Archive for 25 de outubro de 2011

Virginia M. Rometty elected IBM president and CEO

outubro 25, 2011

News from IBM!


Armonk, NY, October 25, 2011 – The IBM board of directors has elected Virginia M. Rometty president and chief executive officer of the company, effective January 1, 2012. She was also elected a member of the board of directors, effective at that time. Ms. Rometty is currently IBM senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She succeeds Samuel J. Palmisano, who currently is IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. Mr. Palmisano will remain chairman of the board.

“Ginni Rometty has successfully led several of IBM’s most important businesses over the past decade—from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets Unit,” Mr. Palmisano said. “But she is more than a superb operational executive. With every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM’s capabilities for our clients. She has spurred us to keep pace with the needs and aspirations of our clients by deepening our expertise and industry knowledge. Ginni’s long-term strategic thinking and client focus are seen in our growth initiatives, from cloud computing and analytics to the commercialization of Watson. She brings to the role of CEO a unique combination of vision, client focus, unrelenting drive, and passion for IBMers and the company’s future. I know the board agrees with me that Ginni is the ideal CEO to lead IBM into its second century.”

Samuel J. Palmisano and Virginia M. Ms. Rometty said: “There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM, especially at this moment. Sam had the courage to transform the company based on his belief that computing technology, our industry, even world economies would shift in historic ways. All of that has come to pass. Today, IBM’s strategies and business model are correct. Our ability to execute and deliver consistent results for clients and shareholders is strong. This is due to Sam’s leadership, his discipline, and his unshakable belief in the ability of IBM and IBMers to lead into the future. Sam taught us, above all, that we must never stop reinventing IBM.”

Mr. Palmisano, 60, became IBM chief executive officer in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003. During his tenure, IBM exited commoditizing businesses, including PCs, printers and hard disk drives, and greatly increased investments in high-value businesses and technologies. He has overseen the significant expansion of IBM in the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil, Russia and dozens of other developing countries, transforming IBM from a multinational into a globally integrated enterprise. In 2008, he launched IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy, which describes the company’s view of the next era of information technology and its impact on business and society.

Since Mr. Palmisano became CEO, IBM has set records in pre-tax earnings, earnings per share, and free cash flow. During Mr. Palmisano’s tenure, IBM increased EPS by almost five times, generated over $100 billion in free cash flow, and invested more than $50 billion in research and development—creating over $100 billion of shareholder value since 2002 through an increase in market capitalization and dividends paid.

As global sales leader for IBM, Ms. Rometty, 54, is accountable for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction in the 170 global markets in which IBM does business. She is responsible for IBM’s worldwide results, which exceeded $99 billion in 2010. She also is responsible for leading IBM’s global strategy, marketing and communications functions. Previously, Ms. Rometty was senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. In that role, she led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting—the largest acquisition in professional services history, building a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts. She has also served as general manager of IBM Global Services, Americas, and of IBM’s Global Insurance and Financial Services Sector.

Ms. Rometty joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.


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Why Property Managers Have Panic In Their Eyes

outubro 25, 2011

Outro artigo interessante de!


Gene Marks Gene Marks, Contributor

I write about the business of technology

10/24/2011 @ 7:10AM |9,377 views

Why Property Managers Have Panic In Their Eyes

CHICAGO - JULY 08:  Office space is advertised...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

A few months ago I spoke to a group of commercial building owners and property managers.  And there was panic in their eyes.

It had nothing to do with the rainy weather that was forecast for the afternoon’s golf tournament.  Or that the evening’s open bar would only be beer and wine.  It was something else.

We spoke about the economy.  The slow growth of GDP.  The potential rise in interest rates and inflation.  The challenges that the Fed faced.  The budget battles in Washington and the tax increases which are headed our way.  All of these topics concerned them.  But it did not panic them.  They listened obediently, sipping their iced teas and trying not to fall asleep.

That is until I got to that one specific thing that really caught their attention:  cloud computing…and how it will affect their industry.  As we together discussed this trend, and the related technologies that it affects, I noticed the participants began to wake up.  They sat straighter in their chairs.  They began to squirm.  And they started to ask questions. A lot of questions.  And I saw the panic in their eyes.

That is exactly what I mean.

Last week Bloomberg Business Week reported a slowdown in the demand for office space.  “What we’re seeing is apprehension in terms of taking action, and I think that that’s a reflection of volatility in the global economy,” Maria Sicola, executive managing director of research for the Americas at Cushman, said in a telephone interview from Portland, Oregon. “That’s really translating itself into the halting of decision-making.”

I think it’s a lot more than that.

The good news is that office vacancies are declining from their peak of 16.8% during the recession.  The bad news is that it’ll be a long, long time before this rate (ever) reaches what it was back in the early 2000’s.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at just how low office vacancies were at the beginning of that decade compared to now.

