back to article IBM to GTS: We want you to 'rotate' clients every two years

IBM will ask Global Technology Services engineers to "rotate" from "existing assignments" every two years in a working model overhaul that some staff warned could weaken client relations. Under the current setup, IBMers working in the field can transfer to different projects or work across multiple accounts but they generally …

  1. Glad Im Done with IT

    Making the same mistake the Banks did.

    We used to have good relations with our bank manager before they brought 'manager rotation' in. The guy knew our industry, knew the cyclical nature of our business etc. First replacement was a wet around the ears graduate who had little enough knowledge of banking never mind our industry. But did know a lot about products they wanted to try to sell to us.

    Luckily we were in the black at that point and switched banks. Their loss, but I presume they only reported manager wage savings to the board and the churn rate was hidden.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @Glad and Done ... Re: Making the same mistake the Banks did.

      I don't think so.

      First, its never a good idea to let the worker drones maintain the relationship with the client. That has to happen at a higher level. (This doesn't mean that you shouldn't value relationships forged by workers but that it shouldn't impact the client when a worker leaves.)

      Second, in IT, you need to consider a "Hit By Truck" scenario. That is to say, there should be some sort of redundancy in the event of an unforeseen emergency so that the client still has coverage.

      Third, in IT, the average tech worker is on the job at a client for roughly 24 months to 28 months. So its routine for staff to rotate in/out based on projects and roles.

      So from the client perspective... they shouldn't have a concern as long as the rotating staff in has the same level of skills and expertise. You don't want to be the client who is paying top dollar and then training up their staff at your dime. Nor do you want them to promise onshore / local staff, and slowly replace them with off shore cheaper labor as a way to maintain/increase margins.

      That said... trust IBM to muck it up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Glad and Done ... Making the same mistake the Banks did.

        Have you ever been engaged with a complex IBM customer? Some of their biggest accounts have several different sub-accounts and environments, and normally getting up to speed with all the different processes and working models takes longer than two years. Hell, just going through the Identity Management process for some accounts could take up to three months.

        1. Kernel

          Re: @Glad and Done ... Making the same mistake the Banks did.

          "....................... normally getting up to speed with all the different processes and working models takes longer than two years. "

          Yes - reminds me of a manager I worked for many years ago in a civil service department. His theory was that if trainees spent five years working in each specific technical area, at the end of it they would be be able to choose the area they wished to specialize in - the only problem was that there were eight technical specialities and at the time the organization limited you to a maximum of 40 years working for them.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          @AC Re: @Glad and Done ... Making the same mistake the Banks did.

          Yes, I have.

          I was an overlay and have dealt with several global customers as well as several very large US customers and have been party to penning some very big deals.

          I won't say which ones or for which group since I am not posting this anon.

      2. enormous c word

        Re: @Glad and Done ... Making the same mistake the Banks did.

        @Ian Michael Gumby,

        and how do you measure the value of expert knowledge of a client? I know - it is difficult to do, so the bean-counters tend not to do it - they only measure what is easy to add up and produce models like this.

        Yes, of course there has to be relationships at higher levels, but the relationships at the 'worker drone' level is just as important and more numerous, remember the client has 'worker drones' too and they influence the execs (who are equally likely to be in a 'Hit By Truck' scenario or indeed be moved along or out as they fail to deliver some poorly conceived visionary project thy conjured up).

        'Worker drones' at the client and the IT supplier come in major 2 categories; Contractors who are around for weeks:months, maybe a couple of years; and FTEs who will be around for years, perhaps many years. I've been both and am currently the latter

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could be good for the techies

    I've seen people, especially those TUPE'd in, being left to rot on stagnant accounts and not getting a chance to keep current in their field. They usually leave unless they're waiting for retirement but they still need to build skills. It is good having people who know the customer estate inside out, at the same time they usually find reasons change won't work.

    1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: Could be good for the techies

      I immediately thought of that, and I get your argument. Yes, it's good for staff, but it's likely that a lot of the reason that someone stays with a company that uses a "home account" system is to have continuation of personnel. It'll be good for junior staff, but customer services maybe not so much.

