back to article IBMers in TSS: How WILL we support customers after these latest job cuts?

IBM is to lay off more than one in 10 workers across the UK Technology Support Services (TSS) division, with insiders telling us that some areas will be hit so severely that clients will inevitably feel the pinch. The protracted redundancy process for TSS, a unit of Global Technology Services (GTS), began in late 2017 but has …

  1. John Styles

    I like the idea of near shore. Prison ships just outside territorial waters.

    1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Nobody ever got fired for... oh wait...

  2. HmmmYes Silver badge

    They wont.

    The customers will carry the can of IBM being shit.

    You really should not enter into long term (more than 2 week) contracts with IBM. Not a reliable, trusted partner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But who will close all those tickets approaching SLA breaches now is the service delivery people are gone?

      What do you mean when you say "all they did was close the tickets and nothing actually happened from the customers perspective"?

      Oh...I guess no one will notice after all.

      But what about IBM's reputation as a service provider? Oh...that's already worse than bad.

      What about "TSS will be sold to TCS"? That was just a rumour to try and improve TSS staff morale.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Game the system.

        ""all they did was close the tickets and nothing actually happened from the customers perspective"?"

        I had several arguments with Service Managers, who would try to game CIRATS (Compliance, Issue, Risk, APAR Tracking System) tickets, extend deadlines, and generally make a bunch of excuses, instead of just arranging service windows so we could patch and reboot servers. The only way to get their focus was to let stuff slip into the red, then they summon some focus.

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      "The customers will carry the can of IBM being shit."

      And so they should. They chose to outsource their own IT without regard to the risks or possible consequences, hoping to cut costs as far and as far as possible, and without stopping to examine how and where IBM make money from these services.

      In this race to the bottom, the customers backed a winner.

      1. earl grey Silver badge
        Trollface

        the customers backed a winner.

        I think you mean the customers got the weiner.

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    And it's shareholder interest that is more important than customers interest once again.

    Shareholders give no value to a company, only its customers and loyal staff do. Without loyal staff and customers a company can't give its shareholders any value.

    Most businesses (especially here in SA) seems to think that shareholders are the most important...

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Of course Shareholders are the most important ones, they elect the board. And the board sets their own and the CEO's salary. I mean they have to be kept happy, otherwise the CEO and the board's salaries might not be able to stretch to that second yacht, and we cant have that can we?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Shareholders give no value to a company"

      Shareholders are the company owners - they provide the capital for the company to operate. If they choose to take their capital elsewhere (in sufficient quantities), the company will fail.

      IBM's problem (from a Register pov) is that it stopped being an IT company some time ago - it's now basically a finance/asset management company that occasionally buys software companies to run into the ground and eventually sell off. It wastes money on possible future IT products too.

      But if you go inside, you get to see how IT companies used to work 10+ years ago when you could sell hardware and software with high margins and little in the way of competition.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There you have it. The shareholders OWN the company. If they fail to manage their assets who else can they blame? The customers will manage IBM out of the picture over time, or IBM will provide what is wanted.

      The rest of us are wage slaves in a semi-feudal system. Our mistake is to believe anyone cares about us. My advice is take the money and run. Also own the companies so you get some of the benefits and risks of ownership.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Support? What Support?

    Oh yes, that's what is supposed to be done by the hundreds (if not thousnds) of people in S. Asia (and other cheapo places).

    All they'll need is a few people on zero days contracts to go to sites to press the big red button from time to time.

    What IBM does today, HP does tomorrow... Or is that the other way around? No matter. We are doomed.

    Note to self... Make sure my grandkids keep well away from IT as a possible career as there won't be one in 5-10 years ay the outside.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Support? What Support?

      "Note to self... Make sure my grandkids keep well away from IT as a possible career as there won't be one in 5-10 years"

      It depends on the age of the grandkids. At some point the backlash will come. A few service providers who fail to provide service get sued for board level visible sums with a few more in the pipeline and CEOs get told to put their best staff on the case or else. And then they discover they don't have any best staff. They don't have any staff. Then the panic recruiting starts. The question is, when and does it fit the grandkids' timeframe?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Support? What Support?

        Good luck with that. By then the best staff will be offshore and will require visas because there is no-one with the skills in the local area.

  5. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Sack a dozen very sernior bean counters,this will immediately save millions in wages??

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Re : “I am being dumped on the scrap heap"

    But but but, you've known about this for months... years even. Why have you done nothing about it?

    Being placed on the scrap heap by IBM is still a better place to be than being dumped on the scrap heap by your corner shop or local branch of the Co-Op.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re : “I am being dumped on the scrap heap"

      Indeed, the writing has been on the wall for a long time.

      If you are a UK worker in IBM just as in the companies formerly known as HP, they have been off-shoring work for years and years and years.

