back to article HPE UK preps the redundancy ride as Chrimbo looms

Cost-cutting at Hewlett Packard Enterprise's CSC-bound services business looks set to continue right up to the point it is sold in the spring, leaked documents have indicated. In a note to his staff this week, Maurice Mattholie, HPE UK and Ireland veep for IT Outsourcing – which part of the outgoing Enterprise Services (ES) …

  1. JS-W
    Pint

    News?

    This won't be unexpected news to my ex-HPE colleagues - it's just the same quarterly email regurgitated. Just how long does it take to "transition" to the new style of IT and by the time they do will it still be the new style?

    35 people seems a low number, but I'm guessing that is because there are only 36 people left.

    1. EarthDog

      Re: News?

      You don't "get it". It's a whole new paradigm! It's all about an Internet of things, 24/7, BYOD, continuously integrated SaaS Iaas DevOps Agile lean leveraged app driven mobile forward thinking synergies for value added customer delight.

      1. Zed Zee

        Re: News?

        You forgot software defined everything, running in a hyper-converged infrastructure, hosting containers and microservices, running in hybrid clouds that bring accelerated time-to-value! ;-)

        1. theblackhand

          Re: News?

          Re:EarthDog and Zed Zee

          I believe the even more generic way of putting it is:

          We are going to offer all the latest shit fads because no one wants to buy the current shit fads. We have asked our customers what they want but as we don't think we can make our big bonuses doing that we will continue to chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

          To our employees, we value you blah blah blah but for the best interests of the company we have to get rid of you. While you may provide some value to HP/IBM/some other outsourcer, we've talked to the accountants and the fact is providing stuff the customer wants is expensive. It's cheaper for everyone if the work isn't done and the customer just keeps on paying us. I mean why wouldn't they?

          We'll speak again in three months.

          Merry Christmas!

          1. CDD

            Re: News?

            Sorry - HPE, and bonuses?? Nope, just does not compute.

            1. GruntyMcPugh

              Re: News?

              One of the final straws for me at IBM, was when Ginni Rometty anounced that PBC Grade 2s (I won't bore you with the PBC process, but some explanation is required; it's an annual assessment graded on a curve, so it was decided that 20% of staff would always fall into the 'unsatisfactory' ratings of 3 and 4, and these ratings would then figure in redundancies, so every time there was a redundancy program, the bar moved. Grades 1 and 2 however would get a bonus. ) wouldn't be getting a bonus this year. Oh, and we're allocating a wad of cash for Watson2. Both in the same podcast.

              Meanwhile, and ex-IBM colleague of mine recently took VR from HPE, and has gone to work for the company he was subbed out to directly.

              If there's anyone out there still working for HPE, take the money and run if they offer you VR.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: News?

            You know what? I might even be able to summon up an atom of respect for the head lizard if he had the balls to word it like that. Instead we get the usual asinine, cut and paste bollocks quarter after quarter.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay peanuts, get monkeys....

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      ook !

      I wonder where the skill and experience will come from - which is the bit that most people are more interested in when engaging with HPE ??

      If people want cheap, they can go to the 99p shop, but the IT skills there seem to be a bit lacking !

      1. CDD

        I am a senior Manager in HPE and I know Maurice really well, and my job it to help the transition to offshore roles in India, Malaysia, and most surprisingly, Egypt. People have made comments about peanuts and monkeys, but in fact I have found the quality of our Indian colleagues is actually very high, with all of the PMs and technical people coming with a huge amount of technical training and experience. One thing we do do is fly these guys into the UK for up to two years to really get a feel for the systems and accounts they will be working on, before taking that experience back to their country. This helps the role transition enormously

        So far surprisingly (to me more so than anyone else after a lot of bad experience of this in the past. After all, I used to work with Techmahindra) the offshoring programme is working very well!

