Big Changes at IBM?
If there's a company that most people are going to name when they think about information technology, I'd say it is IBM. IBM's roots are in hardware, but they've expanded in to software and services to round out the mix. I can't think of an IT skill that wouldn't be in use somewhere within this massive enterprise.
So it was with interest that I read Robert Cringley's musings that 150,000 employees will be laid off from IBM by the end of this year. I have no inside knowledge about any such plans, but Cringley certainly seems to have a strong opinion on the matter. Of course, it's his job to have opinions. Because of my lack of knowledge, I'm not going to refute any of his original commentary or his follow-up post. Instead, I'm going to highlight some of the 1,000+ comments that his original post generated. In particular, I was most interested in comments posted by those identifying themselves as past or current IBM employees. I think these are very telling about the thoughts and morale of the company.
"One internal rumor regarding LEAN was that the external consultancy hired to actually perform the analysis was discharged after their principal finding was that IBM is far too top heavy in the executive and management ranks. Not having heard the answer they thought they were paying for, the executives subsequently took ownership of LEAN to pursue the path they had already planned." -- Anonymous IGS Employee
"I was once proud to wear an IBM badge. I was part of the best technology company around the globe. Since then we have lost our top talent. Our remaining employees come up with reasons they cannot do something versus justing completing work. They are scared to put themselves out their since they are just 1 layoff away from unemployment." -- IBM Employee
"Those times are long gone. In my CUSTOMER-FACING position, I'm continually embarrassed by our ever-diminishing capabilities and excuses for not just getting the job done. I feel bad for our customers who are getting screwed for the most part." -- IBM Employee X
"It may take several years, but this lack of management vision and leadership will bite IBM in the end. But for Sam and the other senior execs, they are just lining their golden parachutes and getting ready to leave the mess behind for some other poor sap to try to resolve when the real crap hits the fan." -- Tim IBMer
"I work at IBM now and it's the most miserable place in the world to be. It's just a pit of despair right now and I'm willing to take a pay cut to get out! I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy." -- IBMer
Admittedly every company has its share of angry and frustrated folks and these people are also the ones most likely to make their views known (people really do like to complain). Still, there's a lot of negativity in the 1,000+ comments making it hard to brush these people aside.
Could Cringley be on the money with this one?