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back to article Whitman said to be planning massive HP job cuts

New(ish) HP CEO Meg Whitman has been at the helm for long enough to come up with a longer-term plan for the company, and according to various rumors, her plan will look eerily familiar to HPers who remember the early years of ex-CEO Mark Hurd: job cuts, predominantly in services. According to a report on CNBC television, HP is …

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Anonymous Coward

What's the betting

That the measly mouthed Press Release will include the words 'Without affecting the service we deliver to our customers' (or something similar).

They used those very words when I was let go by HP not long after their takeover of Compaq.

They closed the whole department. About 50% of the team setup on their own and 'took' their customer base with them.

I fully expect that this will be the case here.

If you outsource to HP you had better make sure that your contract includes a minimum staffing level otherwise you I might find your whole IT operation being run by one guy in India,

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Anonymous Coward

EDS = Extinct Dinosaur Services

It is not as though EDS was doing particularly well before HP, but they have chased away anyone who would consider their services. HP thinks that services are the same as PCs where, if sales are down, you hack off some accountants and marketing people. If you hack your services staff, you are cutting product quality. That might work for a little while, but big services customers watch the staffing numbers and are going to be running away from HP before their services are delivered by a few 16 year olds in Guatemala who "no hablo ingles."

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Flame

Re: EDS = Extinct Dinosaur Services

This isn't entirely true. As a former EDSer (pre-merger) and now a former HPer, there are plenty of "social loafers" in the ranks that get by based on the accomplishments of the few. Too many low performers and too few high performers. In addition, HP ES has very poor allocation of responsibilities, which is a holdover from EDS' Brown Dick and Rittenmeyer eras. It's never a good sign to a customer when project calls end up having 3 PMs participating, but no one actually taking responsibility to make things happen in a timely and efficient manner.

Prediction: HP will eventually either spin off HP ES or will die on the vine. I would suspect the latter will be more likely, but perhaps someone will have a lick of common sense that one company can become TOO BIG.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: EDS = Extinct Dinosaur Services

Agree, if the bureaucrats were ever the ones that went in these situations. They will cut and offshore or just cut first line delivery while all of the mid-managers stay on.

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Unhappy

Re: EDS = Extinct Dinosaur Services

bureaucrats ?? You means PMs ? many PMs, no techs and nothing happens, very slowly. Seems Meg is reading from same playbook as IBM. See Cringely for gory details.

Or was that Ray Lane ?? No matter, this outsourcing business is making in-sourcing look very desirable. One of these decades.

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Anonymous Coward

That old chestnut again

Get hired as boss, proceed to lay waste to the workers who are the ones making sure you have something to sell especially the expensive ones who actually know what they are doing, sell off as many bits as you think you can get away with and merge those bits that you can't. Point to the figures in 12 months time that show just how much money you saved the company so it looks like profits are up and get the board to give you a massive bonus. Leave as quickly as possible for another top job somewhere else using the same figures to show why the new company should employ you and do the same again as in companies of that size it takes a few years before the massive damage you have done begins to show and then watch the company slide into a shadow of its former self if it manages to keep going at all.

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Trollface

wow

HP there is a name that takes you back. Remember long ago when they had an great company culture and actually innovated? Oops sorry showing my significant age.

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Mushroom

Same old useless horseshit

So after all these months, this the best Meg Whitman can come up with.

Why bother to innovate, create new services and products, attract more customers.

Naw, we'll just fire 10,000 staff to push up profits in a year or so. We'll ignore the fact we have stagnated utterly.

A decision a first-year beancounter could of shat out while in a coma.

What a useless fucking hag she is, HP must be delighted to continue their record of brain-damaged CEO's that somehow fell into the job.

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Happy

You go girl

Frees up oodles of cash for exec bonuses & buying "relevant" businesses for lots of money (Autonomy and Skype come to mind).

Poor HP.

At least the voters in California didn't smoke-screened by this puppy.

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Pint

Maybe this is a good sign.

If these 25,000 cuts are actually in "services", they're probably finally getting around to cutting the last of the EDS dead wood. By that, I don't mean the core group of older, smart people who secretly keep things humming behind the scenes. I'm talking about the ones who have managed to hide out in a little corner of the company for years longer than they should have. Almost all "services" companies have trainloads of customer liaisons, analysts, product development specialists, more analysts, multiple layers of operations staff, and sales and support staff that just add overhead. And customers pay for that. EDS has tons of ultra-large enterprise and government outsourcing agreements -- imagine how many staff are covered by those!

Or, we may finally be seeing the shift back from the "send us your problems and we'll get half the population of India to work on them for you" era. I work at an IT provider for a *very* "trailing edge" industry and our management is just starting to see the folly of that, so that phase must definitely be over now...

Or, HP might be getting back to its roots of actually making physical products people want to buy, and selling them for more than it costs to make them. You know, the dirty "M" word.

Nah, who am I kidding? Whitman is going to get rid of all the engineering staff, replace them with marketing drones, negotiate a Lenovo-style deal with some contract manufacturer and collect a huge payday.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe this is a good sign.

