Back in the good old days, somewhere around 1987, a common refrain among the IT crowd was “You’ll never get fired for buying IBM.” Big Blue was so entrenched in all aspects of corporate computing that the easy thing to do was simply to ignore any upstart competitors and just stick with what was tried and true on both the hardware and software sides.
IBM has been on a long, dramatic, and sometimes painful journey since those glory days, but here in 2010, a very different IBM is still very much alive and getting things done. Its latest earnings report, as decoded by CNN, finds first quarter profits at $2.6 billion, up 13 percent from last year.
So what is IBM selling? Software, specifically the kinds of integration, management, and infrastructure types of apps that IT plays with every day. (Interestingly, IBM’s much-lauded services and consulting division hasn’t been doing quite as well lately.)
A tour through IBM’s current offerings is a real eye-opener for anyone who remembers the old Big Blue. The company sells virtually no hardware anymore, but it offers hundreds of interesting and esoteric software solutions for virtually every aspect of the large-scale enterprise. It’s well worth a look at some of IBM’s online explainers to see what’s on tap these days, especially if the company hasn’t been top of mind in your organization lately. IBM isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still a vital player in the technology marketplace.
– Don Willmott