Samuel Palmisano (IBM CEO 2002-2011) introduced the concept of ‘A Smarter Planet’ for the whole company to get behind and much of it made sense at that time especially given the journey to ‘Smart Cities’. Recent perceptions have become blurred. ‘A Smarter Planet’ does not just mean a data intensive cognitive planet, it also means installing a smarter infrastructure, leveraging Internet of things, leveraging valuable data, changing the clients’ business models to digitization and the importance of ecosystems, providing a great digital customer and user experience by personalising the experience, organizational agility, empowering innovation in processes and culture all in a secure and ethical way.
In these times of changes, global uncertainties, fast changing competitors - businesses almost always turn to their ‘trusted advisor’. Who is best placed to espouse and deliver on the above? Over my last twenty years of covering the IT markets and providing strategy and vision in these markets (starting with my first assignment to analyse the early impact of Louis Gerstner (IBM CEO 1993-2002)), the first name usually on the ‘trusted advisor’ list for a number of years was IBM. Other companies came and left but as generalised ‘Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’. Over the last few years it seemed the vibrancy and leadership vision went overdrive into vaporware and providing clients with a realistic migratory/ transformation path got confused, complex, muddled and even hijacked by certain internal groups.
Signs of Mojo Located?
Recently we have seen early signs of the mojo being located and a holistic vision slowly coming into play. The espousing of the vision is not quite there and seems IBM is still readying it strategy but the company has finally started to push Digital Transformation in a much bigger way and the pillars of a holistic client journey are beginning to sprout. The digital transformation push is leading IBM to ‘platforms’ which provide IBM with a bigger enterprise-wide framework, around which to
- Bring a holistic vision for the end-user corporations and make Global services lead again
- Lead the thought process and educate the client
- Espouse a journey to make for its various constituencies within the end-user corporations.
- Tie together its various plays around a more realistic marketing message
- Be ready with the right solutions at the right time for the marketplace
- Incentivise the channel around realistic platform solutions.
Together with its Digital Transformation journey IBM has recently started to vision the frameworks needed and started talking platforms. More precisely vertical platforms!