        Cue the Reg commentard's howls of disbelief..!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm sure they are very proficient. How about you consider the 'Trump' effect. Start backing the West and our workforce for a change, or face tariffs. Neoliberalism is dying.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "but in fact I have found the quality of our Indian colleagues is actually very high, with all of the PMs and technical people coming with a huge amount of technical training and experience" --- CDD

          That suggests to me that either your assessment of them is faulty or the roles you find for them are very limited in scope, like project management by box-ticking.

          Most of the offshore resource I have encountered is extremely poor. The few that are brilliant do not stay your offshore resource for very long. It is a simple fact that India, with what, 20% of the world's population, has exactly ZERO universities in the world top 200.

          I would never claim to be a programmer. But after a week of looking at the output of some of our offshore programmers I just want to pull what's left of my hair out. Its absolutely hideous, total rubbish. Conference calls with people whose English is extremely poor are extremely frustrating, and any complaints are brushed off by our PHBs with "well, I bet it's better than your Tamil/Bengali/Vietnamese" Of course it is. But it's worse than my French, German and Portuguese, and I would never dream of putting those on my CV.

          However, the people whose work is really, really overrated are not the offshore resource but the PHBs who encourage, adopt and "oversee" it before declaring it, as CDD does above, a great success in the absence of any meaningful metrics. Their corporate loyalty is also piss poor --- they don't give a shit that their company is going to go down the pan long term as long as they get their little short term bonus and fuck off to the next victim.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I am a senior Manager in HPE and I know Maurice really well, and my job it to help the transition to offshore roles in India, Malaysia, and most surprisingly, Egypt."

          "So far surprisingly [...] the offshoring programme is working very well!"

          From one HPE employee to another, in kindest regards, fuck you and fuck Maurice.

          You might be able to make a very nice-looking offshore organisation chart, and it might even have all the right skill sets written on it, but our customers quite rightly hate offshoring efforts and global presence does not work at all for anything attached to UK Public Sector.

          Senior "management" within HPE are blithely oblivious to the fact that we actually aren't a high-cost country because of our location on this little blue marble. We're high-cost because managers don't talk to each other, customers are consistently mis-sold things by the bid teams, lied to by the account teams, and if anyone is good at something, they get made redundant! That leaves either unqualified graduates, inexperienced new-starts or miserable long-timers who are clinging onto their jobs by their fingernails.

          So when Maurice comes out with words like "efficient and accountable" and "sustainable business" when trying to justify yet another round of WFM, the irony (and total lack of strategic awareness) is completely and utterly laughable.

          At least he's leaving at the end of February. That's one bit of good news.

          1. GruntyMcPugh

            Sorry, you said you worked for HPE, but you just described my former life at IBM.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I am a senior Manager in HPE

          As an employee of one of your customers, felicitous greeting, HPE PHB!

          I have found the quality of our Indian colleagues is actually very high

          How nice. Inside, I weep with anguish every time I have to have any dealing with your colleagues or your miserable organisation. In my private business I avoid giving my custom to tax dodging offshorers, at work I don't get the choice. Sadly.

          fly these guys into the UK for up to two years to really get a feel for the systems and accounts they will be working on, before taking that experience back to their country

          And then you'll be giving the "onshore" staff their P45s as a Secret Santa? But tell me, if you've offshored these roles to a range of cheap and unhygenic locations, why have our costs gone UP and performance DOWN? Your snake oil salesmen crooned to my directors that HP would be able to do thing better and more cheaply, and surely they weren't lying bastards?

          This helps the role transition enormously

          Bwahahahaahahahaha! You believe that utter SH1T? Anybody with any contact with the offshore ITO/BPO sector knows that you have appalling staff turnover. You're not "transferring skills", you're just exporting jobs to line your own corporate pockets.

          Cue the Reg commentard's howls of disbelief..!!

          You could say that, certainly.

        6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          "So far surprisingly (to me more so than anyone else after a lot of bad experience of this in the past. After all, I used to work with Techmahindra) the offshoring programme is working very well!" - Only in the least important but easily measurable metrics, in others not all and only in booze-infused dreams.

