In a recent CNBC interview, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, said that the future of IT will belong to those firms who are investing in social, mobile, and cloud. Then he went on to point out how well his company has invested in these areas and how poorly his rivals are investing.
In an October 22, 2011 New York Times editorial, columnist Thomas Freidman wrote about a recent visit to Silicon Valley and reported on an IT revolution “driven by the convergence of social media...with the proliferation of cheap wireless connectivity and Web-enabled smartphones and 'the cloud'...” Again: social, mobile, and cloud.
From IBM's perspective, the social-mobile-cloud sound bite is 75% correct. Cloud computing, mobile technologies, and social business are inextricably intertwined, and IBM also believes that those companies investing in these technologies will be tomorrow's IT leaders. But IBM has a more complete view of the future, and it's based on our last 100 years of success.
From the 2011 IBM CIO Study and the CMO Study, as well as several third party studies, analytics is one of the top investment areas for executives who control IT spending. The social-mobile-cloud sound bite completely misses that point. True, the cloud makes the explosive growth of analytics possible, and the explosive use of mobile and social gives everyone more to analyze, but it is an oversight to leave analytics out of a vision for what is hot now and what is driving the future.
In addition, IBM describes the future through what we call the 2015 roadmap, and it has four elements: growth markets, analytics, cloud computing, and Smarter Planet. Taken together, these initiatives encompass social business, mobility enablement, and cloud computing, and put them in the context of a global market. The roadmap is also more complete than the sound bite in that it includes a timeline and revenue targets. It's one thing to say that the future depends on investment in a few technologies, and it's another thing to publicly commit to a deadline for showing actual results from those investments.
The roadmap is not merely a technology statement. IBM's success over the last century is due in no small part to being able to nurture compelling technologies and create markets for them. We look forward to working with our partners turning these exciting new opportunities into success stories for our clients.