Skip to main content

Management discussion
International Business Machines Corporation and Subsidiary Companies

Business segments and capabilities

Business segment chart representing information contained in the text below.

The company’s major operations comprise a Global Technology Services segment; a Global Business Services segment; a Systems and Technology segment; a Software segment; and a Global Financing segment.

Global Services is a critical component of the company’s strategy of providing IT infrastructure and business insight and solutions to clients. While solutions often include industry-leading IBM software and hardware, other suppliers’ products are also used if a client solution requires it. Contracts for IBM services—commonly referred to as “signings”—can range from less than one year to over 10 years. Within Global Services there are two reportable segments: Global Technology Services and Global Business Services.

GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES (GTS) segment primarily reflects IT infrastructure services and business process services, delivering value through the company’s global scale, standardization and automation.

GTS capabilities

Strategic Outsourcing Services. Comprehensive IT services integrated with business insight working with clients to reduce costs and improve productivity through the outsourcing of processes and operations.

Business Transformation Outsourcing. A range of offerings from standardized processing platforms and Business Process Outsourcing through transformational offerings that delivers improved business results to clients through the strategic change and/or operation of the client’s business processes, applications and infrastructure.

Integrated Technology Services. Services offerings that help clients access, manage and support their technology infrastructures, through a combination of skilled resources, software and IBM’s knowledge of business processes.

Maintenance. A number of support services from product maintenance through solution support to maintain and improve the availability of clients’ IT infrastructure.

GLOBAL BUSINESS SERVICES (GBS) segment primarily reflects professional services and application outsourcing services, delivering business value and innovation to clients through solutions which leverage industry- and business-process expertise.

GBS capabilities

Consulting and Systems Integration. Delivery of value to clients through consulting services for client-relationship management, financial management, human capital management, business strategy and change, and supply-chain management.

Application Management Services. Application development, management, maintenance and support services for packaged software, as well as custom and legacy applications. Delivering value through the company’s global resource capabilities, industry knowledge, and the standardization and automation of application development.

SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY segment provides IBM’s clients with business solutions requiring advanced computing power and storage capabilities. Approximately 55 percent of the Systems and Technology’s server and storage sales transactions are through the company’s business partners; approximately 45 percent are direct to end-user clients, more than 40 percent of which are through the Internet at In addition, Systems and Technology provides leading semiconductor technology and products, packaging solutions and engineering technology services to clients and for IBM’s own advanced technology needs. While not reported as external revenue, systems hardware is also deployed to support services solutions.

Systems and Technology capabilities

Servers. IBM systems, which are typically connected to a network and provide the required infrastructure for business. These systems use both IBM and non-IBM operating systems and all IBM servers can also run Linux, a key open source operating system (System z, System i, System p, System x and BladeCenter).

Storage. Information infrastructure products and solutions, which address critical client requirements for information retention and archiving, availability and virtualization, and security and compliance. The portfolio consists of a broad range of disk and tape storage systems and software.

Microelectronics. Semiconductor design and manufacturing for use in IBM systems and for sale to external clients.

Engineering and Technology Services. System and component design services, Blue Gene “supercomputer systems,” outsourcing of clients’ design teams and technology and manufacturing consulting services.

Retail Store Solutions. Point-of-sale retail systems (network connected cash registers) as well as solutions which connect them to other store systems (for example, inventory).

SOFTWARE consists primarily of middleware and operating systems software. Middleware software enables clients to integrate systems, processes and applications across a standard software platform. IBM middleware is designed to open standards which allows the efficient integration of disparate client applications that may have been built internally, or provided by package software vendors or system integrators. Operating systems are the software engines that run computers. In addition, Software includes Product Lifecycle Management software which primarily serves the Industrial sector. Approximately two-thirds of external Software segment revenue is annuity-based, coming from recurring license charges and ongoing subscription and support from one-time charge (OTC) arrangements. The remaining one-third of external revenue relates to OTC arrangements, in which the client pays one up-front payment for a perpetual license. Typically, arrangements for the sale of OTC software include one year of maintenance. The client can also purchase ongoing maintenance after the first year, which includes product upgrades and technical support. While not reported as external revenue, software is also deployed to support services solutions.

Software capabilities

WebSphere Software. Management of a wide variety of business processes using open standards to interconnect applications, data and operating systems. Provides the foundation for Web-enabled applications and is a key product set in deploying a SOA.

Information Management Software. Advanced database, content management and information integration software that helps companies integrate, manage and gain value from their business information.

Tivoli Software. Software for infrastructure management, including security and storage management that will help organizations better manage their IT infrastructure to more effectively deliver IT services.

Lotus Software. Collaboration, messaging and social networking software that enables businesses to communicate, collaborate and increase productivity.

Rational Software. Software tools that help clients manage their software development processes and capabilities.

Operating Systems. Software engines that manage the fundamental processes that make computers run.

GLOBAL FINANCING is described in its Description of Business section.

Global Financing capabilities

Commercial Financing. Short-term inventory and accounts receivable financing to dealers and remarketers of IT products.

Client Financing. Lease and loan financing to external and internal clients for terms generally between two and seven years.

Remarketing. The sale and lease of used equipment (primarily sourced from the conclusion of lease transactions) to new or existing clients.

Back to Top