          There are good reasons to keep the "relics" like they know were skeletons are and doors not to open. Knowledge that does not transfer well because it is likely to be in someone's memory and not written down. Also, overlooked, locals (including in the same office) are more responsive because their normal hours are geared to the local working day/week. Plus, they are likely to be fluent in the local language.

          What companies need to realize they need the expensive lifers who know the backstory and they need locals to support local operations. Discover Card over here has been advertising for years that their customer assistance operators are US based. They had a hilarious ad campaign with Peggy the hapless East European operator who barely spoke English. Peggy, who was played a Rumanian born actor using his native accent, was totally clueless and had no real ability to do anything. The real point of the ads is the you are dealing with a local who can help and can understand what you say.

          One of Blowhard's campaign themes was to stop abusing US workers to save trivial amounts on the balance sheet.

        7. EarthDog

          So two years of high intensity training was required is what you are saying. Two years to learn code and processes already in place. Brillliant.

        8. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Skills transfer

          "One thing we do do is fly these guys into the UK for up to two years to really get a feel for the systems and accounts they will be working on, before taking that experience back to their country."

          How do companies get away with this? It's wrong in so many ways.

        9. EarthDog

          Oh while you're at it please explain to me the horrific churn rate in the HPE sales teams. Hint, you cannot have a healthy company without a healthy sales team. Last I heard the turnover was in the 50% + neighborhood. Sounds like a lack of leadership to me.

        10. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          hp agilaire

          Whatever happened to HP Agilaire? I remember HP outsourcing that software to a couple hundred Indian colleagues (who came to the US for an extended period of time for training). IIRC, they were hired for the American Airlines contract. But then, AA dropped HP. And now I can find very few references to Agilaire on HPE's website. Outsourcing that contract sounded like a great strategy.

        11. Zebad
          Coat

          Errr

          You obviously haven't been 'at the coal face' trying to work on an HPE project recently. I have - the offshore PM tries his best, but English is not his first language which makes communication very very difficult.

          Also, the 'new style of project management' seems to be to tick documentation boxes and meet arbitrary deadlines at all costs, no matter what garbage that results in.

          "Look at how many boxes we've ticked Mr Customer - now you must pay us". Forget actually *thinking* about what is being done, planning outside the fixed-process-cos-that's-what-we've-always-done, and the best interests of the clients.

        12. aazmi615@gmail.com

          @CDD I am one of those Egyptians you refer to in your post. Let me set the record straight for all.

          - nobody gets flown to the U.K. for up to 2 years. Wave one got to train with U.K. staff for 2 weeks then we were expected to train others when we got back.

          - The training was useless. The U.K. staff knew they were training their replacements. I don't blame them because I would have done the same thing. They resented us and the day they joined that shit hole.

          - No we are not as good as the U.K. or U.S staff. Not even close. These guys had years of technical and business experience under their belt. Most of them were truly subject matter experts. Most of us were younger and much less experienced. Many never used the product as a business user and most did not know the functional applications of the technology.

          Not only that but most of us had severe communication problems and I don't just mean language but communication problems related to the culture gap between us and the U.K. or U.S. business or IT staff.

          This model is a failure. Cheap labor is bad for everyone and customers hate it because they know they are paying premium prices for poor quality of service. The truth behind cost cutting is this: CEO's who need to keep their jobs for one more year resort to cutting costs instead of creating revenue growth (that actually requires vision and imagination). This way the financials look good and they get to make that $200 million in stock options and bonuses.

          That is the truth.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will it ever stop?

    Whilst 35 is a LOT fewer than the hundreds that have been made redundant in each of the last few quarters it is concerning that it is still happening.

    "In HPE’s most recent quarter, Q4 ended October, ES sales declined but operating profit grew to the highest level since 2009." Indeed, but at what cost, HPE?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will it ever stop?

