IBM CEO Ginni Rometty: Failing Fast

Author: Steven Zolman

In a previous blog post, I took great pains at articulating my 10 Reasons Why Ginni Rometty would fail as IBM’s new CEO.  In the post, I mentioned the poisonous sales culture (you live by the sword, you die by the sword), which is at the center (of blame) for this and last quarter’s missed performance targets.  Another concern was the ‘garage sale’ of business units that would inevitably have to come if IBM were to meet its targets.  As we have recently learned, IBM appears to be in the process of selling its server business to Lenovo, and it has long been rumored to be preparing its services business for sale as well.  It seems Ginni may be failing faster than even I had predicted.

Read:  Top 10 Reasons Why Ginni Rometty Will Fail as IBM’s New CEO

Latest Update: Ginni Rometty Ouster from IBM Imminent

As most of you know, IBM missed its quarterly numbers again, much like Oracle, blaming the performance miss on a lack of hustle and execution from their sales organization and citing sales that slipped into the next quarter.  What’s interesting about that, is that it’s the second quarter in a row that IBM has used the same tired excuse.   This makes me wonder what happened to those sales that slipped from Q4 2012 to Q1 last quarter.  Why didn’t they show up in Q1 2013?  If anything, Q1 should have experienced some over-performance as a result of missed sales from Q4.  So, the explanation doesn’t seem to hold water unless there were significantly more slips in Q1 than there were in Q4.  Either way, it seems to be a wonky excuse.

What (in my humble opinion) may even be worse than the fact that IBM has missed expectations for 2 quarters in a row, is the fact that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty doesn’t even bother to show up to make the lame excuses anymore.  You heard me right. On the last earnings call to discuss IBM results with shareholders, Ginni was noticeably absent.  This must be an outrage to many key IBM stakeholders.  Ginni earns $6.1M in pay (not including her very lucrative stock option package).  It would seem as the top executive at IBM, she might feel compelled to explain the company’s poor performance for two consecutive quarters under her leadership.

IBM CFO Mark Loughridge did participate on the call, and was able to tow the company line, blaming the miss on poor execution, but then went into some death spiral about weak currencies as well.  Either way, things are not looking bright at IBM from an investor perspective, which is actually at the back of the curve for CEO tenure.  Typically,CEO strategies like the one Ginni Rometty outlined, while cannibalistic to the company’s core, start with aggressive company moves to dramatically improve stock performance, getting investors aligned, and only fail after the moves are proven to have cut muscle and bone, and not just fat.  IBM’s strategy of improving stock performance as the first step towards aligning investors to Ginni’s vision (which still has yet to be uniquely outlined), seems to have stalled before it has even gotten started.

Due to missed targets, and poor performance results, IBM will now “reposition” the business, which undoubtedly means IBM will more aggressively lay off its employees.  In the Rometty era, it appears misaligned, clueless executives and sales people with no technical prowess reside in the safest bastions, while super smart, US based customer support people, and technology heavy product innovators and developers are the ones most likely to be let go.  IBM is much like a desperate housewife, clinging to more glorious days gone by and trying to hold on to the past by getting plastic surgery to improve surface appearance, avoiding at all costs a seemingly declining future, and losing its soul in the process.  Ginni is now the plastic surgeon that keeps performing the procedures to strip the company of more of its soul, while trying in vain to improve its shallow appearance.  In the end, soul matters, and health is not just skin deep, and it seems that the signs now indicate that the market feels the same way.

NET(net)’s Website/Blogs/Articles and other content is subject to NET(net)’s legal terms offered for general information purposes only, and while NET(net) may offer views and opinions regarding the subject matter, such views and opinions are not intended to malign or disparage any other company or other individual or group.

About NET(net)

Celebrating more than 10 years, NET(net) is the world’s leading IT Investment Optimization firm, helping clients Find, Get and Keep more economic and strategic value. With over 1,500 clients around the world in nearly all industries and geographies, and with the experience of over 15,000 field engagements with over 250 technology suppliers in XaaS, Cloud, Hardware, Software, Services, Healthcare, Outsourcing, Infrastructure, Telecommunications, and other areas of IT spend, resulting in incremental client value captured in excess of $100 billion since 2002, NET(net) has the expertise you need, the experience you want, and the performance you demand. Contact your NET(net) representative, email us today at, visit us online at, or call us at +1-866-2-NET-net to see if we can help you capture more value in your IT investments, agreements, and supplier relationships.


  1. Long Time IBM'er says:

    IBM “Co-Locating” – Yeah Right

    I was around when IBM reduced offices and sent everyone to work from home. Now the announcement is imminent that they’re sending everyone back into offices, but this time, to only a handful of cities.

    10’s of thousands of U.S. workers who cannot move, or will not move, will be terminated. It will be a MASSIVE brain drain of the very people needed to reverse IBM’s decline.

    By every measure, Ginni Rommety has been an utter failure. Does anyone remember that it was she who engineered the acquisition of PWC for $3.5 billion which has yielded little or nothing, the remnants of which are now presiding over the crumbling of the services division?

    What could the benefits of co-locating be that would outweigh the mass exodus of knowledgeable and hard working employees?

    Where is the board of directors? Have they been asleep for the past 5 years?

    This is an ill conceived mass layoff. IBM grows earnings as revenue falls year after year. Guess how they’re doing it? Ginni has IBM in a death spiral. Is any further proof needed that Ginni has to go?

    – Sincerely, Disgusted and Defeated

  2. Sonya says:

    Another reason she will fail, or more likely get what she deserves, is SETERUS. This is the most criminal, greedy and disgusting loan servicing company. Their goal is to FORECLOSE on every mortgage they get and will use any fraudulent, criminal means necessary. There are literally 1000’s of complaints of this nature, stealing peoples homes even if they are paying their mortgage. They create the circumstances to do so. She must endorse these means as she is not stopping them. Disgusting.

  3. kk says:

    From last 8 years I am working with IBM India. And now I am leaving this company. IBM employee policies are good enough but the manager layer not works well. They want the employee to work post 9 hours and the managers not allows them to claim extra hours. And hence there is a defy of “”Claim what you work and work what you claim”. This is a very small level where actually the work happens. Only due to this low level IBM is surviving. IBM India managers wants to work on Excel sheets only, they are technically a fused bulb. They force a 6B resource to perform dueties of 7A band. At the time of ratings, they give rating 2. If you are beautiful female, then the way is easy for you [happens in IBM pune]. IBM HR recruits skilled people but IBM RDM department allocates them cross-technical projects, so no wonder if you are SQL server DBA but after getting selected in IBM you can have to work in a production support team on Service now tool.

    Day by day IBM is having lots and lots of managers, and the skilled people are leaving it. IBM not believes in giving promotions. In a work span of 8 years I got salary hike of 4% only. This is the another reason of attrition. IBM India HR never ever retains the skilled people but as a replacement IBM India HR finds easy to recruit 2 or 3 unskilled people. In such condition the client will not continue his agreement with IBM for sure.

    IBM expects from its employees but when it comes for employee expectations, IBM becomes passive onlooker.

    Laying off employees is not a solution. IBM has to think about the employees problems or else especially IBM India will be disappeared soon.

    • HAL says:

      For ages the US workers blamed India for taking their jobs and destroying the IBm culture. Now even Indians are finding IBM work culture is broken! Meanwhile Emperor Ginni plays the same harp that Caesar Sam played ‘it will all come right soon, you minions just need to suffer some more while I eat larks tongues’. If you want a sickening description of what is wrong with capitalism, I’m afraid IBM provides the perfect template

  4. Craig K says:

    Ginni Rometty, from what I can gather from surfing the web, is focussed on Watson. This is a brilliant strategic move which could let IBM leapfrog Google, Facebook, and Amazon. In my opinion, Watson can be a business bigger than Google. The main question in my mind is whether Ginni can buy herself the time to execute. She came up through engineering and sales, so I wouldn’t count her out. Time will tell.

  5. Krishna says:

    One of the challenges faced by customer service team is meaningless audits on non enforceable security processes and business processes by audit teams which don’t face business and entirely jeopardise service delivery. Team members quit before the next audit in pipeline to avoid nervous breakdown resulting in attrition. Best performers get non compliance warning for doing extra mile to optimise solution or improve customer satisfaction

  6. Janet T says:

    Hello, May I ask that you please put a dateline on your posts? Perhaps they are dated, and I just can’t see the dateline/timestamp? If that’s the case can you please point me to it? Thanks.

