Autonomy Reviews

Updated July 17, 2015
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Autonomy CEO Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman
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Pros
  • Free lunch on Fridays is also ok (in 11 reviews)

  • Work/life balance was exceptional (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Upper management has a HUGE disconnect between their employees (in 19 reviews)

  • Hiring staff was difficult as senior management would only approve a new hire if they came from a university that was acceptable to them (in 18 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

161 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (12)

    A horrible place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Vista, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Vista, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It's really hard to think of any - but to fair, if you're in the right place at the right time, you may get an interesting project to work on. Oh, and six weeks of vacation, but I'm pretty sure that's just because it was grandfathered in from the previous company that Autonomy acquired.

    Cons

    It would be really hard to list them all here. Senior management is somewhere between incompetent and evil. They come from the Karl Rove/George Bush school of PR - i.e. the belief that if you tell a lie enough times it will become true. One example: The day after there were company wide layoffs in the QA department (on the order of 50 people overall), the company newsletter was sent out containing the quote "You should be proud to work at a company that has never had economic layoffs". Perhaps including the qualifier 'economic' makes it technically true, but only in the most weasel-like of ways. The dismissals were definitely *not* due to performance or other issues. Senior management is also terrible when it comes to basic communication. If there is long-term vision or strategy for the company, they do a great job of keeping it a secret. As far as opportunities for advancement goes, there doesn't seem to be any. Nobody in this office has gotten a raise or bonus in the past two years. There are people working for me that are producing above their pay grade and have completed projects that have led directly to large sales, but all requests for raises or bonuses have been met with a deafening silence. I could handle it if we were given a reason why the requests were denied, or maybe some constructive feedback about what senior management would like to see before granting the requests. But there is none. Probably the most galling thing of all, and the thing that makes me most glad to be leaving, is the complete lack of commitment to producing quality software. We are being ordered, from the CEO level, to ship software that does not, for any sane definition of the word, work. It may install and launch (on a good) day, but there is no chance that it meet the customer's needs. None. The problems have been clearly communicated to the level of the CEO, but they don't care. It makes me especially angry that the current lapses in quality can be traced directly to decisions forced upon us by senior management: * Reducing the need for dedicated QA staffing by increasing the amount of automated testing that is done on a product is a good idea. But the rational way to achieve this is to first build up your suite of automated tests and train your engineers on how to produce testable code. Starting by simply firing your QA department and then ignoring the ensuing quality issues is just insane. * Replacing royalty bearing libraries with internally developed code can be a smart move. But the rational way to do this is to first work on your internal library until it's quality is on par with the third party library. Providing a library that runs four times slower with accuracy levels that might have been acceptable 12 years ago and forcing us to ship with it is insane. * Replacing royalty bearing libraries with appropriate open-source alternatives can be a smart move. But canceling all of your contracts before you've determined that the open-source alternatives can do what you need, is just insane. I could go on. But I will stop here. I feel sorry for companies who purchase Autonomy software expecting to receive value for the money they spend. And I am sickened by what is being done to what was once a proud company, and to the customers we've sweat blood for over the past 10+ years.

    Advice to Management

    Tone down the arrogance a bit. Communicate more. Provide actual guidance with goals, expectations, etc. The company has had three straight quarters of record growth and profit. It is really hard to get excited about the good results when the only rewards are seeing your coworkers laid-off and yet another quarter with no raises or bonuses. Share at least a little bit of the wealth! Allow local offices a bit more autonomy in how they run their business. What works well in Cambridge, England might not play as well in California. Set measurable goals and then reward (or not) based on whether the group meets those goals. Having butts in seats from 8am-5pm is a poor measure of how productive an office is.


  2. Helpful (14)

    The British are coming! Run away as fast as you can!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Pleasanton, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I came to Autonomy from an acquisition and I don't have anything good to say about Autonomy. I have a lot of great things to say about the company that they acquired and destroyed, a company that had solid management and friendly co-workers and good communication and no insane paranoid policies. They provide free lunch on Friday, whoopee.

    Cons

    Management in England is arrogant and short-sighted. They acquired us with no plan for integrating the business units, and most of us left already in less than a year. Autonomy does not understand our business or our customers, and they do not value the people. They have no long term plan for the business and just move from one fire drill to the next, yelling at anyone in firing range. They are paranoid and impose policies that make it clear they do not trust any of their employees. Autonomy has no annual review process for employees and no annual raise. I talked to some longtime employees who had never received a review or a raise in years. HR is nonexistent, just a revolving door of clueless young cannon fodder with no experience with benefits or employee issues. In 15 months at Autonomy, not a single email was sent to employees from any of the Brits regarding the corporate strategy or plans. There is almost no actual software development happening at Autonomy. It is all bug fixes after customers complain that the software does not work. Press releases are issued before anything is implemented, just hoping someone will buy the vaporware.

    Advice to Management

    You cannot continue to acquire and destroy other companies, losing all corporate knowledge in the process. You should communicate with all employees and not treat us like cattle who can be led to the slaughterhouse and replaced with a new herd next week.


  3. Helpful (15)

    Not a good place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The offices at Autonomy are nice. All of the offices across the company are very nice. Most of the people that you interacted with on a day-to-day basis were very talented, dedicated, intelligent and worked very hard.

    Cons

    The company operates under a fear-and-intimidation style of upper management. They want to make it certain, from the first day on the job, that you know you are dissposable. The most disfunctional company culture I've ever seen.

    Advice to Management

    I honeslty don't think Upper Management would ever take advice from its employees. But, fear-and-intimidation management styles only get short-term results. I would put more effort into enabling talented employees to do their job and less effort into thinking up ways to squeeze more productivity out of them through threatining their job.


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  5. Not a nice place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Executive in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Sales Executive in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Good pay/commission plan - Autonomy in Work style - Very liberal expense policy

    Cons

    - Micromanaged Sales Operation - No trust in employees - Product does not work as advertised - Difficult to get Sales engineering support - Abusive managment style - No internal communications - Very top down approach - Aggressive Sales tactics/pressured sales

    Advice to Management

    - Take it easy, you are leader in the space - make it a fun place to work - There are other smart people in the world - Treat people right and they will give you more back..


  6. Helpful (19)

    Autonomy is in the death spiral and will soon cease to exist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Technology seems impressive. Some very smart people. I really liked my company before it was acquired by Autonomy, but then it all fell apart very fast.

    Cons

    I have worked for 11 different tech companies going back to the early 1990s in Silicon Valley. Based on my experience, I see that Autonomy is in the classic death spiral. The rats are abandoning the sinking ship, and the Autonomy management is too arrogant to see the obvious signs of the ship sinking. They are not hiring to replace departed staff. They are abusing the remaining staff to the point of driving them off the ship. There are no annual performance reviews and no annual raises, not even for cost of living. There is no human resources department. There is no IT department, for gods sake! There is only arrogance and ignorance. I saw it with 3 other failed companies I worked for, but Autonomy is by far the worst of all of them. As you can see from other reviews here, nobody but the marketing staff have anything good to say about the company, yet they have not changed anything in the way they run the company. What may have worked well in a Cambridge startup is totally ineffective in a 1000 person company. I only hope that enough of the remaining employees can cash in their stock options before the ship sinks. Enron ain't just a river in Texas, people! Get out while you can!

    Advice to Management

    I have no advice for you, because you have proven time and time again that you are too arrogant to listen to reasonable voices. I will laugh out loud on the day that your hubris is exposed to all, you arrogant jerks.


  7. Helpful (11)

    I never heard a good word about this company from my co workers...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    great products and technology. Pay is ok.

    Cons

    Everything is revenue driven. The company doesn't really care about its employees or try to cultivate a better working environment. No matter how hard you work, how productive you are, if you are not one of those "talkers", you will never be seen or be heard. They don't even have a performance review system, can you believe that? They spend so much time and effort having meetings to make sure their slaves are doing their job. Why not give them a fair performance review each year? And if your managers are not one of those CEOs or VPs, who care if you are doing a good job? Middle management basically has no power and no voice whatsoever. This is a place with poorest communication and lowest motivation.

    Advice to Management

    Maybe they should consider hiring a management consultant company to get a better advice on how to make this company a better work place.


  8. Helpful (14)

    Fear and Loathing

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales - Account Executive in Raleigh, NC
    Current Employee - Sales - Account Executive in Raleigh, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Autonomy has one of the best software vertical offerings on the market - focused on content management, workflow and various indexing functions. The fast pace and constantly changing job make presenting this solution set interesting and the travel is usually to nice places via reasonable means. I've never had any trouble getting access to training or training materials - in fact I've got training lined up next month for our newest product.

