has remained an iconic leader at the intersection of business and technology
for more than a century by continuously reinventing itself. In doing so, it has
been guided by clarity about its role as an enterprise innovation company. This
clarity—embedded in its business strategy, culture, and brand message—has kept
IBM on the Top Ten list of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands every year.
the world’s leading business-to-business brand, IBM has remained in the Top
Ten, but its position has fallen a couple of notches, reflecting the company’s
struggles during its latest major transition. Over the last few years, IBM has
shifted its focus to data/analytics, cloud computing, mobile, social, and
security. Although these strategic imperatives have grown rapidly, they do not
yet represent the lion’s share of the company’s profit, leading to 14 straight
quarters of declining revenue.
the company’s transformation continues, it has introduced a new, branded point
of view on the future of technology and business, which it calls Cognitive
Business, featuring IBM’s Jeopardy!-winning system, Watson. IBM
has pioneered perspectives on the future of technology, about once every
decade. With the rise of the Web in the mid-1990s, for example, IBM said that
the Internet would be about business, not browsing, and its e-business strategy
proved prescient. In 2008, as devices proliferated and computing became
extended to all manner of things, IBM presented its vision of a Smarter Planet,
empowered by information and connectivity. Now, with the emergence of
artificial intelligence with real-world applications, IBM introduces what it
calls the third age of information technology: "the cognitive era."
sees cognitive computing as the engine propelling the organization back to the
forefront of technology and business innovation. Watson is, some believe, the
most humanlike computer ever built, and its capacity to make sense of the vast
stores of “dark” data—80 percent of what we are now generating—could
revolutionize entire industries. The first—and arguably most important—industry
that Watson is tackling is healthcare. IBM recently launched the Watson Health
business unit, and has systematically made acquisitions, hired top talent, and
formed key partnerships to build this division. IBM and CVS announced a
partnership in mid-2015 that could change the way patients, practitioners, and
pharmacists give and receive care. The company has also partnered with major
oncology researchers—from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to MD
Anderson, Cleveland Clinic, and New York Genome Center—to tackle the
lofty goal of curing cancer.
technology behind Watson is enhancing IBM’s capabilities across the
organization. Three cloud-based services announced in 2014—IBM Watson Discovery
Advisor, Watson Analytics, and Watson Explorer—have contributed to a 70
percent revenue increase in cloud computing in the first
half of fiscal year 2015. IBM’s robust data and analytics capabilities—along
with partnerships with companies like Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and more—are
helping the brand to reassert its prowess.
IBM, Watson may be the key differentiator—the defining technology that sets the global brand apart from a myriad of competing innovators.