    I find your posts very informative and sadly in line with my experiences with IBM Gerstner Era thru early Ginni Era. I bailed.

  7. IBM’s business model was doomed the moment IBM’s top managers envied the income of the world’s software giants (Bill Gates, etc..), during the days IBM was still an excellent hardware company. The transition from hardware to software & services could have been successful though, if IBM’s topmanagement had hired top talented software researchers in order to set up a research software lab for the development of IBM-branded software, the equivalent of IBM’s hardware research facilities. IBM did not do this, in stead it bought truckloads of “third party” software (just look at IBM’s huge software portfolio) for which there was no internal expertise whatsoever, and which proved way too complex to maintain and provide service for. Shere lust for money turned IBM into a failing business. Glad I am out of there (used to be an IBM “resource”, became totally sick and tired of IBM’s “B player” management culture, the kind Jobs warned us about).

    • Glad you were able to ‘escape’.

    • Geoff M says:

      I too am an ex IBMer, and you are quite right in everything you say. I suffered using Notes and Symphony, completely second rate products, and the one half decent product I used was IBM Endpoint Manager, formerly BigFix, yet another bought in product. I say this product was ‘half decent’ because I supported Windows servers, and IEM worked with Windows. Unix was a o go zone however..

  8. Harry says:

    The real reason Ginny will fail is because Sam Palmisano sold out IBM for profits and bonuses. Unfortunately, Ginny will have to live up to Sam’s promises that was built on nothing. IBM is ripe for a take over, but there may be no one to take on the problems that IBM has now woven into its culture. The only way IBM can make their numbers is to lay-off their workforce (which it has been doing for years), as many customers of IBM have found ways to divest themselves from the IBM sinking ship. Soon, IBM will find a way to be kicked out of their loyal customers businesses for a competitor that can actually deliver on their promises. While Ginny will be blamed, the actual cause of IBM’s downfall started long before Ginny took over.

    • agree with much of this, but there has now been enough time on the clock for Ginni to stand on her own, and her accomplishments are 11 quarters now of consecutive poor performance, a 24% decline in revenue, and a 43% reduction of value.

      • Still Aboard says:

        Yes, I’m still abroad… because I am curious.
        I want to know what more can be said without losing ALL the face.
        We receive status notes from the HQ regularly. I could describe reality of the written status by mentioning Eric the Viking, the famous “Hy-Brasil IS NOT sinking” scene.

        Quite often, G. shares her thoughts in community apps where comments are possible. Even if the real content is nothing (as a matter of fact, bullshit is the word), dozens if not hundreds of managers below her comment: they heavily nod and yells HOOORAY.
        Honestly hairy. I grew up in a (now ex-)communist country and I saw the very same attitude just before it all collapsed.

        I could write a long list of technical issues low and high level employees have to fight daily, things to anyone might say “WHAAAT?”, but I believe those difficulties could be dealt with even in the long run. My concern is the yes-men who don’t dare to say “nope, we screwed up, my lady, let’s think it over”.

  9. DB says:

    I joined IBM this june and i think it is by far the biggest mistake of my life. The RCM , GBS unit and of course the ‘i want only results i dont care ur dead or alive’ managers have turned out to be the most heartless and horrible people i have ever seen in this industry since 4 years now. The RCMs have no regard for your profile or tech, they just dump you whereever there is a vacancy doesnt matter if its relevant to your profile or not. Little wonder the attrition rate is so high since job satisfaction is zero and pay is megre. People are lured by the hiring team on the pretext of ‘flexibility and work from home’ but after joining only hell breaks loose when everyone is oblivious of flexibility and are like who told you we have work from home? Attitude of India office needs to change else sustaining workforce will only be more harder than ever. Duped and tricked by IBM.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey I feel the same and I was searching where to put our comments so that no one in future join this company.
      IBM managers has made this company a hell.
      I found all people including managers transport policy everything here is heartless and and worst.

      IBM is the biggest mistake of my life

  10. RM says:

    I am one among the suffering from lack of motivation workforce of IBM India completely clueless for why though told by the upper management including my manager whenever asked that my work/contribution count and impacts – at least the client I served acknowledged that they found the work helpful – but for last 3 years no hike no change in band. I am finding it really hard to sustain like this and then it seems people working for some pet and special projects are moving up and getting hikes seems strange. I do not work in CAMS. I support in Information Support and do not find how long the company is going to sustain by killing its employees at the lowest level. Managers are working and having the same portfolio as the last year but becoming director and Vice president but for the employees who are at the lower bands moving a single bands are grilled with strictest justification as to why they should be given that band movement. Really poor and pathetic culture here of career and pay package.

  11. Anon says:

    I have just been TUPE’ed into IBM as part of 2000 odd people globally from WPP. Seems to me IBM is a faceless, soulless company that is going to destroy the workings and production of WPP. The IBMers have no idea what they are doing Plus Lotus Notes is the worst email software I have ever used in my life.

    • anon says:

      Hi. Yup, me too. TUPE’d from WPP and now among the 116 of 180 ex WPP GTS emps about to get the chop (oh did I forget to mention that’s a secret??) as our work queues now been outsourced to Bangalore. Back in the 80’s when I used to work IBM mainframes they were the company to work for. Now they seem hellbent on self destruction in the relentless drive for short term share price increase and to feed Watson. Been doing KT with the guys taking over my role and I’m afraid they just don’t cut the mustard in my view, its a case of quantity over quality. I heard that IBM literally dragged bodies of the street to fulfill the requirement and TBH it shows in dealing with some of these guys absolutely clueless some of them. It takes an age to get anything done as indecision combined with fear reign supreme as a result nothing gets done as they so risk averse even a simple change that one would consider routine and would have been done in minutes/hours takes weeks sometimes months – it would be funny were it not having an adverse effect on internal clients ability to deliver. As a WPP stockholder this concerns me greatly and even though I suspect my IBM days are numbered I will be watching this alliance closely – could well turn ugly if IBM fail to deliver.

      Oh yeah, Lotus Notes – LMFAO.

  12. Charles says:

    Coming from IBM, what’s most interesting is that unless its for one of the key direct customer accounts, internal investment to improve the business isn’t strategic as funding has to have positive profit benefit within the next quarter and large transformation efforts can’t ramp up quick enough due to severe resource constraints and offshoring. Those constraints are mostly a result of workforce rebalancing (i.e. layoffs) which disproportionately target the sales support and IT groups and not the client facing sales teams who are criticized for poor “execution”.

  13. borboleta says:

    I’m trying to figure out when this article was written. I’m guessing from the comments section it was maybe May 2013. Would be helpful if the date was explicit.

    IBM has gone from OK to work with to absolutely unbearable. I’m glad I saved up and now I’m ready to leave.

  14. Jlmorro says:

    I joined IBM over 15 years ago and quickly excelled at my job and in upper management. I loved the job and the people. And having come from govt sector, the compensation and awards were very good in comparison. I worked every week well more than 40 hours but loved it. But approximately 2 years ago for me, so many things began to change. The lack of integrity, the multiple layers of management who don’t make decisions and are frankly scared to make decisions, is shocking to say the least. I’ve seen a lot of comments on this site and others about inept management and I take it personally because I feel like I have not drank the kool-aide. I have maintained my integrity. I’m honest with my employees, I mentor other employees and never turn down a request. However, I can no longer be a part of this once great company. My values do not match. I’m being asked to treat my employees like their work has no impact. HR never told us only employees working on CAMSS would get an increase. If I had known I could have had their work load shift to CAMSS. And in fact, I don’t work on CAMSS. I was so shocked. How do you as a manager defend upper management in situations like these. They put us at a disadvantage, gave us no talking points and never approached me on who in my group worked on CAMSS. They made decisions above me without my input. This is just wrong and really borders on unethical. What happened to being honest? Why didn’t we just tell people what we were doing? Being honest and transparent would improve employee morale. I’m now taking what I learned at IBM and hoping to find a new company that will find my expertise of value. I prepared myself financially so that I wouldn’t have IBM dictate to me when it was time to go. Instead I get to my decision and go out on my terms. I wish all the workers the best. Everyone has their own situation to deal with and can’t escape but my one advice that I give everyone I speak to is “take care of yourself first(pay your savings first) so you can have the flexibility and courage to take a leap of faith that will allow you to follow your passions in life. I do hope IBM survives but I have a feeling there is more to the business plan being discussed in the board room than any of us know.

