Sungard Availability Services

  www.sungardas.com
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4 people found this helpful  

Great Opportunity Squandered

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Director  in  Wayne, PA
Current Employee - Director in Wayne, PA

Pros

Strong industry growth; great reputation

Cons

Unable grow with market; very inward focused

Advice to ManagementAdvice

figure it out

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

Other reviews for Sungard Availability Services

  1. 6 people found this helpful  

    A Company in Collapse

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer
    Current Employee - Software Engineer

    Pros

    The company is attempting to identify what is wrong. Employee surveys have been conducted and telepresence has been installed at many sites to try and bridge the distance between all the different cities, regions, time zones.

    There are periodic updates/townhall forums conducted by executives to improve communications.

    A psychologist/therapist was brought to my site in an attempt to identify the source of the employee discontent/low morale/overall emotional pain.

    Cons

    Incompetent management. And layers and layers of management. The management self-destructs on so many levels that constructive criticism is actually hard to do. In a nutshell, I'd say it's a reactive management style, no strategic decision-making. Reactive because they only react to "emergencies" or a "fire" to put out at the spur of the moment. Toss in a micro-management style, distrust for the workers in the cubicles, indecision, a blame-things-on-others approach, and just sheer lack of understanding of what they need to deliver. For example, products are started and just go on and on in development without anyone knowing what the true requirements are, and eventually it all doesn't get accepted by the customer (or stakeholders). I mentioned distrust. It has more to do with a negating tendency. For example, I've had several managers in the last three years, and their first reaction to my group's work is not to look at the positives of what we've done but to approach it right away from attempting to identify what could be bad. In all this chaos, if they do have a strategy, it's just to "make work" to keep the routine going and keep their jobs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide serious mandatory management training. Look at successful companies and determine how they keep their employees and not suffer high-turnover, like Sungard. Then again, this would be an exercise in futility because the company will probably be sold off (as others here have noted).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 8 people found this helpful  

    Very happy now as I got an offer from another company...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager  in  Wayne, PA
    Current Employee - Manager in Wayne, PA

    Pros

    What is the SunGard Availability Services story? How would you sum up working here?

    Well, it is not a good place to work, in fact, it is pretty awful. If I had to rate morale of the organization on a scale of 1-10, I'd honestly go negative. There is only one LT executive worth a darn and he's not the CEO. In short, it's a company that is slowly dying.

    There are some very smart people here, and there are some very talented people here, but there are many, many more that are smart but unethical, smart but unaccountable, or dumb and both of those. Work hard and you will be rewarded...with more and more work.

    One positive is anyone can get a job at SunGard, so you can come in, get a boatload of technology experience and contacts and leave for greener pastures. They're the Montreal Expos of IT, which is fitting as the Expos are a different team and in a different city now. If you interview at SunGard and don't get hired, please seek out an interview coach and a professional resume writer, because you are selling yourself horribly.

    It's not really the fault of the people honestly, companies the size of SunGard Availability don't fail overnight and they don't fail because of bad leadership (at least not entirely because of that). They fail in phases and they fail because of a bad business model and it feels like death by a thousand cuts.

    Even if the management team was GE-caliber (which they are not), there is not much they could do in the constraints we are in within the investor model. We are owned by several PE firms and they don't want to invest in the business, they want to sell it off (this is public info).

    What is killing the company are two market forces applying tremendous pressure to the business model; they are irreversible, they are massive, and they are inevitable.

    1. From the top down there is cloud. As more and more IT applications get released to the cloud, DR becomes inherent in what you are buying, and we will never be a cloud player, we are simply not making infrastructure investments at the necessary level.

    2. From the bottom up it is getting easier and easier to do recovery with "push button" simplicity, whether it is advancing BMR features or host/array-based replication or HA, it's just getting simpler for customers to do their own DR and they usually have plenty of excess capacity. And the less painful something is for a customer, the less likely they are to pay someone to make that pain go away. So even for applications that client's don't release to the cloud, it's getting more difficult to sell outsourced DR.

    Those two forces cause tremendous challenges to the business model and make the environment a pressure-cooker where everyone knows the ultimate outcome is failure. Not exactly inspiring you to give it 110% is it? IT companies are growing right now, so if you are working for one that is shrinking, the problem is likely more fundamental than "management stinks".

    Cons

    And that was the pros of the job... :)

    Cons - too many to list. Unethical behavior, terrible morale (think Chechnya in the 90s kind of morale), lack of principles, lack of attention to detail, lack of integrity, no employee development, no roadmap, no plan, no one cares.

    There is absolutely no direction and everything, and I do mean everything, is a fire drill. I was given one task once, it's actually funny when I think about it now. Absolutely urgent, had to be done that night, I got the initial request at 7PM...on a Friday. I'm not making that up, that's the culture.

    And inevitably, when you bring back your results for the latest fire drill, you will get screamed at that this is not what they were looking for or they won't even read it. And it's not that senior management are jerks (though in fairness, some of them truly are) its just that they have no idea how to help change the trajectory, so everyone just ends of substituting "looking busy" or "beating up on your direct reports" for any kind of productive work. Title elevation, decent raises, career plans? Forget it. When I heard about their new career path initiative, I just laughed.

    But as the title of my post suggests, I'm in a good place now, because I found an escape path from this pit, it didn't swallow me whole.

    If you want to come to SunGard AS, do it one of two ways...

    1. Either have no other options.
    2. Or have no IT experience, stay three years and get out while you still have your self-respect.

    Oh, and do that within the next 10 years, because this business unit will be sold off and out of operation within that time frame. You can bank on it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Well, you wouldn't listen anyway, but even more importantly, there isn't much you can do, you're not wizards, you can't cast spells and bend reality to your liking, and all kidding aside, you can't change macro trends or directions in technology that are unfavorable to your business model. So just do the best you can managing the slow burn and try to be a little nicer to people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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