What do we learn from IBM’s Cloud transformation?
We have always seen IBM as a old warhorse because it’s been around for a really long time and has a solid foothold in the tech industry. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t make a foray into the newer aspects of tech industry.
In fact, IBM’s transformation into the cloud market has been remarkable. At the core of this transformation has been a bold and decisive management that has never shied away from taking the necessary steps needed to slowly and steadily gain a firm market share in the cloud industry.
Besides the management, its research team in cognitive development, specifically Watson, has been a great catalyst for this transformation. In many ways, it helped IBM get more interest towards its products and services, and this made it a little easy for IBM to plough its way through the cloud market.
One of the most important and often ignored aspect that brought about this big change for IBM is the overhaul of its existing culture. Since IBM has been around for many decades, it’s business model was based on huge and profitable standalone business units such as mainframes and consulting services. Such standalone divisions were more concerned about account control, profits and numbers in general than on delivering services.
In other words, these units did not revolve around customers, rather they revolved around profits and accounts. Such an approach worked at a time when technology was a novelty, but when it became a mainstream industry and an integral part of everyday living, this approach faltered.
To overcome this problem, IBM had to completely change the structure of its company and the way its divisions worked. It had to change siloed divisions to an integrated amalgamation of different businesses, so each could benefit from the other. This meant that all divisions had to work together at one time or another to create a rich experience for the user. In turn, this brought the focus back on to the customer.
This transformation was probably the best thing that happened to IBM over its operations because it’s outlook and performance improved by leaps. Also, it is in a better position to compete with the likes of newer companies like AWS and Google. In addition, it was able to create a multitude of relationships, partnerships and more to establish itself as a strong player in the cloud industry.
Though these changes are heartening, IBM still has a long way to go, as it has to strike a fine balance between its legacy business and cloud. It also needs to strengthen the skills of its employees and empower them to take on the challenges that come with the fast-changing tech world.
And of course, the competition. AWS, Microsoft and Google are expanding at a rapid pace backed by vast investments in their infrastructure. If IBM wants to compete, then it has to act big and really fast. Personally, I think IBM will pull it off considering the strides it has made in the last few years, not to mention its rich experience and expertise.