  15. Kalvin Dan says:

    Hello there. I’m really appalled at IBM’s huge decline. IBM was once a great company, and made great products like the ThinkPad, which I still use today. Now, I have a question to all of you. Do you think I should start a petition to have Ginni Rometty fired? I know it sounds sketchy, but we need a new CEO with a better vision than what Rometty offers. I’m VERY serious about starting one. I agree IBM needs a change, but Rometty’s current plan only utilizes unhelpful short-term solutions that will hurt IBM in the long run. Please, I need your opinion on a petition to have her fired. Thanks.

  16. Nuwan Sam says:

    It is not about sales not doing the right job. They are simply not selling the products right. They have pathetic marketing strategies. I worked on some proposals and I have seen this first hand.

    And the off-shore business model is driving clients away. They make off-shore resources like in sweat-shops and still does not manage things well and expect things to go smoothly.

    It is just a sinking ship. I agree completely with this article. IBM was once a great company. But that is the past.

    • Jerry says:

      Well said, Nuwan Sam.

      From a persoanl perspective, one of IBM’s greatest products is their midrange machine, now called the “Power System”. Yet it seems to be one of their best-kept secrets. (It was originally called the AS/400, then iSeries, then just “i”. A 27-year-old product on at least its 4th name; this further corroborates your comment about poor marketing.)

      I’ve seen an iSeries — most of us in the field use the original or first successor term 😉 — crash ONCE in over 21 years. (How many Blue Screens of Death have you seen on a PC?) There were obviously brilliant hardware and software designers behind this machine (and the Toronto lab still turns out amazing software for it). This is “old school” IBM, reflecting reliability and real long-run value … and IBM seems to treat it — when it isn’t being ignored — as some sort of bastard child.

      But — just to be a devil’s advocate: Is its decline due to IBM leadership, or Wall Street’s (i.e. our society’s) loss of a long-term respective? Is this just IBM’s approach to American business’s all-too-common “value-downsizing”? “Short-run profits are all that matter! In the long run, we’re all dead.”

      But I digress. 😉

  17. IBM-Its Been Mizrble says:

    IBM’s business service unit is failing for two reasons: It’s horrendous off-shoring of complex business processes, especially its off-shoring of HR BPO/payroll processes, and IBM, like every other BPO provider, could not deliver a flawless system conversion to the client if their lives depended on it.

    HR BPO providers are all under the misguided belief that clients will tolerate a horrendous go-live of a system conversion. The consultants employed by BPO providers to convert clients’ systems lack the requisite functional knowledge required to convert systems and they are clueless as to the methodology required to deliver a flawless implementation.

    Time after time, BPO providers have gone live with client systems and the BPO providers were fully aware the conversion would be a debacle when it went live. But, does that stop BPO providers from going live with a disaster? NO WAY.

    BPO providers believe that while the client will be angry with services upon go-live, the BPO provider can resolve disastrous results of a premature go-live, after the fact, and win back the client’s trust. It’s a ridiculous assumption that has lead to clients terminating their contracts with BPO providers time after time.

    But the clients of the BPO providers must accept their part of the blame for horrendous results upon go-live of system conversions with the BPO provider. The clients are not demanding the BPO provider prove the client’s system is ready to go-live with stringent parallel test results and other toll gate items that the BPO provider should be required to provide to the client in order to obtain the green light to go live with the client’s system. If the client lacks the expertise to hold the BPO provider’s feet to the fire relative to whether their system is ready to go-live or not, the client should hire a client advocate with the requisite functional knowledge, expertise with the software being implemented, and rock solid knowledge of software implementations who can advise the client, accordingly.

  18. Mr-Bat says:

    IBM is a company with NO integrity, they only interested on meeting their numbers $$$ .. once that is achieve …. who cares abt the ppl who paid for the services ? lets screw them !!

    This is IBM’s current policy !! Well done !! you will reach the drain soon !! Good luck !

  19. dan says:

    I have delt with IBM for years as an IT Manager.

    Out of step
    Poor customer service
    Old out of touch workforce

    I visited Pookipsee, home of the IBM campus. It looked like a ghost town. Several days of presentations from “experts” going through the motions. My company did not purchase anything. I felt lile i was the only one who saw right through the emperor’s new clothes. I knew three years ago IBM was doomed.


  20. GP says:

    IBM software and mainframe business is already in steep decline. New applications are invariably being put on low cost IaaS cloud, or specialized PaaS or DB engineered systems. Lotus has been a basket case for years, Tivoli is being eaten by the likes of ServiceNow, IM and Cognos suffering from lack of investment and Oracle/SQL Server superiority, Rational long ago lost to HP, services losing out to far cheaper Indian companies and in-sourcing to internalise profit margin. Nowhere for IBM to go from here, particularly with an unmotivated/uncompensated workforce.

  21. SW says:

    I am currently a technical guy in the software group supporting sales rep oppurtunities (9 years). Just now told, with no warning, that I’m on a 30 day plan to improve my performance or be terminated… No previous warnings! 30 years in IT, thats never happened to me. Well 3 months ago I noticed that the products I specialize in are NOT hot sellers and the sales teams were told to push the hot products. So having little work to do, I looked for and found a better IBM position where the hiring team thought I was perfect for the job. I then told my manager. At first he said he would not block the transfer. After sevral weeks the new manager did not call me, so I asked my boss what was up and he said the new manager was still looking. After more weeks, I pinged the new manager for a status and he said “call your boss right now”. Up shot of this is simple. They knew there would be layoffs, knew my products were not being sold and so knew I would make a good lay off candidate. Thing is, they needed to delay me until the appropriate time, when the lay offs were due. So they “strung me along” as the saying goes. These layoffs are all for the benefit of short term stock holders and IBM managers who make huge profits and bonuses in the short term. So huge, that the long term viability of the company does not matter to them (they’re rich bitch). And lower and middle managers are just hoping to survive by doing the dirty work, like lying to me the way my boss did.
    IBM was an IT company that used sales/marketing/accounting the way any company does. Today IBM is a sales/marketing/accounting company that just happens to be in IT. For how long remains to be seen.

  22. Alex White says:

    I joined IBM in 1974 and was terminated in 2010. I have forgotten more than most of those who have spoken here. I rose from a a technical role in OP to become the head of SO contract management at an executive level for Asia Pacific. Back in the day, IBM was a people company and that relationship between people and technology took IBM forward. Today I seem IBM managed by people who have really run a business. Today outlook is short and only focused on me. Or me to. I so miss working for IBM as it was a Great Company..

  23. Tom says:

    IBM did well in the past due to investment in R&D. It was considered a top company to work for in the past. And it had the best people in the technology area. Not any more, any decent graduate will not even take a look at what IBM offers. Talents are leaving left and right. No motivation left for the rest. Management has become still and lack of new blood. What left are bunch Yes people who only knows how to kiss ass. They do know how to talk and present the same “new technology” thing over and over. What IBM is making money on are technology it developed in the 70s 80s. The mainframe, IMS, DB2z, CICS, IM, tools are the most profitable. Yet, due to its lack of investment in those, they will be eventually replaced by new advanced technology. It is super lacking in innovation. The global service group will be pushed harder from all kind competitors who has actual product knowledges. Hardware is a dead end. There is no innovation and investment period. Even with the new round of investment in chip technology will not change a thing. This is because the top mind in the future technology is not hired by IBM any more. Looking at IBM leadership, there is no technology leadership any more. The company is run by marketing, sales, and finance people. Actually, IBM sales and marketing is not even good. Have you see their sales pitch? Who is directing any visionary work? Mobile/Cloud offers and future offers are a joke. Lack of funding for proper product development and testing, 3rd rated products are pushed to the customer for a quick sell. Small guys and big guys will and have eating IBM’s pie. There is no direction in the company. Just like HPQ, the top management needs to be replaced completely. It won’t happen until IBM hit bottom. In the next few years, expect IBM to sell more non core money losing business. It will need to buy more companies for growth. But just as all Merge/Acquisition in tech world, it fails more than successful. Why would you sell cheap if you have a good business model. Why would you want to work for a stiff managed company when you came from a startup?
    The future of IBM is another 1990. I would expect the failure happens when its mainframe and IM business are threatened by new technology. The next time, even lou gerstner won’t able to save it because IBM has already cut into the bones. There is no more fat to cut.

  24. ShockedIsay says:

    IBM promoted the Bluemix portfolio so I signed up for a trial subscription on July 1st, 2014. Can you believe no one ever contacted me to find out if I had questions or to followup. I don’t think their Sales team even sent a welcome email. Not a good sign if IBM is supposed to provide enterprise class service to the new Apple/IBM alliance.

