An Optimist at the Helm of IBM’s Global Delivery Unit
This is an abridged version of an interview that appeared late last month in the September issue of InformationWeek Magazine.
This week, two of IBM’s most successful leaders discuss how the company is leading the field into the fifth and sixth generations of its business, and the impact it has on its industry.
The first session, by John Bigg, senior vice president in the IBM Global Delivery Unit, addresses challenges facing the company’s new role as a business-driven, customer-centered company, while the second session, by Rajat Ray, vice president of manufacturing at IBM Research, reflects on the future of business services, the importance of the business and how IBM is delivering on a promise.
In an era of increased automation and virtualization, Ray says, “The customer will be the most important driver of business growth in the future. And the most important driver of growth will be the customer.”
The future of business services
Gareth Williams is a former CIO who left IBM in May to become the Chief Information Officer of a new company, Korn Ferry, that he started called Enterprise Services. He says that the current business model is “pretty flawed,” and that the only way to change the model is to “build a new model starting with the customer.”
IBM is currently the only U.S. company in which the global delivery unit directly owns all of its customers, and has about 200,000 customers in more than 100 countries.
The key to delivering business services on a global basis, Williams says, is building global sales forces that work together to meet customers’ needs.
“You have to have the ability to sell to and deliver to customers in many different countries and in many markets,” he says. “That’s basically the future of business services.”
Ray speaks about the importance of the business and challenges to those who work in it. “Our current model—when we’re done with our customer service—is just a way for us to make some easy money,” he says.
“We’re trying to find a better way to make some money for our customers.”