Example research paper on IBM

Example research paper on IBM:

About IBM
IBM one of the biggest leading companies in the market of computers and information technology was incoporated in 1911 as the Computer-Tabulating-Recording Co. With a product line that included time clocks, scales and punch card tubulators. Today IBM can be considered as one of the world’s greater leading information technology companies.

IBM by expanding across the globe (the company is currently doing business in 165 countries) and by having many people dedicated to innovation (the company currently employs more than 100-000 scientists and engineers) holds with its main competitor Apple® Machintosh the biggest piece of share in the market of information technology.

Today it is commonplace for almost every company to have a mission statement. A mission statement of a company can be decribed as a broad goal based on the organization’s planning premises, basic assumptions about the organization’s purpose, its values, its distinctive competencies, and its place in the world. IBM has also developed such a broad goal which expresses in a satisfactory way the features I have previously mentioned.

IBM’s mission statement is: {At IBM, we strive to lead in creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advance information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and macroelectronics. We translate these advance technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions and services worldwide}.

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Mission Statement-Suitability for IBM

The mission statement of IBM is suitable for the organization, and that not only because it sufficiently refers to the features a mission statement must have, but also because it expresses a spirit of success, teamwork and customer consideration, a spirit that only big companies can generate.

Mission Statement-Strengths and weaknesses
Though much important a mission stetement is, it can develop some strengths and weaknesses regarding mostly the customers of a company, the workforce and its shareholders. These three groups of people constitute a larger framework of groups, which has a legitimate interest in the fortunes of a company, the stakeholders of a company.

In the market of information technology, customers will expect the most advance information technology from a company in order to fulfill their needs. Customers will also demand a flexible range of products and services (after sales service) to suit their needs. By reading the mission statement of IBM it is more than visible that the company fulfills these demands and provides strengths to its customers (“we strive to lead in the creation and manufacture of the industry’s most advance information technologies”, “we translate these advance technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions and services worldwide”). Generally the mission statement of IBM expresses a spirit of marketing orientation, and customer devotiation.

It is extremeny difficult to pinpoint any weaknesses regarding customers generated from the mission statement of IBM, since the company’s mission statement expresses a spirit of marketing orientation and customer service (“we translate these advanced technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions and services worldwide”). However one could say that extremely high technology and development might create such a specialisation that may lead to non-user friendly products, which would not sufficiently serve the needs of the customers. This could be encountered as a weakness.

The workforce of a company will expect to operate in a friendly and teamwork enviroement, in which opportunities for training and career development will be given. The mission statement of IBM complies with these expectations, and so provides strengths to the workforce. Since the product line of IBM is highly technologically advanced (“development and manufacture of the industry’s most advance information technologies) the workforce of IBM will have the opportunity of being trained and having developed their career in the future. Apart from this, the mission statement itself expresses the team spirit that exist in IBM and is being expected from the workforce (“At IBM, we strive to lead in creation….”.

Apart from the strengths that are generated from the mission statement of IBM a few weaknesses can also arise. By reading the mission statement of IBM you can easily observe the tense the company has to invest in the development of the company (technology, services) in order to lead in creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advance information technologies and so to serve by a more fruitfull way the needs of its customers. This however can have a negative impact on some expectations of the workforce. Employees might expect some profits of the company to be given for the use of raising wages rather than investing for the development of the company. Employees might expect shorter working hours and more standardised products and services. The non-confrontation of these expectations can be considered as weaknesses.

Having bought shares in a company, shareholders are entitled to expect a fair return on their investment in a form of regular and adequate dividents, in line with the profits of the company. The main expectation of shareholders is to maximise profit (increase dividents). The mission statement is line with this expectation, since by becoming the most developed company in the market of information technology IBM will increase her market share, and consequently increase her profits. This could be considered as strength for the shareholders, however development doesn’t always mean higher market share and consequently higher profit, development is related to risk and as you will see below it may lead to weaknesses.

Shareholders most of the time expect from the management of the company to act in a professional and prudent way to maximise the profits of the company and minimise the risk of losses. It is clear from the mission statement of IBM that the company tends to invest in technology and development in order to lead in creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advance information technologies. This tendancy can be translated to a big risk, which might put in danger the interests of shareholders.

