back to article HP's EDS acquisition to kill 24,600 jobs

There was little doubt employee heads would roll when Hewlett-Packard, owner of a massive IT services organization, paid $13.9bn for EDS, a similarly sprawling IT services outfit. With Mark Hurd "the butcher" leading consolidation efforts at HP, employees could all but brace themselves for some substantial job culling. Well, HP …

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Pirate

if only Sun would be fiscally responsible

Sun needs a hatchet....but Jon's strategy is give opensource software away for free and hope noone does a tco on the maintenance costs or a feature function compare

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UK 12,300 - Rest of Europe 0

>The tech giant said workforce reduction will vary by country, based on local legal requirements

Which roughly translated means that thanks to the blessed saint Margaret and the even more right wing, big business friendly lot currently in power probably all of the non-US job cuts will be in the UK. Any EDS employees in France or Germany can sleep relatively soundly.

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Crocodile tears

These are the employees of the same EDS that spectacularly fucked-up the Child Support Computer System (CSCS) for the UK's Child Support agency?

The same employees who were responsible for the RAF pay debacle?

The same people who screwed up the UK Inland Revenue IT service and delayed payment of tax credits to the poor?

The same EDS staff whose cock-up on the PFI Ministry of Defence payroll system left 30,000 servicemen unpaid and led to a government bailout of the project?

The same staff who allegedly pitched false contracts to BSkyB which later sought £700m compensation for failure to meet service standards?

My heart bleeds for them. I hope they never work again.

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Pirate

Rant

It does sound like a sneaky way to off shore jobs! When will the beancounters realize that tho it saves on $$$ that the added value of the average off shored job is much lower than to keep it here. Why don't we start offshoring high level management and opposed to some slick looking and smooth talking butcher get (eg) an Indian CEO who makes 10% of before mentioned manager... Let's be real what DOES a CEO or CFO REALLY do? They have their minions to blame if something goes wrong and if it goes right they take the honor...

Multi nationals are here to stay but seriously the shipping off jobs has to stop!

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Unhappy

Worried EDS Employee

As a current UK EDS Employee I am very worried. We have already gone through FTE reductions and are now down to the bone and service is starting to be affected.

More importantly where I live EDS is the main employer so lose my job and effectively I lose my families home :(

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Bronze badge

So just where does EDS have the work?

I can see cross-border data transfers being a big issue, or at least one which HP sees as something to sell contracts on. With the looming threat of a depression, it's maybe the politically acceptable way of protecting local employment.

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Coat

New Reg unit?

We had a giggle here trying to think up a new Reg unit for measuring redundancies called the "Hurd", based on his average axe-job, but the unit ended up so big we decided that going with the "Lehman" of 5000 victims was a more useable measure.

Mine's the coat with the logo "Culled from the Hurd".

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Coat

How will they do it???

'Can those of you without a WBS code please put your hands up...'

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Coat

Working for Damocles?

Interesting to hear the perception that "nearly half" the job losses will be in the US means that this is mainly a US-restructure? Could that be because the majority of the EDSers are in the US - just a thought.

Meanwhile, that still means - by my reckoning - that there's 12,500+ jobs to go around the globe. And since Europe is reputedly the most expensive place to do biz then that's where most of the jobs will go surely.

Now given the rest of Europe has effective unions and labor laws, you can just guarantee that the majority of these European job cuts will be in the UK.

So all in all, not a good time to work for EDS/HP UK I would think.

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Anonymous Coward

I look forward to EDS loosing more work...

You can bet that HP thinks that it can ship loads of work offshore and that their clients won't object, but I know some will.

A well known IT contractor decided to do this, and ordered their services division to off-shore support for a set percentage of their business.

This they did, including a number of government contracts which specifically tied the operations to the UK. Naturally, HMG was a bit miffed by this, and terminated the contracts.

I expect we can look forward to some decisions like this coming out of HP, and the attached attitude that if the customer doesn't want to go with this, then HP don't need their business.