      35 is the ITO number for Q1 alone. ITO insiders, having been well practised over the last 30 or so quarters, clearly got the mail over quickly.

      ELReg obviously doesn't have the same service from Apps colleagues who get culled less frequently but are looking at a further 129 lost jobs in the same period.

  4. EarthDog

    More on the way

    About a 20 pct reduction expected for the HPE Software spin merger as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More on the way

      Most of that though will be beancounters and admin staff ... so they don't count.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More on the way

        Most of that though will be beancounters and admin staff ... so they don't count.

        My company did a captive nearshore with these jobs to Eastern Europe, moving work from efficient functions in Sweden and the UK, and a little bit of the work inefficient functions in Germany (you can guess where our HQ is).

        Everybody was really surprised at how much the local beancounters and admin people did to keep the business wheels moving; Sadly they only came to this realisation after making them all redundant, and giving the work to a bunch of disinterested Romanian bureaucrats who would always put contractual hours and the official process ahead of actually supporting the business.

        To be fair in this thread, HPE's only involvement is in the IT infrastructure, not the business processes. But that's shit as well.

  5. Tony S

    Once upon a time, HP produced new products that were worth buying. By the sound of it, they won't have anyone left to do that; just low paid staff that might answer the phone to provide an indifferent level of support.

    It's a shame; it was once a real powerhouse. These days, barely a shadow of that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Once upon a time, HP produced new products that were worth buying."

      Yes, but this is the "enterprise services" bit. They don't make anything. The business model is sign up gullible lard arse corporations with (fanciful) promises of huge savings and better service. Then deliver a poor and more costly service through HPE's demoralised on shore staff, or its useless offshore staff. At my site (we're a customer of HPE), HPE have TUPE'd all the on site techs to Manpower! So T&Cs will be watered down as soon as legally possible.

      Within the customer corporations, it is only the peasants who have to endure the poor service, as PHBs never do anything with a computer themselves. And the higher cost is accepted because there's no option - when the customer outsourced, it took a decision that it didn't care about quality or cost.

      HPE, how I hate thee.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work in the Newcastle office and have frequently visited the Erskine site.

    Both places are a complete mess. If you are offered a permanent position RUN AWAY AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! The contractor rates are so low now those roles can only surely be taken by desperate amateurs.

    They are hiring people into permanent positions knowing that those same people will have no redundancy rights for two years. Those same people are often of low calibre and do not seem to understand that HPE are being taken over by CSC, with many jobs to disappear.

    Service to the multinationals, and the government businesses, is at an all time low. Mysteriously the customers do not seem to have noticed yet.

    Jump ship and save yourself. Given the disorganization you must always know that you are worth far more than what they have to offer. If you are a deadbeat then please stay.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      When I was there they weren't even recruiting other than graduates, knowing full well it was 2 years and out for them. The contractors were constantly being shunted between agencies so that the rates could be lowered too.

      The sheer irony of a "Global IT Outsourcing provider" (copied and pasted from a job board) outsourcing it's own IT department is utterly hilarious.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a recent HPe (US) castoff...

    I'm not surprised. The rank and file are in "survival mode" looking for a chair before the music stops. "Customers" are those annoying things that interrupt you while you're surfing dice and linkedin. If you're over the age of 50, you have a target on your back and on your forehead.

    Carly's game plan was to layoff and acquire, acquire acquire.

    Hurd's game plan was to layoff, and then shag anything in sight.

    Leo's plan was to layoff and then.. acquire... no wait.. divest.. no wait, acquire...

    Meg's plan is to layoff, split, layoff, and then divest, divest, divest

    It's only a matter of time until Meg gets thrown out on her ear as well.

    Harambe could have done a better job than any of the lot, and cheaper.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As a recent HPe (US) castoff...

      Wait, Meg has a plan...really? I like to think that she has a plan pinned to the wall of her cubicle, drafted in 2011 when she became CEO, that includes the redundancies, the splits and the divestitures but somehow I doubt it.

