If you were to ask a young person these days what IBM stands for or sells these days, would he or she come up with the answer “International Business Machines”? Does this kind of relevance even matter if IBM is still making money as an IT powerhouse behind the lion’s share of today’s innovation?
For a company that used to produce very tangible things – the first PC, hard drives, servers – we see less of IBM in our every day lives, as most of its business revolves around software, services and consulting. IBM has deliberately removed itself from the end user of their products, particularly by relinquishing their PC business to Lenovo and setting their bets on software and services.
The question remains, is this enough? The IT world is a smaller place these days, and, like it or not, the end user is a huge influencer of a company’s bottom line. While many giants were scrambling to adopt tablet technology to expand their audience, IBM decided to refrain, which let companies like Apple dominate this market. Apple Inc. understands that a user wants to be sold an experience. Apple is selling a lifestyle – streamlined, aesthetic, productive and innovative – and not only cater to the needs of their users but is actively engaged in their experience by responding and adapting to their needs.
The recent Apple-IBM partnership to create hundreds of mobile applications for business, while not extremely surprising, could very well help IBM reframe their identity with Apple’s flair for innovation and focus on the security needs of the end client, specifically corporate and government.
Does IBM need a more accessible identity to resonate with the public? I look forward to your thoughts below.