Not your father's IBM - Cringely on technology -
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"This is my promised column about IBM — the first of several on the topic, all to be delivered this week. The last time I wrote at length about Big Blue was in 2007. I have been asked by readers many times to revisit the subject, something I haven’t wanted to do because it is such a downer. Writing the last time I hoped the situation, once revealed, would improve. But it hasn’t. And so, five years later, I turn to IBM again. The direct impetus for this column is IBM’s internal plan to grow earnings-per-share (EPS) to $20 by 2015. The primary method for accomplishing this feat, according to the plan, will be by reducing US employee head count by 78 percent in that time frame."
"IBM seems to believe it is cheaper to replace a skilled worker with two or three unskilled workers to do the same job. That is like hiring nine women to make a baby in one month. While it looks good on paper it is not practical and is not working. The language barrier for IBM’s Indian staff is huge, for example. Troubleshooting, which was once performed on conference calls, is now done with instant messaging because the teams speak so poorly. Problems that an experienced person could fix in a few minutes are taking an army of folks an hour to fix. This is infuriating and alarming to IBM’s customers."
"When I wrote about IBM five years ago the cost reduction program was called LEAN and it was supposed to mold from Big Blue a hyper-efficient business machine. Yet today IBM has more layers of management than it had in 2007. These extra layers come at a cost both in dollars and in accountability. Those extra layers insulate IBM’s top management from responsibility for their decisions. At the highest levels in Armonk they think things are going beautifully because they are out of touch with the reality of their own company."
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