What they did not mention is HALF of the cuts will be in the U.S. That is way more than 10%.

don't expect the company to change until Ray Lane is gone. He still hold the strings to Meg and while he took off the training wheels he is calling the shots.

Sadly he does not even use an HP PC he uses an Apple still. The new strategy is to take deep cuts in the U.S. and shift headcount to overseas so the new balance of cuts will actually be twice as bad as the 50% in the U.S. looks.

expecting to take a RIF package and move to a more enjoyable job...and taking my chair with me

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe this is a good sign.

Yes, that is not how these cuts work. All of the engineers will go and they will retain the Director of Alliance Relations with Waste Management and the Project Executive Director of the Project Manger Escalation Group with the Project Delivery Excellence Group.

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Re: Maybe this is a good sign.

"...and taking my chair with me"

That's a funny point. I took a package from HP back in 1997 when the shut down the last of the Apollo Computer site, and since they were clearing out, they actually did let you buy your furniture. I have a $1000 fancy ergonomic chair at my home office desk today that HP sold me for $50.

It was a different time then. The package was your salary equivalent of 6 months pay plus another 2 weeks pay for every year of service in the company.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Maybe this is a good sign.

Holy Cow...! Do such roles and titles exist?

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Anonymous Coward

"EOW" already started

We got notification of the latest "Expression Of Wish" programme in the UK on the 8th May. Strangely there are no details of the number this time. Now I know why. We've got a number of re-bids going on, I can almost hear those customers thinking "how the hell can they deliver more with even less than they've got now ?"

There's still a few good people left that are managing to hold stuff together despite the crap service that India is providing.

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Anonymous Coward

Hey Meg, instead of decimating the workforce...

...why not try the more radical plan of (drum roll)...selling more hardware and services?

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Re: Hey Meg, instead of decimating the workforce...

or services that can actually be delivered as agreed ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hey Meg, instead of decimating the workforce...

That is hard, cutting is easy

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Anonymous Coward

Sad reality

HP has had management issues for years and of course employees are the scapgoats for bad management. Another loss of 25K jobs is sure as Hell not going to help pull us out of the world wide economic disaster that we have been in for the past five years...

But wait... I'm sure Bama has a re-election campaign policy that will find jobs for all of these people and more - or NOT.

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Anonymous Coward

"Consulting firm McKinsey & Co is helping HP come up with the plan"

There's a suprise. How many times will EDS/HP pay McKinsey's a fortune to tell us to do what people on the ground are screaming for already?

It seems the only time the EDS/HP board listen to an idea is when it comes from someone they are paying to come up with ideas, whether they are their own or not.

Please I left HP 2 months ago, although a little bit gutted that I didn't manage to bank an EoW for 6 months pay. Hey Ho.

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FAIL

It seems the only time the EDS/HP board listen to an idea is when it comes from someone they are paying to come up with ideas

HP aren't alone in this. Most organisations (private and public) do this.

It's called arse covering. If the idea is great, the management can take credit for making the tough decision. If it goes pear-shapped, they can blame the external consultants.

If they didn't use external consultants, they'd have to make a decision themselves which means they might get it wrong - and they wouldn't want to be blamed for a bad decision. It might look like they're taking responsibility for something...

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You've got it all wrong...

The management did come up with this plan. They only hire consultants to 'confirm' their ideas and take the blame for failure....

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Vic
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> the only time the EDS/HP board listen to an idea is when it comes

> from someone they are paying to come up with ideas

This is entirely normal. There is a class of people who can only value things - items or ideas - according to the price tag. For reasons I cannot explain, an enormous amount of management seems to consist of these people.

Years ago, I had a real problem getting people to take my ideas seriously. I had many opportunities to do the "I told you so" thing later[1], but that didn't stop the project going pear-shaped in the meantime.

My solution was simple: I doubled my price. And all of a sudden, my suggestions were adopted.,

Vic.

[1] I learnt very early on that actually *taking* such opportunities is a bad idea.

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Happy

Re: Vic

".....[1] I learnt very early on that actually *taking* such opportunities is a bad idea." Hehe, I think my most professionally unpopular moment was in a project launch, when I got fed up with the ostrich chosen as PM and added an entry to his project calendar saying "when I get to say 'I told you so'"! Did not go down well!

In the meantime, as is admitted right in the first paragraph, this is all just a rumour.... Slow news day in The Reg office?

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Holmes

Neo-GOP economics: Destroying the jobs to save the jobs!

Why am I not surprised this is the best idea she can come up with? How many jobs will she destroy to save jobs? That kind of strategy just worked so well with the villages in Viet Nam, right?

Isn't she already the poster child for neo-GOP economic incompetence? How much money did she spend NOT becoming governor of California?

Let me guess. It was just building up her personal brand so she could get the HP job, right?

Okay, she was lucky to get a lot of money. ONCE. Mostly I think her luck was good timing, NOT hard work, because the Internet moves in waves and she managed to catch a big one. ONCE.

The interesting aspect to me is that good ideas are almost worthless. I've had LOTS of them--at the WRONG time. My track record is generally from 5 to 10 years out of sync--but it might be larger. I'm still convinced that some of my older good ideas will also come to pass, though the technology and economics aren't quite ripe yet. To make a good idea valuable, you have to have it at the right place and time, and I obviously have NO idea about those parts of it. Seeing the obvious future improvements and solutions to problems avails naught.

