IBM’s Secret Weapon Isn’t Red Hat—It’s Much Bigger Than That!

Arvind Krishna
Arvind Krishna

IBM’s Secret Weapon Isn’t Red Hat—It’s Much Bigger Than That!

CLOUD WARS RANKING

#7

CEO

Arvind Krishna

QUARTERLY CLOUD REVENUE
AS OF NOV. 30, 2020

$6.0 billion

Here at the tail end of 2020, IBM is a company of great contradictions. IBM’s official cloud revenue figures would make the company the 3rd-largest cloud vendor in the world, behind only #1 Microsoft and #2 Amazon and just barely ahead of fast-rising Salesforce—a great accomplishment.

But, other than Red Hat and Cloud Paks, let me challenge you to name an IBM Cloud product. Anything come to mind? Okay, I’ll make it easier: name a cloud category other than the Red Hat-driven “hybrid cloud platform” in which IBM’s leading the pack or disrupting the market through innovation.

C’mon, just one.

And therein lies a nontrivial problem for IBM: it claims to have the third-largest cloud business in the world, but its capabilities and differentiated solutions are not well known, even to people who study this crazy cloud business.

Does IBM do SaaS apps?

Does IBM have a modern cloud-native database?

Does IBM compete in the vast, wickedly competitive and wildly expensive public-cloud infrastructure market?

Earlier this year, one of incoming CEO Arvind Krishna’s first moves was the brilliant hire of a leading executive with a top customer, Bank of America’s CTO Howard Boville, to head up IBM’s cloud business. But even as IBM has taken some steps to spin out legacy businesses so it can focus intensely on that cloud business that Boville is leading, it still seems overly wedded to remnants of its past: Why Does IBM Have 4 Huge Zero-Growth Businesses in Today’s Booming Market?

And remember IBM’s marketing coup when its Watson AI system beat the reigning “Jeopardy” champion? That happened about 10 years ago—yet IBM was utterly unable to turn that marketing hyperbuzz into anything remotely approaching a commercial success, and continues to struggle with how to appropriately position and leverage its vast AI capabilities.

So which IBM will lead the way in 2021: the version of itself that seems cluttered and confused about the cloud and how to roar into the digital age, or the IBM that’s got a huge cloud business with an impressive growth rate, deep industry expertise, and a very promising future in quantum computing?

IBM’s Opportunities

IBM

In a world that’s changing faster than ever before, IBM has an abundance of two strategic resources that every business needs more than ever before:

 

  • an understanding of where the world’s headed and what’s needed to get there successfully; and
  • the world-class technology—cloud, AI, data, analytics—to power the journey.

 

Over the past several decades, IBM has created and enhanced not only remarkable technologies but also deep expertise in how the world’s major industries operate. And while every major tech company is trying to cobble together as much of that expertise as possible as quickly as possible, no other company on Earth can match IBM in those two areas.

Let that sink in a moment: IBM has—right now—two of the most-crucial ingredients for roaring success in the coming year and beyond: vast, deep, and cutting-edge technology capabilities, and unmatched industry knowledge in every sector of the global economy. So IBM not only knows where the world’s headed via its sweeping Global Business Services unit, it also has all the technologies and expertise to enable clients to surge into the future.

And as noted above, the hire of Bank of America CTO Howard Boville to head the cloud busines will only help to bring those two at-times disparate parts of the IBM empire together. If IBM—and Arvind Krishna in particular—can sweep aside the deeply political infighting that former CEO Ginni Rometty allowed to accumulate over the past decade and that almost crippled the company, then IBM has a chance to make itself vitally relevant to customers once again.

