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IBM as a Successfull Business

IBM’s vision and mission statement is, “At IBM, we strive to lead in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics. We translate these advanced technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions and services businesses worldwide.” As discussed in our business book, a path towards success in a business can be broken down in to a continous four step cycle. The first step is realizing the indicators of success. IBM is concerned with financial performance. IBM has a fancy web site dedicated to its financial reports, http://www.ibm.com/annualreports is updated every year. The diagram to the left shows IBM’s revenue over the past ten years. Meeting customer needs is critical for IBM. But who are IBM’s customers?

From students attending PartnerWorld (IBM’s new university), to companies buying new technologies to produce high tech devices, IBM sells to the world. The United States, Russia, and China all have strong bonds with IBM and its technology. IBM understands whom its customers are and delivers quality in their products and services. Take IBM’s latest notebook series the “T-Series”. The standard model comes with a 800mhz Intel CPU, a

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32 gigabyte hard drive, and 13.3″ 1024×768 – TFT – active matrix screen. What does this translate to? IBM decided not to use the fastest processor or the biggest screen (my Toshiba boasts a 15.1 1600×1200 UTFT). This is due to a bottle-neck in battery life. The battery life on IBM’s latest notebook is eight hours. My Toshiba notebook; has the lastest CPU available, a graphics card that will make your head spin, a DVD and CD writer drive, but battery life is a mear two hours. IBM realizes that its customers are more likely to use MSWord or browse the web with their notebooks than play a game, or watch a DVD. So IBM uses innovation and creativity when designing its notebooks. Gaining employee commitment is very tough in a global business like IBM.

Long hours and employee obscurity lead to job dissatisfaction. High salaries from smaller companies seeking IBM’s knowledge base lure employees away. IBM has many environments to assess. From Japan to Amsterdam, IBM has products and services effecting daily life. In order to stay successful, IBM uses diversity among it’s workforce. Not just anyone can work at IBM. IBM also has a record of hiring disabled people. Economic forces have effected IBM in major ways. The latest letter to the stock share holders of IBM, discusses problems of last year concerning the Y2K bug. “Last year at this time, I said 2000 looked to be a year of great promise for IBM – as well as a year of great uncertainty. Many of our largest customers had frozen big-ticket technology purchases heading into the new millennium, and that persisted until almost the middle of 2000” was said in the chairman’s foreword. Global influences are important.

In the United States we all use the same cell phone standard, but what about Europe? Many competing standards were being used, and were very inefficient. So Verizon, IBM, and others got together and made a standard called “Orange”. If you use a cell phone in Europe, your using the “Orange” standard. Legal issues are always a concern of IBM. IBM sets the industry standard. Although there are a large amount of companies that produce similar or competing products as IBM, I feel there are few companies that have the same volume and influence on the industry as IBM. Providing excellence in Products and Services is the third step. Design and durability have always been incorporated in IBM’s products and services. In order to stay competitive, IBM works with some of the top IT’s worldwide when producing products or developing services. Strategic decisions must be made everyday at IBM. There are many engineer’s and scientists working at IBM. The engineer’s get new ideas all the time, and the scientists discover how to make something more efficient daily, and someone at IBM has to make the decision, “Do we try to profit from this work now? Or do we wait, and try to develop it further?”.

IBM is legendary for providing value to customers. As mentioned earlier, IBM routinely meets with some of the top IT professionals from around the world. DeveloperWorks, http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/ibm/, is IBM’s developer solutions page. Here, as IBM describes, “New Technologies, New Problems, Answers from IBM”. I was literally overloaded with all the things IBM is developing, and they have a huge forum for discussion on every project! IBM has definitely enhanced value through communicating with it’s customers. Resource acquisition is another part of providing excellence in products or service. A search on IBM’s web site for acquisition revealed more than one-hundred articles discussing a recent company being ate up by IBM. IBM also has a department just for acquiring smaller business’, like business’ can apply to be acquired. Is this not success?

So, IBM designs all these new things that are supposed to make our work time more efficient. But does IBM use the things it produces? Does IBM really believe that it is speeding progress? You bet it does. I bet there is not one employee working for IBM that doesn’t own a IBM laptop. IBM believes in technology and in incorporating it in it’s work environment. At the start of every fiscal quarter, and the start of every fiscal year, IBM issues a letter to its stock holders. The letter discuses the company’s financial outlook, major changes in the company’s strategies, and things to be expected of the industry. IBM uses last years numbers to evaluate results and make changes. It shares it’s financial performance with everyone (website is “annualreport” mentioned above). IBM is never satisfied. They will continue to be innovative, and strive to progress. Change is IBM’s nick name, because it is a company that is constantly in transition, that is always finding new ways to meet customers needs.

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