      You should always be trying to read the mood music at your employer. You have to keep your skills up to date, your cv current and have savings to cover a period of being unemployed. I know it sounds paranoid, but these companies really are out to get you. It isn't persona, it is not your fault , but if you plan for your employer being a bastard you'll be happier in the long term.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re : “I am being dumped on the scrap heap"

        I have yet to be disappointed.

        Same with banks.

  7. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    A cunning plan

    Reduce service quality - so customers stay away

    Reducing demand for services - so saving more money

    Repeat

  8. cjcox

    All fixable

    I used to work for IBM and I can assure you this can all be fixed with a new slogan and tons of posters.

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: All fixable

      ... I used to work for ntl: and during the dark days, when the share price dropped sub-dollar, and got booted off NASDAQ, I recall a van turning up, and removing all the potted plants and motivational posters from the building. Turned out ntl: rented those, and couldn't afford them anymore. But then, renting plants and posters was just the tip of the financial malfeasance iceberg.

  9. IGnatius T Foobar

    India Business Machines?

    IBM, as in India Business Machines? Weren't they some sort of 20th century technology company?

  10. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Wrong Insultants Hired

    Itsy Bitsy Morons should have hired a bankruptcy legal beagle.

  11. matjaggard

    Shocked, truly

    I am utterly shocked by this announcement and absolutely could not see it coming.

    P.S. El Reg, why are you writing these articles each time - you could have copied and pasted the previous IBM_Redundo.html snippet and spent your time writing interesting journalism.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBMers have told us of individual teams being obliterated...

    This is pretty much what HPE did with staff on the DWP contract when they 'consolidated' the work to their new regional centres: Minimal knowledge transfer or handovers to the new staff then whole teams leaving on the same day.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How?

    How WILL we support customers after these latest job cuts?

    That makes the presumption they were providing support before.

    The morale of many staff fed through this latest redundancy programme is understandably on the floor

    No, it was on the floor 10 or more years ago. They're on their 5th sub-basement now.

  14. Tydfil

    Support decimated

    IBM UK has decided to demolish the only means of providing support for critical customer issues. The 24/7 support will no longer be available after this current round of redundancies. With no plan for an alternative offering

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Support decimated

      I raised a ticket with them a few months back. Their response time........8 days. Just to phone me back.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tight arses

    Statutory minimum redundo payments? One of the cost cutting ways IBM are still able to make profits, but not grow consistently.

    I got out years ago when I saw the direction of travel, pursuit of EPS rather than actually winning business. I put my hand up for what would have been a decent voluntary exit package but was told I was too valuable to the business. I then resigned for another role with actual market rate compensation. During my exit interview I shocked my manager by telling him what real market rate compensation was - as opposed to the teensy 'retention' rate I was offered.

    I'm not bitter, just very relieved to have been out of the death spiral and now working for a decent employer. (AC tho!)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing much changed here ..

    In 1999 I was the manager of a team of about 12 people in IBM providing technical support to customers in a particular area.

    In the middle of 1999, owing to an accounting problem identified in EHQ Paris, my team could no longer be funded in the way they were. Rather than changing the way the team were funded, my management's response was for me to disband the team without telling our customers. When I asked my manager what was meant to happen, his response? "By the time your customers notice that you're not providing this support, you'll be in a new job, I'll be in a new job and all of your team will be in new jobs. Who are they going to yell at?"

    Such TLC for our customers.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM India Support to replace European TSS

    I often find myself in communication with the teams that IBM are 'grooming' to replace the European TSS teams ............... they are a nightmare. IBM is really scraping the bottom of a not very deep barrel. The urgent rush to cut costs is ultimately going to damage irrevocably the support for customers. IBM's dream is to replace the 'human element' of support with Watson, which is many years away from being anywhere close to adequate. But there is a definite urgency to cut the head off support well before the automated alternative is ready. To plug the gap the option that has been determined is the cheap labor market - where ever they can find it, regardless of skills available

    1. HmmmYes Silver badge

      Re: IBM India Support to replace European TSS

      Theres no such thing as cheap labour. Trust me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IBM India Support to replace European TSS

        In the short term there is, and that is how IBM operates these days.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Attention TSS / Customers of IBM

    TSS as an entity is finished. There have been the first lot of job 'cuts' in 2018. Now get ready for the next lot - called 'job/role compression'. This is where Level1(GTS/TSS) roles are going to be taken up by Level2(Software Business : 'The Brand'). This means customers problems going straight to Level2 ...... now before you go getting all excited. This means there will be little (no) filtering - up to now a key function of Level1 - of calls to determine the true severity of a call. Level2 teams will be swamped by the 'mundane' and the 'not necessary to bother you guys in truth' calls. All of this work is going to muddy the waters for the real issues that genuinely need urgent fixing. Service is going to get a whole lot worse, and quickly.

    IBM want your money, they want your business, BUT they don't particularly want to give you anything worthwhile in return. Corporate IT Execs ........ be warned

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