Here are just a few examples of the enormous opportunities awaiting IBM if it can truly get its unwieldy and overly parochial org structure aligned with customers and their deeply urgent needs:

 

  • help financial-services companies meet the new demands of digital customers while also fending off dangerous incursions from fintech disruptors;
  • help pharmaceutical companies get new drugs to market more quickly and less expensively but with even greater safety, impact and precision;
  • help insurance companies create new services built around the fluid demands of what customers want and need, rather than on what insurers happen to have been doing for the past 150 years;
  • help car companies make the leap from assembling steel, plastic and glass to also creating customer-centric mobility services and experiences;
  • help airlines reimagine and deliver elegant customer experiences in the post-COVID world;
  • help retailers turn omnichannel from a cliche into a highly differentiated model for business growth and also for customer loyalty; and
  • help shipping and logistics companies create new ways of moving not just molecules but also electrons around the world more rapidly, more profitably, and more predictably.

 

And for all of that to happen, IBM needs to find a way to exploit Red Hat’s technology and relationships to their fullest while also gradually and appropriately talking less and less about Red Hat and more and more about IBM. It’s certainly true that Red Hat has brought IBM a strong dose of cloud momentum with a deep grounding in true cloud technology and approaches. But, with all due respect to Red Hat and its excellent people, there’s no way—none—that Red Hat, on its own, would have made its way into the Cloud Wars Top 10 as one of the world’s largest and most-influential enterprise-tech companies.

Conversely, IBM is there already. And while at #7 on the Top 10 its clearly punching under the weight of its publicly stated $24.4 billion in trailing 12-month cloud revenue, IBM—not Red Hat!—has the potential and the assets and the global knowledge and the brand equity and the decades-long relationships and the world-class labs and the powerful partnerships to be a rising force in the greatest growth market the tech industry and probably the entire world has ever seen.

Going into 2021, the biggest opportunity IBM has is that it’s IBM. But to turn that opportunity into reality, IBM has to act like the IBM that helped transform the world for decades, and not like the befuddled and somewhat aimless savant that it was in the decade before Krishna took over in April 2020.

IBM’s Challenges

IBM

While I’ve certainly alluded to some of these above, let me spell out 4 primary challenges facing this iconic global brand.

a. Time is not on IBM’s side

IBM needs to get its entire organization intensely committed to customers, and to make everything else secondary or, even better, irrelevant. I know, I know, it’s a $75-billion business and with size comes complexity and with complexity comes politics and with politics comes self-interest and human nature being what it is and so on and so on. IBM and Arvind Krishna don’t have 3 or 4 or 5 years to get this right—if by the end of 2021 they haven’t begun to dazzle customers by doing things for those customers that those customers never thought possible, then I promise you with great certainty that Microsoft or Google Cloud or AWS or Oracle will surely rush in and do it.

b. The competition is astonishingly—almost frighteningly—good

Those four companies I just mentioned are innovating at speeds that no technology companies have ever matched, and at scales no other businesses of any kind have approached. So IBM can’t just be a better version of itself than it’s been in the recent past—that won’t be nearly good enough. Let me give you a very tangible example: Google Cloud was, for the first several years of its existence, almost exclusively an infrastructure player. But within his very first year as CEO, Thomas Kurian had pushed Google Cloud into a wildly different area—AI-driven industry-specific solutions—that would complement its IaaS business and, more important, offer customers new levels of insights and capabilities they’d never had before but now need desperately (Google Launches New Era in Cloud with AI-Powered Industry Solutions). Along those lines, what type of audaciously bold and imaginative leap will Krishna make in 2021 to make customers believe that IBM is once again capable of doing things no other tech company in the world can do?

