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IBM’s Business Strategy Case Study

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IBM’s Company Overview

IBM, International Business Machines Corporation provides Information Technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Its Cognitive Solutions segment includes Watson, a cognitive computing platform that interacts in natural language, processes Big Data, and learns from interactions with people and computers. The company’s Cognitive Solutions segment also offers data and analytics solutions, including analytics and data management platforms, cloud data services, enterprise social software, talent management solutions, and solutions tailored by industry; and transaction processing software that runs mission-critical systems in banking, airlines, and retail industries.

Country: New York

Foundations date: 1911

Type: Public

Sector: Technology

Categories: Electronics

IBM’s Customer Needs

Social impact:

Life changing: self-actualization

Emotional: provides access, badge value, design/aesthetics, attractiveness

Functional: quality, variety, organizes, integrates, simplifies, reduces effort, saves time, connects

IBM’s Related Competitors

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IBM’s Business Operations

Archetypes of business model design:

The business model archetypes include many business personalities and more than one business model linked to various goods or services. There is a common foundation behind the scenes of each unit, but from a management standpoint, each group may operate independently.

Augmenting products to generate data:

Due to advancements in sensors, wireless communications, and big data, it is now possible to collect and analyze massive quantities of data in a wide range of settings, from wind turbines to kitchen appliances to intelligent scalpels. These data may be utilized to improve asset design, operation, maintenance, and repair or improve how an activity is carried out. Such skills, in turn, may serve as the foundation for new services or business models.

Benchmarking services:

Benchmarking is a technique for evaluating performance and gaining insights via data analytics. It may be used to conduct internal research on your firm or compare it to other businesses to enhance business processes and performance indicators following best practices. Typically, three dimensions are measured: quality, time, and cost. In this manner, they may ascertain the targets' performance and, more significantly, the business processes that contribute to these companies' success. The digital transformation era has spawned a slew of data analysis-focused software businesses.

Best in class services:

When a firm brings a product to market, it must first create a compelling product and then field a workforce capable of manufacturing it at a competitive price. Neither task is simple to perform effectively; much managerial effort and scholarly study have been dedicated to these issues. Nevertheless, providing a service involves another aspect: managing clients, who are consumers of the service and may also contribute to its creation.

Cash machine:

The cash machine business model allows companies to obtain money from sales since consumers pay ahead for the goods they purchase, but the costs required to generate the revenue are not yet paid. This increases companies' liquidity, which they may use to pay off debt or make additional investments. Among several others, the online store Amazon often employs this business model.

Combining data within and across industries:

How can data from other sources be integrated to generate additional value? The science of big data, combined with emerging IT standards that enable improved data integration, enables new information coordination across businesses or sectors. As a result, intelligent executives across industries will see big data for what it is: a revolution in management. However, as with any other significant organizational transformation, the difficulties associated with becoming a big data-enabled company may be tremendous and require hands-on?or, in some instances, hands-off?leadership.


When products and goods and products and services are integrated, they form a subsidiary side and a money side, maximizing the overall revenue impact. A subsidiary is a firm owned entirely or in part by another business, referred to as the parent company or holding company. A parent company with subsidiaries is a kind of conglomerate, a corporation that consists of several distinct companies; sometimes, the national or worldwide dispersion of the offices necessitates the establishment of subsidiaries.

Customer relationship:

Due to the high cost of client acquisition, acquiring a sizable wallet share, economies of scale are crucial. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technique for dealing with a business's interactions with current and prospective customers that aims to analyze data about customers' interactions with a company to improve business relationships with customers, with a particular emphasis on retention, and ultimately to drive sales growth.

Data as a Service (DaaS):

Data as a Service (DaaS) is a relative of Software as a Service in computing (SaaS). As with other members of the as a service (aaS) family, DaaS is based on the idea that the product (in this instance, data) may be delivered to the user on-demand independent of the provider's geographic or organizational isolation from the customer. Additionally, with the advent[when?] of service-oriented architecture (SOA), the platform on which the data sits has become unimportant. This progression paved the way for the relatively recent new idea of DaaS to arise.