But don't worry, there's plenty of UK companies that will only too happily take their business away from them, and their staff as well.

Something else to ponder is, just how limitless does HP think India and alike's supply of qualified high grade IT practitioners is? Churn in Bangalore these days, I hear, is horrendous, as is wage inflation.

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Unhappy

@Sceptical Bastard

<snip> major tar brushing </snip>

"My heart bleeds for them. I hope they never work again"

I think you'll find that in a company as vast as EDS the UK base is large and not all of us are responsible or have even been near the projects you refer to. So while you're slagging off and tarring all with a brush as large as your ego, try to remember what someone above has said. There are no other main businesses around here for IT staff. Many stand to lose a lot should this go ahead in the numbers suspected, especially for those who joined post 2000. I too will lose virtually everything should I be made redundant.

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Happy

Potentially a good deal...

The taxpayer could keep the entire EDS workforce in benefits indefinitely and still be financial ahead of the game if only EDS/HP promises to never, ever bid on a UK government tender again.

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What DOES a CEO or CFO REALLY do

They make sure there is enough money in the kitty to write your paycheck - among other things. If you don't understand what all they do; I'm not sure you ever will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crocodile Tears

Dear Sceptical Bastard

I didn't work on the Child Support Computer System, nor did I play a part in the RAF pay debacle, nor did I have anything to do with the UK Inland Revenue IT service and delayed payment of tax credits to the poor, nor was I part of the the PFI Ministry of Defence payroll project, nor was I involved with BSkyB.

Am I damned just for working for EDS (albeit only for a very short time)?

Oh, and having implemented systems for public sector clients over the last 12 years, I have to say that sometimes the problem is caused by the client.

A combination of "don't make a decision so you can't be blamed" plus moving targets (changing requirements throughout the project lifecycle) added to an unmoveable go-live date can easily result in problems. Damn! I have just joined a project that suffers from these symptoms. Oh well, watch out for the headlines at some point in the future ;-)

As I said I am new to EDS and, unlike you, I don't have access to all the information so cannot comment on your examples. However, either EDS generally do a good job so can bid for other work or they are the only company stupid enough to take on some of these very large government projects. I don't know the answer, only that the guys I'm working with are not incompetent, neither are they stupid. They know that a successful project is good on the CV.

Enough bleating from me - I'm off to screw up another project!!!

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Black Helicopters

Gettin' me dander up

Re: @Sceptical Bastard (Anonymous Coward) - well said fellow EDSer! :D It really pisses me off when you get some know-it-all b'ard come along and go "you f'd up project XXXX - so you're all obviously a bunch of useless t--sers". My answer to that is - if you think working with HMG is so easy then - come-and-have-a-go-if-you-think-you're-good-enough. Look around and you'll see that it's seemingly very rare to get a govt contract to go without a hitch - so unless every company bidding is equally useless, you've got to focus on the one common factor - the customer!!

I've been lucky enough to keep my EDS job for a while now, (I do very little work with HMG), and a large number of the techies I deal with day-in, day-out bust a gut to deliver a good product, on time, every time. I was kind of hoping that the HP takeover would introduce some new blood and the good folks would get some recognition - after all HP do claim to be "an engineering-led company", (naive in the extreme I know!). From this announcement (in the article) this claim looks like so many fine words again. I'd love to be proved wrong, and it turn out that the culled consist of the dead weight admin - you know the "professional meeting attenders", but I suspect that the tech grades will get chopped again.

@How will they do it??? - sorry mate, you just gave yourself away as an EDS employee - HP black helicopters are inbound on your signal! ;)

Gotta go know - think I'm going to need to update my c.v. very soon...

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Flame

you missed the second headline

first headline: Hp buys EDS will screw 24,000 employees.

second headline: HURD and other top execs get massive bonuses this year.

where's the spider logo?

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IT Angle

24,600 but how many contractors?

