Has IBM Got its Mojo back? Early sprouts around Platforms!
Displacing the Mojo?
Over the last few years it seems like IBM had lost its magic, the mojo of understanding what its clients want and at the right time seemed to have got muddled. In effect it seemed IBM had lost the pulse of its clients, its markets and was marketing a number of solutions where it was hedging its bets but was not what the end-user customers wanted or was ready for yet! It seemed more and more that IBM only had one mantra and that was applying Watson (its cognitive solution) to everything, every vertical and every offering. Watson was developing along nicely when IBM developed its cognitive push but this was just too early for the marketplace. Applying it to various verticals and solutions seemed too early and overkill for the marketplace.
Added to this were some separate plays namely around the cloud. IBM’s approach to cloud was timely but it forgot the slow pace of most of its conservative (to risk) clients and the company quickly jumped over most of the value-stack. Cloud still needed to mature and IBM seemed to have galloped over it with a number of highly value-added solutions. The client migratory path needed smaller steps and more time! IBM followed this with a push on Blockchain in a very big way but never quite knew where this solution sat in the overall client transformation journey. As a solution it was right but again a bit early for the marketplace and without an overarching IBM enterprise strategy in place!
IBM is always successful when it is leading and providing a holistic vison of the journey the client needs to make. Here it seemed it had lost it mojo and the holistic part was missing whilst different groups played out their own messages. Global services lost its momentum but also a holistic vision for its client’s transformation – all answers shouldn’t lead to Cognitive! It seemed very confused in how it wanted to market Digital Transformation, its architecture, solutions and services. The Distribution channel lost its direction and its business models in all the changes leading to cloud and in how to sell AI and Big data solutions. This was seen in the company results as well as in a lot of negative investor sentiment especially when Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway sold their IBM holding.