Data warehouses:

A data warehouse (DW or DWH), sometimes referred to as an enterprise data warehouse (EDW), is a computer term that refers to a system used for reporting and data analysis. It is a critical component of business intelligence. DWs are the centralized repository for data that has been integrated from one or more separate sources. They keep track of both data and information and generate analytical reports for skilled professionals throughout the business.


Simplifying many product kinds inside a product group or set of goods. A technique for doing business analysis in which a complex business process is dissected to reveal its constituent parts. Functional decomposition is a technique that may be used to contribute to an understanding and management of large and complicated processes and assist in issue solving. Additionally, functional decomposition is utilized in computer engineering to aid in the creation of software.


A digital strategy is a strategic management and a business reaction or solution to a digital issue, which is often best handled as part of a broader company plan. A digital strategy is frequently defined by the application of new technologies to existing business activities and a focus on enabling new digital skills for their company (such as those formed by the Information Age and frequently as a result of advances in digital technologies such as computers, data, telecommunication services, and the World wide web, to name a few).

Digital transformation:

Digitalization is the systematic and accelerated transformation of company operations, processes, skills, and models to fully exploit the changes and possibilities brought about by digital technology and its effect on society. Digital transformation is a journey with many interconnected intermediate objectives, with the ultimate aim of continuous enhancement of processes, divisions, and the business ecosystem in a hyperconnected age. Therefore, establishing the appropriate bridges for the trip is critical to success.

Disruptive trends:

A disruptive technology supplants an existing technology and fundamentally alters an industry or a game-changing innovation that establishes an altogether new industry. Disruptive innovation is defined as an invention that shows a new market and value network and ultimately disrupts an established market and value network, replacing incumbent market-leading companies, products, and alliances.


A business ecosystem is a collection of related entities ? suppliers, distributors, customers, rivals, and government agencies ? collaborating and providing a particular product or service. The concept is that each entity in the ecosystem influences and is impacted by the others, resulting in an ever-changing connection. Therefore, each entity must be adaptive and flexible to live, much like a biological ecosystem. These connections are often backed by a shared technical platform and are based on the flow of information, resources, and artifacts in the software ecosystem.

Enterprise unbundled:

Unbundling is a business practice that recognizes that a company may have three primary focuses: client connections, product innovation, and infrastructure. Moreover, three of these elements may coexist in big businesses, creating a complex model that needs significant resources to operate effectively. Thus, unbundling is a crucial idea for any enterprise's future success. Additionally referred to as deconstruction or disaggregation, this benign word refers to a dominating force that propels digital change into the heart of whole sectors.

From push to pull:

In business, a push-pull system refers to the flow of a product or information between two parties. Customers pull the products or information they need on markets, while offerers or suppliers push them toward them. In logistics and supply chains, stages often operate in both push and pull modes. For example, push production is forecasted demand, while pull production is actual or consumer demand. The push-pull border or decoupling point is the contact between these phases. Wal-Mart is a case of a company that employs a push vs. a pull approach.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a subset of cloud computing that offers on-demand access to shared computing resources and data to PCs and other devices. It is a paradigm for ubiquitous, on-demand access to a pool of customizable computing resources (e.g., computer networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be quickly provided and released with little administrative effort.

Ingredient branding:

Ingredient branding is a kind of marketing in which a component or ingredient of a product or service is elevated to prominence and given its own identity. It is the process of developing a brand for an element or component of a product in order to communicate the ingredient's superior quality or performance. For example, everybody is aware of the now-famous Intel Inside and its subsequent success.


A systems integrator is an individual or business specializing in integrating component subsystems into a unified whole and ensuring that those subsystems work correctly together. A process is known as system integration. Gains in efficiency, economies of scope, and less reliance on suppliers result in cost reductions and may improve the stability of value generation.

Knowledge and time:

It performs qualitative and quantitative analysis to determine the effectiveness of management choices in the public and private sectors. Widely regarded as the world's most renowned management consulting firm. Descriptive knowledge, also called declarative knowledge or propositional knowledge, is a subset of information represented in declarative sentences or indicative propositions by definition. This differentiates specific knowledge from what is usually referred to as know-how or procedural knowledge, as well as knowledge of or acquaintance knowledge.


