Complacency could be IBM's pitfall: Analyst

Analyst suggests vendor concentrate on helping customers

IBM might be a "mega vendor" with heavy influence in the global enterprise space but its past mistakes may cast doubt on its future, according to one analyst.

Slideshow: Celebrating 100 years of IBM.

Today marked Big Blue's 100th anniversary, but Ovum US chief analyst, Carter Lusher, said in a statement that while IBM has shaped the global IT industry it has made some significant "missteps" in the past.

"We think that one of the biggest dangers for IBM is complacency, but it has a plethora of other challenges including disruption by technology and competition, consumerisation of IT, government regulation pushed in part by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and an obsession with financial results that cause it to fail other stakeholders," Lusher said.

While Ovum, which is a research partner of IBM, would also celebrate the centenary, he said it was critical for the vendor to think about how it would adapt in the future.

Lusher mentioned the company's three chief executive officer cycles including Lou Gersher who retired in 2002, countless changes in technology fads, climate change, politicians and NGOs wanting IBM to "do things that make no business sense" as challenges and opportunities it would face over the next 20 years.

He added that IBM needed to focus on the international and business parts of its name as the company thrived when it focused on the business needs and opportunities of its customers.

Ovum Australia analyst, Jens Butler, agreed that IBM could not remain static in the market place.

"There are factors in place such as the consumerisation of IT and disruption of technology," Butler said. "IBM needs to be across those spaces and how those trends will impact how IBM does business in sectors around the world. It has to move with, or at least address, some of these changes."

He said that the selling of its PC division to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo in 2005 and the move by IBM from a focus on hardware to services such as Cloud computing were some of the key events for the company over the past two decades.

IBM Australia was contacted for comment by Computerworld Australia but did not respond.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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