back to article IBM CIO's Great Refresh: No, Sales Guy, you can't JUST use DropBox

She might be CIO of IBM, but Jeanette Horan is just like you: replacing Windows XP with Windows 7, ripping out Internet Explorer 6 and floating a growing amount of software on the cloud. She also has to contend with staffers begging her for the ability to share information using third-party sync 'n' share apps like DropBox. …


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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dropbox everywhere

      I can assure you that IBM Connections is not a Dropbox replacement.

      It doesn't do folders (yes, you read that right, it doesn't do fucking folders, so its a flat file based repository).

      It doesn't do replication.

      It has a maximum of 500MB in total for all the files.

      It does have RSS (wow).

      It is slow and sometimes it will not download largeish (> 15MB) files. It just hangs.

      It doesn't have an API.

      Apart from that it's identical to DropBox.

  2. markios

    IBM Software

    Perhaps off tropic but my experience with any IBM software I have used in the past has been beyond horrible.

    I wonder what it is like for internal employees to have to use IBM software for every aspect of their daily grind

    1. GreyWolf

      Re: IBM Software

      I was an employee, and already an experienced email user since several years back, when we were all pushed over to PROFS (aka Noddy Email for The Toddlers of Corporate HQ). I am still deeply scarred by the experience, and the thought has me reaching for the whisky, beer, anything to blot out the memory...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IBM Software

      >I wonder what it is like for internal employees to have to use IBM software for every aspect of their daily grind

      Do you like Notes and Symphony? Do you like a badly siloed, poorly designed support intranet. Mandatory software installed that cannot be removed on penalty of job loss that DOES NOT play nice with the OS and may be a duplicate of a different brand of mandatory installed software.?

      Yeah, it's like. Exactly like that.

      Anon for obvious reasons.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Good idea, pick the least secure browser for your corporate standard.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      ESR - Re: Firefox?

      Firefox is available as an ESR build which slows the updates down a bit, but still one a year, which I admit is more frequent than Certain Other Browsers.

      Security: I'm sure IBM can manage a reasonable firewall. What threats do you associate with Firefox that are not present on other browsers?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox?

      But one thing they are really doing is allowing selected users to choose to use Linux as the OS on their laptops. This tends to make it more difficult to run IE across the Enterprise, and I certainly would not want to use Google Chrome in an Enterprise environment because of Google's proclivity for data-harvesting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox?

        Right now, I am using the Redhat version of IBM's OpenClient and IBM have done a first class job on it to make it a functionally comparable experience as my previous Windows installation. Printer set-up was easy, bespoke apps work fine, etc. Let's put it this way - corporate Linux done right... helped by their own apps being cross platform, ofcourse.

        It's down to an individuals choice whether to have it or not, although oddly, as a contractor, I had to get approval for it. I wish IBM was more forceful about people using it, given the work they have done on it.

  4. keithpeter Silver badge

    400,000+ employees, half not near IBM office?

    What is the median employment period and/or annual churn as a percentage?

    Whenever these megacorps say things like 'target is $20 earnings per share' I wonder how the customers feel (lemmon, pips).

    Mine's the one with the P60 in the pocket.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lotus Notes

    1. edterry

      I complained about Lotus Notes for 10 year. My agency finally switched over to Outlook.

      I miss Lotus Notes.

    2. jolly

      Don't you mean "IBM Notes". Makes me laugh that the company that bloated Notes are the only big corp left (that I can think of, anyway) that actually use it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The hypocrisy of tech companies.

    Dropbox, along with Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Docs, is officially not allowed. This is because they’d break IBM’s guidelines on the use of secure computing and social media, which staff are expected to know as part of IBM’s annual business conduct certification process.

    The rules prohibit storing client-confidential information on a service.

    They want all their customers to put their business critical data into a cloud, but they don't trust anyone else with their own business critical data.

    All you techies working for non tech companies should be pointing exactly these kind of things out to your management everytime 'cloud' is raised a a subject. That those who advocate/provide cloud WON'T allow their own data to be put into systems which they don't own/control, because they all know doing so is a security risk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The hypocrisy of tech companies.

      Err, no. They are quite happy to use cloud, they just want it to be the company's approved cloud service. Why would you use a 3rd party cloud service, if you have your own and if your own is what you're selling. That would be like Microsoft using an other company's OS if it were fractionally more continent to individual employees, then saying MS use other OSes, therefore OSes are useless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The hypocrisy of tech companies.

        Nope, you should try reading it again.

        They don't "want" anything, they won't "allow", indeed they have rules prohibiting their employees from doing so. That's nothing to do with what they want, it's because they know damned well how clouds work and they know anything put on anyone elses cloud is at risk, so they "ban" their employees from doing so. Their own cloud is their way of providing what their users "want", but which their rules prohibit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The hypocrisy of tech companies.

          No. IBM have a cloud product, their employees will use it.