Oh well. At least I'm lucky enough not to be working at HP. I certainly think that would be a distinctly unpleasant roller-coaster to be riding...

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Coat

neo-GOP?

I didn't realize the GOP went anywhere. Still orbiting the drain. fielding ridiculous crud as presidential candidates.

That party should have split into at least 4 directions a long time ago as they have some good stuff in there. Like HP I suppose.

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Anonymous Coward

McKinsey''s

When I worked for EDS/HP we got McKinsey's chucked off the account. They came in and we gave them loads of months of metrics and explained that due to the nature of the customer the volumes of email, web and telephone incidents did vary depending on the time of the year and what the customer was doing and provided explanations for each month.

However, they ignored that and pulled together metrics from different months to make it look like we were massively over capacity. After much 'disccusion' with senior management we got the internal guys in and they agreed with us that we were doing everything right and the McKInsey's guy had been on the crack pipe.

Now working in the public sector for more money with less responsiblity and stress.

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Joke

Wow!

I didn't realize HP had that many employees in Greece.

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Anonymous Coward

Are HP like EDS used to be?

Blimey. I used to work for EDS in Telford. Strangest 9 months ever. I went for an interview, the guy flat-out told me I wasn't "right" for the position but, just as I was about to get up, said, "Actually hang on, I'll have a chat with Bob"

5 minutes later I'm sat in another office with Bob, who hardly says anything to me and admits that he "doesn't need anyone right now".y

2 days later, a job offer gets posted and I accept, presuming that the role of "Systems Admin" is for the original job I went for. I turned up at one of their many buildings and had the HR intro, then one by one people were taken off by various managers. I sat there, no-one turned up. The HR ladies vanished and I noticed about 6 other people still sat there. We all waited a bit longer then eventually a HR bird came back and told us to go to our respective buildings. We all did and I was met by a puzzled guy who "wasn't aware" that I was starting. He turned out to be my new boss.

I waited two weeks for a PC, then a month in someone told me what I was supposed to do. It took about 2 hours, then there was nothing else to do. The interweb was totally locked off, so I sat and read books. After pushing for more work I was met with puzzled faces. Everyone told me that "there was plenty" and that my tasks should take "most of the day".

After a few more months of this crap I complained, so they chucked loads of courses at me. I came back with so much knowledge and asked everyone what new tasks I could do.

"Oh, we don't need you to do any of that, you have to do the same thing"

Using my new-found Linux HP Unix scripting skills I reduced my 2 hour task to 10 minutes. They caught wind of this and gave me a pay rise, but didn't give me anything else to do.

A day later they had a mini "Town Hall" meeting in a very hot meeting room. Everyone stood up as a manager walked round to tell us all about something dull. After about an hour of standing a guy feinted. The manager WALKED OVER him as he lay on the floor and it took a good few seconds for it to hit us.

The guy got given some water and helped out. The manager carried on talking all the time.

I handed in my notice the next day. They offered me another 10k to stay. I said no.

Insane. Hated every minute of it. The Government were pissing money up the wall with the Employment Service and Inland Revenue contracts. Lots of people doing not-that-much. 12 meetings to agree one tiny change. Crap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are HP like EDS used to be?

As I was reading your post, I was thinking "this had to be a government contract." The governments bid these deals to EDS, and others, on a cost plus basis. The firms generally sign up for a number of staff members they need to keep the systems up and running, or whatever they are bidding on. If the contract states, 50 system admins, they will have 50 system admins... even if they need 20. As everything is cost plus a 10% mark-up, or whatever the agreed up mark-up is on the contract, there is no incentive for the firm to do things more efficiently than before they were hired. Quite the opposite, the only way they are going to make more profit on a cost plus is to justify increases to the cost so they can get the additional mark up profit. Even though they could perform the system admin with 20 people, and are using 50, they were probably requesting change orders from the gov to get the number up to 60 so they could make the additional mark up on the 10 additional system admins. It is a flaw in the government's purchasing system. Cost plus is a huge incentive to ensure that cost is as large as possible, i.e. the opposite of the reason they hired the firm in the first place.

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Unhappy

Re: Re: Are HP like EDS used to be?

I can admit that as a contractor I did work on projects where the sole drive of the main contracting party was to push costs up. The smart ones divide the project up into phases so that the design flaws (which they will sign up to knowing about) won't arise until after they have been paid for the first few phases. They can then afford to renegotiate, having already got money in the bank, whilst the government are left with an unfinished project they will have to pay someone to fix, so they end up paying for an extension. The more the goalposts get moved, the better for the contractor's salesguy, but usually the more pain and frustration for the techies involved, which was a major reason as to why I stopped contracting.

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Anonymous Coward

So you can sack ES staff who mainly work T&M contracts, all be it restricted to maximum of 7.5 hours a day, and still increase profits?

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Thumb Down

How sad

How sad for HP when guys at Dell, IBM say.... "could be worse, I could be working at HP" :-0

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