      Back in 2011 she promised to return HP (all of it) to growth in FY16. When it became obvious this wasn't going to happen and the so-called turnaround wasn't working she came up with the idea of her garage sale of the apparently underperforming divisions. She's making it up as she goes along, without consideration of the human cost.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Meg's Plan

        (not from personal knowledge, but I'll bet I'm close)

        1. collect annual bonus as long as possible

        2. collect golden parachute on way out the door

        3. Trump advisor?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meg's Plan

          She's already a billionaire so doesn't need the money, not that that will stop her collecting as much as possible.

          Trump advisor is at first glance unlikely; although she's a Republican she very publicly said she would be voting for Clinton. However, sometimes the prospect of influencing the powerful can be enticing...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Trump Advisor?

          She nailed her colurs to Clinton but, hey, why not?

          She's spent so long shunting jobs abroad and making a fat fortune out of it so she'd be the ideal person to shunt it back, at lower pay bands than originally of course, and double that fortune for her trouble.

          Rinse and repeat.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As a recent HPe (US) castoff...

      "Harambe could have done a better job than any of the lot, and cheaper."

      Mugabe could have done a better job. And if paid in Zimbabwean dollars it would have been cheaper.

      Out of interest why do US shareholders put up with such shallow, inept snout-in-the-trough executives? Here in the UK we've got some stellar under-performers at board level, but none that can hold a candle to the worst that the US has to offer.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CSC as well !

    We at CSC UK are loosing yet more people to low cost centers as well !

    People on their way out the door this side of Xmas.

    Meanwhile for those that remain morale is at rock bottom, contracted accounts are suffering and as usual, "management" think its all rosy ! Probably thinking about their bonus for a job well done.

    At least VR was made available to those that wanted to try for it.

    The work we get done now from the low cost centers is of such bad quality and has to be reworked, I cant imagine its any cheaper this way.

    I suppose that's the price you pay when you start down that road of lowest cost.

    As somebody above said, "Pay peanuts, get monkeys"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CSC as well !

      At least VR was made available to those that wanted to try for it.

      What? You put on some goggles, and were transported to a virtual 3D world of happy, productive employees, doing fulfilling, achievable roles, recognised and rewarded for achievement, offered development and progression? A world of shiney, comfortable offices, IT kit and networks that just worked, bosses who weren't arselicking idiots.

      And then you take the goggles off to give another colleague a go, right?

  9. tekHedd

    60%

    If they're saying 60%, they mean 90%

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offshoring is shit

    Having worked in IT for 20 years, I've seen a raft of offshore providers first hand. I've both inherited teams of them, & decided on which ones to have to use, as well as the worst of both worlds which is hiring offshore for them to directly to work for you.

    In all cases it has been:

    - More expensive overall

    - Lower quality of skills and output

    - Loss of knowledge that is key to the business

    - High attrition replaced with the inexperienced and untrained

    - Lack of care or understanding of what is being done

    - No leverage to fix any of it

    The moment you see it happening, it's driven by the worst kind of upper level management - spreadsheet monkeys cashing out their latest workplace for as much money they can stuff into their greedy pockets with their grubby hands.

    It's no surprise the smart people no longer want to work in IT with clowns like this in charge.

    1. CDD

      Re: Offshoring is shit

      - More expensive overall

      - Lower quality of skills and output

      - Loss of knowledge that is key to the business

      - High attrition replaced with the inexperienced and untrained

      - Lack of care or understanding of what is being done

      - No leverage to fix any of it

      Sounds to me like you aren't doing it right!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Offshoring is shit

        "Sounds to me like you aren't doing it right!" --- CDD

        I think he's saying that his management isn't doing it right. I have to say your response is not all that compelling as an argument, however pleased you are with it as a soundbyte.

