IBM India By Elliott Smith and Sam Kligman

Overview:

IBM India is one of the largest branches of the IBM “empire”. It has offices all around India, and earns a large portion of the global IBM profits. The Indian Branch went through a major reorganization in 2006 where it changed its business line to focus on four main sectors of growth.  Those sectors are: Business Transformation Outsourcing, Application Management Services, Business Solutions, and Small/Medium Business Solutions.

Our Impressions Coming In:

To be honest we had no idea what to expect coming in.  We knew we were headed to a large IBM office in the heart of the Mumbai commercial sector and we knew we were meeting with a country manager, Mr. Goyal.  Aside from that, we made no assumptions on what we might be allowed to see or learn about the company. However, there were several topics that we wanted to learn more about if given the opportunity. The first was how IBM India interacted with their large head office in America. We felt that the relationship between these two branches would be very interesting, particularly how the branches deal with the cultural differences between one another. The second was how IBM planned to adapt to the new cloud based trend that has been seen in the tech industry. Were they going to stick to brick and mortar system implementation or had they come up with something new to provide the businesses they usually serve?

Our Impressions Coming Out:

Initially we were taken aback by the level of security we had to navigate through in order to physically get into the office. To be frank, it was extensive! However, once we gained entry, we were greeted with a very cordial welcome from Mr. Goyal who informed us that he would be talking about IBMs new platform termed “Social-Business” that combined aspects of social networking sites into business software we realized just why the level of security was high. This was a new technology most of us had never seen before and a trade secret to be closely guarded.

Mr. Goyal explained that IBM developed the new software to act like a dashboard.  He also noted that, every program you would normally use in your day to day business activities takes time to open up and toggle back and forth between.  In fact, he said studies showed that workers spend upward of 45 minutes a day doing so. So IBM’s software was an attempt to take this into account and eliminate much of this wasted time. It did this by being customizable, and allowing a company to pull all of its programs into the previously mentioned user-friendly dashboard.  We predict that this idea new idea, born from the social networking site style and design, will most likely replace much of the old style business management systems currently in use.

After Mr. Goyal went through his presentation we continued into a question and answer period were we asked him to explain the challenges that come with being a branch of a large foreign company.  His answer was colorful, filled with stories, and multifaceted but had the one core takeaway – IBM has developed a large company culture which spans all of its branches. Mr. Goyal stated that dealing with different branches in different countries isn’t as big of a problem as one might think because this large company corporate culture was strong and had the effect of pulling everyone together to be “IBMers”. He noted several IBM sponsored team events he had experienced and claimed that they developed many deeper level IBM connection and mutual respect for the talents of others in the company. We learned that activities like these translated directly to effective collaboration and workers continued growth. His ending note was essentially that even if IBM encompassed many regional cultures its company culture trumped all else.

Overall:

We were impressed that the culture of IBM and its ability to transcend geographical boundaries.  Moreover, we were blown away by the new BusinessSocial technology that it was already using and would be rolling out to customers because we had never seen such seamless integration of social and business before!  As we departed the office we believe our entire group had a deeper respect for the flexibility of the IBM business model and the uniqueness of its culture thanks to Mr. Goyal.

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