Of course, a big factor here is people.  And the slow economy.  With unemployment hovering at 9.2% there are less butts in office chairs, and more butts at home watching Judge Judy.   But there’s something else going on.  I keep visiting clients who have cut back staff.  Walking to their conference rooms, they take me through large swaths of empty spaces of uninhabited floors where cubes once filled with busy people used to be.  And then we sit down to discuss their business and I find out that business is…up? Profits are steady.  Cash has increased.

When the economy returns, will those butts be there to fill those cubicles?  I don’t think they will.  Business people aren’t so anxious to hire people.  Particularly when they’re getting the same (if not more) stuff done with less people  And as this trend continues,  what will happen when it’s time for these companies to renew their leases?  You guessed it.  And that’s what panicking the property managers.  You can see it in their eyes.

Because it’s not just the slow economy and high unemployment that will affect office vacancies going forward.  Technology has impacted real estate.  Permanently.

For example, there’s the technology of outsourcing.  Need someone to do marketing?  Or a bookkeeper?  How about a customer service rep?  Or an inside sales person?  Back in the early 2000’s you were taking an ad out in the paper, or online at  You needed to justify the expense of hiring that person full time.  What other choice did you have?

But not today.  Today you can go to Elance, Guru, oDesk, Freelancer or any other of the dozens of sites that do nothing more than provide communities of experts that do outsourced technical work from all parts of the world.  You can post your jobs and ask people to bid on them.  You can look up a potential person’s background, check on the other jobs they’ve done, see what comments were written about them.  And you don’t even have to pay them until the work is done – just put the money up in escrow and release it when you’re satisfied.  Why hire full time people when tools like these exist to find the exact people to do the exact task you need them to do?

What really made the property and building managers squirm were the cloud-based tools that enable us to do this.  Because once we find that person we really don’t care where they’re located.

If they need access to our systems or networks we just provide them with a remote desktop connection to our server.  Because today just about everyone has a way to access their internal systems through the cloud.  Or, as a growing number of my clients are doing, we let our outsourced cloud infrastructure providers, who are hosting all of our applications and databases, worry about connecting these remote people.  If we need to discuss projects with them face to face we connect using video tools like Skype and Oovoo.  If we need to host meetings with groups of people we use tools like GoToMeeting.  We share our documents, spreadsheets and data with them using hosted services like Google Docs, Office 365 and DropBox.  Or we manage our projects with applications like BaseCamp and Zoho.

Back in the day I would walk into a client’s office and be shown large, refrigerated computer rooms where servers and phone systems were housed and watched over by teams of IT guys in blue jeans and Black Sabbath concert t-shirts.  Today those rooms (and the space needed for those rooms) are gone.  For those companies with servers in-house they’ve virtualized them down to one or two machines tucked away under an administrator’s desk.  And for the growing number of companies who have outsourced it all to their provider in the cloud they’re using this excess space for indoor street hockey until their lease runs out, with no intention of renewing.  And those IT guys?  They never seem to go away.  Just like Ozzie.

Reception areas have become virtualized too.  Particularly because of the popularity of hosted phone systems.  Most communication providers offer Voice Over IP phone systems nowadays where employees (and non-employees) can be connected into a company’s phone system no matter where they are.  And firms like VirtualPBX and Grasshopper host entire phone systems (like mine) for close to $10 per month per user.  That way my receptionist can be working from her home in Cleveland even when a phone call is made to my “office” in Philadelphia.  It gets bounced to her phone and she’s able to redirect the call to the right extension.

That is assuming that a receptionist is even needed any more.   We’re all so used to automated systems where we choose the extension or search through a directory for the employee or department we need and are then bounced to the right person.  That person also can be somewhere other than an office.  In fact more times than not he’s not even in the office – he’s on his mobile phone or at some other location.

Building and property managers aren’t happy about this.  But staffing firms are loving it.

Take Harold M. Messmer, Jr. – Chairman and CEO  of Robert Half International.  Tomorrow they’ll be releasing their third quarter results.  Keep an eye on that.  Because if these results are anything like the second quarter Mr. Messmer will be having a very thankful Thanksgiving.

That’s because in the second quarter Robert Half’s revenues were up 22% from one year ago. “This has been among the fastest post-downturn recoveries we have seen in our business.” Said (I’m assuming a very gleeful) Mr. Messmer. “This last recession was deeper than past ones in our history, but revenues have grown faster than in periods following other downturns.   Notwithstanding the disappointing job report for June, we saw higher demand for our professional staffing services in the United States throughout the second quarter.

Unemployment’s high.  And we’re in a slow, slow economy.  It hasn’t been a great time to be in the property management business.  Unfortunately for those guys, technology isn’t going to make it any easier for them to fill that glut in the future.  Do you see the panic in their eyes?  I do.

Besides Forbes, Gene Marks writes weekly for The New York Times and frequently for The Huffington Post and American City Business Journals. He runs a ten person consulting firm outside of Philadelphia and can be followed on Twitter.

Innovation: Corporate Culture is Not the Answer!

outubro 25, 2011

Artigo interessante do!


10/24/2011 @ 9:15AM |431 views

Innovation: Corporate Culture is Not the Answer!

