IBM Is Being Sued for Age Discrimination After Firing Thousands

September 19, 2018

“Over the last several years, IBM has been in the process of systematically laying off older employees in order to build a younger workforce,” the former employees claim in the suit, which draws heavily on a ProPublica report published in March that said the company has fired more than 20,000 employees older than 40 in the last six years.

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For more information on the suit, here is the ProPublica report that started the wheels turning.


Investigation of Age Bias at IBM

May 17, 2018

A month ago, I posted an excerpt from a ProPublica report that turned anecdotes of IBM firing older workers, into some real reporting. This month, ProPublica has reported that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating the claims made in their article.

More than five years after IBM stopped providing legally required disclosures to older workers being laid off, the EEOC’s New York district office has begun consolidating individuals’ complaints from across the country and asking the company to explain practices recounted in the ProPublica story, according to ex-employees who’ve spoken with investigators and people familiar with the agency’s actions.

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ProPublica: Cutting “Old Heads” at IBM

April 11, 2018

But when high tech suddenly started shifting and companies went global, IBM faced the changing landscape with a distinction most of its fiercest competitors didn’t have: a large number of experienced and aging U.S. employees.

The company reacted with a strategy that, in the words of one confidential planning document, would “correct seniority mix.” It slashed IBM’s U.S. workforce by as much as three-quarters from its 1980s peak, replacing a substantial share with younger, less-experienced and lower-paid workers and sending many positions overseas. ProPublica estimates that in the past five years alone, IBM has eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over, about 60 percent of its estimated total U.S. job cuts during those years.

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#domino2025 Webcast

February 28, 2018

I, along with a reported 1,500+ others, attended the IBM/HCL #domino2025 webcast today. I was happy to hear the excitement in the voices, the number of questions being answered, and the overall positive reviews from the faithful. But then, the skeptic in me kicked in, and I wasn’t that surprised at all; IBM/HCL was preaching to the one group of people that would be overjoyed to hear about the future of IBM Notes/Domino.

After some introductions, IBM/HCL launched into their presentation. The first slide that caught my attention was titled “Experience in Domino V10:”

I sure hope, that after my last post, the highlighted area is well and truly delivered when the product is released, sometime in late 2018.

Then, there is this slide:

I suppose that “Rocks JavaScript” is a fun little phrase. However, it is the “future proof” and “abundant skills” that caught my eye. I’ve heard a similar take on “future proof” as it dealt with earlier releases, hell, I can probably find something like it from the R5 days. But if you don’t keep pushing forward, you find yourself at the back of the pack. And then there is the “abundant skills.” I don’t know a damn thing about Node.js, however if you tell a prospective developer that he will be working on Node.js in Domino or with Domino, is that a guarantee that the developer will be happy to sign on? Or, do you play it safe and not even mention Domino?

Keeping an eye on the Q&A chat, there was a lot of “yes, we are looking into that,” but there was also this question and answer:

This really pleased me, as it appears that IBM/HCL actually listened to us. What gets delivered this year will probably be a “bit” different, but at least they were reading IdeaJam. Mr. Skeptic wonders, though, “What took you so damn long?” Years of adding ideas, voting on them, IBM had a gold mine of improvements from the people that actually use the product, in the real world. Your customers were telling you exactly what you needed to know to make the product better. But then, some other things probably got in the way. Hopefully, this is the one area that HCL will leverage to their advantage.

Time for a poll question.

That looks pretty good. And, based on the reactions from the presenters, exactly what they were expecting.

Finally, their “Go to Market” slide.

So, they’ll be presenting their vision and slides to more of the faithful this year. Good, get them all happy to see the new version. However, what’s the plan for those that aren’t attending THINK or any of the user group events? And by that, I mean, those that may already have Notes/Domino but never attend any of those events? Shouldn’t you be contacting them in some manner, letting them know what is on the horizon? Allowing them to realize that they aren’t running “legacy” software? That is a pretty tall order, I know, but there is only so much THINK and user group attendees can do for Domino 10. You are basically rebooting Domino, how about rebooting how you communicate with your customers, from the little shops to the large corporations?

Finally, about the presentation itself. It assumed a lot of knowledge from the attendees. There were a lot of jargon and abbreviations thrown around with no explanation of either. Based on the Q&A chat, I wasn’t the only one confused at times by what I was hearing and seeing. If you’re going to use jargon and abbreviations, please allow the speaker to explain them so that nothing is lost during the presentation.

Overall, I was very happy to see and hear the new directions that Domino is taking. There is a lot on HCL’s plate and it will be very interesting to see what is delivered later this year. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see the progress that HCL is making during the year and also learn more about the message that will be delivered to the marketplace.


Goodbye IBM Notes: City of Cornwall

February 28, 2018

A couple of articles on the same topic, the City of Cornwall has decided to move off of IBM Notes to Microsoft Office365 (emphasis, mine).

Cornwall’s information technology department is asking to spend almost $900,000 on software and equipment to keep up with the times.

The budget is proposing $898,000 for several different projects. There is a three-year phase in for a Microsoft Office upgrade and desktop virtualization.