Chances are they're not counting contractors on that total as they're not "real" employees. I wonder what the real figure is....

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Pirate

@Chris W

Considering the messes they made of various public funded IT projects, do you think that's unfair ?? Or are you one of those so habituated to feeding off the public trough that you cannot get a decent job without it ??

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@Ishkandar

I don't see your point. If you read my comment correctly you'll see that it is a reference to the emasculation of the labour laws by the BSM and an implication that the current labour government is far more right wing than she ever was and has done even more to reduce the protection of the British worker in favour of big business.

As for feeding off the public trough and not being able to get a decent job, I will treat this as a polite question and not a snide remark. I left the UK straight from university in 1984 and started contracting soon afterwards. Whenever I have wanted to work I have and have hardly had so much as a nodding acquaintance with the public trough, I assume you are educated enough to realise the source of the paraphrase. In fact, in most of the countries I have worked there was no public trough. I would venture to say with some confidence of not being contradicted that many would gladly give an arm and a leg to work on the some of the projects I have worked on and above all with the people I have worked with.

Coming from a mining community and seeing first hand the devastation of the BSMs actions and the further pumelling by a government that was supposedly on their side maybe you can understand my sympathies with the true Great British worker who through no fault of their own lose their jobs, houses, families and in some cases are so beaten take their own life.

The projects EDS have worked on might have turned out to be pigs ears but I have not a single doubt that any cock up was due to any of the lower grade workers, the ones who are most likely to lose out from all of this. The messes you refer to were more likely made by a third party consultancy brought in via the old boys network to draw up the specifications.

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Apologies, EDSers

To the EDS 'shopfloor' guys who responded (and to those who didn't), I apologise for my last paragraph. It was crass and insensitive. Heads should roll at EDS - but at management level, not at the coalface.

Historically, EDS (particularly during the 1990s) agressively bid for HMG contracts and, having won them, fucked them up royally. Fact.

The incompetence of HMG's civil service planners, project managers and specifiers may well have been a factor, I concede. Often, in their defence, civil servants are given near-impossible tasks by their political masters. But EDS's gung ho attitude, often-slipshod project management, loose financial control and abrasive management were equally to blame. There were some very nasty contract managers and PR people at Stockley Park - I know because I met several of them.

My initial comment damned everyone in EDS: that was palpably unfair on the staff who actually had their heads down among the bytes. My ire should properly be directed at EDS's then beancounters, senior managers, project directors, and PRs

'Dander up' AC accuses me of being a "...know-it-all b'ard". Yes, I'm a cantankerous bastard (hence the nick) but in this particular instance I'm not such a 'know nothing' as 'Dander up' assumes. Mrs Bastard is a senior civil servant (in the Dame Humphrey sense) and her department's in-house IT services was replaced by outsourcing to EDS - and the outcome was NOT good. Also, I was a part-time parliamentary lobbyist on single-parent issues (think Child Support Computer System) for several years during the mid-90s.

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Black Helicopters

What's with all this tarbrushing?

@Ishkandar - as a few posters above have stated, not all EDS employees in the UK work on government contracts. And while we all hear about the government contracts going wrong (for example, the inland revenue one where the goalposts kept being moved thus requiring the system to be changed, yet the final deadline wasn't allowed to be moved, that's no way all EDS's fault) you never hear of the ones that go really well, because contract success is not newsworthy. If EDS were really so bad why do they still get the contracts?

AC and hiding from the black helicopters for obvious reasons. Now where's my WBS code?

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Thumb Up

RE: those of you working for EDS

The simple truth of the matter is that if there is enough IT related work to go round then someone else will employ you, and if not then unfortunately not.

If you are hard working, busy, competent, dedicated and flexible as you obviously are then you should have no trouble getting another job. It is only if you are part of the problem that you likely won't.

Also, look at it this way, if HP get rid of the incompetent ones who screw up all the projects aforementioned, then it is really good for you in that you keep your job and your company becomes much stronger. However if they fall for the bullshit and keep the tossers then do you really want to keep working there?

