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International Business Machines Corporation
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2019 Vault Rankings

At a Glance

Uppers

Excellent benefits

Telecommute and flexible work options are available

Downers

Not one of the top payers in the tech industry

Size can mean individuals can get "lost in the crowd" and find it difficult to stand out

The Bottom Line

While no longer the top name in the tech field, IBM remains a well-respected technology company known for reliability both as an employer and for its products.

About International Business Machines Corporation

International Business Machines (IBM) bets that cognition is the ignition for growth. The company is investing in it what is calls cognitive computing systems, led by the Watson artificial intelligence platform, that help customers analyze massive amounts of data to make better decisions. Among other areas the company is betting on for growth are artificial intelligence, security, cloud, systems, quantum computing, and more. IBM's information technology, business services, and software units are among the largest in the world. While IBM has placed less emphasis on hardware, the company maintains enterprise server and data storage product lines that are among industry leaders.

Operations

IBM manages its sprawling operations in five segments.

Global Technology Services, which generates more than a third of revenue, provides comprehensive IT infrastructure and platform services that create business value for clients. Offerings include maintenance for IBM products and other technology platforms as well as support.

Cloud & Cognitive Software, which provides about a third of revenue, brings together IBM's software platforms and solutions, enabling the company to deliver integrated and secure cloud, data and AI solutions to our clients. It includes all software, except operating system software reported in the Systems segment. Cloud & Cognitive Software Capabilities includes cognitive applications, cloud & data platforms; and transaction processing platforms.

Global Business Services, more than 20% of revenue, provides consulting, application management services, and global process services to help customers move their businesses to digital platforms.

Systems, about 10% of revenue, is IBM's hardware business, providing technologies for hybrid cloud and cognitive workloads. The unit sells servers, storage systems, and operating systems software. The segment also designs semiconductor and systems technology in collaboration with IBM Research.

Global Financing provides credit for customers to buy IBM products. It also handles used equipment returned from leases, as well as other used and surplus equipment. The unit accounts for about 2% of revenue.

Geographic Reach

IBM has clients in about 175 countries, with sales outside the US accounting for approximately 65% of revenue. Customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) generate about a third of sales and those in Asia/Pacific supply about 20% of sales.

Sales and Marketing

IBM operates country-based units where consultants, product specialists, and other workers, facilitate the adoption and fulfillment of its products and services. It serves clients across most industries; leading industry groups include financial services, industrial, and communications.

Financial Performance

After a small recovery from 2018 by about $452 million, IBM's revenue continues to fall down with an almost 5% difference from 2015.

Total revenue of $77.1 billion in 2019 decreased 3% from the prior year as reported. Global Financing total revenue decreased 18% compared to the prior year. This was due to a decrease in internal revenue of 24%, driven by decreases in internal used equipment sales and internal financing. Systems revenue of $7.6 billion decreased 5.3 percent year to year as reported. Systems Hardware revenue of $5.9 billion declined 7% as reported, driven primarily by declines in Power Systems and Storage Systems. Operating Systems Software revenue of $1.7 billion grew 1% as reported. GTS revenue of $27.4 billion decreased 6% as reported in 2019 compared to the prior year. Cloud & Cognitive Software revenue of $23.2 billion increased 5% as reported in 2019 compared to the prior year. There was strong growth in Cloud & Data Platforms, as reported and at constant currency, driven primarily by the acquisition of Red Hat in the third quarter of 2019.

Net income increased by 8% to $9.4 billion in 2019 from $8.7 billion in 2018 due to a low operating cost with $40.7 billion in 2019 compare to the $42.7 billion in 2018.

IBM had cash and equivalents of $8.3 billion in 2019, down by about $3.3m billion from the year before. In 2019, the company's operations generated $14.8 billion in cash, while investing activities used $26.9 billion and financing activities provided more than $9 billion.

Strategy

IBM's strategy begins with their clients. IBM is distinguished as being first and foremost an Enterprise company, serving the world's leaders in their industries.

Serving enterprises requires a distinct set of skills as their clients entrust them with building, integrating and running the world's mission-critical systems. These are systems that cannot fail, systems that require the highest levels of privacy and security. They are built with the company's software and systems, designed and managed by IBM services. For example, IBM manages approximately ninety percent of the credit card transactions and half of the world's wireless connections. They do this with an unparalleled commitment to their clients' data security.

IBM is unique in bringing innovative technology and industry expertise on a foundation of trust and security as an integrated proposition to their clients. This integrated proposition allows the company to deliver business impact that matters to their clients, impact that requires bringing together technologies such as hybrid cloud, data and AI insight with workflow and advanced industry skills. This integrated proposition helps their clients transform themselves from traditional businesses to what they call Cognitive Enterprises.

Mergers and Acquisitions

IBM in 2019 acquired Red Hat for $34 billion, one of the biggest software acquisitions in history. The deal brings Red Hat's open source software to IBM's cloud efforts. Red Hat became a unit in IBM and reports as part of the Cloud and Cognitive Software segment. The deal was proposed in 2018 and closed in 2019.

Company Background

In 1914 National Cash Register's star salesman, Thomas Watson, left to rescue the flagging Computing-Tabulating-Recording (C-T-R) Company, the pioneer in US punch card processing that had been incorporated in 1911. Watson aggressively marketed C-T-R's tabulators, supplying them to the US government during WWI and tripling company revenue to almost $15 million by 1920. The company became International Business Machines (IBM) in 1924 and soon dominated the global market for tabulators, time clocks, and electric typewriters. It was the US's largest office machine maker by 1940.

IBM perfected electromechanical calculation (the Harvard Mark I, 1944) but initially dismissed the potential of computers. When Remington Rand's UNIVAC computer (1951) began replacing IBM machines, IBM quickly responded. The company unveiled its first computer in 1952. With its superior research and development and marketing, IBM built a market share near 80% in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1993 CEO John Akers was replaced by Louis Gerstner, the first outsider to run IBM. He began to turn the ailing, antiquated company around by slashing costs and nonstrategic divisions, cutting the workforce, shaking up entrenched management, and pushing services. In 1994, Big Blue reported its first profit in four years. It also began making computer chips that year.

Since then, IBM has tried to keep ahead of its aging product lineup. It introduced the Watson artificial intelligence platform (named after  Thomas  Watson) in 2011 as part of its renewal program that took it into cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain, and, it hopes, someday into quantum computing.

International Business Machines Corporation

1 New Orchard Rd Ste 1 # 1
Armonk, NY 10504-1722
Phone: 1 (914) 499-1900

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: IBM
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
SVP and CFO: James J. Kavanaugh
CIO: Fletcher Previn
Chairman, President and CEO: Virginia M. Rometty
Employees (This Location): 850
Employees (All Locations): 352,600

Major Office Locations

Armonk, NY

Other Locations

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