  25. Cheenaaa says:

    The biggest worry for a IBM brand loyalist like me and similar others is that whether I can ever proudly claim that I AM A PROUD IBM’ER any more. An IBM’er is one who Reads, Understands and Applies in his area of work without any fear and bias. Can any one in IBM can stay if he follows the above practice. The answer is NO. The reason being the Leadership is in India has first Regional mindset followed by upper cast domination attitude. He actually is not worried about the business, the best practices, well established R&D, Right person for the job, IBM’er first for its internal job poisitions (above 2nd line), following its own HR policies and many more to mention. Leadership recognises a few who are very close to him /her where as the actual contributors are some one else who are immersed in their job functions. They are often spineless even to voice their opinion thinking fear of losing his / her job. Directors like Padmanabhan sukumaran who has a problem of Mental constipation and verbal loose motion lacks ability to connect with customers and talk business or technology. His full time interest is to safeguard his position and would not allow any one to grow beyond his heights. He has never appreciated one individual in his team because it was not his tendency. You will be surprise to note that it is his own expression to many in IBM. Anupama Ambe- She can bring people from any where to IBM with very high salary and do not care about his / her strengths. She will make sure she sends people out of the organisation if she finds not supporting her ill will. She is least bothered about IBM and its principles. Danvender Sudev became director for safe guarding some one’s Dog. He cannot survive in Domestic business and lacks any quality and ability even to speak to Customer. Sudheer pandita thinks that he is a great guy in IBM with over 15 years of experience but lacks agility and undermines others efforts, finally will ensures a skilled professionals ouster. Ultimately a directors in IBM GTS GD is full of corrupt individuals who do not care for its employees. I have not seen a clear road map for the technical employees growth. Due to Band and salary disparities across IBM Business units it is close to impossible to move another division. There are few execeptions to this too. The biggest and unacceptable shameful part is the actual contributors and the one who gets year on year promotions are different. For Ex : Santosh Nair gets promotions for successive 5 years until the stage of Director from Team leader position. Is there a morale ? Hey IBM “Can you tell one of his unique contribution to IBM’s business ? IBM’s Compliance and Trust office and HR investigation are just eye washes if you escalate a matter to them. They remain Mute spectators and be in deep mourning until some thing happens. The end result will always be a futile exercise. Frequent Blue page changes to another manager without his knowledge and will be forced to victimise a genuine employee. Retaliation and work place harrasment is the order of the day and no one can question it. What happened to your values IBM ? What are you trying to safegaurd ? Is it not impacting your business. Last but not least Ganesh Margabandhu, one intelligent joker and racist, will ensure he gives promotions to only Iyers and Iyengars in the organisation. To quote an example he promoted Sairam, Amar bhaskar, perumal, TN Rangarajan etc., at the same time who were his direct reportees. He was the one who spoiled the GTS-GD organisation by poor governance and lack of managerial acumen. IBM needs only such people.

  26. No more an IBMer says:

    The organization has made a joke of itself in India. I worked in IBM for 4 years but finally left since had no patience any more.

    I would list out my points of disappointment –

    ** Misguided hiring – false information
    ** Horrible salary and no proper hikes and bonuses

    I left in 2014 and the last time I got a less decent hike was in 2012 devoid of earning the best rating – 300 rupees increment in 2013 and 400 rupees in April – 2014.

    ** Nothing is free in the company even the Tea, Coffee and Stationary. Although food is payable but horrible quality and costly.

    ** I used to operate from Manyatha Site – horrible Transport Management System consisting of arrogant system.

    ** Limited knowledge sharing in practical but vast sharing through emails from HR Team.

    ** Free courses are horrible and doesn’t bring star for you no matter how levels of certification you complete.

    ** After 4 years of working my salary was less than a fresher of other companies in 2014.

    ** I had to up skill my self at my cost from outside but never got a reply for a proper movement from any person approached. Agreed to take resources from outside increasing the employee number but not upgrading the internal employees.

    ** Less then limited access – My job was to “right click and click on update” which I used to do for 9 hours.

    ** IBM talks about Mentor and Mentee – no matter whom ever you approach you will not get a response.

    For this company Client is first – for employees client should be first but for a company employee should be first.

    1 major job is segregated in to many jobs and then people do those jobs which creates no value and probably that job can be handled my 1 single person.

    Outside companies make fun of IBM because of this.

    A manager is designated as “Project Manager” who has done is graduation in arts that too in correspondence.

    I joined IBM with hope and day of counseling was very inspiring but over the years it was very bad.

    Today I am happy in my new organization because a major up skilling is going on and able to learn so much in one place which was probably divided in IBM in to 10 places.

    Good food and transport immediate increment designed for new employees in 6 months ..

  27. Leroy Junker says:


    • Greg says:

      I agree with everything you say. I worked for those people for 31 years. They pushed all their talent out the door. The sad thing is that for people like myself, people on the outside think we (IBMers) are overpaid and won’t work for another corporation when you are interviewed for a position out of the company. If they only knew that many people hardly make any money at all while working in the trenches. It’s just the people at the top who are overpaid for their incompetencies!

  28. Interactive guy says:

    I have the pleasure of being one of the under skilled and cheap resources. I joined because I thought I would be working with experts and getting training. Instead my managers are ignorant slimy toads only interested in managing upwards.
    I maybe inexperienced but even I see it’s all bullshit. The execs just make the right the noises about the power of the end consumer, big data, experience design, marketing etc. None of them really know what they are talking about. Just parroting each other.
    They even brought in a few experts but that’s all for show or so it appears. As my boss said, no one is selling the experts and they won’t last. It’s all about the cheapest resource which is us and more labs opening in cheaper centres. It’s a crappy situation all around for clients who are constantly underwhelmed. We get people moaning that we don’t do things properly or produce quality. But what can we do? We are just cheap labour doing what we are told.
    There is no quality. I am encouraged to spend a week on something that should take a day to keep utilisation high. Utilisation is what I am measured on so it means back to back projects and try to make them stretch out. You think this would mean higher quality but with the crappy equipment and software I can’t do my job properly. I get no help or expert guidance. No training what so ever. I was expecting to work with people who could show me the ropes. There are a few experts but they work in different teams. Instead of working together we compete for work.
    This makes for a nasty work environment as we all compete for utilisation. At this rate I won’t even be able to get a job anywhere else as I won’t have transferable skills or expertise. The arrogance and nativity is astounding. My co-workers are mostly lapping up all the bullshit. All the grandstanding from the execs and their toe-cringing talks about “How awesome we are” is wearing thin. The news articles – Gartner & eConsultancy seem to be talking about a completely different company. Certainly not the one I work for. The whole thing is a giant con and I ashamed to be a part of it. Reading the article here and the posts and I am inclined to agree that the whole thing is just a giant con to boost the share price. Probably to prepare for a sell off because there is no way clients are going to stick sround.

  29. FOOLISH says:

    I had enough of IBM. 8 years and a half years working there, doesn’t bring me to anywhere in terms of knowledge or experience. I am in the Contact Centre industry based in Cyberjaya.

    There was never a time you won’t have anything to do. We are hired to be milked out all the milk out of us, like a cow. When a cow doesn’t produce milk, you exterminate it.

    There was no real supervision of what the lower level staff was doing, and the management are just interested to get the figure, they don’t really walk the talk. When the result are not met, people like us are getting shouted, had to do a lot of overtime to get the things right.

    The management don’t really care who you hire, whether it is a criminal or a dropout or an unemployed person. AS long as someone’s hired to show that there’s a headcount will do. Promises are made without fulfilling it. Management only worry about the rest later. Later means not the management to worry later, but the functional people like the team lead, the analysts or whosoever’s head that is on the line.

    No doubt it is a good brand, but it failed to shine in today’s world. The management are out of tune, not acknowledging issue, shifting the blame. Well, that’s what they are good at. The way IBM does the business is no longer relevant to the industry any longer. Wake up and listen, or be ready to fail. From a company who’s core business is building reputable machine, to now providing services. Come on, wake up.

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      The buck stops at her door, except no dares to tell the empress she walks around naked without clothes.

      Stunning witnessed 4 years and it is very sad, what I say. To many executive chiefs and not enough executive indians. I witnessed DECs rapid demise, and thought I would never see the gross arrogance and absolute blind stupidty.