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Coat

@Sceptical Bastard

You obviously have no experience of working on Government contracts.

I did work on the revenue account for a short while and I think you need a few facts to hand. First, 80% of the staff on that account were TUPE'd across from the civil service and subsequently TUPE'd across to CapGemini when EDS lost the contract. Oh, and a fair proportion of the ex civil service staff were happy to cruise along until they reached retirement and that indexed-linked pension they were entitled to.

Having worked on other Government accounts with EDS and other companies I can confirm what others here have already said - that there are a lot of good people in the company and that on Government contracts it is frequently the customer that initiates changes that subsequently become large overruns. Changing requirements is a favourite - but then so is unclear requirements - why not take a look at the business drivers behind the NHS IT 'revamp' and the formal statement of requirements? Oh, and you can have a go at trying to get a Civil Servant to agree to something that could later be perceived as the wrong decision while you are at it.

CSA suffered from many requirements changes, and EDS capitulated where it shouldn't have done. Armed Forces pay was the largest ever deployment of the COTS software in question and turned out to be not as COTS as it was supposed to be.

Frequently you will find that the IT supplier isn't enforcing change control strongly enough to stop these problems but equally you will find that requirements are so wooly as to allow the customer to argue that work never envisaged is actually in scope...

I also worked on a successful project that was cancelled by a government department just as we finished acceptance testing because they decided they couldn't afford the support costs.

And finally... perhaps you could name me a large IT supplier that has a track record of repeated, successful engagements with UK Government, no delays, overruns, re-costings, legal action, lost data, bad headlines... until recently only PA Consulting seemed to have a clean record but they've lost that now as well.

I work hard to ensure that the work I do for UK Government meets requirements and is of good quality. All too frequently the fate of the systems being developed is sealed at contract signing or by weak project management, risk management or change control. I can't change the way Civil Servants approach their work.

Mine's the one with the open-ended requirements in the inside pocket.

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Unhappy

Where's my cardboard box?

The nature of work at EDS, specifically with the DWP is that work comes in peaks and troughs. We are currently at a slight trough having finished a monumental project. Those of us who are being filtered to other areas while the next workload is being agreed are in very vulnerable positions. I have not worked on any of the projects mentioned by the 'sack them all' brigade and as such take exception at the slurs (and yes, I see they have now been pin pointed at management/middle management). Nevertheless, in this area there are no other large IT firms. It's not simply a case of keep the best sack the rest. For those with families and dependant on our jobs, and/or those who joined post the EDS takeover, we would, not to put too fine a point on it, be utterly screwed.

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Paris Hilton

@Apologies, EDSers

Well said, Mr Sceptical, couldn't agree more with what you're saying there. My apologies (me dander is down at t'moment) for assuming you to be one of these motor-mouths who use Windows and assume that makes them qualified to sally forth on all things IT. I'll just get some ketchup to put on that slice of humble pie I'm having for lunch! ;) (see the posting "@ChrisW" for an example of the spite we get - heck sometimes I think I know what Jade Goody must feel like).

Also interesting to see that before the takeover there was a flood of information on what was going on. Now, we're back to normal, where industry analysts and journo's know a hang of a lot more than the poor schlubs who work for EDS (an HP company). And you can see who this announcement was done for - since apparently the stock price rose after the news was released.

They talk airily about "increasing delivery" - so does that mean the folks that actually take the salespersons promises and try and make these solid? If so, then that's the architects, engineers and sysops - yep, the very folks you can bet your last HBOS share on being the first folks out of the door. To be replaced with ... sales and marketing. Have these wallies not learned anything from the disasterous Dick (well named) Brown years!

Paris icon, because I hope against hope that she's my next boss, (equally useless as some of the EDS bosses I've been forced to work for, but easier on the eye!)

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EDS

Back in the day; had the choice; EDS or become a mechanic , well later on I had over 20 cars at one point. :)

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