IBM Reaping the Benefits of Exceptional Foresight

January 21 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2009   Rating: 6 Hot

With the steadily worsening economic climate taking a toll on most large technology companies, IBM is a rare exception to the rule.  Just yesterday the industry stalwart announced an impressive (especially under the circumstances) 12% rise in net Q4 profits, the bulk of which can be attributed to CEO Sam Palmisano's strategic transition to cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS), both of which were initiated years before these sectors grew hot.

The New York Times attributes this to IBM's "global reach and its mix of businesses", reporting that "about 40 percent of its revenue and 60 percent of its profit come from products and services sold on a subscription basis as licenses or contracts that are renewed every year or so."  This means that IBM can charge higher prices for its work while former head-to-head competitors like Intel, Sun and Seagate are caught up in hardware price wars that drive down prices - no surprise as chips and components are commoditized. 

But IBM is not just looking at a strong 2009.  Its plays in global quantification (the truly smart Smart Planet initiative), virtual brains (SyNAPSE and Blue Brain), genetic quantification (the Genographic Project), real-time business & events quantification, real-time server virtualization, command center applications and massive meetings run through virtual worlds (here's the SL teleport link, very cool stuff), the evolving 3d web, outsourcing of human resources, the open-sourcing of the patent system, etc, have me convinced that this company is a cut above the rest in the foresight department. 

This belief is further reinforced by IBM's intelligent use of web communications (blogs & easy to follow videos, an expertise that Google shares), its vision of planetary technology and information development (see the video below)...

 

...and its smarter-than-most 5-year predictions (see below):

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Are We Heading Into an Economic Depression?

September 16 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Economics   Year: 2008   Rating: 3

Pundits and bloggers are once again throwing around words like “crisis” and “depression” in reaction to yesterday’s core stock market meltdown that included the largest bankruptcy in world history – Lehman Brothers, the unexpected bargain priced sale of stalwart Merill Lynch to Bank of America, and a near collapse of AIG , the nation’s largest insurer. To top it all off, a Fed report detailing falling U.S. industrial production levels has sent shivers spidering through all sectors and global markets.

The truly worrying part is that this hiccup is not related to high oil prices, which have fallen off considerably in the past month, but instead the ongoing home mortgage collapse which some predict will cost us in the $1,000,000,000,000 (IMF estimate) to $2,000,000,000,000 (Goldman Sachs) range. This confirms that we are deeply vulnerable in at least two separate yet critical areas, making any subsequent surprises all the more worrisome for fear of a chain reaction or even a fourth turning.

The Trillion Dollar Question: Just how bad is this going to get?

According to the big-wigs, the situation is ugly but not entirely hopeless:

Presidential candidate Barack Obama says, “I don’t think that we’re … necessarily going in the direction of the Depression. ... There are some similarities, though, to what happened back in the late 20s and early 30s and what’s been happening now, and the biggest similarity is how we’ve been dealing with Wall Street and what’s happening in the financial markets.” – Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson acknowledges that we’re going through a difficult time and that housing is “at the root” of the troubles but that we’ll get past those “in months as opposed to years.” – Bloomberg

But he also admits that “We have an archaic financial regulatory structure [that] really needs to be rebuilt ”, which evokes the fourth turning specter.

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, seems to concur with the notion of a period of deep shift:

“This is a once in a half century, probably once in a century type of event. We shouldn’t try to protect every single institution. The ordinary cost of financial change has winners and losers.” – Bloomberg

This, of course, has some business writers making comparisons to the Great Depression. and some Nobel laureates agreeing that it will be bad, but not quite as bad as 1929.

But enough of what they think. What do you think?

Just how bad will this economic downturn get?

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Just How Bad Will the Current Economic Crisis Get?

October 10 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Economics   Year: General   Rating: 1

“As GM goes, so goes America.” – Let’s all hope that famous maxim doesn’t apply now.

Yesterday General Motors stock closed below $6 for the first time since the 1950s. Then last night, the financial woes worsened as most foreign stock markets plunged between 4% and 9%. Now this morning we’re all left wondering, “Just how bad will this get? Are we nearing the worst of this crisis?”

Here’s a CNN summary of the action:

Some economists are optimistic that we’re nearing the bottom, but many others are bracing for another Great Depression.

What do you think?

Just How Bad Will the Current Economic Crisis Get?

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