back to article Stop us if you've heard this one: Job cuts at IBM

IBM is undertaking another significant round of job cuts, according to multiple sources. The enterprise giant on Thursday is reportedly notifying a number employees they will be made redundant in the coming months, and offering some the chance to move to different positions. This after talk earlier in the week of an impending …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sales positions

    When your company is floundering and not enough people are buying your products, it's always a good move to sack the sales staff.......

    Cutting investment in R+D and engineering would also be a good idea.

    Both moves will make next years figures look really, really good, but try not to think 2-3 years into the future. You can always cross that bridge when you come to it.

    1. I can't believe its not butter

      Re: Sales positions

      Cross that bridge? Do you mean there is a bridge Ginni hasn’t burned yet?

      1. Woza
        Joke

        Re: Sales positions

        What use does she have for bridges? She's got a helicopter!

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Sales positions

          What use does she have for bridges? She's got a helicopter!

          Budgie the Little Helicopter Ginni the Little Chopper

      2. returnofthemus

        Do you mean there is a bridge Ginni hasn’t burned yet?

        Ginni doesn't burn bridges... She builds them

        And I Quote:- "note to The Register that it had just announced a plan with French president Emmanuel Macron to open a new AI research center in France that will create 400 new jobs".

        Sacre (big) bleu.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sales positions

      When you sell off most of your hardware manufacturing capabilities, what is left to sell?

      "fluff" like Watson that costs nothing, but inversely is also worth nothing, unless you believe IBM's hype. Most people aren't fooled, or realise they have been duped after a while.

    3. returnofthemus

      Cutting investment in R+D and engineering would also be a good idea.

      This is never a good idea, especially for a tech company.

      IBM maintain an annual R&D budget of circa $6bn and is probably the sole reason for it's 100-year plus existence.

      The only figures that ever look good are growing revenues and healthy margins, notwithingstanding those of voluptuous women!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cutting investment in R+D and engineering would also be a good idea.

        Read through IBMs annual report.

        Cutting investment in R+D isn’t good for a tech company, but if you make most of your money on financing and realise that the IT game is too hard, it makes sense.

        1. returnofthemus

          Re: Cutting investment in R+D and engineering would also be a good idea.

          "....but if you make most of your money on financing and realise that the IT game is too hard".

          One of the advantages IBM has is that it's been playing the game longer than most ;-)

      2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

        Re: Cutting investment in R+D and engineering would also be a good idea.

        This is never a good idea, especially for a tech company.

        It's a very good idea. Cut R&D to zero. Buy a company with a good product. Strip them bare a year later. Rinse. Repeat.

        HP has pioneered this process to a fine art.

        1. returnofthemus

          Re: Cutting investment in R+D and engineering would also be a good idea.

          "HP has pioneered this process to a fine art".

          LOL!

          IBM has placed it's big bet on Cloud & Cognitive, nobody's got a clue as to where HP is placing it's big bets?

          HP's acquisition strategy was the straw that eventually broke the camels back which is why you've got two HPs instead of one ;-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Cutting investment in R+D and engineering would also be a good idea.

            "IBM has placed it's big bet on Cloud & Cognitive" ........ and jobs are being cut in those areas too, seems IBM's 'Cloud & Cognitive' world is not so rosy

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM should slash jobs.

    Specificly all the ones at the top. You would save hundreds of millions if not *billions* of dollars each year if you just cut every C-level exec.

    <Queen of Hearts>Off with his head!</Queen of Hearts>

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: IBM should slash jobs.

      But, but, but... think of the yachts and Ferrari's that wouldn't be sold. Besides, a company isn't for the benefit of the workerbees but the extreme upper, upper manglement.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No! Re: IBM should slash jobs.

      If you cut executive jobs, who is going to make the difficult decisions about which peons to eliminate?

      1. spold Bronze badge

        Re: No! IBM should slash jobs.

        >If you cut executive jobs, who is going to make the difficult decisions about which peons to eliminate?

        It's elementary my dear WATSON!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IBM should slash jobs.

