IT market watchers are eagerly awaiting IBM’s 1Q09 results, to be announced in the next few days, anxious to see how IBM is finding the current global market conditions.
Putting my own neck on the block, I suspect the results will look pretty good despite the economic downturn. There are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, Lustratus is seeing a lot of users looking for professional services assistance in reducing IT costs and increasing flexibility and agility. This is pretty natural in a downturn. Doing more with less is obvious, but also companies are looking to expand their customer bases into new markets with new offerings as quickly as possible to shore revenues up, driving the need for better agility and adaptability. This plays into IBM’s hands with its extensive services experience, so services revenue could well hold up OK.
Secondly, one thing users ARE looking for at the moment seems to be quick hits – do something that isn’t too costly and is not a major architectural shift to get a fast return. As I have blogged about before, BPM (Business Process Management) and Business Events processing offer two areas that fit beautifully with this need – and note this is not the BPM where a company sets about rewriting all its processes, but instead BPM targeted on fast return, pragmatic sweet spots. Both BPM and Events will tend to drag in SOA requirements (although again at the pragmatic rather than ‘change the world’ level) which is another strong area for IBM. Although other companies such as Oracle and SAP offer technology in these areas, the advantage of being able to link the products to services engagements from IBM’s massive services arm to help aim the investment most effectively is a big one for IBM. Given that IBM also has a large portion of software revenue on ‘contract’ basis, this means the software revenues should hold up well too.
Hardware may have taken a bit of a ding in 1Q09, but this is unlikely to do too much damage to the overall numbers.
So, a reasonable set of results to come from IBM? We shall see…..