IBM changes with the times more easily than some startups I know
IBM did something unusual in January. Its entire Systems Technology Group, known as STG, shifted from a technology focus to a customer-orientation. Here’s what I mean. STG had been divided into several operating groups centered around the different product brands or technology types. Each brand, such System Z or Digital Video and Surveillance had its own sales reps in the field, who reported to sales managers and on up to vice presidents within that product brand group. Each product had its own sales people.
IBM structured itself that way in the 1990s because it seemed better to have account managers and support personnel experts in a specific technology. Back in those days, you see, an end user was looking for best of breed technologies and wanted a vendor’s account team to meet a specific technical need.
The genius of IBM is recognizing that customers are no longer saying “I need a faster blade server to do this,” or “I gotta have cameras to watch the back door,” as much as they are saying, “help me build a better surveillance system.” The customer’s interaction with account managers and product executives is more related to reducing complexity, reducing physical space and power consumption. That’s a lot different than head to head product comparisons with a best-of-breed mentality.