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The Golden Pillars of IBM’s global strategy

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The Golden Pillars of IBMs

Large corporations can gain a competitive advantage in emerging markets by addressing those nations’ social challenges. IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty seems to have infused this principle in her global strategy, which has its supported and its opponents.

The multinational, tech and consulting organization’s global strategy is fueled by three pillars –cloud, data and engagement – and each of these pillars say something about the changing face of global growth and competition in the digital age.


The influence of cloud computing is central to what technology will be like in the coming decades. This calls for a major transition in IBM’s business strategy – turning products into services accessed remotely by its clients.

Watson, the jeopardy-winning supercomputer is a service today that offers a big data solution via the cloud. The supercomputer’s cognitive learning system and natural language interface when migrated to the cloud helped IBM provide predictive analytics at a much cheaper rate. The cloud enables IBM to standardize more expensive solutions and then share them. The transformation has helped reach a far greater level of innovation in emerging markets, since people are able to access the same tools that are used by many wealthier clients in silk-stocking markets. This has helped the company push forward advanced technologies that will change how IBM and other tech Goliaths interact in emerging markets. Since cloud computing banks technology at the provider’s site and not the client’s, itabates the risk of losing proprietary technology to pirating, helping clients in emerging markets access the technology without the fear of losing their intellectual property.


Collection and erudition of data are going to be the base of competitive advantage, especially for nations and companies. IBM is currently working on a project called the Digital Acquifer, which collects data analytics per 100 million points of water across the African sub-continent, thereby providing better insights on where water security issues may arise, where to protect water etc. The project is aimed at reinventing drought management.

Oil and gas companies can use this kind of technology to inform and compensate fuel-rich regions. Companies like Google, Facebook and IBM are aggressively accumulating and processing emerging market data to gain a competitive advantage.


User engagement is the backbone through which IBM refines innovations in social networks, security and cloud computing. Basically, it banks on security. Any company cliff-diving into emerging markets can do so only on mobile only. Around 80% of people in the African subcontinent do not have a bank account today, but will have one in the coming decade, thanks to the plethora of cheap mobile phones available in the market. Banking providers in that region are collaborating with mobile phone markets. A customer in an emerging market needs to know that their mobile-based system is going to hold data and money more securely, even if the device of the cloud infrastructure falters.

IBM believes it can bank on this mobile-native economy by assuring end-to-end trust. The tech Goliath wants to guarantee data security and transactional security, and be a market leader in these mobile economies where everything stands on the mobile platform, right from retail, government, banking to telecoms.

For companies in enterprise businesses, this is certainly a new way of drafting a robust corporate strategy. By implementing this global strategy, IBM and other technology companies will be able to gain a certain edge in the emerging markets.

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