IBM: CUSTOMER- DRIVING STRATEGY
How IBM Leads the IT World
By: Oluwaseun P. Adeola
This article provides insight into the IBM’s operational process issues such as its efforts to be a customer driving company and its strategic plan to serve customers best. IBM as it name suggests, is a company with an international footholds. The company has, over the past years, established and maintained itself as a force to reckon with when it comes to providing IT products and services. According to the company’s web page, personal computers, semi conductors, printing systems storage, accessories and parts are some of its products. On the other hand, some of the services IBM offers include IT services, software services, business consulting, and application services. (ibm.com 2012).IBM’s effort to be the customer-driven company
I do not subscribe to the opinion that IBM is compromising its effort to achieve its goal of becoming a leading customer and innovation driven company in the world. Over the years the company has made series of deals with advanced technology firms with the chief aim of reaching and serving its customers better. For example, in July 2007, IBM spent about $84 million in a deal with Spanish company which is one of the foremost producers of renewable energy in the world. In addition, the month of July 2007 did not pass until IBM proclaimed its plan to create a global centre for excellence for nuclear power in France.
In the same vein, IBM has been recognized at several times for being a leading company in innovation and subsequent on such recognition are many attendant accolades awarded to the company. Also, in the bid to ensure that customers get the best possible service, the company do invest on its labour force in terms of training and development. And now, IBM can be boasting of its employees’ achievements in the field of science and technology.
To further corroborate my stance against the notion that IBM is compromising in its effort to be the customer and innovation company that it seeks to be, I will provide an example of one of IBM’s numerous exercise with its employees. In 2003, IBM organized an on-line discussion with 50,000 employees for three days consecutively. With the employment of its analytical technology, three themes emerged which later form the company’s uncompromising core values. The three themes are; dedication to every client’s success, innovation that matters for our company and the world; and trust and personal responsibility in all relationships. If one critically considers the three themes that emerged from the discussions, one can unequivocally conclude that IBM is solidly on track in achieving and accomplishing its goal of becoming the leading customer and innovation-driven company in the globally competitive environment.
In my opinion, IBM new strategy beginning from 2003 is a winning and a formidable strategy. First, what I would like to make mention of is the unique technique of engaging its employees to be part of strategy formulation. One over-glaring benefit of this is that the employees are the ones that will be saddled with the responsibilities of executing and implementing the formulated strategy, so if they are part of the process ab initio, it becomes uncomplicated for them to effectively implement. Another important benefit of the strategy is that employees will be intrinsically committed to the success and the attainment of the organizational goals.
An excellent example of how IBM engages its employees is the ‘innovationjam’ launched in June and September 2006. The ‘innovationjam’ which features brainstorming sessions containing 150,000 employees from about 104 countries produced 46,000 novel ideas. Consequently, some three months later IBM promised to spend a staggering amount of $100 million on the 10 best ideas. Sincerely, it will be very rare to get a better technique of strategy formulation.
On the reporting front, IBM adopts a two-method strategy. They are operational and regional. Since the company is such a huge international company with clusters operation, it is prudent and logical that reports are made in such a way that each operational district knows its performance in the year. Also, IBM is physically present in over 100 countries, it will similarly be effective to prepare reports that will reflect and reveal the performance of each region within a particular period of time. The essence of this is that each region and each operational unit can have targets and after a specific period of time, results can then be compared with the target made for each region and operational unit. After evaluations are done, appropriate adjustments and provisions can now be made to ensure that for the next period, each region and business segment can meet their targets.
IBM has travelled a long journey in the bid to entrenching itself in the forefront of IT world. Over the past years, the company has made considerable effort to transform itself into a company which offers superior value to its teeming customers and create increasing returns to its shareholders. But like any other company, IBM has its own ups and downs, failures and successes. However, one will only hope that the company should concentrate more on what it does best, focus more on its competitive advantages and continue to be true to its promises. Finally, with that, I am somewhat confident that the company can continue to be a leading customer-oriented and innovation- oriented IT company that it is today.
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