 

  • How many CEOs’ hearts beat faster when they hear “hybrid cloud platform”? I’m not saying the technology strategy that Krishna and president Jim Whitehurst are driving is wrong—it’s actually quite compelling *for technologists.* But if that’s not going to grab the attention of CEO’s—and it’s not—then how does IBM present itself to the world in 2021?
  • Marc Benioff talks about Salesforce being “the customer company” and helping his customers develop “Customer360” capabilities;
  • Microsoft’s Satya Nadella talks elegantly about the developer revolution inside non-tech businesses that is turning those businesses upside-down;
  • SAP’s Christian Klein talks about the Intelligent Enterprise and the arrival of the Industry Cloud;
  • ServiceNow’s Bill McDermott talks about “the workflow revolution” and how his $4-billion company is well on its way to becoming a $10-billion company. And not for nothing but ServiceNow’s market cap, as of Nov. 20, was $101 billion, while IBM’s was $104 billion.

c. Create an AI strategy and express it in business terms

Watson will be—heck, it probably already is—a classic B-school study on squandered opportunity. As AI has taken its place as a core element in everyday business life, the company that was better positioned than anyone in the world—that would be IBM—to be the AI category king for decades has no compelling AI story to tell. That needs to change extremely quickly—because every other Cloud Wars Top 10 company is all over AI, and at some point the market just won’t really care what IBM’s doing.

Cloud Wars Top 10 by Cloud Revenue

Vendor

Quarterly Cloud Revenue

Qrtr. Ended

1. Microsoft

$15.2 Billion

9/30

2. Amazon AWS

$11.6 Billion

9/30

3. IBM

$6.0 Billion

9/30

4. Salesforce

$5.15 Billion

7/31

5. Google Cloud

$3.44 Billion

9/30

6. SAP

$2.36 Billion

9/30

7. Oracle

$2.2 Billion (estimate)

8/31

8. ServiceNow

$1.09 Billion

9/30

9. Workday

$969 Million

10/31

10. Adobe

$838 Million

8/28

IBM

IBM’s Opportunities

In a world that’s changing faster than ever before, IBM has an abundance of two strategic resources that every business needs more than ever before:

 

  • an understanding of where the world’s headed and what’s needed to get there successfully; and
  • the world-class technology—cloud, AI, data, analytics—to power the journey.

 

Over the past several decades, IBM has created and enhanced not only remarkable technologies but also deep expertise in how the world’s major industries operate. And while every major tech company is trying to cobble together as much of that expertise as possible as quickly as possible, no other company on Earth can match IBM in those two areas.

Let that sink in a moment: IBM has—right now—two of the most-crucial ingredients for roaring success in the coming year and beyond: vast, deep, and cutting-edge technology capabilities, and unmatched industry knowledge in every sector of the global economy.

So IBM not only knows where the world’s headed via its sweeping Global Business Services unit, it also has all the technologies and expertise to enable clients to surge into the future.

And as noted above, the hire of Bank of America CTO Howard Boville to head the cloud busines will only help to bring those two at-times disparate parts of the IBM empire together. If IBM—and Arvind Krishna in particular—can sweep aside the deeply political infighting that former CEO Ginni Rometty allowed to accumulate over the past decade and that almost crippled the company, then IBM has a chance to make itself vitally relevant to customers once again.

Here are just a few examples of the enormous opportunities awaiting IBM if it can truly get its unwieldy and overly parochial org structure aligned with customers and their deeply urgent needs:

 

  • help financial-services companies meet the new demands of digital customers while also fending off dangerous incursions from fintech disruptors;
  • help pharmaceutical companies get new drugs to market more quickly and less expensively but with even greater safety, impact and precision;
  • help insurance companies create new services built around the fluid demands of what customers want and need, rather than on what insurers happen to have been doing for the past 150 years;
  • help car companies make the leap from assembling steel, plastic and glass to also creating customer-centric mobility services and experiences;
  • help airlines reimagine and deliver elegant customer experiences in the post-COVID world;
  • help retailers turn omnichannel from a cliche into a highly differentiated model for business growth and also for customer loyalty; and
  • help shipping and logistics companies create new ways of moving not just molecules but also electrons around the world more rapidly, more profitably, and more predictably.

 

And for all of that to happen, IBM needs to find a way to exploit Red Hat’s technology and relationships to their fullest while also gradually and appropriately talking less and less about Red Hat and more and more about IBM. It’s certainly true that Red Hat has brought IBM a strong dose of cloud momentum with a deep grounding in true cloud technology and approaches. But, with all due respect to Red Hat and its excellent people, there’s no way—none—that Red Hat, on its own, would have made its way into the Cloud Wars Top 10 as one of the world’s largest and most-influential enterprise-tech companies.

Conversely, IBM is there already. And while at #7 on the Top 10 its clearly punching under the weight of its publicly stated $24.4 billion in trailing 12-month cloud revenue, IBM—not Red Hat!—has the potential and the assets and the global knowledge and the brand equity and the decades-long relationships and the world-class labs and the powerful partnerships to be a rising force in the greatest growth market the tech industry and probably the entire world has ever seen.

Going into 2021, the biggest opportunity IBM has is that it’s IBM. But to turn that opportunity into reality, IBM has to act like the IBM that helped transform the world for decades, and not like the befuddled and somewhat aimless savant that it was in the decade before Krishna took over in April 2020.

IBM’s Challenges

While I’ve certainly alluded to some of these above, let me spell out 4 primary challenges facing this iconic global brand.

a. Time is not on IBM’s side

IBM needs to get its entire organization intensely committed to customers, and to make everything else secondary or, even better, irrelevant. I know, I know, it’s a $75-billion business and with size comes complexity and with complexity comes politics and with politics comes self-interest and human nature being what it is and so on and so on. IBM and Arvind Krishna don’t have 3 or 4 or 5 years to get this right—if by the end of 2021 they haven’t begun to dazzle customers by doing things for those customers that those customers never thought possible, then I promise you with great certainty that Microsoft or Google Cloud or AWS or Oracle will surely rush in and do it.

b. The competition is astonishingly—almost frighteningly—good

Those four companies I just mentioned are innovating at speeds that no technology companies have ever matched, and at scales no other businesses of any kind have approached.

Cloud Wars Top 10 by Cloud Revenue

Vendor

Quarterly Cloud Revenue

Qrtr. Ended

1. Microsoft

$15.2 Billion

9/30

2. Amazon AWS

$11.6 Billion

9/30

3. IBM

$6.0 Billion

9/30

4. Salesforce

$5.15 Billion

7/31

5. Google Cloud

$3.44 Billion

9/30

6. SAP

$2.36 Billion

9/30

7. Oracle

$2.2 Billion (estimate)

8/31

8. ServiceNow

$1.09 Billion

9/30

9. Workday

$969 Million

10/31

10. Adobe

$838 Million

8/28

So IBM can’t just be a better version of itself than it’s been in the recent past—that won’t be nearly good enough. Let me give you a very tangible example: Google Cloud was, for the first several years of its existence, almost exclusively an infrastructure player. But within his very first year as CEO, Thomas Kurian had pushed Google Cloud into a wildly different area—AI-driven industry-specific solutions—that would complement its IaaS business and, more important, offer customers new levels of insights and capabilities they’d never had before but now need desperately (Google Launches New Era in Cloud with AI-Powered Industry Solutions). Along those lines, what type of audaciously bold and imaginative leap will Krishna make in 2021 to make customers believe that IBM is once again capable of doing things no other tech company in the world can do?

 

  • How many CEOs’ hearts beat faster when they hear “hybrid cloud platform”? I’m not saying the technology strategy that Krishna and president Jim Whitehurst are driving is wrong—it’s actually quite compelling *for technologists.* But if that’s not going to grab the attention of CEO’s—and it’s not—then how does IBM present itself to the world in 2021?
  • Marc Benioff talks about Salesforce being “the customer company” and helping his customers develop “Customer360” capabilities;
  • Microsoft’s Satya Nadella talks elegantly about the developer revolution inside non-tech businesses that is turning those businesses upside-down;
  • SAP’s Christian Klein talks about the Intelligent Enterprise and the arrival of the Industry Cloud;
  • ServiceNow’s Bill McDermott talks about “the workflow revolution” and how his $4-billion company is well on its way to becoming a $10-billion company. And not for nothing but ServiceNow’s market cap, as of Nov. 20, was $101 billion, while IBM’s was $104 billion.

c. Create an AI strategy and express it in business terms

Watson will be—heck, it probably already is—a classic B-school study on squandered opportunity. As AI has taken its place as a core element in everyday business life, the company that was better positioned than anyone in the world—that would be IBM—to be the AI category king for decades has no compelling AI story to tell. That needs to change extremely quickly—because every other Cloud Wars Top 10 company is all over AI, and at some point the market just won’t really care what IBM’s doing.

Unique Differentiation

IBM

Before I get to the good stuff, let me mention a couple of ways in which IBM is differentiating itself that are doing the company no good at all. As IBM says it’s maniacally focused on becoming the leader in hybrid cloud platform, what in the world is it doing in the hardware-systems business? Following are some numbers from my recent piece on those unappealing differentiators, headlined Why Does IBM Have 4 Huge Zero-Growth Businesses in Today’s Booming Market? Starting with Q3 2020 and going back 7 quarters, the revenue “growth” rates for IBM Power Systems are: -16%, -28%, -32%, -23%, -27%, 3%, 9%. The optimist might say, “Hey, look, our rate of decline is becoming less severe!” But I think the realist would say that this business is a distraction, it’s confusing to employees and to customers, and it has no apparent value in a world that’s surging into the cloud. Yet—there it is. And that’s a differentiator IBM does not want.

Some differentiators it does want:

 

  • that killer combo of vast technological depth and vertical-industry expertise and relationships, as evidenced by the IBM Cloud for Financial Services, which it launched in collaboration with Bank of America;
  • a hallowed brand name and a well-deserved reputation for equal parts ingenuity and integrity;
  • $24.4 billion in cloud revenue with, for Q3, a 19% growth rate;
  • a list of global customers that’s probably still unmatched even by Microsoft;
  • tens of thousands of superb technologists across the globe that want to be doing great and transformative things that truly matter to customers;
  • a CEO who by all appearances loves the company and its customers; and
  • such a huge footprint in and history with AI that, in spite of past bungling, could still make IBM a leader in this world-changing category.
IBM

Unique Differentiation

Before I get to the good stuff, let me mention a couple of ways in which IBM is differentiating itself that are doing the company no good at all. As IBM says it’s maniacally focused on becoming the leader in hybrid cloud platform, what in the world is it doing in the hardware-systems business? Following are some numbers from my recent piece on those unappealing differentiators, headlined Why Does IBM Have 4 Huge Zero-Growth Businesses in Today’s Booming Market? Starting with Q3 2020 and going back 7 quarters, the revenue “growth” rates for IBM Power Systems are: -16%, -28%, -32%, -23%, -27%, 3%, 9%. The optimist might say, “Hey, look, our rate of decline is becoming less severe!” But I think the realist would say that this business is a distraction, it’s confusing to employees and to customers, and it has no apparent value in a world that’s surging into the cloud. Yet—there it is. And that’s a differentiator IBM does not want.

Some differentiators it does want:

 

  • that killer combo of vast technological depth and vertical-industry expertise and relationships, as evidenced by the IBM Cloud for Financial Services, which it launched in collaboration with Bank of America;
  • a hallowed brand name and a well-deserved reputation for equal parts ingenuity and integrity;
  • $24.4 billion in cloud revenue with, for Q3, a 19% growth rate;
  • a list of global customers that’s probably still unmatched even by Microsoft;
  • tens of thousands of superb technologists across the globe that want to be doing great and transformative things that truly matter to customers;
  • a CEO who by all appearances loves the company and its customers; and
  • such a huge footprint in and history with AI that, in spite of past bungling, could still make IBM a leader in this world-changing category.

Leadership

When Krishna took over as CEO in April following a sterling 29-year career in R&D and product development, I wrote a piece called Will IBM’s New CEO Shake Up the Company or Simply Shuffle the Pieces? in which I noted that Krishna needs to shake up IBM vigorously and relentlessly not only because IBM is behind the times but also because that’s what every CEO in the Cloud Wars Top 10 is doing all the time—it’s a core element of their ongoing work. Here’s an excerpt that touches on several other top cloud companies:

 

Those CEOs have had to push significant changes through their organizations to keep their companies aligned with increasingly demanding customers and moving at the breakneck pace of change in today’s digital world. Take a look at these examples.

IBM
Howard Boville

High-Level Shakeups Among the Top 6

 

Clearly, those aren’t examples of tinkering and repotting. They are top-level transformations touching every employee and a great percentage of customers.

 

As noted earlier in this IBM analysis, the hiring of Bank of America CTO Howard Boville to head the cloud business was excellent and brings an outside-in perspective that must totally replace the internal haggling across the old hardware group, private-cloud group, public-cloud group, security group, database group, Global Business Services, and probably Catering, Housekeeping, and Facilities.

But most of all, Krishna needs to act decisively, quickly, and in ways that customers can instantly tell will result in benefits for them.

Perhaps this all sounds obvious—but in a 110-year-old company that once pretty much sat atop the business world, it will in some places be resisted as unnecessary, short-sighted and even dangerous. And that’s precisely why, a couple of months ago, I wrote this: An Open Letter to IBM CEO Arvind Krishna: Keep Swinging that Axe!

In Krishna’s first-day letter as CEO to colleagues, he said a few things that gave me great optimism about what the company could achieve with that much-needed change at the top. Let me share those as ideals and sentiments I hope Krishna embraces even more intensely as he looks to drive IBM to the top. In Krishna’s own words, he said:

 

  • “We all must be obsessed with continually delighting our clients. At every interaction, we must strive to offer them the best experience and value. The only way to lead in today’s ever-changing marketplace is to constantly innovate according to what our clients want and need.”
  • “All of this also needs to be complemented by a growth mindset.” (This appeared fairly far down in the letter—but it should have been at the very top. If some IBMers would have taken that as too mercenary or “contrary to our values,” then the sooner they leave the company, the better. This is a grow or die business.)
  • “Few companies have the trust, credibility and cumulative wisdom to change the fabric of society through technology the way that IBM can.”
  • “I love this company.”

 

And to close out this section, let me note that in July, after Krishna had presided over his first full quarter as CEO just as the pandemic turned the world on its head, I wrote this: Why IBM CEO Arvind Krishna Earned an A+ for His Debut Quarter. But that was then; this is now.

Leadership

IBM
Howard Boville

When Krishna took over as CEO in April following a sterling 29-year career in R&D and product development, I wrote a piece called Will IBM’s New CEO Shake Up the Company or Simply Shuffle the Pieces? in which I noted that Krishna needs to shake up IBM vigorously and relentlessly not only because IBM is behind the times but also because that’s what every CEO in the Cloud Wars Top 10 is doing all the time—it’s a core element of their ongoing work. Here’s an excerpt that touches on several other top cloud companies:

 

Those CEOs have had to push significant changes through their organizations to keep their companies aligned with increasingly demanding customers and moving at the breakneck pace of change in today’s digital world. Take a look at these examples.

 

         High-Level Shakeups Among the Top 6

 

Clearly, those aren’t examples of tinkering and repotting. They are top-level transformations touching every employee and a great percentage of customers.

 

As noted earlier in this IBM analysis, the hiring of Bank of America CTO Howard Boville to head the cloud business was excellent and brings an outside-in perspective that must totally replace the internal haggling across the old hardware group, private-cloud group, public-cloud group, security group, database group, Global Business Services, and probably Catering, Housekeeping, and Facilities.

But most of all, Krishna needs to act decisively, quickly, and in ways that customers can instantly tell will result in benefits for them.

