedule flexibility. Advice to Management: Promote or hire people with proper management skills to do managerial jobs. Leading people is for people leaders, and if a technically qualified person can do that, great, but if that technically qualified person is not a leader of people he does not have any business being put in that position.
    • “Strange place to work”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Warwick, West Midlands, England (UK). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Can be interesting work, and some of the people are very good. Cons: A massive tanker that takes too long to change direction and adapt. Not very structured and at times is difficult to understand what you need to do and what is the direction of the company. These 'directions' are stated at the highest levels but never seem to trickle down to make a noticeable differences. Advice to Management: Getting the message out there is not the job done! Needs buy in from the many, many layer of mid management, many of whom are there because the pension and benefits are like handcuffs, so drifting to retirement and only want easy life.
    • “Stay Away”

      Former Employee — Consultant in New York, NY. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: IBM has decent benefits and used to have a good name in the industry. Cons: Very difficult to work for, bloated with too many levels of management bureaucracy. They are predatory to people who leave. I left in 2014 and in late 2015 later receive a letter stating that they overpaid taxes for 2013 and are billing me for $1600. I now have to fight them in order to avoid paying this.
    • “Both pluses and minuses”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Huge company provides so many diverse opportunities for work. Lots of innovative areas and research, but not always available for everyone. Cons: Constant cost cutting focus means many opportunities (salary increases, training, travel, etc.) get frozen. LOTS of bureaucracy and reliance on processes. Advice to Management: Less central "steering" and more local empowerment to the individual countries. Stop constant cost cutting — it's clear from the financial statements that we're cutting ourselves out of business rather than improving profitability this way.
    • “Senior Financial Analyst”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Massive world-wide company, very complex, and get lots of exposure to lots of issues to deal with. If you're in the right role you will get to work with teams all over the world. Cons: Company is a sinking ship and just not really making any progress. Massive cultural issues that need to be overcome but will take a generation of time due to the older employees entrenched in their ways.
    • “IBM”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Rochester, MN. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Very talented colleagues and very technical culture. Cons: Due to constant layoffs, talented employees are leaving or are retiring. Technical culture is declining since everyone has to take on more work after each layoff. There is little time for true innovation.
    • “IBM General Business Services 'GBS' Oracle Practice”.

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Paid on time every 2 weeks. Not too heavy on the back-office nonsense when working on a project. Never had to go into the local office when not staffed on a project; could do everything from home. Cons: Very political. Top management in the EBS practice came from Anderson Consulting (after the Anderson explosion); very hard to advance unless you're one of them or very closely aligned to one of them. Old guard mentality — seniority beats skill/knowledge. Lots of demands, little reward. Expect to be treated as disposable.
    • “iOS Developer”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Good work environment, great people, lots of great training and opportunities for travel. Cons: Low pay, meh benefits. The work-life balance isn't great and projects can be demanding, especially considering the pay. Advice to Management: Pay more, match 401Ks!
    • “How it is working at IBM — Don't ask!”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Armonk, NY. I have been working at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Great technical talent and research capabilities. Cons: Declining services business, which seem to be never recoverable. Advice to Management: Up the sales and stop bleeding the base by cuts with no logic.
    • “Best employer ever”

      Former Employee — Senior Business Operations Analyst in Amsterdam (Netherlands). Pros: Work/life balance, financial compensation, involvement, colleagues. Cons: None that really matter to me. Advice to Management: Keep doing what you are doing; don't forget that the company is the people that work for it.
    • “IBM Culture is gone somewhere”

      Former Employee — Senior Storage Administrator in Melbourne (Australia). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years) . Pros: Flexibility to WFH and competitive salary. Cons: You are just a number to the company. Lot of frustration and stress due to global delivery model and redundancies. Advice to Management: Please be honest with your employees. You can't just think about profit every time and if you want to make more money than work hard rather then using shortcuts of making people redundant and hire cheaper resources in GD center.
    • “IBM sold the company right from under our feet!”

      Former Employee — Production Operator in Essex, VT. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: The people who work there in the Fab are great to some extent. Cons: This company canceled all bonuses and raises in the last 5 years, and if you get a bonus just count on something under $1.00 per hour. Advice to Management: They all need to go back to school and discover the meaning of "people skills".
    • “Jurassic company”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Hortolândia (Brazil). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: After those years, I am still trying to figure out. So far, only the fact that is located far from big cities; that is nice to avoid traffic jam, giving us possibilities to have some life outside the work. Also, the company is very comprehensive on work flexibility, allowing you to work from home anytime. Cons: Poor compensation. No career plan (except if you are on some cliques). Advice to Management: Focus on business development instead of his own business.
    • “IBM employee”

      Current Employee — Software Engineer in El Salto, Jalisco (Mexico). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Great Benefits, better than most of the local companies. Great work-life balance; you can work from home some days. Cons: The employee rating system is very disappointing and sometimes is very difficult to move to a different project. Advice to Management: Change the employee rating system because every year it causes low Employee morale for the people who didn't get the 1 or 2+ rating and this is causing that employees start looking for another job.
    • “Unstable environment.”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: The company no longer really has any pro's per se and all the key technical positions have been shipped off shore to India or South America. Cons: Continual furloughs plague contractors across various business units and divisions. Full time employees no longer care and provide zero knowledge transfer to contractors. Advice to Management: Hand in your resignations and cut your losses. You no longer have any viable employees left in the company.
    • “Service Delivery Manager”

