tl/dr, Summary of the the situation:

There are reports of major, sweeping platform changes being discussed by my direct manager and his report on the Tech Support team. My team have not been directly informed of any such plan even though we would be most directly affected and fear losing our jobs or being forced out.


I have been working for this company for 17 years since shortly after it was established, and in that time it has become the most profitable and highly rated in its field. The vast majority of servers and services have been deployed on Open Source platforms. We believe the setup to be reliable and effective, even if some areas need polish due to a long period of sustained organic growth.


My new boss has recently taken over as Head of IT, governing the Sysadmin team (of which I am now one of 4 members) and the Support team (which acquired a head of its own just before he joined). He and his report seem to be constantly meeting alone, to an extent where my team are excluded from all their interactions; we are hearing second-hand about private decisions on behalf of the entire department. They are not technical people but more from a traditional management/outsourcing background.

A brand new recruit on the Support team has candidly reported to us that during his welcome lunch with the two heads he was told that he "is the future, as we will be replacing all Open Source from the back office and replacing it with proprietary software, and you will be one of the keys to this". We as his direct reports (and those who will be expected to implement such changes) have not been informed of any such plan.

I have a good working relationship with both the Director and Chairman of the company, and have regular conversations with the latter, who is adamant that open-source should be used wherever possible. He has assured me that he wants to retain a highly skilled team with deep knowledge from the application layer down to the hardware layer, and our jobs are not in danger.

We also have experienced difficulty with the new head's superior, a COO who is most concerned about cutting costs and comes from a non-IT, pure business Ops background.

An IPO may also be in the offing.


Given in my conversations with the two execs (3 over the last 6 months with the chairman), compared with my experience so far, I can only see 3 possibilities:

1) The MD and Chairman are lying to my team and just want an easy way to cut wage costs and make the company more standard and less bespoke for the offering, or, 2) They are being honest and the new managers are more interested in gaining kudos from pushing through a large project. 3) It was said partly in jest but taken literally.

If anyone has experienced a similar situation before, how did you attempt to resolve it? I am not averse to change where appropriate and have recommended a number of proprietary solutions where they were a good fit, but there has been no attempt to involve the admin team in any discussion. How can I work towards a more open work environment?

I don't want to let down my team, but in conversations we all agree motivation is at rock-bottom. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished over the years, and at risk of showing too much personal attachment, I'd hate to see it thrown away. There is also a lot of worry about job security.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Sep 20 '17 at 3:15

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