IBM’s Core Competencies
The most obvious core competency of IBM is that it is one of the undisputed leaders when it comes to the production and sales of computer hardware and software. IBM has been in existence since 1911, and so it should not be surprising anymore that it has managed to establish an excellent reputation already when it comes to computer hardware and software (Pugh, 1995). People always make sure to check for IBM products whenever they are trying to buy new computers because they know that they will get their money’s worth. This core competency of IBM is not easily imitated because it takes decades of sustained excellence to establish a reputable name in the information technology industry. IBM has consistently proven that it can deliver the best computer hardware and software products which helped it to become a force to be reckoned with in the information technology industry.
Aside from this, another core competency of IBM is that it is also one of the undisputed leaders when it comes to research. The company has already patented so many products that used to be very influential, while some continue to be used extensively today (Williamson, 2008). IBM is the company responsible for the creation of the automated teller machine which continues to be very helpful today in making the lives of people more comfortable especially when they need emergency cash. Even the floppy disk and the hard disk drive were patented by IBM as proofs of its excellent research capabilities. This core competency of IBM is rare because it is very difficult for a company to come up with new patents every year, something that IBM has been able to do for nearly three decades now. This just shows that IBM is totally committed towards coming up with even better products in the long run that will bring more comfort to the people because this company is not just limited to being competitive in the information technology industry but also in the field of research.
Finally, there is the strong workforce of IBM that exudes excellence which is a core competency of the company. The people who work at IBM are part of a workforce that has become known as IBMers (Bohlander and Snell, 2006). IBM has operations all over the world, and people are excited to work for such a prestigious company because they know that they are going to be part of a special workforce that will always aspire for the best. When people talk about an IBMer, this means that this is an employee who is one of a kind because he or she has that unique knowledge and skills that enable the company to stand out and be the best in what it does. This core competency of IBM is not easily imitated because it also takes a long time before a strong workforce is established which will produce excellent results consistently. The employees truly need to buy in and embrace what IBM stands for so that they can represent their company proudly and be able to perform well.
Being one of the undisputed leaders when it comes to the production and sales of computer hardware and software is related to and critical to the execution of IBM’s Vision, Mission and Objectives (VMO) in the sense that this is necessary to ensure that IBM will become the best company in the world when it comes to information technology which has always been its vision ever since it started in 1911. There is no doubt that IBM has very high goals for itself, so part of its mission is to keep on being the best not just in the field of information technology but also in research. It helps that that IBM has reliable and competent employees who will always strive for excellence because this is the only standard that matters for them. The IBMers will play a crucial role towards their company’s sustained success in the long run. The core competencies of IBM make it stand out from the rest of its competitors because they cannot match what IBM can provide on a consistent basis year after year as part of its commitment towards becoming the best.
Strengths and Weaknesses of IBM
|The obvious strength of IBM is that it is a reputable and respected company already (Pettis, 2001). It is undeniable that when it comes to products related to computer hardware and software, the name of IBM always comes up and is one of the top choices of the people which leads to the company’s tremendous profitability. The company has loyal customers all over the world because of its impressive track record. Aside from this, another strength of IBM is its expertise in innovation brought about by its impressive research capabilities. The secret as to why IBM comes up with new patents consistently is because it is an integral part of the culture of IBM to find innovations that will benefit society. The company does not hesitate to allocate huge amounts of money on its research activities because it is very confident that this will lead to innovative products which will be beneficial to the people over the long-term.||A weakness of IBM is that it is operating in the information technology industry where companies are prone towards just copying the products of each other. Thus, the challenge for IBM is to make sure that its products will always be different from its competitors which is very difficult to do because it is tough to always come up with innovations on products that are already excellent. IBM is not a perfect company. It has its own fair share of issues, especially where IBM has been interpreted as the acronym for “I’ve Been Moved” because of the continuous termination or relocation of employees in the past (Simons, 2005). This is something that had a negative effect on the image and credibility of IBM because some people thought that the company is not a good employer at all and is only after profitability.|
I selected these areas of strength of IBM because they are the most obvious ones that are unmistakable. There cannot be any doubt that IBM is very successful today and will continue to be successful in the future because it knows how to take advantage of its areas of strength. Being a reputable company and being a successful innovator are results of the hard work and commitment to excellence of IBM over the years. They relate to the VMO and strategy of IBM in the sense that the company knows that if it wants to keep on being a dominant force in the information technology industry over the years to come, it must simply be consistent in taking advantage of its areas of strength while making sure to transform its weaknesses into areas of strength also.
I selected these areas of weakness of IBM because I wanted to emphasize that even though IBM has been very successful, this does not mean that it does not have its own challenges and problems that it faces. Being successful does not mean perfection, but IBM has done an excellent job in making sure that these problems and challenges do not affect its operations. IBM is just like any other company in that it has its own limitations and failures in the past. It is just that the company has found a way to always overcome its limitations and learn from its past failures to become successful today. The weaknesses of IBM eventually turn into areas of strength because this is part of the commitment of the company to strive to be better for its employees and for its customers. The company makes no excuses and just finds a way to get the job done no matter what. This is the same attitude and mentality that the IBMers have which makes the company very steady and resilient as it has people who will never give up until the problem is addressed.