Bill Fischer

Bill Fischer, Contributor

Star Model Choices for IDEO’s Innovative Culture

Everyone wants to be innovative; most fail!

In fact, I can’t remember when any organization last came to IMD and pronounced themselves as being  innovation indifferent; yet, the sad truth is that while everyone dreams of becoming Apple, most linger in the same innovation-lite purgatories that we associate with today’s RIM, Kodak, even Sony, and countless other organizations who despite their best efforts and historical legacy are no longer distinguished by the successful commercialization of great ideas. Clearly, such organizations are not the victims of aspirational failure; they all aspire to be innovative! The problem must be somewhere else; perhaps their organizational culture?

A new report on innovation produced by Booz & Company — Global Innovation 1000which is forthcoming in the Winter 2011 edition of Strategy + Culture argues that organizational culture is, indeed, the culprit. The report observes that “only about half of all companies say that their corporate culture  [“the organization’s self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking and believing”] robustly supports their innovation strategy. Moreover, about the same proportion say their innovation strategy is inadequately aligned with their overall corporate strategy.” 

In fact, the report’s observation on the lack of a statistically significant relationship between financial performance and innovation spending serves to further emphasize that innovative success is not a function of spending-might, but rather of the environment in which any such investment takes place.

What we are told by the new Global Innovation 1000 study is that “intangibles, such as risk, creativity, openness, and collaboration — are critical for [innovation] success.” I think that we would all agree, but, here’s the rub: these are all outcomes, they are all aspirations in their own right: “we want to be less risk-adverse, we want to be customer-centric, we want to move to market faster, etc., etc.”, I hear these nearly every day, and yet nothing changes. Wishing about changes in corporate culture is not enough! In fact, a friend of mine, who is quite well-known in innovation circles, has often remarked that “the word culture is an excuse for not thinking!” What we really want to focus-in-on are the leadership acts and managerial choices that will raise the probability of us actually achieving one or more of these aspirations!

Every organizational manager, no matter how modest the organization, can make a difference in how innovative their organization can be. It all starts, as Global Innovation 1000 rightly points out, with a precise and inspiring vision of the role that innovation will play in the organization’s vision of strategic success. Global Innovation 1000 cites HP’s Prith Banerjee, SVP of Research and Director of HP Labs, who provides a good example of this. He reveals a fourfold mission for the HP Labs business unit:

  • Creating absolutely breakthrough technologies
  • Creating new business opportunities for HP
  • Advancing the state of the art in whatever we do; and
  • Engaging with customers and partners.

These provide a crisp, and relatively unambiguous vision of what this particular business unit aspires to achieve. However, the conversation must not stop here! What must come next is a recognition of discrete and concrete managerial choices that will raise the probability of HP Labs (in this example) achieving these aspirations. Without such choices, we have only dreams!

At IMD, we have come to rely upon a simple, but exceedingly useful framework for thinking about the managerial choices necessary to really build an aspirational culture, that was developed by a former IMD colleague, Jay Galbraith. Galbraith’s “star model” (which is portrayed above for IDEO’s highly innovative culture (my interpretation)) identifies the five “levers” by which managers can move an organization:

  1. the articulation of strategic vision (which should be both precise & liberating)
  2. the talent & skills that are necessary to achieve this vision
  3. the best way to organize our talent & skills to achieve our vision
  4. the processes that we can employ to give our talent a higher probability of success, and
  5. the values, measures & rewards by which we inspire, evaluate and compensate our talent.

If you read carefully through the Global Innovation 1000 report, what you will see are signs that the most successful innovators mentioned are [as HP Labs, in fact, appears to be doing] making such specific managerial choices, that they are doing it in such a fashion that each choice directly supports the aspirational vision that has been announced, and that each choice reinforces every other choice. There are no disconnects allowed! Conflicting choices will only slow you down and create confusion. Finally, successful innovators synchronize the timing of their choices to the extent possible in order not to entertain disconnects caused by the sequential timing of the managerial choices, which can be as disconcerting as not making reinforcing choices.

Wishing for a more innovative culture is not the answer. To begin with, the terms “innovation” and “culture” mean so many things, to so many people, that if we stop there we have no idea what anyone understands. Instead, an innovative culture should be recognized as being painstakingly crafted from the aggregation of many different discrete managerial choices, all of which are aimed at the overall strategic vision, and all of which are reinforcing. Successful innovation leaders cannot allow strategic conversations to stop at the aspirational level. They must insist on drilling down to the next level of managerial choices that are necessary to gain the desired outcome. In fact, I would personally ban the use of the word culture as being too mysterious for effective conversation. Let’s, instead, begin with the outcomes we wish to achieve, understand the business-model reasons why we wish for these outcomes,  and then focus on the choices that will get us there.
Bill Fischer’s latest book is The Idea Hunter (co-authored with Andy Boynton) (Jossey-Bass, 2011).
Bill Fischer can be followed on Twitter @bill_fischer

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