      Current Employee — Service Delivery Manager in Brno (Czech Republic). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Yes it is a good and safe place to work. There is indeed growth opportunity and benefits. Cons: Squeezes the happiness and life out of you. The more you can work the more you will work with little pay and appreciation at the end. There is no room for creative endeavors. No equal pay between men and women. Advice to Management: While putting the customer first, make some room for putting the people working for you at least second. I started with great enthusiasm and loved what I was doing, until I learned that I only exist to serve the executive requests. No, thank you!
    • “Senior Consultant”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Flexibility to work from home or anywhere. Flexible hours. Great colleagues located around the world. Occasional opportunity for international travel. Solid company reputation helps resume. Interesting work. Work-from-home option (if not a road warrior travelling consultant) is great for employees with children. Road-warrior consulting allowed some young single consultants to have little to no home expenses (crashed on weekends with friends or justified staying over weekend at client location to save airfare). Cons: Raises were very minimal and opportunities to advance were very limited. Constant drive to lay off employees and convert to contractors kept morale low. Advice to Management: Realize that employees are an asset and not simply an expense to be minimized at all costs. Many employees are willing to put up with low pay increases in exchange for work-life balance, but the constant fear of layoffs is stressful and reduces productivity.
    • “Sam and Ginni killed this company”

      Former Employee — Senior Software Engineer in Portland, OR. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Many smart and hard working individual contributors; was a decent place to work in early to mid 2000's. Cons: Weak and short sighted upper management. Lack of ethical and transparent middle and upper management. Too much back stabbing and turf grabbing. Yearly review process is a scam. The merit increases are a woeful joke. Much lower pay compared to the rest of the industry. Advice to Management: Even though I left voluntarily, the next round of cuts should come at the VP level and above. The company is way too top heavy and full of low hanging fruit to prune.
    • “Go elsewhere for marketing”

      Current Employee — Senior Marketing Manager in Armonk, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Working from home, prestigious degree of technical talent, flexible schedule, brand recognition. Cons: Field marketing, a.k.a. demand programs, a.k.a. performance marketing at this company is antiquated. Tools are dramatically out of date and slow. IBM will never be able to keep up with its more nimble competitors for this reason. Advice to Management: Replace Unica, Lotus Notes, and Verse with industry standard tools that will make you competitive. The elephant in the room is employee productivity and it's terrible. No one's watching employee productivity. Enable your current employees, don't cut them. Stop hiring Indian contractors to do the work of your own employees. If you have the right tools, you wouldn't have to hire so many contractors. Stop building and start buying. Corporate pride gets in the way of doing business. Analyze where your workforce is spending useless cycles and use the prodigious talent and techniques you have but are not using to improve productivity. Stop turning a blind eye.
    • “Cut costs at every turn”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Seems like a great place to be a developer. Opportunity for global travel and engagements. Cons: They don't spend money on employee development. Compensation was cut after being acquired. For sales or marketing it's just not a competitive workplace. Advice to Management: Wouldn't matter. Management really doesn't care.
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 07/08/15:

    Location: Dubuque Message: Another round of RAs are around the corner in GTS. More accounts are being sent to India. Also mangers are asking for updated PBCs and CVs. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/12/15:

    Friday surprise mid-year PBCs with list of non-PBCs ratings, requested by upper management and weighted against immediate teams only. One case first-hand, two cases from colleagues on other teams, and one manager on yet other team did not specify why, but said it was the hardest day he has had in a very long time. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/15/15:

    Location: Asia Pacific; Business unit: GTS. Singapore will be hit with fresh RA (all kinds of code names management give these days — I wonder if these fellas actually do work instead of thinking of RA code names?) As far as they are concerned they hope to show some savings due to Dynamic Automation. Everyone who knows a thing or two about systems know you cannot totally have zero people managing the systems. In fact the base number of people managing the systems is lower than what AP calls out to WW as potential productivity. I'm not sure how this gives client confidence. They give IMT leaders hard time for not getting clients on board the DA program insinuating that they should strong arm client into accepting DA. -John Doe-
  • Comment 07/15/15:

    Mid-year review is currently underway and the quota given to the population of my business unit is 1/3 of each category. High, medium and low. High = 1 or 2+, Medium = 2, Low = 3 or 4. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/15/15:

    Job Title: IT Specialist - Mainframe; Location: Sydney; Customer Account: All; Business Unit: GTS. Just made redundant,;usual deal, but done by phone. Obviously yet another bad quarter, and moving work offshore. Now find my redudancy entitlment is 2 weeks per year, where as it was 4 when I started. Surely they can't just change rules to suit themselves, or can they? You can bet, there will be a lot more to come. At last, the worry about losing my job is over, and I can get on with my life. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 07/16/15:

    Interestingly enough, last week my manager set up a review with me. When we started the call the very first I asked her "what is this about? Is it a midyear PBC review?" She replied no and then hemmed and hawed about what it actually was. I was confused but had no choice but to do this so called review. I still dont know what it was all about. -Anonymous-
If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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