    2. WatAWorld

      Re: Could be good for the techies

      It would be good for the techkies that are not laid off due to not having a client to stick up for them during layoffs. They'd avoid stagnation and keep their skills current -- assuming IBM doesn't just lay them off.

      And it would be good for IBM too. Staff more current. Staff better trained. If they were to actually train current staff on new technology.

      BUT IBM gave up keeping tech staff up to date 2 decades ago.

      Now they layoff the old and hire the new.

      So I'll stick with my initial feeling that this is to make layoffs easier for IBM to make.

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    What are the chances that the engineers will have to fund their own training?

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge


      I was IBM for 14 years, and when we were TUPEd, we were told we'd get two weeks training a year, not necessarily classroom, but we'd get courses plus CBT. It was bollocks. I got two classroom courses in 14 years, and one year, it was decided we had to complete 40 hours training over the year for one of our PBC goals. Of the two courses I went on, one was through 'The Skills Centre' a one off opportunity when I left the account I'd been working on and was effectively benched. The second I got on, because it had been booked for a bunch of folks, one couldn't go, and it was too late for a refund, so I got the place. The 40 hours 'training' was BS for stats too, that year I completed some CBT for IBM Endpoint Manager, that was real training, but the conf calls for the deployment project also counted as 'training'.

      So I should think anyone requiring training will get CBT if they are lucky, and will probably have to fit it in around their day job.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        You got Training?

        Consider yourself lucky.

        All I got was SSM because anyone in a 'sales' or 'sales related' capacity had to take the course when our company was acquired by IBM.

        Everything else was done on my own time which meant no training because it took 50-60 hours plus travel to hit my numbers when they were realistic.

        I got out in 2005 and never looked back except to tell my friends that the grass is greener outside of the borg.

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      What are the chances that the engineers will have to fund their own training?

      Time probably, if not money. On the plus side (perhaps) it suggests that big blue expects its remaining GTS staff to last longer than 24 months on average

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @Anon South African

      Did you happen to work for IBM and were in Information Management? ;-)

      I would suspect that they would rotate in to a new position at a reduced rate, which could impact their PBCs and rev recognition numbers.

      I would also suspect that they would learn On the Job and maybe get some online course access.

      My fear is that they end up getting rotated out to a RIF due to a lack of a transition client.

  4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    Interesting... color me skeptical.

    This could be good, or it could be very bad.

    First, there is an issue of teaching current workers new skills and balance that against bench time. ( Bench time is time when a consultant/contractor is not billable, but still collects a salary. )

    But then when you think about it... suppose you have a guy who's an expert at X. If he rotates to a new client, so he can learn Y, does he still get charged out at the same rate as being an expert at X? In this case, you're over billing the customer for a sub par resource. An example could be that you take an Oracle DBA who has 15 years of RDBMS skills and send him to an account where they need someone who knows NoSQL object stores. Here he's a novice, and the client is paying him to know something where he is clearly learning on the job at their expense.

    Then there's the other issue... What happens if you have this guy Bob, who's got 20+ years in at IBM and its his time to rotate out to a new client. Only there's no job for him to rotate to? What happens then? Can he be made redundant?

    This is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand... it forces older employees to learn new skills rather than be comfortable staying within their niche. (Humans, for the most part, are not comfortable with change.) On the other, it makes stealth firings, or demotions easier.

    And one other consideration. Suppose you live in NYC, have a family and everyone is settled. IBM now says congrats, you're on a new project in Cleveland, OH and you have to relocate. Refusal to relocate means grounds for termination. If your family is settled... relocating every 2 years, assuming that IBM is going to cover all of the costs... is still going to be a deal breaker for the older employees. (Try buying and selling homes every 2 years....) (Assuming you can't find another project in your current area. ) Try telling your wife and kids that they have to move to a new school. No, its not a promotion or getting your ticket punched... but just for the same old job and salary.

