NEW YORK: Accelerating its remarkable turnaround and establishing itself among the top 3 enterprise-cloud players, IBM’s cloud revenue for the year rose 24% to $17 billion and jumped $30% in the fourth quarter to $5.5 billion.
With cloud revenue now making up 21% of IBM’s total revenue of $79.1 billion, IBM’s reinvigorated technology and market focus have allowed the company to snap an agonizing streak of 20+ quarters of declining revenue as CEO Ginni Rometty’s heroic transformation of the iconic 106-year-old company has come full circle.
This type of resurgence in the dynamic and rapidly evolving tech sector is supposed to be impossible—for several years now, the prophets of doom have been saying IBM had lost its way, couldn’t afford to invest in advanced technology, was overinvested in services, didn’t get the cloud, and was hopelessly trapped in a death spiral.
And Rometty solidified her reputation as not only a courageous CEO willing to take on the near-impossible task of turning around a slumping giant, but also as a visionary strategist who several years ago set a bold new vision for the companycentered on powerful new technologies, defied critics who said IBM should be sold off in pieces, and forcefully recreated IBM as one of the world’s pre-eminent sources of innovation and business value.
“During 2017, we strengthened our position as the leading enterprise cloud provider and established IBM as the blockchain leader for business,” Rometty said in a press release announcing its financial results, adding that IBM is “uniquely positioned to help clients use data and AI to build smarter businesses.”
“Strengthened,” indeed. In the red-hot enterprise-cloud sector, here are some highlights of what IBM achieved in the fourth quarter and for all of 2017 as it defied the doomsayers and joined Microsoft and Amazon among the three biggest and most-influential cloud vendors.