      It appears she likes to play three card monty, shuffle and shuffle those three cups so the customers do not see the slight of hand. March 3. Resource Action. You let go your top technical sales leads across the planet. Bright move indeed. Forgot the customer comes first. Guess what the customers know exactly what she chose to pull, the wool right over their eyes. They will be at Edge 2014 to speak to her, which IBM tries to hide the truth from the customers. Word on the street, which amazing has leaked to the customers like the dutch boy at the dike who didn’t have a thousand fingers to plug into the ever increasing holes springing forth every where. Eliminating a product is one thing, doing it with no thought to the ramifications is blind stupidty. Customers are very upset that NAS application integrated infrastructures have been cast to the wind. Unbelievable miscalculation. Customers have been told no more NetApp N Series marketing support. Ouch, that means every single NetApp N Series filer overnight is turned to stone. ( No more software upgrades). What executive made the decision, to let enterprise level customers who have in many,many cases across the globe significant NAS appication integration investments. What happened to simple business 101. The customer is always right, appears not to be the case with IBM, most unfortunate. Business Karma is about to bite and bite hard. To say major customers are a little bit puzzled and a little bit confused is quite the understatement.

    • Ono Loco says:

      A great book to read is “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance” by Louis Gerstner, Jr. a former IBMer

      • Unknown says:

        With falls information I was hired in IBM, but I felt that OK lets continue since I thought that in great company there would be at least something for me to learn and up skill my self. But after 3.5 years I can say up skilling has been zero. No room was provided as such but IBM always talks about up skilling but you won’t find any such facility at all in any technologies. Mentorship is so much talked about in this organization but no matter how you approach request, plead no body is willing to help. Since they don’t see any reason for that as they are not satisfied in any way. The organizational structure is poor. My job is to only “right click and click on update” in 1 screen which I keep staring for 9 hours and no help given to up skill myself. Salary is horrible, no proper hikes and bonuses.

        If IBM needs a change then to has to become employee’s company instead of client’s company first.

  30. Anonymous says:


    • fritz1e says:

      she missed her numbers again in 1Q 14. While she is the pilot a lot of this crap was engineered by Sam and that crook bob Moffatt who was really close to Sam P.

      • Greg says:

        Amen! I worked at IBM. I always told people Sam smiled too much in all his photops. I told them to be careful of anybody who smiles that much!

  31. maverick says:

    There are good enough employees in India who can beat the crap out of anybody on this plane .For heavens sake your NewYork attorney ,Governor of Louisiana to the microsoft ceo are Indians .So they are supposed to be smart aren’t they or you happen to believe they turned smart the moment they ended up in the US of A.You folks have to digest the fact that the days of “white man is the only smart creature on this planet ” are practically over ,so learn to live with it ,you don’t have a choice even if you don’t want it . Having said that IBM is screwed it self is no secret in India ,there are hardly any experienced takers for jobs at IBM in India .There is a mad rush to hire fresh graduates to cover up the experienced attrition and IBM expects them to bring home the goodies ,thats never going to happen.They are loosing accounts to Indian MNC’s left ,right and centre .They are almost the butt of jokes in tech circles .

    • Frank says:

      Maverick, it’s not an issue of whether India has smart people, it has to do with IBM’s efforts to exploit the bottom end of that supply, the ones who are paid next to nothing. IBM wanted to go cheap. India can provide cheaper labor so IBM went there. The smart India staff leave IBM very quickly because they know they are being exploited and they seek pay equal to their talent.

  32. Pushp Sirohi says:


    • Cheenaaa says:

      I waited for several years. A good moral cannot or a good story cannot come from a corrupt environment. Changes keep happening so as the impact to its business.

  33. Pushp Sirohi says:

    Hi Steve it’s a good and old strategy to pointed out most successful people’s of world just because of their sales organization and citing sales that slipped into the next quarter i hope you will answered soon and Guys believe is the only thing to become #1 which is there in Clients and Employees of IBM..So Wait we will show you with our next results…and plz. remember change always have resistance….Let see next level of Strategic IBM and GINNI will set examples for all of you….
    Take care and ready to be SHOCKED….

    • we were shocked, but not by a huge turnaround, but rather, by the pace of the fall. IBM’s most recent dismal announcement on a massive earnings shortfall only exacerbates all these concerns.

      what say you now?

  34. x i bummer in india says:

    In my 6 yrs stint in IBM and I always struggled to justify its hiring and resourcing strategy.
    Situation in India is bleak too…Last 2 years IBM is cutting on experiences resources and replacing them with fresh graduates to cut the cost further.
    Most of the projects will have more managers than technical people. Tech leads are asked to train and manage with 0+ exp. resources. Projects are bid lower than the Indian service companies.
    India also has high skilled workers too but it all depend upon whom you hire. Many competitors of IBM pay double of what IBM pays to a highly skilled worker.
    Earlier It used to recruit from Top grad schools in India now it recruits from any ABC college tech/ non tech doesn’t matter.
    I was part of technical recruitment team as well and I had seen the degradation and all happened in last 4 years.

    At times when other rival companies in India giving 10-15% hike and lucrative bonuses..IBM struggles to pay variable pay which is part of employee’s CTC.

    On top of that networking is one of the criteria for performance evaluation. Technical/architect vertical has no growth at all at least in India…The best of technical minds are either forced to leave or join as managers doing mundane works..if you question process, managers then your PBC is never going to be above 2.
    Biggest joke is company who claims to be face of greener/smarter planet uses paper cups in offices. This speaks volumes about what they claim and what they practice.

  35. Richard Ellsworth says:

    As an IBM former employee I can’t stand this. Watson is turning in his grave. Never have I heard such grim news about IBM. I always thought the execs were the smartest in the world. Especially the top ones. I hope they keep some things together like pension for us poor old folks. Thank you from a 75 year old man.

  36. "new" IBMer says:

    Let me tell you my POV from the “other side of barricade”. I am IBMer only for 6 years, working in GTS -SO Delivery in EMEA region. We are exactly the people who are overtaking jobs from “expensive IT professionals”, mostly from France, Germany etc. Please mind, I know nothing about the sales, however I find it quite irrelevant right now. Right now, it is about keeping the clients. Which is already a bad sign.

    Thing that strikes me, is that IBM appllies one strategy worldwide. This is really inflexible approach and will cause further damage.

    For example : I am now performing a technical job which i got after 5-people team from Germany, all of them had at least 4x bigger salary than me. Imagine the savings for IBM !! And needles to say, the productivity was NOT lost. We can really perform faster, with higher quality. We are removing the “human side” of the job, aligning it with global processes and standards, so it can be later taken from us and brought to India. So we now serve as “janitors” of Service Delivery.

    So YES, it is possible to solve financial problems by outsourcing and doing effective cuts. BUT not on the level on which many of the people above me in this discussion are/have been working. The fact, that somebody “as hierarchicly low as me” can see this happening, is alarming. We dont give a damn about stocks here, we just want to create great values and be paid accordingly. Cutting benefits even in groth-market countries is strategic suicide. Than kyou all for the great insight form totally different perspective !

  37. Rick says:

    I spent 5 years at IBM from 2005-2010. When I joined we had 150K US IBMers and 330K total world wide. When I left we had 90K US and 430K world wide. The writing was on the wall…get out or get kicked out.

    Most of the good ones have left because they could. The losers are about all that is left there now on the technical side and it is showing in their products.

    You cannot replace highly skilled engineers with low end contractors in India.

    • regardless of specifics, I think your point about the dilution of talent is correct. IBM has for years gone from really experienced and highly paid experts that were respected in their fields to less experiences and lower paid technical folks.

  38. Adonis Christopher says:

    These comments deeply trouble me since I enjoy much of my current prosperity and comfort due to the efforts of many of you.

    An old IBM branch manager, who I respected, said “the two happiest days of my life were when I bought my boat and when I sold my boat…”

    Excepting childbirth and marriage, for many of you I’m sure the two happiest days of your life were when you joined IBM and when you left IBM.

    If you are contemplating a job with IBM I suggest you follow the advice of Mr. Marx. “…I refuse to join any club [IBM] that would have me as a member.

    Those of you who are still at IBM and contemplate leaving would do well to heed the Zen master who said … leap and the net will appear.

    At the end of the day IBM is just a job and the reputation of the company is sinking quickly — if you have strong negative feels about your work leave before you become some sort of health statistic.

    Now for some insight into the IBM decision making process, the ossification of the board and CEO performance.

    I’m by no means in the IBM inner sanctum but I first heard Ginni R and Bob Moffat were the top IBM CEO candidates as early as 1999. With all that grooming it would appear that the performance is a bit lacking.