The areas of weakness relate to the VMO and to IBM’s strategy in the sense that the company must always find a way to address these problems and challenges to ensure that it will remain dominant in the information technology industry because the competition here is very intense. Even the slightest mistakes could cause IBM to fall, and it could be very difficult for the company to get back up. It is important that IBM is always very careful not to allow these weaknesses to linger which could lead to more complications and problems in the long run. Thus, IBM must always be proactive in addressing its weaknesses instead of being reactive or doing something only once the problem is already there as it could already be too late to minimize the damage done. It is best for IBM to initiate measures that will prevent its weaknesses from getting out of hand as this is the only way for the company to stay at the top of its industry.
IBM Resource-Based View (RBV)
An important tangible asset for IBM that is crucial to accomplish its intended strategies is its capital. This is because this enables the company to keep on expanding its operations all over the world (Cortada, 2019). In fact, IBM is one of the top global employers in the world already with thousands of employees collectively known as IBMers. Having a global presence makes IBM very competitive and tough to beat. I selected this because being profitable is very crucial towards enabling IBM to have a shot at becoming the best information technology company in the world which is connected to the VMO and strategy of the company. Having the funds empowers IBM to keep on finding ways to produce the best products that will address the needs of its customers as part of its mission. Having capital will allow IBM to allocate more money on research so that it can come up with new patents that will impress the world and make it a better place for the people to enjoy.
Another important tangible asset for IBM that is crucial to accomplish its intended strategies is its impressive array of products. The computer hardware and software products being produced by IBM are the results of the hard work and commitment to excellence of its people. I selected this because the products reflect the quality of the company that made them. Since the IBM products are highly appreciated, this only means that IBM is also well-respected. This is connected to the VMO and strategy of the company in the sense that if IBM will continue to offer the best computer hardware and software products as part of its mission, it should not be impossible for it to accomplish its vision of becoming the best information technology company in the world. As more people will continue to be impressed with IBM, this means more customers and more profits for the company over the long-term. It is going to be truly hard for the competitors to keep up with IBM.
The impressive brand reputation of IBM is one of its important intangible assets. This is because IBM is a brand that represents excellence in information technology. I selected this because it shows that when a company is committed towards striving to be the best, it will be rewarded eventually. IBM did not have an impressive brand reputation overnight. The hard work started way back in 1911 and has continued ever since. This is connected to the VMO and strategy of the company in the sense that if IBM wants to achieve its vision to become the best information technology company in the world, it needs to make sure that its impressive brand reputation will not be tarnished. The respectability and excellence of the company must continue to be there so that there cannot be any doubt in the minds of the people that IBM truly is the best in its industry.
Another intangible asset of IBM is its organizational culture that breeds success (Heskett, 2012). The people at IBM develop the mentality of a winner because they know that their company is one of the best in the information technology industry. The IBMers step up and embrace the challenge of working in a top company where the expectations upon them to perform well are very high. I selected this because it is important to emphasize that a big part of the reason why IBM has become successful is because it has people who are winners. When the organizational culture promotes a winning mentality, everybody else buys in and nothing becomes impossible. This is connected to the VMO and strategy of the company in the sense that the path towards becoming the best information technology company in the world will get a lot easier for IBM if it can sustain this winning organizational culture. The people of IBM will be ready to work hard and give their best because it will give them a tremendous sense of pride if they could help their company to achieve its vision to become the best information technology company in the world.
Value Chain Analysis
The main thing that makes IBM’s resources and capabilities difficult for others to imitate is that they have been integrated into the organization’s operations and culture for decades already. The company already knows the formula in terms of how it can achieve success consistently using its resources and capabilities. Using the Value Chain Analysis, the most valuable activities which give significant competitive advantage to IBM are human resource management, research and development, and marketing and sales.
Human resource management is always crucial for IBM because this involves the recruitment of excellent people to become IBMers and retaining them eventually so they can make the workforce of the company stronger (Price, 2007). The IBMers play a huge part in the success of IBM so they need to be the best in what they do. The challenge is for the human resource personnel to find those who are worthy to become IBMers and make them stay in the company for a long time. Research is also very important for IBM because this is where it discovers the innovations that it needs to become successful. The company allocates so much money on its research and development activities because it knows that this will pay off in the long run once the innovative products are developed and sold to the people. Marketing and sales are the activities that bring profitability to IBM. The company must find a way to make money from the products that it is offering to the people. The good thing is that the IBM products are being marketed as the best in the world, and this makes the people interested to buy these products to see for themselves if there is truth to what IBM claims. IBM’s excellent reputation also helps to sell its products because the people have trust and confidence that anything being offered by IBM will be worth their money. The people are not disappointed at all because IBM always delivers products of excellent quality.
Bohlander, G., and Snell, S. (2006). Managing Human Resources. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning
Cortada, J. (2019). IBM: The Rise and Fall and Reinvention of a Global Icon. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press
Heskett, J. (2012). The Culture Cycle. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press
Pettis, C. (2001). Technobrands. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse
Price, A. (2007). Human Resource Management in a Business Context. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning
Pugh, E. (1995). Building IBM: Shaping an Industry and Its Technology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press
Simons, R. (2005). Levers of Organization Design. Brighton, MA: Harvard Business Press
Williamson, G. (2008). Memoirs of My Years with IBM: 1951-1986. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris