IBM's Recent Acquisitions Show Developer Mindset in Rebuilding Plan
IBM's recent acquisitions, including The Weather Company, Cloudant and ClearLeap, are helping Big Blue transform itself for a new era of computing, but the transformation is far from complete.LAS VEGAS—David Kenny, the freshly minted General Manager of IBM Watson, took the stage at the InterConnect conference here Tuesday dressed in jeans and sneakers with his shirt untucked. I had to check my badge to see that I was, indeed, at an IBM conference. Kenny, the former CEO of The Weather Company, which IBM acquired in late January, didn't apologize. "I'm dressed like a developer," he said, "because developers are Watson's customers." Kenny, together with CEOs of other IBM acquisitions, like Braxton Jarratt, formerly of Clearleap, the video company acquired in 2015, and Derek Schoettle of Cloudant, a 2014 acquisition, represent a new breed of IBM'er, one who is not tied to the buttoned-down past and who can execute the strategy for where IBM is heading. That new direction, of course, is IBM's "strategic imperatives" of cloud computing, analytics, mobile, social and security software and services. Revenue from those areas grew 26 percent in the past year and add up to $29 billion, but is that just accounting magic to make the company's declining revenues look better or is the company's on-the-fly transformation really working?
Judging from the news from InterConnect, IBM's focus is certainly in the right place. As Kenny said, the developer is the key to IBM's strategy and success going forward. The biggest announcement was around Swift, Apple's hugely popular programming language that IBM, a close partner, is extending with a new runtime and package catalog that will make it easier to develop cloud-based and enterprise applications.