 

. . . There is also money for moving corporate emails to Microsoft Outlook which will more seamlessly integrate with the other programs the city uses. The migration to Microsoft programs will lead to the city abandoning Lotus Notes, a software suite now owned by IBM, in favour of Microsoft’s shared and remote-computer platforms.

There is also money for a new records management system called for social housing after the province pulled support for implementing such systems recently in favour of producing their own system.

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But the “money quote” comes from a second article:

“Hallelujah!” Coun. Bernadette Clement remarked on word the city would be ditching Lotus.

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That is exactly the problem IBM has long confronted but never addressed.  Now, that same sentiment will spill over to HCL. You can argue the technological advantages of IBM Notes/Domino all you want, but it doesn’t make any difference in the minds of a lot of users and, more importantly, the decision makers with the purse strings.

So, I ask, “IBM, how is Domino 10 going to change those people’s minds?” Because until you can show me that the updated version is positioned to make people think well about their Domino investment, and I don’t mean the faithful that have attended some or all of your #domino2025 webinars and sessions, it won’t matter. Oh, you’ll keep some accounts that were waffling, maybe gain a couple of new ones, but until you can change the minds of the users, all of the work you are doing on Domino 10, and beyond, will only make the faithful happy.

 


HCL and IBM Domino

February 19, 2018

A very interesting view of HCL, a company that has bought the Intellectual Property (IP) of several companies, IBM included.

HCL’s strategy is underpinned on investments of $1.1 billion in licensing intellectual properties (IPs) from companies and then building products around them for clients.

The trouble is some of the acquired IPs are decades-old and are ceding share to rival offerings. A case in point is HCL’s acquisition of International Business Machines Corp.’s (IBM’s) Lotus Notes, a product that is fast losing relevance in today’s world.

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“Building products around them for clients.” Maybe that will allow for increased awareness of Domino within the existing customer base. But it doesn’t appear that it will translate in gaining market share from Google or Microsoft. However, I don’t think that gaining market share is what HCL is hoping. Hoping for a cash cow, it’s more believable that HCL wants to get more revenue out of existing customers to recoup their investment. If they win a few new customers, well, that’s just gravy.


#Domino2025 Virtual Jam – What’s the Point?

December 18, 2017

Sure, a bit of a clickbait title, however, why not?

I attended the #Domino2025 virtual jam today. The first half (or more) was primarily focused on Application Development. The remaining time was on Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Sametime, the Notes Client, and iNotes. Throughout the presentation, the moderators allowed 10 minutes of open Q&A and also asked us to answer some survey questions. Sadly, none of the survey questions included an option for “Not Applicable,” “No development needs,” or similar answers. You had to pick an option, even if it didn’t apply to you or your company.

It was during the conversation about mail, calendar, and the Notes client that I perked up. I watched the online Q&A, I listened to the speakers, I listened to the audience. It was then that it struck me – IBM is asking the same questions they’ve asked us over the years. The online Q&A was filled with the questions you’ve heard and asked throughout the years. The answers were all pretty much the same, “thank you for your feedback.” In fact, IBM had a Twitter widget in the Jam, that was watching for mentions of the hashtag #Domino2025.

Being a bit of a realist (I’m trying that word out, instead of “cynic”), I tweeted and received a reply:

Now, who among you have attended Lotusphere/Connect/whatever over the years? Did you attend the sessions “Ask The Developers?” “Ask the Product Managers?” That line, “we’ll take it back with us,” is a handy phrase from both of those sessions. Realistically, it means that nothing will happen.

Now, back to the Jam. What is the point? IBM is asking the (remaining) faithful for their opinions. I ask, what have you done with all of the opinions we have provided to you over the years?

Let’s start with IdeaJam. There are still ideas, voted on by people that work with the products, on that site. What did you do with any of those ideas? Why wouldn’t you go to a site that is designed for ideas, mine them, and implement the most popular ones? This site goes back years. At any time in the past, all you had to do was to take a look and implement some of them. You would not be in your current position of asking, yet again, for our thoughts and ideas. Further, if you had implemented some of the more popular ones, you may not be in your current position.

Next, every year, in January or February, you gathered the faithful in Orlando. You had two, specific sessions, where the audience asked for features, direction, and wishes. I am guessing that none of you ever wrote down the questions or the answers and never “took it back with you.” Although, I do know one person that did. And you didn’t like that he would return, year after year, to simply ask for an update. Yet, as far as I can tell, nothing ever came from those sessions, popular as they were.

Finally, your sales reps and technical reps appeared in companies that used your software. They were told certain things, they were begged for certain things. What happened to all of that feedback? Who collated that information and turned it into enhancement requests? Which Product Manager added those items to the build list and delivered those features?

It is telling that the very people that bet on the success of IBM software, that shared their wants and needs with IBM, were, in essence, ignored. These were people that  made their living selling, listening to customers, upgrading, creating applications, using your software. And they all told you how to make it better. You chose not to listen.

Now, here you are again, hand out, asking for feedback, answering with “we’ll take it back with us.”

I’ve read many editions of this book, in many different formats, the ending is always the same.