    This still would work for the younger employee who rents an apartment and doesn't own a house, or have a family to uproot.

    The other issue.... regional salary differences... If you move from NYC to most of the mid-West, your cost of living goes down so if you're being paid $$$$, you win. However the reverse... you go from lower cost of living to higher cost of living... you're getting screwed.

    So many issues with this less than thought out plan... not good. The Devil is in the details and IBM doesn't do well when it comes to specifics...

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Interesting... color me skeptical.

      > f your family is settled... relocating every 2 years, assuming that IBM is going to cover all of the costs... is still going to be a deal breaker for the older employees. (Try buying and selling homes every 2 years....) (Assuming you can't find another project in your current area. )

      As an army brat, I had to deal with this for 16 years.

      It's not an uncommon situation. However, at least in the military case you join up knowing that's the situation, and if you marry someone in the military you are (or should be) aware of it as well. Although It's a bit different being forced into it 15 years after you started!

      Note in this situation you don't usually purchase a house each time you move, you rent.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        @eldakka Re: Interesting... color me skeptical.

        I know many military brats.

        The transfers are due to your parent getting his/her ticket punched as part of a path to promotion.

        What IBM is suggesting is not a path to promotion. They stopped doing that long ago.

        And the point is that younger workers are more mobile while the older workers are not.

        As you point out... when you sign up for a career in the military, you know what you're getting yourself in to. A friend's father retired out while at Wright Pat. The officer's housing wasn't bad.

    2. WatAWorld

      Re: Interesting... color me skeptical.

      You're right to be skeptical. This was not announced as a training opportunity for headcounts. And it won't be.

      I imagine they'll take your Oracle DBA who has 15 years of RDBMS skills and send him to another Oracle DBA account.

      That saves training costs. Saves the new to reduce billing rate. And still achieves the purpose of preventing the client becoming attached to the headcount/resource/person actually providing their service.

      And when there are no more Oracle DBA jobs, you sack the headcount and hire a new grad who knows Banana NDBMS.

      IBM is a sales and marketing company. Effectively its only real employees are in sales and marketing. They're the wizards that can sell ice to eskimos at $500k a tonne.

      The people actually doing work for clients are effectively external contract headcount. You don't want your client becoming attached to external contract headcount.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting... color me skeptical.

        +1 for Banana NDBMS!


        This NoSQL/NewSQL nonsense is so irritating, especially when people don't want to understand that it is so inferior to an RDBMS.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Interesting... color me skeptical.

      "our family is settled... relocating every 2 years, assuming that IBM is going to cover all of the costs... is still going to be a deal breaker for the older employees. (Try buying and selling homes every 2 years....) " - Back to the old days of I've Been Moved when this was done on about a 2 or 3 year cycle.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        @yank lurker ... Re: Interesting... color me skeptical.

        The rotation was for the selected handful who were getting groomed to move up the food chain. They stopped doing that years ago.

        Back in the 90's ex-pat benefits for a lot of companies were really good. And those days are long gone. You post overseas for a company... its a toss up and not always a win, albeit always a learning experience.

    4. spold Bronze badge

      Re: Interesting... color me skeptical.

      It's just a similar game to that played with sales and "hub" locations. Older (more expensive) employees have put down roots, have settled families, social networks etc. Younger cheaper ones are more able to relocate. And it's not what the older ones signed up for, the idea is if they send them somewhere else every 2 years they get fed up and bugger off without any severance payoff. Why would anyone think that skills and customer satisfaction come into play...

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    How to piss off customers big time

    IBM, you fail (again). Mind you all the others seem to be doing the same sort of shit. This won't end well.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are always two sides to every coin.

    You want to build up redundancy for your clients with multiple staff able to support but you also want them to have someone that's knows their system inside out to quickly deal with any issues.

    Tough call but personally I would look to build redundancy though as they like to lay off staff I think that's going to be difficult.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      You could view the laying off of staff as building redundancy.

