Skip to main content

Management discussion
International Business Machines Corporation and Subsidiary Companies

IBM worldwide organizations

The following worldwide organizations play key roles in IBM’s delivery of value to its clients:

  • Sales and Distribution
  • Research, Development and Intellectual Property
  • Integrated Supply Chain
  • Integrated Technology Delivery
  • Business Process Delivery

Sales and Distribution

IBM has a significant global presence, operating in over 170 countries, with an increasingly broad-based geographic distribution of revenue. The company’s Sales and Distribution organization manages a strong global footprint, with dedicated country-based operating units focused on delivering client value. Within these units, client relationship professionals work with integrated teams of consultants, product specialists and delivery fulfillment teams to improve clients’ business performance. These teams deliver value by understanding the clients’ business and needs, and then bring together capabilities from across IBM and an extensive network of Business Partners to develop and implement solutions.

By combining global expertise with local experience, IBM’s geographic structure enables dedicated management focus for local clients, speed in addressing new market opportunities and timely investments in emerging opportunities. The geographic units align industry-skilled resources to serve clients’ agendas. IBM extends capabilities to mid-market client segments by leveraging industry skills with marketing, and local Business Partner resources.

In 2008, the company implemented a new growth markets organization to increase its focus on the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China and the additional opportunities around the world that have market growth rates greater than the global average — countries within Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. The company’s major markets include the United States, Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Cyprus, Norway, Israel, Spain, the Bahamas and the Caribbean region.

The majority of IBM’s revenue, excluding the company’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) technology business, occurs in industries that are broadly grouped into six sectors:

  • Financial Services: Banking, Financial Markets, Insurance
  • Public: Education, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences
  • Industrial: Aerospace and Defense, Automotive, Chemical and Petroleum, Electronics
  • Distribution: Consumer Products, Retail, Travel and Transportation
  • Communications: Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment, Energy and Utilities
  • Small and Medium Business: Mainly companies with less than 1,000 employees

Research, Development and Intellectual Property

IBM’s research and development (R&D) operations differentiate the company from its competitors. IBM annually spends approximately $6 billion for R&D, focusing its investments on high-growth, high-value opportunities. As a result of innovations in these and other areas, IBM was once again awarded more U.S. patents in 2008 than any other company, the first company to achieve over 4,000 patents in a year. The company will continue to actively seek intellectual property protection for its innovations, while increasing emphasis on other initiatives designed to leverage its intellectual property leadership and promote innovation.

In addition to producing world-class hardware and software products, IBM innovations are also a major differentiator in providing solutions for the company’s clients through its services businesses. The company’s investments in R&D also result in intellectual property (IP) income of approximately $1 billion annually. Some of IBM’s technological breakthroughs are used exclusively in IBM products, while others are licensed and may be used in either/both IBM products and/or the products of the licensee. While the company’s various proprietary intellectual property rights are important to its success, IBM believes its business as a whole is not materially dependent on any particular patent or license, or any particular group of patents or licenses. IBM owns or is licensed under a number of patents, which vary in duration, relating to its products. Licenses under patents owned by IBM have been and are being granted to others under reasonable terms and conditions.

Integrated Supply Chain

Consistent with the company’s work with clients to transform their supply chains for greater efficiency and responsiveness to global market conditions, the company continues to derive business value from its own globally integrated supply chain, which provides a strategic advantage for the company to create value for clients. IBM leverages its supply-chain expertise for clients through its supply-chain business transformation outsourcing service to optimize and help operate clients’ end-to-end supply-chain processes, from procurement to logistics.

IBM spends approximately $38 billion annually through its supply chain, procuring materials and services globally. The supply, manufacturing and logistics, and customer fulfillment operations are integrated in one operating unit that has optimized inventories over time, improved response to marketplace opportunities and external risks, and converted fixed costs to variable costs. Simplifying and streamlining internal processes has improved operations, sales force productivity and processes, and these actions have improved client satisfaction.

Integrated Technology Delivery

Integrated Technology Delivery (ITD) combines all of the worldwide service delivery capabilities for Strategic Outsourcing with strong local and regional management teams supported by a set of global competencies. ITD leverages the company’s global scale and advanced technology to deliver standardized solutions that are automated, repeatable and globally integrated. Clients gain cost advantages, access to industry-leading skills and IBM’s scale and overall flexibility. ITD manages the world’s largest privately-owned IT infrastructure with employees in over 40 countries supporting over 450 data centers.

Business Process Delivery

Business Process Delivery (BPD) provides highly efficient, world-class delivery capabilities in IBM’s business process delivery operations, which include Business Transformation Outsourcing, Business Pro­cess Outsourcing and Business Process Services. BPD has employees and delivery centers in over 40 countries worldwide.

Back to Top