A formal agreement in which the owner of the copyright, know-how, patent, service mark, trademark, or other intellectual property grants a licensee the right to use, manufacture, and sell copies of the original. These agreements often restrict the licensee's scope or area of operation, define whether the license is exclusive or non-exclusive, and stipulate whether the licensee will pay royalties or another kind of compensation in return. While licensing agreements are often used to commercialize the technology, franchisees also utilize them to encourage the sale of products and services.

Make and distribute:

In this arrangement, the producer creates the product and distributes it to distributors, who oversee the goods' ongoing management in the market.


Compared to more centralized development methods, such as those usually employed by commercial software firms, the open-source model is more decentralized. Scientists see the open-source approach as an example of collaborative openness. Peer production is a fundamental concept of open-source software development, with deliverables such as source code, blueprints, and documentation made freely accessible to the public. The open-source software movement started as a reaction to the constraints imposed by proprietary programming. Since then, its ideas have extended to other areas, resulting in what is known as open cooperation. Typically, money is generated via services that complement the product, such as advising and maintenance.

Pay as you go:

Pay as you go (PAYG) business models charge based on actual consumption or use of a product or service. Specific mobile phone contracts work on this principle, in which the user may purchase a phone card that provides credit. However, each call is billed separately, and the credit balance is depleted as the minutes are used (in contrast to subscription models where you pay a monthly fee for calls). Pay as you go is another term for pay & go, pay per use, pay per use, or pay-as-you-go.

Performance-based contracting:

Performance-based contracting (PBC), sometimes referred to as performance-based logistics (PBL) or performance-based acquisition, is a method for achieving quantifiable supplier performance. A PBC strategy focuses on developing strategic performance measures and the direct correlation of contract payment to success against these criteria. Availability, dependability, maintainability, supportability, and total cost of ownership are all standard criteria. This is accomplished mainly via incentive-based, long-term contracts with precise and quantifiable operational performance targets set by the client and agreed upon by contractual parties.

Platform as a Service (PaaS):

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a class of cloud computing services that enable users to create, operate, and manage apps without the burden of establishing and maintaining the infrastructure usually involved with designing and developing an app.

Software as a Service (SaaS):

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a paradigm for licensing and delivering subscription-based and centrally hosted software. Occasionally, the term on-demand software is used. SaaS is usually accessible through a web browser via a thin client. SaaS has established itself as the de facto delivery mechanism for a large number of commercial apps. SaaS has been integrated into virtually every major enterprise Software company's strategy.

Solution provider:

A solution provider consolidates all goods and services in a particular domain into a single point of contact. As a result, the client is supplied with a unique know-how to improve efficiency and performance. As a Solution Provider, a business may avoid revenue loss by broadening the scope of the service it offers, which adds value to the product. Additionally, close client interaction enables a better understanding of the customer's habits and requirements, enhancing goods and services.

Take the wheel:

Historically, the fundamental principles for generating and extracting economic value were rigorous. Businesses attempted to implement the same business concepts more effectively than their rivals. New sources of sustained competitive advantage are often only accessible via business model reinvention driven by disruptive innovation rather than incremental change or continuous improvement.

Technology trends:

New technologies that are now being created or produced in the next five to ten years will significantly change the economic and social landscape. These include but are not limited to information technology, wireless data transmission, human-machine connection, on-demand printing, biotechnology, and sophisticated robotics.

Rent instead of buy:

Services that do not need the product to be purchased but rather rent it for the economic benefit of requiring less money to access the commodity. When you rent, you assume less obligation since most of the burden is placed on the owner's shoulders. There is no debt; you are just responsible for the monthly rent. When renting, you have more flexibility by signing a six-month or one-year lease. This implies that you will be confined to that location for at least that period. When your lease term expires, you have the option of switching to another product or renewing your lease.

Why IBM’s Business Model is so successful?

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