Monthly Archives: May 2011

IBM’s entrepreneurship

For a person seeking  career in business, he has to indulge himself into a lot of articles, policy makers’ writings, industry chief’s opinions, etc to gain a vague dimension of what and how it is to build a company from scratch to a strong and sustainable structure.Like others, I had a share of my reading too. But my whole understanding of entrepreneurship has changed for a better cause radically.One comes across terms like fellowships, venture capitalism, sustainable business model, etc.A not so good thinker would obviously follow and try to have a close association of them without a clear understanding of what it takes to approach them.It is a simple four lettered word “IDEA”!

All the terminologies in entrepreneurial world would be a tyranny if one doesn’t know what to do, if he doesn’t have an idea.And with idea i mean business idea which would be worth undertaking (after being processed through rigorous market analysis and surveys) and which would be “innovative”. Though this is not the case with fellowships. One can interact with fellows just for the sake of exposure and their approach and understanding. This is followed by a business model.And if the business is multi-dimensional, one must learn to establish connections among different business models.

IBM’s idea was simple –  to create a “Smarter Planet”.What is smarter planet ? It is all about deploying intelligence in data management. This is internet’s age and a consistent change(increase) in information,data is constant. Every company is facing with overwhelming increament in it. So there have to be new insights, new analytics, new intelligence to deal with this explosion of data.And with this data management,  it is passionate about bringing fundamental changes in varied sectors like transportation, power, finance, communications, water, healthcare, cities, etc. As much as it is committed to optimize them in their outputs, it is equally focussed to do it in a “Greener” way. For it is most dominant theme for next generation’s customer solutions.

THE BUSINESS MODEL

Factually, IBM was not so cool company in early 1990-2000’s. It was little late in recognizing the “dot-com” trend. While other companies caught up. But IBM ddidn’t want to repeat the failed mondays. So it reckoned the collaboration with small companies mostly bootstrapping ones. IBM did so because it was successful in realizing the potential of growth of start-ups and consequently came up  with “Global Entrepreneurship Initiative” GEI. This was a collaboration programme devised to identify innovation hot-pots across the globe with an aim to cultivate sustainable relationship. IBM wanted itself to be more accessible to the smaller companies. The start-ups worth filling the void and which matched IBM’s ideology for innovation propagation had their share.

Once a start-up earns this tag, it cannot define the value of benefits it gets. IBM makes sure it has access to every genre of research and talent pool it possesses. To broaden this perspective, IBM has tied with universities and incubators across the world. And since India has the largest number of student start-ups, IBM has spearheaded with SmartCamp here. SmartCamp is all about intensifying and high pitching the value of the collaboration. A senseful and state of the art mentoring is provided to the earners. “Rely on mentors, ask questions rather than making statements, learn to establish connection among different business models….”, they say.

But there is a very important part of the strategy to be understood. If IBM finds a company’s offerings is used again and again, acquisition is immediately the next step. So owning the assets is rule of the game, unlike TCS .Whereas Microsoft has the legacy of its softwares, it has failed in venture programmes. Cisco on the other hand, let the companies build their product and eventually come out with customization like a careless mother.And if the association fails due to erroneous, fading energy of the starters, it is gulped down by $ 100 billion revenue company.

All in all, IBM’s entrepreneurship has good business model, idea and composition. It is all about taking care of a baby from start to end with whole head, heart and mind. It has been yielding tangible results but impactful transitions are yet to be seen.

(The views expressed are writer’s own.There has been considerable amount of expenditure of brains, brawn, time, capital, energy, analytic and intellectual power.Feel free to oppose or comply. )