      You know, if you were in the mood to make tasteless jokes about things that ruin lives and create stress. Shame on you, dear reader, for thinking this; shame on you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You know, if you were in the mood to make tasteless jokes about things that ruin lives and create stress"

        I'm going through this at the moment, and it's only a sense of humour that's kept me sane. I'm not saying I'd make that joke, and a lot of people might not find it funny, but for the record, I do.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge


      Gallows humor is always necessary but never understood by those who have not had to go through a similar process.

      The simple answer is that IBM is trying to kill two birds with one stone.

      They need to address the issue that older employees who are targets of the RIF can claim discrimination when they can show that there is still demand for their skills.

      At the same time... they have to be able to meet client needs w the staff they have and they need to upgrade their employee skills.

      But rather than take the time to do it right... meaning you bench the consultant for 2-3 weeks of training and deep immersion into the newer tech before placing them onsite... they want to do this on the cheap.

      At least that's if you believe the stated goal.

      But then you have to look at this from a different perspective. Wholesale cut/slash of experienced staff and replacement with lesser trained and cheaper labor (yes I do mean offshore), can cause a client to revolt and to toss IBM out of a contract. (Its even possible for the client to write clauses in to the contract that give them veto power over staff changes in some cases.)

      So this could be viewed as a way to do stealth RIFs, onshore off-shore resources, and other dirty tricks to beef up bottom line.

      So... you could take them (IBM) at face value, or you could suspect them of being under handed in this...

      For those who have spent time in the borg, and know IBM... which do you think is the real motivation?

      1. WatAWorld

        Re: @AC

        In Canada the traditional solution to this is to assign the headcount to a job they're incapable of doing. Either a job above their skill level, or a job where the required quotas are unachievable.

        You reassign the headcount, and then when they fail, you fire them for just cause.

        One has to be careful though, because if the re-assignment is too different from the old job the headcount can claim "constructive dismissal". So you can't do this by assigning a "coder" to sales, or a salesperson to accounting. You'd assign a coder to a different type of coding. That way the headcount doesn't have a case.

        It is ruthless.

        They need to address the issue that older employees who are targets of the RIF can claim discrimination when they can show that there is still demand for their skills.

    3. tip pc Bronze badge


      You want to build up redundancy for your clients with multiple staff able to support but you also want them to have someone that's knows their system inside out to quickly deal with any issues.

      this has nothing to do with having available staff to cover an account and more to do with getting rid of staff and charging the customer more for stuff the able and knowledgeable long term account technician with a hard earned respect from the client would have done quickly, efficiently and cheaply. With that knowledge gone, IBM get to charge more consultancy for the same service.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Reminder that "breakneck speed" is not a good thing.

    Our industry is changing at a breakneck speed, as are the skills required to keep pace.

    That Camel's back is indeed ready for some breakage.

    And skills are degrading all over the place. It's replaced with "pretending to know about stuff" style retardation.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Reminder that "breakneck speed" is not a good thing.

      Isn't it interesting that the broken bones are always amongst the rank-and-file, never the C-suite's or boards?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colour me cynical but...

    Everyone seems to be debating whether this is good or bad for the engineers affected.

    This is IBM - what do the staff have to do with this important decision?

    Its about "hiding" the loss of staff to avoid those annoying questions from customers along the lines of "where has Frank gone? He knew how to do this" and replacing it with "let me introduce you to Richard, he's going to fail to understand your existing solution and propose spending lots of money on a new solution!"


    Apologies to any GTSers who may or may not be called Frank or Richard

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM about 25 years behind Cannot Stand Continuity

    My Line Manager told me one of the reasons I wasn't getting a pay rise was because I had shown no "ambition" to move from Desktop Support to another client or role - never mind that I was happy where I was, liked the people I worked with and supported and was the only one left who actually knew and understood the Client's setup (as proven when said Line Manager suggested replacing half-a-dozen water-damaged almost-new Engineering Computing PCs with a few of the ancient finance pieces of junk we had sat on the shelves after a pipe burst in the ceiling void...).

