Understanding Big Blue

Oct 13, 2023 By Triston Martin

In the early 1980s, Big Blue arose in the financial and popular press as a moniker for IBM. The name is not clear on its roots, but it is believed to be referring to the blue hue of the cases on IBM's computers. The name was adopted by IBM, which has been content to leave its roots in the shadows and has named several of its projects with a nod to the name. For instance, Deep Blue, IBM's computer that plays chess, beat master Garry Kasparov during a controversial tournament in 1997. The first printed mention of the Big Blue nickname appeared in Businessweek magazine's June 8, 1981 issue. It is believed to have been made by an unidentified IBM fan.

The History of Big Blue

IBM began in 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in Endicott, NY. CTR is a holding corporation founded in 1912 by Charles R. Flint that combined three companies that made scales, punch-card data processors, and employees time clocks. It was in 1924 that CTR changed its name to International Business Machines. In the next century, IBM was one of the world's leading technological innovators, developing inventions, inventing, and constructing hundreds of software and hardware information technology. IBM is the source of many inventions that were quickly adopted as common, such as the UPC barcode and the magnetic stripe cards and the personal computer, the floppy disk, the HDD drive, and the ATM.

IBM technologies were essential in developing U.S. government initiatives such as the introduction of the Social Security Act in 1935 and numerous NASA missions starting with the 1963 Mercury flight until the lunar landing in 1969 and even beyond. IBM has the highest number of U.S. patents of any firm. The first of the multinational conglomerates to be established in U.S. history, IBM is a multi-national company that spans 175 countries and employs around 350,000 workers across the globe.

In 2010 IBM decided to move from a traditional hardware company to a leading technology company with its expertise in AI, Cloud, IOT, Digital, and Blockchain, known as strategic imperatives to IBMers. IBM did what they are best at and introduced radical new technological innovations like Watson and IBM Cloud. It could have been IBM's chance to shake up the technology business. But, IBM was again not aware of Christensen's amazing BSSE theories.

In lieu of commercializing AI by starting with simple solutions like Siri and Alexa, IBM aimed moonshots for its Fortune 500 partners trying to substitute lawyers and doctors. In the meantime, companies that cater to consumers experienced rapid growth and eventually grew enough to invest huge resources into researching and acquiring talent. Amazon, Google, and Facebook created huge consumer-facing companies that allow them to test, develop and scale any new technology, including AI or Cloud. IBM could not match AWS in cloud computing or Deepmind for AI.

The main obstacle facing IBM is changing the culture, recruiting talent, and getting into the field of consumer tech. IBM is a leader in research as well as software expertise. However, commercializing its inventions or patents has one of the major challenges. To compete with Amazon and Google, IBM needs to employ more business and consumer-oriented employees. As a 106-year-old technology-based company, finding new talent who wants to work in fast-paced and rapid-growth environments is a major issue. One solution temporarily is to concentrate on acquiring startups and partnering with VCs. In the end, IBM has to break its trance and prejudice against consumer-based business. B2C can help IBM increase the scale of its innovation and draw in more talented people. IBM is an excellent and important business that made significant positive impacts on the world.

Solid Positions in London as one of the Biggest Financial Centers

IBM is also present in the London region, as they provide numerous large financial institutions consulting companies, institutions, and consultancy firms. IBM is among the leading providers of solutions that include servers and huge software systems to support the operations of financial institutions. Continuous cooperation with its partners demands demonstration and training facilities that can host demonstrations of products, press conferences, and educational or training events. IBM created several training spaces in this area of the UK to enable them to market IBM products to local financial and industry sectors.

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