Image Courtesy: IBM
Transition of every technology company to the cloud has driven an explosion in IT demand led by Smart computing devices, Mobile Solutions, IOT, Cloud Computing, Security, Data and Advanced predictive analytics. IBM, International Business Machines Corporation, the technology giant primarily into hardware, middleware and software services has turned to expertise in cloud computing for Information and Communications Technology services.
The complete breadth of solutions in the infrastructure-as-a-service market, the platform-as-a-service market, and the software-as-a-service market and its vast services business helps clients move to and manage cloud infrastructure. Open Standards is a compelling draw for clients.
Playing by its Strengths
IBM keeping catch-up with the changing landscape of technological advancements.
Strategic acquisitions and divestments.
Transformation led by great leadership.
- Louis V Gerstner, transformed IBM from hardware manufacturer to Integrated IT Services provider.
- Sam Palmisano, focus on consulting and software.
- Ginni Rometty, SoftLayer acquisition and strategic divestments notably X86 business to Lenovo.
Evolution to a Cloud Platform Company
The evolution of IBM into a Cloud Platform company is summed up by Ginni Rometty. “IBM is a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, and everything we do is focused on that”.
Factors contributing the transformation of IBM into cloud service provider:
- The IT industry evolutionary shift from client-server models on mainframes, to PCs and servers, to Cloud.
- Decline in the company’s legacy businesses, weaker financial results.
IBM has focused on its Brands and R&D to drive its cloud strategy viz., Watson, Bluemix which is summarized below. IBM annually invests approximately $6 billion for R&D, focusing on high-growth, high-value opportunities. They have 12 global labs. It has acquired and invested to build capabilities for developers, big data, analytics and cognitive computing. Watson group was established to develop and commercialize cognitive solutions.
IBM Brands – Watson, Watson Health, Systems, IOT
IBM R&D – Watson, Bluemix, Blockchain, OpenWhisk
Acquisitions – TRUVEN, SoftLayer, The Weather Company, cleverSafe, bluebox, StrongLoop, USTREAM
Open Source – Cloud Foundry, OpenStack, Docker, Kafka, Hadoop
Partners – SAP, VMWare, NetApp, box, GitHub, Twitter, Apple
IBM Bluemix: Cloud Architecture
Through Bluemix, the company’s platform-as-a-service powered by SoftLayer, IBM offers a wide variety of cloud services, like build with infrastructure, Watson, software and services. The cloud platform is a single entity that offers “a full spectrum of services from infrastructure to industry focused software”. IBM has enhanced its platform with native Data and business process Integration Services, support for Containers and Cloud Foundry runtimes, Storage, Mobile, IoT, DevOps, Security and data privacy services.
A complete listing on solutions, infrastructure and platform is given below.
|IBM Cloud Solutions
|Cognitive business operations
||Cloud Foundry Apps
|Connect to Cloud
||Data & Analytics
|Sales performance management
|Financial performance management
|Social and email
||Internet of Things
|High performance computing
|Hybrid cloud solutions
IBM’s general strategy is to focus on areas where the company can differentiate itself and build a durable competitive advantage. Competing on price in the cloud infrastructure market doesn’t make much sense for IBM.
IBM is unique in that it’s involved in each layer of the cloud. The underlying hardware, the cloud platform that runs on top of it, and the software that clients ultimately use enabling to build a fully integrated stack. Thus, the right level of optimization and performance can be introduced to really meet the needs of different workloads that clients have running on the cloud.
- Hybrid cloud – IBM’s acquisition of Gravitant offered a good demonstration of IBM’s cloud strategy. Gravitant is a cloud brokerage and management platform, allowing customers to compare various cloud providers based on cost and performance, and then manage their cloud infrastructure, potentially across different providers, or in a hybrid configuration, from a central location.
- Alliances and partnerships across the spectrum for ICT.
- Keep transforming based on internal and external analysis which has been its hallmark.
IBM’s philosophy of creating the future should hold it in good stead.
Create new customer value with applications, services and processes.
Connect applications, data and services in new ways.
Optimize any application, data or service for cloud agility and economics.