IBM UK and Ireland has told the Global Technology Services team that all travel to customer sites must be approved by divisional general manager Tosca Colangeli irrespective of "value or business justification".
This is a more extreme version of the previous directive issued by IBM for its calendar Q2 that all employee trips to customer sites must not cost more than £75, with supporting evidence required to go above that limit.
A fresh memo – seen by The Reg – was sent to IBMers in late May that delivered a heightened corporate austerity edict.
"Finance have been instructed to decline all expense approvals regardless of value of business justification," the memo stated. "To get approval the delivery project executive (DPE) must get approval in writing (by email) from Tosca personally."
Previous approvals have been "rescinded", we are told by company insiders. "Looks like we're back on 'if it costs money, it's almost never going to get approved unless you fight for it'," said one.
"There's no end date in sight [for this process]," he added.
It will work something like this: the customer requests a project manager or service delivery manager to ask the DPE to request approval or try to get block travel overheads agreed. The DPE then gets the nod if it has been granted or not by Colangeli, then the engineer attaches confirmation of the approval, which is approved by their first line manager and can be booked.
In a separate communication sent to employees, IBM said staff will be covered by IBM Life Assurance if they are on "approved" travel.
As regular readers will know, there is one rule for the proles at IBM and another for senior management – only recently Ginni Rometty, CEO, president and chairman, swooped down on the UK R&D lab in Hursley by helicopter.
The cost containment comes after IBM reported 20 straight quarters of declining sales and falling profit. Big Blue is trying to spin up sales in its emerging businesses but hasn't been able to do so at a pace that offset weakening demand for its legacy gear. ®