    Finally please join me in a sincere plea to IBM’s current board to find a board member under 35 who doesn’t run a company with a mainframe — it would do them some good.

  39. Bill says:

    Here is another example of misleading IBM processes that demotivate numbers of smart people.
    Formerly to a significant extent IBM’s success was based on technical excellence. Typically technical people should be dedicated to subject matters. However about 20 years ago IBM launched a technical career model that doesn’t work for guys who are not extremely good at political networking. So guess what happened? Many technical high potentials leave the company to advance their career elsewhere. High salary experts at IBM are most likely experts in managing their career according to the extremely complex requirements of the model. At the technical exec level (called Distinguished Engineer) there are folks that lost their technical grounding a decade ago but are extremely good at networking (This is not true for all of them, but the number has dramatically increased over the past years).
    And such guys advice IBM’s top management at technical strategies.

    • Agreed. we have seen this first hand on the client side too – where so called IBM experts live in an ethereal world – with no practicality to their solutions. Clients looking for real world practical advice suffer from theoretical nonsense that is no longer applicable, let alone state of the industry.

  40. Pat says:

    Well guys, working for 16 years for this company now. Ginni is my 3rd CEO. Under Lou, we had a ‘let’s do it together’ teaming and mentality. Sam is actually the one who created the whole mess we’re in now, we shouldn’t forget that, Ginni is only following the path he laid out. But She is the worst CEO, because she doesn’t turn the steering wheel around even though she see’s cliff we’re navigating to. Which leaves the question. does she realy hold the steering wheel at all, or is she just a placeholder, someone put in place to take the blame for the failure of Sam’s strategy. And everyone else just holding off, waiting to take over after she failed so they won’t have to take the blame and can start from ground zero?
    Just to round up all those discussions and comments: it’s not just about the US. In western Europe, we experience the same proceedure. Highly skilled technical guys are being swapped out to be replaced by low cost employees from eastern Europe, India, China, Malaysia and Phillipines. So in all the talk about the US situation, please don’t forget that here are thousands of loyal IBM employees in countries like England, Germany, Switzerland, France etc. that suffer the same treatment by our belowed executives.

  41. Dex Span says:

    I was contracted to IBM in the UK. For the 1st 2 weeks I was there no-one (I mean no-one) was able to create a Citrix image to the end client, so I could not do any work (they were paying me for doing nothing), someone not responsible but with access, felt sorry for me and created it, otherwise I’d still be waiting. I was then told to get a Linux VM would take 8-12 weeks to create? What?? I was then introduced to their LEAN / GDF process (where all your work is supposed to be tracked) apparently based on the Toyota Car Production line, what?? I didn’t like to tell them that they are not a Car production company. My contract was then terminated as someone in India said they could do the job, suffice to say they asked if I could go back 2 weeks later. I’m sure somebody knows what they are doing but I’m not hopeful.

  42. Gene says:

    I worked for IBM for 13years as an Account CE. When I was 49 in 1992, They asked me if I wanted to take an early retirement. They offered me 6 months salary, company medical benefits for my wife and I for the rest of are lifes, and 33% 0f my salary forever. And I forgot they also let me keep all my tools and test equipment Of course I said yes. What a wonderful company. The CEO even sent me a very nice retirement letter and a very nice gold mantel clock with my name insribed on it and my Date of retirement How can you beat that! what a good company!

  43. Current IBMer says:

    Yes I believe this is true since we have just received that the status are going down… for the last 2 or 3 communication emails across the globe.. but weird because some of the global leaders contradicted the report. some business units indeed increased performed remarkably. and oh yes, it’s in the news now, the BPO arm , the IBM Daksh of Big Blue has been sold to Synnex… even other resources who are not part of that buyout has been sold out overnight… causing a lot of disappointments from the people who really contributed and loved, and cared for that 8 BLUE STRIPES. Ironically, still it is the world’s attractive employer? c’mon. HR Partners should be renamed to Business Partners. 🙂

  44. eml says:

    As a career IBMer, when the layoffs started (even before Gerstner) I said IBM could not cost-cut its way to profitability. It hasn’t, and still can’t. The only way to grow is to provide products customers want. IBM is not doing that either. That whole corporate outsourcing theory that started in the Ivy League business schools has been a disaster from the start-it hasn’t worked long-term for anybody. Corporate boards of directors are so incestuously interrelated that I do not believe there is any hope for the future, unless Warren Buffet begins to exercise his clout.

  45. John says:

    Ginni is on a plan to achieve certain profit targets by 2014. If she succeeds, she will make a ton of cash and in the process, plans to sell off several parts of IBM. Services business sell off is only the beginning. Unfortunate that the only way IBM makes its numbers is by selling off parts rather than driving sales and increasing revenue. I see the stock dropping for the foreseeable future.

  46. BlueTape says:

    They are shooting themselves in the foot, but couldn’t see it if it slapped them in the face. A classic case of ‘Not seeing the forest through the trees’.
    Ginni gets a salary of how much, and I presume is rather educated, yet can’t figure this out?

  47. brat says:

    Here’s the latest scoop ! IBMs rebranding itself. The new name… “India Basic Machines”

    • Current Indian IBMer says:

      Not sure why many of you are blaming the IBM India office or your fellow indian IBMers….It is none of their fault. The situation is same in IBM India as well. All the skilled engineers and technical people have either left the company or in the process of leaving it as this oranization has nothing much left to offer them (I am in the latter group). They are trying to backfill them with highly unskilled and inexperienced candidates for who IBM is like a dream come true. Yet the management is perhaps knowlingly committing the mistake. You cannot make a baby in one month by nine mother.

      • Current IBM employee says:

        It’s not India fault.. It’s actually the organization design has the problem as we used to be responsible for what we are doing and once the service moved into GDC, no one is responsible. Using fresh blood with much lower salary is just everyone.. When blind lead blind without ears.. what else you want to see ?

  48. anewibmr says:

    Our company Kenexa was aquired 7 months ago. We loved our jobs and moral was extremely high. Then blue wash stated and kenexa was destroyed. We now average 10hr days. We are being forced to build code that is full of bugs, just so the dev manager’s look like they are producing something. Employees are leaving in numbers. The rest of us are struggling to keep the ship floating. Our banding results are out and people are not seeing any raises. Yet, we were led to believe that we would be bumped to market level. We are now seeing customers canceling contacts. Employees are so down that people look like zombies. I’m prepping my resume this weekend. I’m done with this mes and what they call blue wash.

    Thanks IBM for destroying a great local company in Philadelphia Pa. I’d rather work for minimum wage because I would at least know I’ll be home in time for dinner.

    Be warned! IBM will drain the life out of you!

    • Shagnik says:

      Can’t agree more on it. I just join here 1 year back and my life became hell.They force us to work 12 hours a day without any extra allowance. Not only that they ask us to come to office sometime on Sunday for deployment that too without any allowance. Managers take work from home when they have a need but when we ask we get a big NO from them. What a disgusting company!!!

    • Blue Washing is a major concern shared by so many of the IBM acquired companies. The stories are almost always the same as you have described.

  49. IBMVoice says:

    You can tell the value an organisation holds in its employees by the term used for their staff Disney=Cast Members, WalMart=Associates and some companies call staff “the talent”. In IBM we are called “resources” equivalent to desks, tools and chairs. Ginni must fix the internal to ensure a positive projection of IBM is made to our clients.

  50. Allen says:

    I can’t agree with you more, but sth inside is more important than what is shown to the public.
    Ginni began her big plan to layoff many many employees and the plan seems to be not so planned.
    She only cares abt the number, so in her eyes, employees are the biggest cost.
    So what happened now?
    From development team, many great guys were laid off, many creative projects were cut off. So now, IBM has almost no creative products are in developing now, and if you are a customer of IBM, I am sorry, now you can’t get great support as before, because the persons who can really do a great job are laid off.
    Actually, IBM only earn less money than before, it doesn’t mean IBM is nearly bankrupted. However, what Ginni did is to tell all IBMers that maybe tomorrow, the company will be bankrupted.
    If the employees don’t focus on their job, what will happen?
    I really love IBM, and I really want Ginni Fxxk away ASAP.

