Some firm named Unisys does something
Has to do with servers and services
Unisys. Unisys. Unisys. No, we can't quite rememb . . . Oh, that's right - the company that sells hardware and services.
Some of you might not be old enough to remember Unisys, but that's okay because there's a new Unisys for you to explore. Where the old Unisys sold hulking servers and offered services, the new Unisys sells hulking servers and offers services but does so flaunting fresh "Real-Time Infrastructure" jargon.
Normally, we'd explain the Real-Time Infrastructure and Unisys' glossy new strategy in rich detail. Sadly, the company did not afford us an opportunity to do so. A couple of weeks ago, a Unisys public relations specialist came to us offering a meeting to fill in the gaps - and there are many - around today's grand unveiling. We agreed to the meeting only to be told a short time later that, in actual fact, the executives' schedules were so full that Unisys would have no time over 14 days to speak with The Register.
Surely, this had nothing to do with the executives realizing we'd refuse the offer to serve as an unadulterated channel, moving marketing spew directly from their mouths to your eyes. "Not at all!" we were told.
Well, we're far too mature and civilized to let a cold shoulder influence our coverage, so here's a recap of the drivel Unisys dangled.
For one, the company now offers something called the Unisys Infrastructure Management Suite. Apparently, this software relies on "leading-edge middleware" from both Unisys and partners. The software handles a wide variety of tasks, including the installation and management of virtual servers, disaster recovery and test and development processes.
We're told the suite also covers "servers as a utility", which Unisys explains as "a custom solution leveraging Unisys outsourcing services expertise, which enables flexible provisioning of servers to support business-critical applications". And you'll find data center migration help which Unisys describes as "another custom solution, which draws on Unisys best practices and services to help clients more efficiently create data centers or transition to new ones."
And these people think they can do without our help?
While all of the major hardware players have similar offerings, Unisys is claiming an edge in that it's "neutral" as to what operating systems, hardware or applications customers want to use in their data centers. Hardly a novel pitch.
In addition, Unisys wants you to see it more as a services than a hardware company these days, even though it still covers both fronts.
And so we find the services company announcing that its ES5000 blade servers should arrive by May. Funny enough, you can stick 16 blades in a 10U chassis, which is what Dell and HP offer.
In addition, Unisys has outfitted the mid-range ES3000 servers with fresh Xeon chips from Intel. In the second quarter of this year, Unisys will add to the party by rolling out new high-end ES7000 systems based on a collaboration with NEC. ®
They Just Don't Get It
I too worked for "Big Red" and was a senior manger in my cluster. I come from an applications background and became very frustrated with Unisys because, to be blunt, they don't get applications. They bang on about apps and services but afer all this time they are still just a hardware company - well maybe a hardware and data centre company, but NOT an applications comany!!!
Everything is geared around selling "tin". It is literally "How can we sell more ES7000s?". At one senior management meeting I sat next to a sales director who asked "do we do applications?"
I attempted to build an low-cost outsource based application development and support practice but was blocked at every turn by the old Unisys high cost project based practice. Biggest problem was our low cost model meant we could charge out at 50% of what Unisys had traditionally charged. So my team would effectively undercut another part of the business. This other part of the business and low utilisation and huge cost overrun issues so their charge out rate kept increasing - unfortunately the market wouldn't meet their demands. I had a way to meet the market on price and kill our competition in the apps space. Sorry, "das is verboten" I was told. So, like many others, I left and setup in competition to the big U. Little by little Unisys (in my part of the world) a slowly being killed out of the apps market by small organisations set up by ex-Unisys staff!!!
Unisys should face facts and market itself for what it is:
2. Data Centres
4. More Hardware
5. Rebranded Networks
6. Even More Hardware
on the other hand...
I work for Unisys and I joined them after working for some of the other Giant System Integrators and in my experience I find working at Unisys the only place so far I can feel remotely proud to have worked for.
Here I've found people who are exceptionally good at what they do, people who pride themselves on the quality of the work they do. The difference here compared to the places I've worked before (IBM, Accenture, and CSC) is that every project I've worked on the philosophy is integrity and professionalism. I have worked in teams that put in huge amounts of unpaid overtime in because of their attention to detail above and beyond the call of duty; contractors even get into the spirit of things.
The company get a lot of repeat business because our customers generally are delighted by the level of service and expertise they get.
The one thing that I think my company does not do well is detailed in the article - we're not as accessible to the media as we should be. I have cited this as a problem for a considerable amount of time, it's not like we're boasting but some of things I've seen us do and achieve really should be making waves in the media. We've done some exceptional work with Microsoft Exchange 2007 which has caused Microsoft to change their internal expectations of the product but do you the general public hear about it? Unfortunately not, at this point but a core of people within the company do understand that we do need to be more accessible despite our schedules and that is something that is coming.
Every company has it's issues, no one of them is perfect nor do they claim to be. In cases like the post above it's like the old adage "bad news travels faster than good news"
Burroughs destroyed another company
I worked in New England before I moved to Minnesota in the late '70's for a job, and a year later, there I was looking at a Univac mainframe, wondering where to put the bloody coal to keep it running (Why did it have all those silly lights?!?).
Years later, after hemorrhaging money, Burroughs management, having destroyed that company, looking for new sources of body parts, bought us, and the fire sale continued. When they ran out of buildings and people to sell off, they sold my division to a company, Loral, that then sold itself to Lockheed, and we all finally lived happily ever after. There is still a Unisys facility next door to my building, and I think that folks who work there sold their spare kidneys and redundant children to help the company's bottom line.