      Serious question; if you eliminated all the C-level execs, who would actually run the company?

      You need SOME management at the very top, and some at the coalface. It's the layers in the middle that where it's unclear what they actually DO where the eliminations and big savings could be made.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: IBM should slash jobs.

        "Serious question; if you eliminated all the C-level execs, who would actually run the company?"

        It is an interesting question. One of the roles of management consultants (not the slash and burn McKinsey type, the ones who actually look at how organisations work) should be to find out who really runs the company, and facilitate them.

        In one of Tom Sharpe's books (warning: not safe for 21st century), Wilt having brought utter chaos to a US airbase, <spoiler>the CIA man sadly rises to his feet and remarks that he has got to tell the general notionally in charge who really runs the place</spoiler>. So in many organisations.

        One of the functions of the C-suite and senior managers is to deflect attention from who really runs things so they can get on with it. Unfortunately celebrity culture means that people like Rometty start to think they are actually there to make decisions, with predictably disastrous results.

  3. Denarius Silver badge

    reminds me of

    the pre2000s mock story of AT&T sacking 30,000 staff than they employed in total and Wall Street lapping it up. I take it the lights were turned off long ago.

  4. Retired IBMer

    CUTTING ‘OLD HEADS’ AT IBM

    https://features.propublica.org/ibm/ibm-age-discrimination-american-workers/

  5. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    well an upvote for the headline

  6. Doctor Huh?

    So, Just Another Friday at IBM, Then?

    At this point, the best-working IBM technology is whatever they are using to select RA candidates. Is Watson now The Terminator?

  7. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Think! Pink!

    Slips!

  8. Sir Loin Of Beef

    Job Creation Is A Misnomer

    There is a HUGE difference between job creation and well-paid job creation. Any fool can create a job but only those who wish to leave the earth in a better place than they found it create a well-paid job.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RA = Untouchable

    "...and offering some the chance to move to different positions."

    When I got RA'd I found another internal position almost immediately - they needed a skill set I covered perfectly, and as a fairly new acquisition also saw the benefit in "having an old hand at the IBM way of things on the team."

    When the offer went to HR it suddenly disappeared, and I couldn't get an email or phone call acknowledged or responded to from the hiring manager or anyone else I had talked to about the position.

    A few months later I ran into that manager in the grocery store. After telling him things had worked out very well for me he said that had been contacted by someone "very senior, but out of band" who told him to cut all communications with me, and to tell his team the same thing.

    In my casual research on the topic I haven't heard of anyone who got hired into another position after they were put on the RA list. So sadly you can look internally all you want, but you're just spending time not finding your next job.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @AC ... No Shite. Re: RA = Untouchable

      If you're on the RA list, it would take an act of god to save you. Really two senior VPs have to sign off on it... from what I'm told...

      Your managers know when an RA is coming. If they can't protect you... they give you a heads up and recommend you for another job that would be safe.

      You're right, you become persona non gratta ?sp?

      As someone who left the borg long ago, the grass is greener on the outside.

      Don't blame Ginny. She had the vision but could never succeed on the execution. Her senior staff that were heritage IBMers were her downfall. Not to mention they had no clue how to succeed in their new space.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC ... No Shite. RA = Untouchable

        OP here - 2 SVPs? In other words "Don't ask so we don't have to laugh at you."

        My manager was running our team one person short (3 SEs covering 4 HC of territory) to protect against a cut. After I left they had to bring an above-region guy in to take up the slack. That couldn't have been cheap, as he lived outside the sales region, plus he already had a full-time role. But it made sense on a spreadsheet somewhere, and turned out a great move for me.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: @AC ... Re: @AC ... No Shite. RA = Untouchable

          Actually its possible.

          The issue is that it will either take one SVP to call in a favor, or you have a skill that they really want. I mean desparately want....

          I've heard about it with someone I know... but its very rare. And it was a mistake for them to let him go in the first place.

          Most friends who got RA'd ended up back within the borg because of an acquisition.

          I still have some friends left on the inside, although over time, its getting fewer and fewer. Many retiring or being RA'd For most, the grass is greener away from the borg.