    I guess if everyone had moved into Project or Development teams then we could have charged the clients a lot more without having to actually show any results at all - just like most of "our" staff on that client's sites.

    1. MAH

      Re: IBM about 25 years behind Cannot Stand Continuity

      As the owner of a business, I do struggle a little bit to fault the line manager. If the client is willing to pay X for helpdesk role and you've hit the target of Y below which I am not willing to either lose profit or start taking losses on the position) then you've hit the wall salary wise....

      if you are happy where you are and ok with the salary then all the power to you, but your company isn't going to take a loss (real or in their margin) if the client isn't willing to pay more for your position (since smart clients pay for the position, not the person).

      1. WatAWorld

        Re: IBM about 25 years behind Cannot Stand Continuity

        @MAH, in Canada IBM charges 3 to 5 times what it pays people. And it charges for every hour worked. And it adjusts those rates for inflation, and if the client has a good year.

        I don't think giving a headcount a 5% pay hike would make the account unprofitable.

        That said, yeah I agree, if he's content in his/her current job, if they're already fully qualified at it, then he or she should content with only getting inflation increases.

  10. a pressbutton

    Almost Cunning

    So, to use the fictitious names used above,


    Client to Frank (long serving and knowledgeable) "I want to do X"

    Frank to Client (who knows things) "That'll cost Y and take Z time"

    Client to Frank (trusted) "Ok"


    Client to Richard (new guy just doing the job) "I want to do X"

    Richard to Client (who just asked and then added on some uncertainty) "That'll cost Y*3 and take Z*2 time"

    Client to Richard (for they have little choice) "Ok"

    ... and if you are in a regulated industry, a 50% bonus for _absolutely no choice_

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @Press Button ... Re: Almost Cunning

      While I agree with your cynicism, I think you're way off base.

      There seems to be a consensus that IBM is doing this as a way to cover staffing losses and to also bring in cheaper labor. Not as a way to increase costs to the client on actual delivery. That's the sales staff and they aren't the ones rotating.

      The problem is that IBM could be looking at a way to keep their aging staff happy and also to limit their ability to claim age discrimination as they do a stealth RIF.

      And yeah, I escaped from the borg. I was an experienced hire that came in thru an acquisition. I never had rose colored glasses or drank from the blue cup.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like bad management

    Seen similar programs over the years. Those that I knew the details of were almost always due to bad, unskilled, untrained or incompetent management.

    Managers are already responsible for ensuring the right skills are supplied at the right time and place but this memo suggests that isn't happening. Rather than address those failings the higher ups have decided that a system wide change will fix everything.

    Without addressing the poor managers, with reviews, training and detailed job expectations and increased resources the poor management will continue, the changes will not have the desired effect.

    But the chaos allows incompetent managers to carry on as they were or blame the changes should a spotlight try to expose their failings. Great for them, won't interfere with the planned golf games with higher management and who cares if a few workers or customers complain, after all change is happening at breakneck speed, a few broken necks are to be expected.

    As long as those necks are not those of managers, no matter how poorly they perform, everything will be fine.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Looks like bad management

      Ginny isn't going to fire herself for just cause.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making It Worse?!

    overhaul that some staff warned could weaken client relations.

    It absolutely will weaken client relations, but at this point I do not foresee that this will make things much worse than they already are.

    I am four months behind on a project for the simple reason that, while IBM and HCL have the resources to support their solution on the mainframe side and the distributed side, the people that had the knowledge to interconnect the two are long gone. "Open a PMR," they tell me. Gee, thanks. That'll help.

    This all reminds me of the stoning scene from "Life of Brian". "Making it worse?! How could it get worse?!"

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Making It Worse?!


      From mainframe to legacy... DRDA gateway, CDC, MQ, or something else that is fairly straight forward.

      Mainframe to NoSQL/Big Data? pretty much the same. Not that difficult.

      Opening up a PMR that's Sev 1 really spooks support. Especially when you explain to them why its a Sev 1. ;-) (Yes, had many meetings w IBM and Cust where they tried to get me to relabel the Sev 1 to a Sev 2. )

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Making It Worse?!

