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October 31, 2005


james governor

would be great to see you talking to specific ibm customers that have significantly benefited over the last ten years, or you would argue are v well positioned for the next ten, based on your new approaches. this is all just so much inside baseball, irving. without customer stories this analysis feels a little too much like cheer leading.

David Berger


You're right that On Demand Business only becomes tangible when you see it in action. We do get so caught up in the Internet that we forget that most of the business world is based on, as a smart person once said to me, things that run on oil. Fortunately, we do have countless real-world examples of companies that take the principles of On Demand Business (as Irving describes above) to create measurable and tangible value for customers and shareholders.

As a start, I suggest you take a look at this New York Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/05/technology/techspecial/05lohr.html?ex=1130994000&en=5894baef75e7a11f&ei=5070

Almost every company referenced in the story is an IBM client. You can see certain common dynamics at work at each of them, which Irving nails in his post.

The bottom line is that you don't need to see the words "On Demand Business" to recognize how its tenets are shaping the business world today. What IBM identified in 2002 is coming to pass - perhaps faster and more profoundly than even we anticipated at the time.

Steven Malkiewicz

To everyone's point, here's a site to learn more about how companies have benefited by becoming on demand businesses:

james governor

isnt it time you guys greated an OnDemand blog - with case studies, related news and such? I would subscribe. heck i might even contribute from time to time.

james governor

weird- apparently you had one, but have renamed it The Quick Read... hmmm that's intuitive, not.


Bob Djurdjevic

Hi, Irving. When I was in New York three weeks ago (I've been there twice since - three times in three weeks!), Mark Fox had given me a link to your blog. After having finally settled down back here in Scottsdale for a few days, I've had a chance to read it. You write well! Congrats. I especially enjoyed your perspective on the OnDemand "then and now" (2002 vs. 2005).

If you want to catch up on my recent articles, check out www.djurdjevic.com.

Hope you're doing well. Take care.

Bob Dj.

james governor

its no use pointing to NY Times stories that are behind a firewall... :-(

james governor

i disagree about specialisation. we're on the verge of a renaissance - and that will mean cross domain expertise sharing - which will require generalist skills as well.

Microsoft moves into game consoles. IBM benefits. where would you be if MS was sticking to its knitting? sitting behind intel on the processing highway, is where...

"In this environment, only specialization - a laser-like focus on the few activities that confer real advantage and profit - will enable firms to deliver full value to their key stakeholder groups of customers, employees and shareholders."

pursuing real advantage and profit? that is not the goal of the corporation, as it currently stands, is it? we live in an age of short-termism and short term shareholder value.

IBM would be dead now if it listened to those that said pursue laser like focus and profits- unless i misread Elephants cant dance. mainframes were IBM's profits but the decision was taken to back away from from profitability at the expense of long term sustainability.

i suppose you would argue that gerstner's lazer focus was on integration, or customer needs or something, but i would argue he bucked the trend and actually did focus somewhat on long term value. extraordinary really that he got away with it.

what comes next is collaboration and investment in common infrastructure.

an over exuberant focus on specialisation can leads companies to rely on cash cows. then they die.

and on the outsourcing side - just look at what happened earlier this year when British Airways caterer went on strike. The airline was grounded.

i am not sure i understand how "It is not possible to succeed by simply doing the same things better. In the end, the imperative is to innovate - to do new things that drive different results." chimes with your call for deep specialisation.

ibm is going to succeed in the 21st century precisely becasue it is going to move into healthcare, genomics, and other "non-IT" markets. unless all markets are now "IT markets". or unless i spose IBM's new specialisation is innovation rather than technology. but that just seems too broad to make sense in the usual CBM sense, for example...

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