    2. fredesmite

      Re: RA = Untouchable

      When you on RA/WFR list you are essentially treated with a terminal case of cancer AND head lice. No one will touch you. It happened to me twice at HP and Oracle.

  10. rnturn
    Joke

    Shees... Isn't it about time to...

    ... make this a regular column with a dedicated link under the main banner?

    For example, "Layoffs" that takes you to the page with links updated daily to the news that <random IT industry giant> is laying off staff?

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    It's good to save money in business...

    ...but you can save yourself right out of business.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good... good! Sales is only made up of liars anyway!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I had to downvote you. Yes, there is a lot of blatant lying in sales. This is a product of paying salesmen commission and their not being accountable when they have mis-sold something. It's the dirty world of IT, and capitalism in general, to be frank.

      It's the job of the pre-sales guy to keep the salesman in check, and stop him if he's making promises that can't be kept. This happened to me a lot in my short stint in pre-sales at IBM. You would architect a solution and the salesman would change it to make the price more attractive (reduce CPUs, RAM, # of servers; replace 15K HDDs with NL-SAS, that kind of thing). In those instances I always made sure there was an email trail with me stating there would be issues and it would come back to bite. When it inevitably did, I kept my distance.

      However, I do need to state that not all salesmen are like this. Yes, this was the norm at IBM, due to lack of accountability, but plenty were honest and genuinely worked for the customers' benefit. You shouldn't tar everyone with the same brush.

      I should also point out if you're going to buy something you should do some research and make sure what you're getting is right for you. Anyone who doesn't do this deserves what they get.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So you're in sales? You must be a liar. ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        and then legal

        I worked on the Services side and after due diligence and internal approvals the customer would agree the solution and go into a closed room with the sales team and legal and come out with a lower price and a lot of client dependencies left out making it impossible to deliver successfully which the project management would recognise and move to change controlling details to recover cost and that would lose goodwill with the customer and it would go down the drain in the usual spiral.

  13. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Terminator

    IBM Ginni 9000

    Soon to be the world's first self-driving company

  14. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Whats going to happen when even the offshore employees start avoiding ibm?

    Seriously, theyve got a pretty ba rep and are being avoided.

  15. JohnCr

    Attn IBM'ers

    https://features.propublica.org/ibm/ibm-age-discrimination-american-workers/

    Things one can do... Make the EEOC in the USA force IBM to release its layoff data as required by law- AEDA, OWBPA acts. Contact the EEOC. Contact your congressional representative and senator.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Attn IBM'ers

      "Things one can do... Make the EEOC in the USA force IBM to release its layoff data as required by law- AEDA, OWBPA acts. Contact the EEOC. Contact your congressional representative and senator."

      Pointless things you can do, I think you'll find....

      In the real world, there's plenty of jobs :) I was RA'd in IBM and was the best move in my career, the pittance of redundancy money was covered by my new employer to get in the their company faster :)

      Its always about the bottom line in these companies, there probably needs to be a golden rule that middle management gets cut every 2 years and 30% of managers get canned, that way they'd actually be profitable. There's so much politics in brand vs in country management that you may end up with multiple managers but never actually have anything to do with the one who decides if your RA'd from their team. Just something to look out for if your still inside the borg.

    2. fredesmite

      Re: Attn IBM'ers

      You will need truck loads of lobbyists to get the any EEOC data released.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Job cuts 2nd round 2018

    This one has the ‘cool’ title of ‘Job/Role Compression’ !!! Where do they get their management from ? Sesame Street ????

  17. fredesmite
    Meh

    A way of life at Blue

    I was at IBM for a number of years in 1990/2000 in Austin and saw massive cuts after they scrapped the retirement plan; They laid off scores of non-exempt employees to save vacation and benefits costs and offered them the same positions as contractors. This shit runs rampant ; "hi tech" careers are really becoming sweat shop type of work environments; Hurry , hurry hurry , we always have time to do it oiver as long as it is on time the 1st time. Oracle; Dell; HP all do the same shit.

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