IBM CEO outlines cloud and big data future

The IBM CEO has used her annual letter to investors to outline just how the company is changing to place itself in a good position for the future

IBM's CEO is still dreaming of a future where the firm has made the transition to the high value areas of the market and Big Blue is in a situation where it can be much more confident about the future.

Ginni Rometty has used her annual letter to investors to not only talk about the success she feels the firm has made so far but how it has already positioned itself to take advantage of areas including cloud and big data.

The vendor recently revealed plans it would spend $4bn in cloud and data areas and and set up business units aimed at specific markets, including analytics, security, cloud and commerce.

As well as spending that money the firm has also refreshed its mainframe range earlier this year with the z series and is still determined to play a role in mission critical hardware.

Rometty also indicated that the firm was open to partnerships and saw them as key to future innovation, referencing activity with the likes of Apple, SAP, Twitter as well as its own ecosystem.

"Together, cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security generated $25 billion of revenue in 2014, growing by 16%. Five years ago, these businesses represented just 13% of our revenue. Today, that has risen to 27% of IBM’s revenue," stated the letter.

"We expect our strategic imperatives of cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security to continue growing by double digits and to become a greater percentage of IBM. We will remain the enterprise leader in these markets," she added.

The letter comes just a month and a half after the most recent set of financial results, which showed growth in the areas where the business is banking its future, but a hit to the bottom line as the traditional businesses suffered.

In the fourth quarter results Big Blue reported a 11% decrease in net income to $5.5bn and a 12% decline in revenues down to $24.1bn year-on-year with a balance sheet that saw poor performances from the software business and its systems and technology operation was also down.

Those numbers though are in the past and the letter to investors was all about the future and how IBM would play a crucial role in delivering the technology to support the world going forward.

"Today we are building upon this foundation to create an entirely new generation of critical systems. IBM’s clients are unclogging city traffic, exploring a cure for cancer, improving the safety of food supplies, reducing risk, and serving their own customers, employees, citizens and patients with greater levels of understanding, personalization and intimacy. A new world is taking shape before our eyes, remade by data, rewritten in code and growing smarter every day,2 she wrote.

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