  51. Curtiss says:

    It is an absolute disgrace what is happening at IBM. Not since the days of the Akers regime have we seen such disarray at IBM. The bad news: this has been building for many many years, this focus on profit at the expense of all else, most of all employees. Precious good honest working human beings being let go on such a large scale, having benefits cut on such a large scale, working draconian hours on such a large scale. The good news: this will be all ending quickly with a new regime to be in stalled to bring back the company to its original beliefs. Thomas Watson Sr. must be having lots of conversations with the Good Lord about the upcoming changes that will be taking place…

  52. Another IBMer says:

    The layoff of skilled workers, especially in GBS (my geography) makes you wonder how can they deliver what they are selling to the customer.
    There are situations where they clearly go to a customer with a solution not having staff to put it to work. Plain and simple dishonesty.
    Then they try to circumvent the problem by adding more lies to the pile.
    The gross profit on projects is killed at birth by sales people that are the dumbest I’ve seen in my 25 year career. They staff the projects with any college graduate they can find. Most of them from areas outside IT. At a very low cost and usually subcontracted to some IBM local spinoff.
    Needless to say that the IBM name is suffering incredibly with this approach. Account after account is lost. On top of that GBS has this stupid mantra of being agnostic. They wont sell IBM “machines” because they want to be neutral. That way they kill the services component and help sell zero hardware (because that’s another department job).
    Management is mainly composed by people that just want to protect their position effectively becoming yes men frightened with the day when someone points the finger at them. The top management I know is beyond bad. It’s absolutely moronic!!
    They have no knowledge of technology they are superficial and most of their decisions and strategies are never taken to a point where we can measure their effectiveness.
    The way they decide layoff is compensation level. They let go the most valuable resources and keep low cost and low skill resources and hire a bunch of them for Global Delivery in India.
    I can’t begin to tell you how bad Global Delivery is. Most of them have no experience, no knowledge and no desire to progress in the company due to the miserable pay they earn.
    What they want is to be there for 6 months and get a better pay elsewhere. When they start to understand something about a particular account or project they are replaced by another low level professional (my bowels jumped by calling them professionals).
    I’ve never seen a company commit suicide like this.
    There is no spark, no thrive for excellence, no quality of service to the customer.
    Just blood on the HR manager’s office.
    IBM is becoming a company one should avoid to work at all cost.
    Instead of the Smarter planet initiative, they should start on their own house. But for that the management layers need to have a major kick in the butt and replaced by capable people that understand what a business around technology is all about.
    Ok… I vented…

    • William says:

      As one who has been in the industry since the late 60’s and was for a short time an IBMer and subsequently on contract I can vouch for the comments by “Another IBMer”. Our contract on the AT&T contract ended at the end of 2013 with most of the jobs going to India and Brazil.

  53. Joe L says:

    You made a big deal about Rometty not participating in the quarterly analyst briefing.

    As a matter of fact, these briefings have been done by the CFO for at least the last 10 years. You can probably check this out by going to the investor page.

    • The “Big Deal” is because when you promise things and don’t deliver, and/or when you cite reasons and then don’t back it up, you should have the guts to take questions. If it’s the CFO’s job, then let him do it and don’t comment on it. If it’s ultimately her job, then back up her comments with active questions from inquisitive minds.

      I’m quite certain that investors believe there are at least $6.1M reasons why, as the top executive at IBM, Ginni should answer some questions about her so-called explanations regarding the company’s poor performance for two consecutive quarters under her leadership.

      • ambitchxxx says:

        he obviously missed the whole point of the article.

      • Joe L says:

        The CFO has always taken this quarterly briefing and answered questions in good times and bad, so it is misleading to say she “doesn’t even bother to show up to make the lame excuses anymore”
        I raise this issue because your research on this simple point of fact seems very weak, which makes me suspect the rest of your arguments.

        • What seems to be very weak, is your contention that our research is suspect because of how you view a small technicality of whether or not we were suggesting that Ginny was previously on the analyst calls, by our use of the word “anymore” – which isn’t even the point.

          …doesn’t even bother to make the excuses anymore, was not to suggest that she previously showed up to make the excuses and no longer does, it was said to suggest that she had been out making public statements (excuses) about the lack of performance, and when she has a chance to do that to professionals who would be inclined to ask some active questions and challenge some of her comments, she doesn’t even bother to show up to make those excuses anymore.

          If you evaluate the vast majority of comments on this and the previous blog on this topic, you’ll see that IBM employees, former employees, and others overwhelmingly view the analysis as unfortunate, but spot on.

      • Curtiss says:

        This guy TOTALLY missed the whole point of this article! He needs to use his brain, go back and re-read the article and then read the comments!!!!

  54. ron says:

    When I was first made an executive in IBM I was about#300 in an organization of over300,000 world-wide. Now I wonder what percentage of IBM are execs.

  55. Scott Doe says:

    My career with IBM was a case study in casting pearls before swine. While I’m sad that they couldn’t see what they had in me, I’m ecstatic to no longer be trampled upon by less visionary, less transformative beings. Thanks, IBM, for punching my ticket to the smarter planet!

  56. Mars says:

    For a simple process the layers of teams, geographies and people is insane. Making a simple task, so difficult to accomplish. This model is not only not efficient, it is time consuming and worst of all, in all that chain, there is nobody who sees the big picture of the process or even if they do, they don’t care to share it. Low morale and this thing of a global organization it is one of the most unproductive ways to work.

  57. Ibmer says:

    Employee morale is at the lowest point in my 15 years and talking to others it’s at the lowest point in 30 plus.

    Things that have changed for the worse since I joined:
    Pension plan taken away.
    No free soft drinks.
    No office supplies.
    No free water.
    Yearly bonuses cut from averaging 8 percent to averaging 2 percent
    401 k plan changed so we only get the match one time at he end of the year. Basically just a pay cut of several hundred to a thousand dollars for every employee.
    Skipping performance based raises this year.
    I’m sure I’m missing some others.
    Very little new hiring in the past 8 years but lots of ras. More work for those of us remaining and no insentive to work harder.

    I think ibm is actively trying to get high performing and high paid developers to quit.

    I got a retention plan a while ago and was highly motivated for about a month until ibm made another one of these awful employee fu moves.

    • We have heard from A players at IBM that they were expected to just keep doing more, while so many around them did nothing, so they lost their incentive and decided to move on. The good things with reductions in force, is that if done right, you can clear out a lot of waste, but the problem is that if done wrong, you lose your good people, and are left with the chaff, with no wheat.

  58. IBM Observer says:

    Interesting comments about how IBM has lost its customer focus. At a recent event, IBM spent the majority of time detailing how their sales force presents their products (services, intelligent systems, analytics, etc.) to clients by detailing where and what business problems this addresses, the quantifiable benefit and how IBM is now offering ‘outcome-based’ pricing that ties the cost of the solution to specific performance goals laid out and agreed upon by IBM and the client prior to beginning the effort.

    I agree that employee abuse appears egregious – there appears to be a lot of B-school theory-based management using data mining and modeling. These drive the w/w cross-IBM cuts that clain ‘everyone’ must suffer – so let’s hack away. Ginni’s quote saying ‘everyone must work harder’ implies that she and her executives think there remain a lot ‘slackers’ in the ranks. A feeling that I have heard/seen from even low-level managers.

    • it seems like much of the anecdotal evidence suggests that the (too) many layers of management, and the nature of advancement at IBM create an environment where folks spend more time managing their career, than they do working on customer problems and innovating new solutions.

      • fritz1e says:

        Great observation. If you are not on the ER (executive Resources list) you are pretty muwaiting for them to fire you. Regardless of your performance and results. They are looking at salary, Age, pension. They keep missing sales tarets because they have fired all of their experienced sales people who had the respect of the customer. No sales peole+ no sales….pretty simple

  59. Beaux Boxer says:

    Sadly I have to agree.

    IBM is forgoing technical people and experience all to save a few $$ at the expense of IBM customers.

    What should be happening is building those technical skills to deliver excellence to the customers and sell the culture of excellence, not cheap nasty and “all we care about is the share price”.

    IBM seriously needs to look at the level’s of management. There are too many levels of management in all areas.

    The sales teams are in dis-arrary. IBM keeps changing the products sales people are selling, keeps changing the incentive plan to the point that the sales teams are no longer interested in selling, as they do not know what they will be selling in 6 months time or even if they do sell they will actually get any recognition. Let alone the changes in expenses, so much so if sales want to build a relationship with the client, they have to do it out of their own pocket. So why would you even try to sell at IBM??