          As they have their own cloud product, their employees aren't allowed to use other competitors products. That's not to say that the competitors are or aren't perfectly secure, they just use their own product.

          An analogy: MS use Windows, AIX is perfectly capable of doing everything that Windows does. MS don't use their competition.

          It's not that hard to understand is it?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The hypocrisy of tech companies.

            What a very strenuous defence of IBM you're making...

            No, IBM like most tech companies understand the risks of putting their business critical data into someone elses hands, that's why they created rules prohibiting employees doing it. Rules which existed long before the term 'cloud' was in use.

            They'll happily sell cloud to everyone else, for their business critical data, because IBM 'can' be trusted with your data, at least that's what they sell (end users are free to reach their own conclusions (I do actually trust IBM myself, but not with my business critical data)). Despite having had their prohibition of their own data being put on other peoples systems for a long time.

            It's part of their strategic plan for compute capability, one they've been running now for a long time, which focuses around customers 'renting' whatever capacity they require from IBM instead of running it themselves.

            It's not just IBM, lots of big tech companies are just as hypocritical about this cloud stuff.

            So far we've had a comparisons about how AIX can do everything Microsoft Windows can do, which it can't, and we've had statements about Microsoft not running other peoples OS'es because they create their own, which is complete and utter rubbish (as both IBM & Microsoft (who both utilise each others OS'es) know very well). Are there any other ridiculous comparisons you'd like to make?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The hypocrisy of tech companies.

              I'll try again: IBM operate cloud services, they mandate that their employees use the IBM cloud services.

              IBM don't bother to certify the trust/security in other cloud services because they run their own, which they know to be what they want for their external customers and internal customers/employees.

              Why is it hypocritical to make your employees use your own products?

              Why would IBM go to the time and effort to certify a 3rd party competitor as secure and safe for IBM staff data to run on, when they already have their own system to do this?

    2. boatsman

      Re: The hypocrisy of tech companies.

      read it carefully. she's saying IBM can't allow employees to put customer data on a service not controlled by IBM. simple compliance, and a good rule this time.


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox?! Get with the program grandad

    It's Chrome all the way baby!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Translation needed

    "One of my core strategies is to be a premier reference for IBM" What?

    1. GreyWolf

      Re: Translation needed

      Customer to IBM salesman: You want me to buy this? Do YOU use it?

      IBM salesman desperately wants to be able to say, not just YES, but How would you like to see it in action?

      - Chance to show off the products, that they really do what it says on the tin

      - Chance to get customer away from the office, more willing to open up

      I remember one outing to see the new colour screens (circa 1978). We went on a IBM company jet to Brussels. Don't tell me that wasn't exactly what the salesman wanted.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Translation needed

        Things have changed a lot since 1978. You're now not allowed to use planes, or trains for that matter, if there's a remote possibility you could drive. So 15 hours spent on the road, two nights in a hotel + meals is preferable to a flight/train, a full day at the client and another flight/train in the evening with another 2 days free to do useful work. But the expense guy doesn't care about how you waste your time because that's not his remit.

        Smarter Planet? Not really.

        As for dropbox, we're also not allowed to use non-IBM USB sticks to share documents with a customer. And of course, there's no funding to buy the IBM ones. So everyone just breaks the rules, rather than saying to the customer "No you can't have a copy of the presentation because doing so would violate corporate standards".

        There are worse places to work though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Translation needed

          If you ask an IT security guy or a lawyer, "can I do x?" the answer is always no because not doing anything is the lowest risk option (not concerned that it also means nothing gets done, their jobs are about risk mitigation).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Translation needed

          "There are worse places to work though"

          There may be worse places but I think if you put them on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is bad and 10 is good, they'd be around the 1 mark.

  9. GreyWolf

    "Building apps for Big Blue".

    "to help IBMers quickly find experts in a field using simple keyword searches" was what I was doing in 1986-1987. Obviously, the moment the real hotshots leave, the entire company falls into disrepair.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Building apps for Big Blue".

      You're the one responsible for w3 search? You have a lot to answer for

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Building apps for Big Blue".

      The keyword search doesn't work. You're supposed to tag your ID with your expertise so, naturally you add all the products you know something about. So if you're looking for an expert in a particular product, your search will return developers, implementation guys, salesmen, support folk, etc. etc. and you are unlikely to get the person you want. Maybe a few pages down the hits, but it's not exactly sleek.

  10. Robert Grant

    How do I think you're wrong?

    "Win 7 will eat less hardware than the new tile-based OS and there’s also greater compatibility with existing Windows apps."

    Let me count the ways:

    1) Reviews say W8 is more efficient, quicker starter, etc than W7.

    2) Windows 7 more compatible with XP programs than Windows 8? Really doubt that's right, but happy to be proven wrong.

    3) "Apps". This may explain the rest of the sentence. Are you from the BBC?

    4) "Tile-based OS". The tiles are just in a little bit of the UI; this is not a main part of an OS. Perhaps "Windows 7-based OS" would work better.

