IBM Targets Future Cloud Acquisitions
Schroeter said IBM views acquisitions as a way to complement the company’s organically grown innovations and to build out its view of enterprise IT. "Our strategy is built around our view of the future of enterprise IT," he said. Moreover, "We've been successful partnering with leading companies like we do with Apple and Twitter. We don't have to own all the technology to bring it to our clients. So you'll see more partnerships." IBM has been among the more acquisitive IT companies over the last several years. Big Blue acquired six companies in 2014: Cloudant, Silverpop, CrossIdeas, Lighthouse Security Group, Aspera and Cognea. IBM acquired Cloudant, a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) provider, in February. IBM acquired the Silverpop marketing automation solution to add to its portfolio of more than 120 Software-as-a-Service offerings in April. IBM acquired CrossIdeas, with provides security software to protect data across on-premise and cloud environments, in July. And IBM acquired Lighthouse Security Group, a cloud security services provider, in August. In 2013, IBM acquired at least 10 companies including SoftLayer, which Big Blue paid $2.1 billion for and which is now the foundation of IBM's cloud infrastructure. In 2012, IBM acquired at least nine companies including Worklight, which is the foundation of IBM's MobileFirst strategy. In 2011, IBM acquired eight companies including Platform Computing. And in 2010, IBM acquired a whopping 15 companies, including key pieces of the IBM portfolio such as Netezza, Sterling Commerce, Coremetrics and Cast Iron systems. In 2014, IBM significantly expanded its cloud initiatives, including investing more than $1.2 billion to expand its global footprint in 40 cloud data centers around the world. The company also invested $1 billion to develop its Bluemix platform as a service to help developers and clients create cloud applications. IBM signed more than $4 billion in multi-year enterprise cloud agreements with Lufthansa, WPP, Thomson Reuters and ABN Amro, as well as strategic agreements with SAP, Microsoft, TenCent, AT&T and Intel.
Last week, Big Blue named one of its top lieutenants, Robert LeBlanc, to the position of senior vice president of cloud. In his new role, LeBlanc is responsible for IBM's cloud strategy soup to nuts. He has responsibility for IBM's cloud portfolio of technology and services, including strategy, product design, offering development, marketing, sales, and service.