IBM Competitors

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company. It was founded in New York as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in 1911 by Charles Ranlett Flint. IBM is a diverse company with a similarly diverse portfolio of products and services. It produces and sells hardware, middleware, and software. It also offers hosting and consultancy services in nanotechnology and mainframe computers. What’s more, IBM has a strong culture in research and development, filing the most U.S. patents of any business for the past 28 years.

Started in 1911 as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR), called then International Business Machines by 1924. IBM primarily makes money by five segments (cognitive solutions, global business services, technology services, and cloud platforms, systems, and global financing) with also innovative products such as IBM Watson and IBM Blockchain.

Cloud computing

Cloud business models are all built on top of cloud computing, a concept that took over around 2006 when former Google’s CEO Eric Schmit mentioned it. Most cloud-based business models can be classified as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), or SaaS (Software as a Service). While those models are primarily monetized via subscriptions, they are monetized via pay-as-you-go revenue models and hybrid models (subscriptions + pay-as-you-go).

In cloud computing, IBM combines platform as a service (PaaS) with infrastructure as a service (Iaas). The service, named IBM Cloud, scales and supports the development of small organizations and large enterprise businesses alike.

PaaS stands for the platform as a service. Together with other “as-a-service” models, this model’s basic premise is to offer a solution to the final customer without having to host it on-premise, with complex implementations and large overhead. The PaaS model is a form of evolved cloud computing. The provider, together with virtualization, storage, network, and servers, provides middleware and runtime to the user/customer, which only handles data and applications.

In cloud computing, the main IBM competitors include AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google.

Consultancy services

The majority of IBM’s revenue comes from the services industry. Some of the main competitors in this industry include:

  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – an Indian IT solutions company founded in 1968. TCS has a focus on helping clients from a range of industries meet their objectives by leading them through technological transformation. This is achieved through a portfolio of integrated solutions, consulting, and outsourcing.
  • Accenture – an Irish consultancy, strategy, and digital transformation company founded in 1989. Accenture helps organizations prepare for the future via digitization in many industries, including media, capital markets, oil, transportation, and public health.
  • Infosys – another Indian company providing business consultancy and IT services with a core focus on manufacturing and insurance. Infosys products include management consulting, artificial intelligence and global banking platforms, and digital marketing.
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – founded in 2015 as part of the Hewlett-Packard company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a business-focused organization in servers, storage, networking, consulting, support, and financial services. After just six years in operation, HPE revenue reached $6.8 billion in Q1 2021.

Software and hardware

Within the software industry, IBM sells software products in API management, enterprise identity mapping, security, digital experience, DevOps, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and planning analytics. 

DevOps refers to a series of practices performed to perform automated software development processes. It is a conjugation of the term “development” and “operations” to emphasize how functions integrate across IT teams. DevOps strategies promote seamless building, testing, and deployment of products. It aims to bridge a gap between development and operations teams to streamline the development altogether.

These products place the company in direct competition with many large players, including Adobe, Symantec, Microsoft, and Amazon. 

In terms of computer hardware manufacturing, IBM is up against Hewlett Packard, Oracle, and Dell.

Global financing

IBM Global Financing (IGF) was founded in 1981 as an organization composed of sellers, accountants, analysts, and business credit and pricing specialists. More succinctly, IGF helps clients design, build, and run businesses with IBM expertise and infrastructure.

Today, it is the largest IT financier in the world with more than $36 billion in assets. Some of the major competitors in global financing have been acquired by IBM over the years, including PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, Bluewolf, and Promontory Financial Group.

Key takeaways:

  • IBM is a large and extremely diverse American multinational technology company. 
  • With a diverse product and service portfolio, many of the most significant IBM competitors can be found in the services industry. These include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Tata Consultancy Services, and Accenture.
  • IBM is also up against giants such as Adobe, Microsoft, and Amazon in software production. In hardware, competition is provided by Hewlett Packard, Oracle, and Dell. However, the company enjoys relative dominance in global financing after acquiring several major competitors.

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