    Or not. Have a good weekend, all.

    1. xj25vm

      Re: How do I think you're wrong?

      "Reviews say W8 is more efficient, quicker starter, etc than W7."

      You've already gone wrong there. When did people stop trying stuff for themselves - and start believing any biased sales stuff they read?

      1. kain preacher

        Re: How do I think you're wrong?

        I have both and win8 does boot up faster.

      2. Robert Grant

        Re: How do I think you're wrong?

        I didn't say sales stuff, I said reviews. But don't believe what you're reading here; scroll up and see for yourself.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gah anon for obvious reasons.

    GDF is being moved over to OCDC RH6. Security issues -- most of GTS will follow.

    Mind you for me its an improvement. I'm no longer stuck on that AT&T dialer cruft. OpenConnect has connect times into weeks at this stage of the game, and survives switching between wired and wireless on my in home network (since the lappy's mac address is bound to a single IP on either)

    I'm bound to a single client in GDF. I use both Notes and Outlook. Once I'd beaten management into getting me more than the basic mail space on Notes and I managed to get the document handler working well I'm quite happy with notes. Since I tend to be on beta tests for things coming out on the linux platform I suspect I've contributed to some minor improvements along the way, if only because I yell when things are broken.

    Thanking ${deity} I no longer have to consider IE. For anything on my work laptop.

    Internally, the KVM implementation on my t420 rocks. When and where I have to (*cough* visio,outlook *cough*) I have a win 7vm and a series of RH vms that I can test scripts and things on . Love the laptop.

    Nope, I almost never make it to the office.

    And GreyWolf, if you are in any way associated with w3 search, I will relegate you to a win95 desktop with ie.4, and a 2400baud modem.

    Firefox on linux - at least I don't have to deal with .net crap getting into my browser. Since .net doesn't work too well on firefox on linux.

    I can't say I disagree with the idea that one should not sell something to one's customer if one would not use it oneself.

    ${thirdparty}_cloud_storage is just plain stupid in cases like (${IT_COMPANY} and big customer) - I mean really - there is NO guarantee that either ${IT_COMPANY} or ${customer) can hold in their hand that there are *any* relevant security rules applied to that storage, no matter what the cloud providers say.

    I don't have issues with moving data around with the customer since we have servers that were built to bridge the connections between IBM and ${customer} (note caveat above, I am bound to a specific customer)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never heard such bullshit

    IBM back office processes are crap, support is laughable and everything is shoehorned into lotus notes or lotus connections. Slow, poor user interface, American centric.

  13. strangelybrown

    Even by IBM standards...

    ...that's some total BS.

    Ex-IBMer, have the 1000 yard stare to prove it: Lotus Notes at IBM is singularly the worst bit of software I've ever used, anywhere, period. Took over a month to get a new laptop. I don't think I ever found anything I was looking for on W3. On and on and on.

    The fundamental issue with IBM is not that it doesn't have the knowledge and capability to have the world's greatest IT infrastructure - it does - but that there are so many career-obsessed middle managers all falling over themselves to knife each other in the back that by the time stuff is rolled out the workforce it has been obfuscated beyond the point of usability in the interests of someone's 'internal brand'

    If you really want to understand IBM these days; When the last edict about cost cutting came out, ITS management instructed that we sales specialists should be charging customers our travel costs when we went to see them on a sales call. "Yes, this XYZ will transform your business Mr Customer... now give me £30 for the train fare home".

    It never ceased to amaze me how many apparently intelligent people would buy a sub-par service at three to nine times market rate just because it was IBM.

  14. Dylan Fahey

    I had to re-read the front page of this story

    I had to re-read the front page of this story, and check the date. I though maybe something from 2001 cropped up into the mix. This is a leading tech company and they are just now moving from XP to Win7?


    1. xj25vm

      Re: I had to re-read the front page of this story

      "This is a leading tech company and they are just now moving from XP to Win7?"

      Because that's how real world businesses work - always buying the flashy new things because they are bored with the old stuff that's still working. No need to worry about return on investment, no need to be concerned with staff retraining costs, new hardware costs, platform testing and integration costs, internal software re-development costs. None of that. Just go quickly to PC World and buy the new shiny toy - even if the older, duller toy still does the job.

  15. Diogenes

    So nothing has chnaged

    since I was put out to pasture by GSA in 2003.

    We had a 600page design doc which took forever to load because we were only allowed 4mb of RAM in our IBM PCs - Work day went like ... log in ... get cuppa while machine is loading profile ... find document & open ... morning meeting while waiting for doc to open ... ctrl+end to get it all onto disk cache ... get another cuppa while it is doing that ... start doing whatever. all charged out out at $150 per hour

    The RAM was twice as expensive as normal RAM as it +ve polarity instead of of -ve - but if we bought it internally it cost $500 a stick, but $85 at nearest computer shop and a manger was sacked for buying from externally even though his project was the only one running ontime/budget in the state

    Ah the good old days

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