  60. Jeff says:

    Correct article on all fronts, kudos to the author. The ’10 Reasons’ article is just as accurate, perhaps even more so. I know because I spent over 25 years working for big blue and watched the place erode beneath my feet like a limestone rock under rushing salt water. The place is eat up with executives who are nothing but corporate politicians looking out for their own careers and wallets. It’s nothing more than a financial engineering holding company in major decline. Working at IBM as a rank-n-file technical person had become all but career suicide. If you have technical skills, get out asap. I was most pleased, and consider myself very fortunate, to have found employment where they actually value their employees as ‘people’ and not ‘resources to be discarded in order to prop up quarterly EPS.’ IBM has Wall St. totally bamboozled but that, too, will end soon. Sadly, when the end nears, IBM executives will take their spoils and run, leaving the employees, clients and remaining shareholders in the mud. Classic case of ‘The Emperor Has No Clothes’.

  61. Ben says:

    Hi Steve,

    I don´t see any mention of the 2Q results (you are about a month early) or this phone call on the investor relations page. Could you link where you are getting your info?

  62. Greg says:

    As you have probably noticed by now, your prediction of increased layoffs was absolutely correct. IBM is now laying off thousands worldwide.

    I remember how proud I was to be part of IBM when I was first hired a few years ago as the result of an acquisition. There were a few rough spots, but I figured those were just growing pains and we would soon be on our way to a productive and rewarding future. Unfortunately those rough spots were just the beginning. The IBM experience became a slow-motion train wreck as I watched our once-productive team increasingly burdened with useless reporting requirements and worthless “training”. Of course no internal charge code was provided for all this unproductive time. We were expected to bill it all to the client. Where we were once focused nearly 100% on client tasks, we were now spending two or more hours each day on internal busy-work that added no value for the client. Not surprisingly, the client soon terminated their contract with IBM.

    The priorities of IBM management are upside-down. IBM’s stated values of “Dedication to every client’s success”, “Innovation that matters, for our company and for the world”, and “Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships” now seem hollow and hypocritical. Instead of “dedication to every client’s success”, the only thing that management is dedicated to is gaming the system by any means possible to artificially boost earnings per share. Who would want to be a customer of IBM knowing that service to the customer is only an after-thought, a necessary evil to be accomplished at the lowest possible cost; that their primary value to IBM is a resource to be milked for every possible dollar in order to support the almighty stock price?

  63. Debra says:

    This again is so typical of IBM. I had 8 years at IBM, promoted to run the PLM business unit. I was extremely successful in making our numbers only to find out on a conference call that IBM sold this business unit back to Dassault Systems. All 262 employees were told they no longer had a job with IBM and was offered “A comparable job with Dassault Systems.” I kept the letter offering me a job, however once on board, the job description rapidly changed. We were all told we could not come back to IBM for 3 years. This is how IBM operates, no consideration for it’s employees, just a hike in quarter results… What a disgrace, Mr. Watson is turning over in his grave many times over with how the company has changed, no respect for anyone anymore.

  64. Joseph Coombs says:

    The answer is not to keep cutting staff number, or more jobs to cheaper countries, which seems to be the current position of “very” senior management in IBM.

    Skills are being lost, in fact I would say lost for good. People in Brazil, India, Eastern Europe etc are ok, but what they lack is the historical knowledge. You cannot just lose 30 years experience and say that a resource being paid less in India is now able to deliver the same service.

    The only people that are going to win are Rometty and very high level management on 7 figure wages.

    IBM, mark my words, is going to give way and implode at some point. Once people realise the terrible way in which it is managed.

    • This is a major concern shared by most of our clients as well. It seems like IBM’s strong primary focus is EPS, not customer value, not customer success, but their own, inward focus on stock price.

    • IBM Offshore says:

      I can’t agree more, I’m from a Growth market, Brazil, and I replaced a 30y experience IBM US employee that was fired. I had no knowledge transfer sessions, no discussions, nothing. I simply received the responsibilities from a person that was in the area for years. I have the skills… but ALL historical knowledge is lost, and I simply can’t perform as him without the business knowledge he has.

      Also note that we are loosing the high skilled people in Brazil too (remember that IBM Brazil was funded in 1917, we are here forever), Brazilian workers are expensive, specially the ones that are in the company for a long time if compared to people from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, Eastern Europe countries.

      Not to mention the salary increase freeze, low bonuses, subjective performance evaluations and lost of career census, why invest your career in a company that throws away experience, high performance, and high skilled people? Well, they are doing this based on salary so you can’t dream with a good salary in IBM anymore.

      Conclusion is, IBM fires everyone considered expensive and lots are leaving due to its low salary and amount of work.

    • Neo says:

      I am from GTS India, working for a Mainframe delivery that was setup 30 years back, They want the whole project to be supported from India, I have the skills but cannot reproduce the historical knowledge. The non Tech Execs do not understand what can or cannot be offshored.

  65. Jeffrey Britt says:

    IBM’s strategy of improving stock performance…should be making the revenue numbers for Q3 & Q4, but the numbers need to realistic & achievable.
    You could do what the previous CEO did – buy companies & take revenue & have Lay offs, but IBM should Not sell off business units as that can have an effect on future growth performance. IBM stock should continue to show decent growth in the coming years, But gone are the days where IBM stock ownership will make you rich or save your portfolio – you will need to look elsewhere for that.

    • I believe the stock performance will continue to improve even while value to customers continues to decline, but there has to be a point when the weight of the stock buckles under the pressure on the company to serve its customers.

  66. Jeffrey Britt says:

    What happened to those sales that slipped from Q1 to Q2 last quarter?, The answer could be that (A)those sales slipped again due to a slow economy & tight budgets, (B)Some of The sales were lost to competition, or (C) maybe the sales figures were fuzzy numbers and not real deals all.

  67. Jeffrey Britt says:

    I agree that blaming the IBM sales force is a lame excuse (but used by many companies in I.T.). I can tell you from experience that the IBM sales force is still very customer focused & driven to bring in all the revenue it can in any given quarter & the tech staff is second to none. When revenue goals every year get bigger & bigger eventually you will reach a point where you will not make the number especially in a bad economy.
    I believe the previous CEO (Sam Palmisano) had a solution for this dilemma – if you see that you will not make the revenue number than BUY the revenue number by buying companies (and taking the customers/revenue that they have) this is what IBM has done the past 5+ years. If you think being an IBM sales professional is easy or safe beleive me it is neither, try the job yourself if you have The Guts – because most people Do Not!.

    • no doubt that IBM has some of the best technology sales talent. The concern is really more about the shift away from innovation and strong servicing to low cost servicing, which most of our clients find to be eroding the value of their long term relationships with IBM.

  68. Frederick Lee says:

    I believe IBM’s success since the 60’s into the present was based on a sales force that was technically skilled and customer oriented. Even when we were hardware based the sales force was dedicated to customer service. When consulting and services became the center of business it was technically based and still dedicated to the customer’s

    • Jeffrey Britt says:

      Yes IBM had great success in the 60’s & 70’s based on a good sales force, but also because it had a Monopoly with little competition. The IBM sales force today is still tech & business solution skilled, and customer focused – I know because I went through IBM Software training and IBM Top Gun Mainframe hardware training, IBM training is top notch. The competitive landscape today is much more severe than ever before – other giants like Oracle, Microsoft, and 100+ others will all take revenue in the I.T. space (Software, Hardware, Consulting) which means there will less revenue for IBM to gain (It’s a zero sum game).

      • IBM still commands a hugely dominant market position. For clients that rate IBM as “strategic” as a supplier, they average a 55% wallet share, according to a 3-year study we conducted from 2010-2012.

      • Mike says:

        What monopoly? There were lots of competitors in IBM’s marketplace in the 60’s and 70’s, probably stronger then, relative to IBM, than any today. IBM went on to create new products, to meet customer needs, that most customers then would not have asked for. (Who needs a Selectric? There are lots of great typewriters out there. Who wants a “360” architecture? What will it do for us? Easy answers today, but not when IBM was betting the company on them. IBM needs to quit pursuing low-ball competitors and show how excellence in products and services is more profitable for their customers. Nothing sells better than a products that your competition used to beat you in your business space. IBM used to be the provider of tools that made you more productive and more profitable, and thay provided the expertise to make sure you DID profit by using their products. I can call any software/hardware company and get a minimum wage call center, I used to be able to call IBM 24/7 and get the absolute best support avaliable anywhere, now, not so much. Has gutting the Help desk made IBM more profitable? NO. Because doing that made me look elsewhere for solutions. That’s the path all lowest-cost providers take, for the few remaining years they last. We (customers) need that old supply of viable, first-class solutions, but it appears that current management would not see one if it hit them in the face.

        Wishing for that halcyon past.

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *