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ID : 5297453| Nov 2018


Business Sector :Information technology, cognitive solutions and cloud platform

Operating Geography :North America, United States, Global

About IBM :

International Business Machines Corporation popularly known as IBM is an information technology multinational company, incepted in the year 1911 and is headquartered in Armonk, New York, US. Primarily it was a hardware, middleware and software manufacturer but presently it offers services and solutions in cloud computing, hosting, cognitive technologies, data and analytics, security and mobile solutions. It provides services to more than 170 countries worldwide and has more than 366,000 employees globally as of December 2017.

IBM’s business strategy is designed to support two major goals - helping clients to move to the digital era by bringing together innovative technology and industry expertise, and providing long-term value to shareholders.

Its mission statement states ‘To lead in the invention, development and manufacture of the industry's most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, storage systems and microelectronics and to be the best financial services company in the world.’

Its vision is ‘Innovation through cooperation.’

IBM Revenue :

US $79.1 billion (FY ending December 31st 2017)

Competitive Analysis of IBM

The SWOT analysis for IBM is presented below:
1. Strong global presence in leading technology products and solutions
2. Strategic imperatives - cloud, analytics, mobile, social, and security businesses
3. Client list includes world’s most successful enterprises
4. Strong leadership in patents laying the foundation for smarter business
1. Sluggish growth in core business units
2. Loss of confidence expressed by major shareholder
1. Growth opportunities in government business segment
2. Investments in strategic imperatives to drive business expansion
1. Stiff competition in the cloud and analytics segment
2. Trade war and economic policies
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of IBM



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1. Sluggish growth in core business units: IBM’s main business units which include Global Technology Services, Global Business Services, Software, Systems Hardware, and Global Financing have been experiencing a decline or flat revenues over the last two to three years from 2015 to 2017. The company needs to transform these business and shift its practices to digital, cognitiveand cloud to get back on the growth path.

2. Loss of confidence expressed by major shareholder: IBM has shown stagnant growth over the last few years registering more than 20 straight quarters without revenue growth as of 2017. IBM counts Berkshire Hathaway headed by Warren Buffet as one of its premier shareholders held an 8.5% stake in IBM as of 2016. Berkshirereduced stake in the company in 2017 with concerns regarding increasing competition faced by IBM in cloud segment and declining global server market size. IBM is facing serious competition from other major players in the market such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google and that has led to investors doubting its capability to protect its market. With Buffet’s faith shaken in the company, IBM is likely to face further scrutiny over its performance in the coming quarters.


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1. Stiff competition in the cloud and analytics segment: One of the major threats greatest to IBM's future is competition in the cloud which has big strong competitors. Though IBM’s overall could revenues are growing it is a distant third to Amazon and Microsoft in this market and Google is catching up fast.Google has made significant investments in Google Cloud Platform and improved its sales approach over the last year. Amazon Web Services is leading the pack clocking $17.46 billion in revenues in FY18 which is no surprise as it had the first-mover advantage, entering the cloud market in 2006. IBM is also expected to face competition from other players such as Alibaba (Aliyun public cloud) Oracle who are ramping up their presence in the cloud segment. IBM Watson is also facing strong competition in the analytics space. Google, Microsoft and Amazon have come up with offerings in analytics and machine learning solutions which can pose real competition to Watson.

2. Trade war and economic policies: The Trump administration in the United States has announced in March 2018 the United States move to raise tariffs against imports from counties like China. Trump administration has said that China is getting a better deal over US in trade and is also abusing intellectual property practices and technology transfer from US companies. China is a giant market that many large U.S. tech firms such as IBM have found difficult to navigate.Few years’ back Chinese government following the NSA spying uproar there was a boycott of American IT products encouraged by the Chinese government which had impacted IBM. If the current trade war tensions escalate IBM can expect to face the brunt gain in one of its major global markets.

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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

References used in IBM Analysis Report

1. IBM:

2. IBM Investor- Financials:

3. IBM Investor- News:

4. Forbes:

5. IBM Financial Services:

6. IBM Products:

7. IBM developers community Mobile quality Assurance:

8. Economic times Jan, 2015:

9. MIT Technology Review:

10. IBM Watson Music:

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SWOT & (2020). IBM SWOT & PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Jul, 2020].

In-text: (SWOT &, 2020)

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