    Cons

    1) Failure To Pay* I have been a high earner for the last 2 years; I have been really disappointed in the bonus structure. What we were told is that high producers will be compensated with incredible generosity. What has actually happened is that our commissions were taken away and replaced with bonuses that don't get paid. 2009 Q3 bonuses were 45 days late, and 2009 Q4 bonuses haven’t been paid yet and we were told not to expect them with next weeks paycheck either - pushing the lateness of this out past the 75 day mark. Our P/L statement was released weeks ago - still no money for those of us working the sales process. None of us can afford to leave/take new jobs until we get our bonuses so morale is really low right now. The other issue with the bonuses is that they are not transparent. It is not possible to estimate what the bonuses will look like - in fact HR says it can’t be calculated by employees. Our bonuses are calculated based on a secret formula of hours worked, profitability of deals, extra tasks completed and supervisor discretion. It’s really uncomfortable when there is no visibility into the compensation process. 2) Bad Messaging#1 *Autonomy’s messaging regarding its product set is fuzzy, and seems to be led by the marketing group, not by the markets. The partial move to the cloud-computing model is confusing to our customers and has questionable value to the majority of the customers I've spoken to. They have interpreted it as a ploy to charge monthly for something that used to be a straight purchase. Our content group sells CMS with the message “you should never host content outside the firewall." and our archiving group sells the new archiving products with the message "why would you ever want to host content onsite?". Confusing. Sometimes customers hear both messages in the same meeting. :( 3) Bad Messaging #2 * Our customers are told that growth is organic. This is simply and obviously not true. Growth is maintained through acquisition and marketing the expanded product library to the acquired customer book. The acquired software packages are Autonomized by rebranding and sometimes putting IDOL into the product. 4) Bad Sales Practice * Sales Executives are not given exclusive access to customers - and are not able to register opportunities. The issue with this is that very often we find 3 or 4 Autonomy reps in a customer at the same time talking to different groups - when the customer discovers this it never makes us look good. We either look like we’re trying to "end run" the purchasing process, or don't have sound communication in our organization.

    Advice to Management

    Switch the SEs back to commission until the bonus plan gets figured out and is transparent. Promising bonuses or even hyping them up and then not paying is in violation of labor practices everywhere. Allow the sales staff to register opportunities and own them without fear of competition from inside the company. Completely rebuild the marketing organization. Offer scheduled certificate path training in every product at least once a year. There is no training available for employees or customers for 2/3 of Autonomy products at this time. (MediaBin products, Virage products, E-Talk products, Cardiff products, Introspect, Digital Safe etc...) Offer online training in every product to employees 24/7. Make a decision about Digital Safe and either put it in the marketplace with reviews, support, documentation and training or stay quiet about it until its ready. Our existing archiving customers are upset because they think that they will loose access to the EAS product set. The sales organization doesn’t have clear messaging to deliver to them, there is unsubstantiated information on the web, no training and no demo environment to show it. Create an incentive program for lead generation (by non - sales staff ) within the company such as a specific, targeted commission for a productive lead that is paid in a timely fashion - like at the end of the month that the software revenue is registered. The SEs are passing leads on to Clearwell because there is no incentive to give them to Autonomy - especially since the company has stopped paying bonuses.


  9. Helpful (13)

    Toxic culture and bad ethics

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Executive in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Account Executive in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Like a lot of people have mentioned here, I think the technology is great. The imaging and media offerings are really groundbreaking.

    Cons

    Also like alot of people have mentioned on this site, the management team is unapologetically abusive and unethical. For my large TF deals to be categorized as "not worth the time to talk about" is offensive. For me to get shut out of those deals so they can be wrapped up in an big CMS deal is unethical. I know several other AEs who have cultivated large deals that have had them ripped away at the signing phase as a gife to one of the "inner circle".

    Advice to Management

    Sell to a major and perhaps the toxic management culture of this company can be turned around. The company is doing well right now. Imagine how unstoppable we would be if people really loved the comany and worked out of personal drive rather than fear and intimidation. For that to happen an entirely new management culture has to come around.


  10. Helpful (17)

    The Worst Working Environment in Enterprise Software

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Sales in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Autonomy's stock price is doing very well. They have good benefits and pay well, especially for Sales people on commission.

    Cons

    I came to Autonomy via an acquisition, like many on Glassdoor. Autonomy's paranoia and arcane business policies were apparent from day one. For experienced software veterans Autonomy's policies are unworkable. Sales is cutthroat, reps are told to sell anything the customer will buy. Marketing is told to invent new products via press releases. Engineering is told to stop all development not related to Autonomy's only product, Idol. It's difficult express just how awful the work environment is at Autonomy without experiencing it directly. The bullying that comes from HQ in the UK is a source of pride from the CEO and there are a team of executives in Cambridge that spend all day bullying sales and marketing with their snarky attitude.

    Advice to Management

    Offering advice is a waste of time since it falls on deaf ears. If you had kept the management from some of your prior acquisitions, things might be much different right now, and you might not be losing all your employees. Not that you care.


  11. Helpful (7)

    Here we go again

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Engineer in Raleigh, NC
    Current Employee - Sales Engineer in Raleigh, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    A pretty good indexer that often works as advertised.

    Cons

    Now Autonomy is targeting OpenText for its next aquisition according to all the office buzz and trade rags. Poor OpenText customers. Interwoven WorkSite customers saw their mean time for engineering support drop from 10 minutes to 83 minutes. I hope OpenText customers are more patient than Interwoven customers.

    Advice to Management

    Please dont ruin OpenText too. Find another company to buy. You can continue to live off the maintenance revenue of that company instead.



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