All these strengths and weaknesses that emanate from IBM’s mission statement and apply on the groups of Customers, Workforce, and Shareholders may lead to a phenomenon usual to the category of Stakeholders, the phenomenon of conflicts of interest. These conflicts arise from the differing expectation of each group of stakeholders, and might arise numerous problems regarding with the wellfare and well operation of the company. IBM strives to avoid or manage such conflicts of interest among stakeholders by trying to keep all sides informed and by practising the art of negotiation.

About SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is an effective method of identifying your Strengths and Weaknesses, and to examine the Opportunities and Threats you face. Often carrying out an analysis using the SWOT framework will be enough to reveal changes which can be usually made. One of the most important things you need to remember is that the SWOT analysis is a management tool which you can use in a wide variety of situations. A SWOT analysis can usefully be undertaken at corporate level, marketing or product level or when trying to compare two or more alternative projects or courses of action.

IBM could apply a SWOT analysis at a corporate level. When used at a corporate level, a SWOT analysis helps by providing a framework to build up the full picture using the information and evaluations which we have identified earlier. Corporate appraisal has been defined as a ‘critical assessment of the stregths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to the internal and enviroenmental factors affecting an entity, in order to establish its condition prior to the preparation of the long-term plan.

a) Strengths and Weaknesses analysis involves looking at the particular strengths and weaknesses of the organisation itself/and its product range(internal environment). It is an Internal appraisal.

b) An analysis of Opportunities and Threats is concerned with profit making
opportunities in a business enviroenment, and with identifiable threats, it is an
External appraisal.

By conducting an Internal and External appraisal, IBM would be able to perceive which could be the internal and external factors of immediate relevance to the company’s future performance, this would help sufficiently in the preparation of IBM’s long-term plans and generally in the sorting of information relevant to the enviroenment(s) and activities of IBM.

Internal appraisal
IBM could conduct an internal appraisal, which involves looking at the Strength and Weaknesses of the organization itself and its productservice range, in other words finding and analysing the Strengths and Weaknesses of the company’s Microenvironment.

The components of the Microenvironment are:

  • The Customers
  • The Suppliers
  • The Competitors
  • The company itself

– Strengths-Customers
IBM is a company known for her devotion on customers, and her marketing orientated methods of operating. IBM has formulated a number of activities, which illustrate the high level of careness, and services that IBM shows and gives to her customers. The customers on their side have and continue to appreciate the efforts of IBM by leading her to one of the top selling positions in the market. A mutual environment of respect exists between these two sides and becomes stronger and stronger day by day.

IBM strives to become more customer centric, the company is dedicated to help IBM customers explore current business issues and gain an understanding of how to leverage technology through courses, colleges, and customized events. IBM has more than 100.000 dedicated technical support people delivering superior customer care to customers around the globe and around the clock. These efforts are formulated to important strengths for the company which are finally translated into bigger profits for the company.

Knowing the benefits that will be gained from a good relationship with her suppliers IBM has established a program called “3,3,3”*. Under this program IBM purchasing and engineering works more closely with suppliers, sharing worldwide best practise and performance in technology, quality, cost and delivery. IBM increasingly relies upon suppliers to reduce development time and costs and closely intergrates suppliers into the design and development process. IBM challenges her own specifications and standards while protecting its established reputation for quality and reliability. IBM strongly believes in good communication and share of information between her and her suppliers. These actions of IBM provide important strengths to the  company which are translated into building of strong, long-lasting business relationships, better distribution, better quality of raw materials.
(the key in making effective relationships is communication)

IBM works hard on maintaining a good relationship with her competitors knowing the benefits that arise from it. A year ago on 27March 1999 IBM made a significant step on enhansing such a relationship, the signing of an Alliance with one of the biggest information technology developers and manufacturers in Europe Compaq. The IBM-Compaq Alliance is based on a strategy of profitable growth for both companies and mutual support. Since May 27,1999 date of the closing of the agreement, IBM and Compaq’s managers and engineers have rapidly established a close working relationship marked by their joint determination to succeed, an open-minded attitude and mutual respect and trust. The quality of this relationship is a key asset in making a success of the alliance. These type of alliances increase technological strength boost research and development output, while minimizing the amount of additional resources necessary. The strengths that derive from these type of relationships that IBM enhanses is to maximise the company’s market share and profitability, and finally achieve a profitable growth in Europe based on higher efficiency and lower distribution costs. The alliance with Compaq is a strong proof for IBM of the efficiency of maintaining and establishing good relationships with other organizations.

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