        IBM support have pretty rigid rules about what a Sev.1 is, and they normally demand a 24 hour contact from the integration team or end customer (often if you are working on a customer account, the support contract will be a customer specific account, not one for the IBM account team.)

        If they attempt 3 contacts out-of-hours that are not answered, they will automatically drop the severity on the quite reasonable assumption that if the customer is not prepared to work 24 hours a day, why should IBM.

        When I worked in IBM support, not only was there a severity that was set by the customer, but there was a priority which was set by the support team. Not too sure whether that happens now, but calls could be graded S1P3, which meant that it was important to the customer, but IBM did not judge it a high priority.

        Also, when I was working, support were expected calls to be defect only. If the problem was obviously a how-to, we were supposed to try to sell some consultancy, although this does not work very well when you're talking to an IBM account team (you know how it goes - "this work is sooo important, and will bring in $$$ to to IBM [but not to the support team], so you've just got to make it Sev.1")

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          Re: Making It Worse?!


          And I had them play games over it by using offshore support staff to call at odd hours with a 'status update'. At the time I was single and I suffer from sleep shift disorder, I usually answered the call which shocked them. ;-)

          Oh brother, I know your pain.

          Of course the worst time to do any sort of upgrade or routine maintenance is around the 4th of July weekend. Was doing an upgrade of an SP2 instance which went south fast. Ran in to a series of defects and it was Sev 1. Too bad, the support team for the most part was on vacation so we were shunted to people who didn't know jack and we had to roll back to the previous version. It was a Sev 1 and we ran out of weekend to get things straightened out.

          And yeah, when the SHTF, you escalate. and call back and escalate...

  13. horriblicious

    The organization I work for outsources technical work. The contract with the vendor included increased payments as they built experience in our applications. Some years into the contract when we asked for details of who was working on the contract, the only resources with more than 2 years experience were the 3 resources we insisted stay on site - they had been in place for 5 years and were very knowledgeable. We were paying for a constant training cycle for the churn of the other employees and this was often reflected in the quality of response and code. This situation would have been a nightmare without the long-term employees acting as mentors/senior consultants.

    If IBM is going to cycle everyone every two years, their clients should ask for a discount as the quality of support is about to decrease. IBM should consider some long-term support roles in support of the "churn" whether that is due to the industry or their own HR mandates.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They have been doing this with senior-most executives for years now...

    From my time at big blue, this is not new.

    This has been happening for many years now - but only at the senior-most level - the top exec(s) so to speak.

    And (in my ignorance), it's not really a bad idea to do it at that level - to bring in fresh thinking, etc etc - all that HR jazz.

    But to do it at our tech serf level, bad bad bad baaaad idea - just because of the familiarity with the environments.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @AC Re: They have been doing this with senior-most executives for years now...

      There's a term called 'getting your ticket punched'.

      You relocate to a new team to enhance your skills in order to get promoted.

      This isn't it.

      They slowed down and stopped this many moons ago, although senior execs do get moved around as they get promoted, however its not the same as taking a young gun and sending him to Brazil for 2 years, or Europe so that you can groom him for an international role in management.

      This is a pure smoke and mirrors play by IBM bean counters again.

      They are just too clever for their own good.

  15. Daedalus Silver badge

    Expectation vs. Reality

    If other examples are anything to go by, what could be a "rotate carefully based on individual needs etc." would become a "rotate out 20% every six months regardless" scenario. Horror tales abound of companies bringing in efficiency experts who say "we can reduce costs X%". The companies then ignore all the changes recommended in favour of an X% cut in staff and budgets across the board.

  16. Sir Loin Of Beef

    What a bunch of bullshit. Since no one ever trains their replacement keeping people who actually understands the client and has built a rapport are much more successful than bouncing around all of the time.

  17. ecofeco Silver badge

    IBM has lost its mind

    But to to those of us who have worked for them, we are not surprised.