        As a senior professional who has a bit of a reputation for (assisting with) fixing the unfixable, I have seen an awful lot of rubbish from offshore. Sure you can train your offshore resource, Q/C everything they do, mitigate against their staff churn and try to overcome linguistic, cultural and timezone barriers. But once you've done all those right, it's barely any cheaper than doing it onshore. And you stil have the problem that you face loss of knowledge key to the business, with your logo becoming little more than a brand you put on other people's work. Sooner or later, they'll put their own brand on it and your business is toast (see the Dell / Asus story)

        There is an argument that offshoring works better for overcoming resource constraints rather than making cost savings. Although I am skeptical, I'm not experienced enough in the right areas of business to be able to form a judgement on this. But I'm confident that any cost savings obtained by offshoring come at the expense of quality and that very often, in the long term, they are illusory.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Offshoring is shit

          You are aware that HP is a US company?

          You are the current cheap offshore workers.

          You are being replaced by cheaper offshore workers.

          If you object to offshoring then tell HP/Microsoft/Google/Amazon/Apple/IBM to send all their jobs back "home" to America. And then tell Fujitsu and ARM to get back to Japan

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Offshoring is shit

        If all these US/UK outsourcers didn't pay those obscene bonuses/golden hello/goodbye payments and ridiculous salaries to the their respective management teams they might stand a chance. When you've got C level people raping the companies for $millions each year they dont stand a chance against the lower cost options !

        Meanwhile the worker bees who keep the companies going are shat on from on high, no pay reviews for the forseeable future, if they are even lucky enough to keep their jobs.

        Other benefits slowly being eroded year on year.

        Training, what training...."Sorry no, too expensive".

        Then the indignity of having to train some half illiterate foreigner you know will eventually take your job.

        Glad I'm out of it !

  11. CDD
    FAIL

    Missing the Point

    Everyone is saying how bad the situation is in HPE, but the one underlying point everyone is forgetting is that HPE is just too expensive in its current form. It is fine to constantly rebid for work, but as customers increasingly go for the lowest bid in competitive tenders (regardless of demonstrable capability to actually do the job) HPE finds itself priced out of the market. Therefore HPE has to cut costs drastically to be competitive, and sadly, offshoring is a really good way to do this.

    Despite what earlier commentators have said, there are no bonuses, pay rises or promotions (that have a pay rise attached at least) in HPE, but everyone is working to try and solve this problem of excessive cost.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing the Point

      "Therefore HPE has to cut costs drastically to be competitive" --- CDD

      To compete on cost, yes. But like some other big companies (CSC?) it will *never* be able to compete on cost. So: either refocus to compete on quality, or do the honest thing, wind the company up and hand the money back to the shareholders.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Missing the Point

        Agreed, and I can't see the merger with CSC making any difference. Customers want quality but only if it's associated with the cheapest bid, which of course doesn't work.

        Perhaps the ultimate fate is for the merged ES/CSC to be purchased by one of the Indian outsourcers?

    2. EarthDog

      Re: Missing the Point

      What about the sales team, e.e. the enormous churn. If HPE had a sales team the company might make money. But no, we don't know how to sell. We don't know how to retain a sales force and keep our channel partners happy. All we know how to do is fore people to keep the books looking good while we collect bonuses.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Mpeler
    Mushroom

    The 60% solution

    Sounds like a real Matt Hole to me...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comments from a recent escapee

    I got out of HPE earlier this year, interestingly though my replacements were sourced from elsewhere in the UK and were actually experienced people. Alas one of the newbies decided the job wasn't right and quit after a few weeks but they did do me the service of telling me their salary which, it turns out, was higher than mine or any of the other experienced techs in my rapidly dwindling office headcount. Doesn't make much sense to me but then that sums up HPE all over really!

  15. Hamsta-wheeel

    And what about Software?

    Same reduction is happening in Software pre MicroFocus spin/merge. Place is in chaos with all support services from HPE being withdrawn and talent being made redundant by management that doesn't understand the business, leaving the cheaper, lower level employees struggling to cope.

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