Perhaps this all sounds obvious—but in a 110-year-old company that once pretty much sat atop the business world, it will in some places be resisted as unnecessary, short-sighted and even dangerous. And that’s precisely why, a couple of months ago, I wrote this: An Open Letter to IBM CEO Arvind Krishna: Keep Swinging that Axe!

In Krishna’s first-day letter as CEO to colleagues, he said a few things that gave me great optimism about what the company could achieve with that much-needed change at the top. Let me share those as ideals and sentiments I hope Krishna embraces even more intensely as he looks to drive IBM to the top. In Krishna’s own words, he said:

 

  • “We all must be obsessed with continually delighting our clients. At every interaction, we must strive to offer them the best experience and value. The only way to lead in today’s ever-changing marketplace is to constantly innovate according to what our clients want and need.”
  • “All of this also needs to be complemented by a growth mindset.” (This appeared fairly far down in the letter—but it should have been at the very top. If some IBMers would have taken that as too mercenary or “contrary to our values,” then the sooner they leave the company, the better. This is a grow or die business.)
  • “Few companies have the trust, credibility and cumulative wisdom to change the fabric of society through technology the way that IBM can.”
  • “I love this company.”

 

And to close out this section, let me note that in July, after Krishna had presided over his first full quarter as CEO just as the pandemic turned the world on its head, I wrote this: Why IBM CEO Arvind Krishna Earned an A+ for His Debut Quarter. But that was then; this is now.

The Big Questions for IBM

  • Can Krishna make every person across the vast IBM landscape—whether they’re lifers or new hires—passionately take up his call to “be obsessed with continually delighting our clients?” Thomas Kurian did exactly that at Google Cloud and in a strikingly short period of time—so it can be done.

  • Can IBM craft a new vision in the minds of business customers about what IBM is uniquely capable of doing for them?

  • Can Krishna infuse a near-frenetic pace of engagement, innovation, and execution within IBM to match that of his high-flying competitors?

  • Can IBM take steps to rationalize its huge portfolio of cloud products and services—I mean, that $24.4 billion came from somewhere—so that customers and prospects instantly get what IBM Cloud is all about? And why they need it?

  • Can Krishna keep lopping off vestigial appendages—as it’s doing with its managed infrastructure services spin-off dubbed “NewCo”—that were at one time vital and relevant but are now a drag on the company at a time when it can ill afford anything but forward thrust?

  • Can Krishna and IBM create an AI strategy and/or business that grabs not just the imagination but also the revenue of customers?

  • Can Krishna, with his unmatched understanding of IBM’s past, current, and future technological capabilities, build an industry-first bridge for customers from the cloud to the quantum future?

  • Will Red Hat continue to be a $34 billion differentiator for IBM as a platform for hybrid clouds? Since Red Hat is open software, can’t other cloud providers use Red Hat to build hybrid clouds without IBM’s help?

About The Author

I’ve analyzed the enterprise-tech business for more than 25 years as an editorial executive and more recently as Chief Communications Officer at Oracle. I’ve written thousands of articles and columns about business innovation, strategy, leadership, disruptive technology, digital transformation, cloud computing, AI and more. In late 2016, I resigned from Oracle to launch the Cloud Wars franchise. It began with the Cloud Wars Top 10 ranking and weekly articles, and has since expanded into daily articles, a weekly newsletter, a podcast with more than 200 episodes, and now this one-of-a-kind Special Report.

About The Author

About The Author

I’ve analyzed the enterprise-tech business for more than 25 years as an editorial executive and more recently as Chief Communications Officer at Oracle. I’ve written thousands of articles and columns about business innovation, strategy, leadership, disruptive technology, digital transformation, cloud computing, AI and more. In late 2016, I resigned from Oracle to launch the Cloud Wars franchise. It began with the Cloud Wars Top 10 ranking and weekly articles, and has since expanded into daily articles, a weekly newsletter, a podcast with more than 200 episodes, and now this one-of-a-kind Special Report.

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