  18. FordPrefect

    Job rotation is a standard security practice. The idea being someone new in the job can pick up on irregularities and it makes it harder for people collude for nefarious purposes in privileged positions. Granted I don't think many outside of banks and financial services do this.

  19. DaveB


    If I was an IBM customer then there would be some simple rules. I get to decide who works on the account team. I am not paying zillions to you for you to replace my A support team with the B team. Just write it into your contract. "Me Customer you supplier......get over it!"

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @DaveB ... Re: Arrogance

      You've never negotiated an MSA w IBM or as part of IBM with the customer.

      (I have and I've had to mediate between IBM and client lawyers to get the deal done.)

      You can try to get that type of clause in... IBM will argue you out of it and will walk away if you are insistent... unless you're a major player like wallyworld and buy millions from IBM per year. And I mean 10's of millions from IBM...

      Then IBM will negotiate ...

      The strangest contract stuff I dealt with had to deal with placing IBM staff on customer site, where IBM did the drug testing of the employee. You have no idea how that can go sideways real fast due to HIPPA. And then tell the employee if they want the assignment, they will have to get drug tested, however if they fail, they will be terminated. Oh joy that was a fun one...

  20. WatAWorld

    IBM brass got fed up with clients complaining about key people being laid-off

    If the client doesn't have a relationship with you, then the client won't interfere next month when we frivilously lay you off.

    Exclusive IBM will ask Global Technology Services engineers to "rotate" from "existing assignments" every two years in a working model overhaul that some staff warned could weaken client relations.

  21. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the right skills in the right place at the right time."

    Knowledge of the (client) business being supported is one of the right skills.

  22. CujoDeSoque

    They haven't trained people with anything but internal "classes" for 20 years.

    Now they want people to transfer every two years? With what foundation of training on the new accounts?

    Always keep in mind that IBM is basically a sales organization, this has the stench of getting higher salaried people to quit and replacing them with "new collar" workers. Technical people are simply replaceable cogs to a sales organization like IBM, they've been doing this for well over a decade, this is just another way to transfer the jobs overseas.

  23. KeithSloan

    ""Being a good manager includes embracing personal responsibility to your team members, and one example to demonstrate that is taking an active interest in their careers and professional development."

    IBM talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. I was coerced out of IBM 13 years ago after 30 years and the message had for some time been you had to look after and plan your own career. Managers were only interested in their own careers. Mind you it does say good manager and that excludes most IBM managers.

    I think the person making the quote is harping back to the very old days when IBM was a good company to work for. i.e. When respect for the individual meant something

  24. EveryTime Silver badge

    > "Job rotation is a standard security practice. The idea being someone new in the job can pick up on irregularities and it makes it harder for people collude for nefarious purposes in privileged positions. Granted I don't think many outside of banks and financial services do this."

    That might be the case for cookie-cutter jobs. But tech jobs, especially in IT, tend to be extraordinarily installation-specific and application configuration specific.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new with Big Blue

    Talking as an ex-IBMer with 10 years service in the UK.... This is nothing new.

    I joined at start of the noughties and we were positively encouraged (read almost forced) to change roles every 18-24 months in order to 'broaden our skills and experience'. If we stayed longer it reflected badly on our career ambition. I was lucky enough to spend most of my time on a large account, just moving roles every year or two, but that was certainly not the norm.

    Many people just put up with it to claim disturbance allowances and expenses... as the common practice was just to work away during the week and be home at weekends.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More in line with GBS?

    So I currently work for big blue, hence my cowardly name.

    I started out in GTS and moved to GBS because after a few years plugging along in GTS it was clear that I was stuck in a role.

    GBS on the other hand has huge amounts of rotation which does seem to keep the staff happier because even if this assignment sucks the next one is right around the corner.

    Since announcing One IBM about a year ago very little has been done about about actually bringing GTS and GBS in line with eachother in terms of practice.

    I would suspect that this is nothing more then a vauge attempt at best partice since there other divisions do it while making it easier to roll GTS up into GBS as the support/strategic outsourcing market drys up

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