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[Slashdot] - It's a 'Cold War Every Day' Inside Apple's IS&T Group


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An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via BuzzFeed News: A group inside Apple called Information Systems & Technology, or IS&T, builds much of the company's internal technology tools -- from servers and data infrastructure to retail and corporate sales software -- and operates in a state of tumult. IS&T is made up largely of contractors hired by rival consulting companies, and its dysfunction has led to a rolling state of war. "It's a huge contractor org that handles a crazy amount of infrastructure for the company," one ex-employee who worked closely with IS&T told me. "That whole organization is a Game of Thrones nightmare." Interviews with multiple former IS&T employees and its internal clients paint a picture of a division in turmoil, where infighting regularly prevents the creation of useful software, and whose contract workers are treated as disposable parts. "There's a Cold War going on every single day," Archana Sabapathy, a former IS&T contractor who did two stints in the division, told me. Sabapathy's first stint at IS&T lasted more than three years, the second only a day. Inside the division, she said, contracting companies such as Wipro, Infosys, and Accenture are constantly fighting to fill roles and win projects, which are handed out largely on the basis of how cheaply they can staff up to Apple's needs. "They're just fighting for the roles," Sabapathy told me. "That's all they care about, not the work, not the deliverables, the effort they put in, or even talent. They're not looking for any of those aspects." IS&T is thus filled with vendor tribalism, where loyalty to one's contracting company trumps all. "Making a friendship is -- like you wouldn't even think about that," Sabapathy told me, speaking of cross-vendor relationships. "It's not the traditional American way of working anymore. You build relationships when you come to work because you spend most of your time here -- that's not there." "Sabapathy told [BuzzFeed's Alex Kantrowitz] Apple employees' expectations for their IS&T contractors were unrealistic given that they saw the sum total they were paying the consulting companies ($150 to $120 an hour, she said) but the contractors themselves were making much less ($40 to $55 an hour) after the companies took their cut," writes Kantrowitz. "The approach leaves Apple with lesser contractors but the same high demands, a recipe for disappointment." In closing, Kantrowitz suggests if Apple wants to become inventive again, "it will need to give its employees more time to develop new ideas." He adds: "IS&T could therefore become a division of strength at Apple one day, building tools that minimize work that supports existing products while making room for those ideas. But until Apple gives the division a hard look, its employees will be stuck spending their time reworking broken internal software, and wishing they were inventing instead."

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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