IBM Company’s Assessment and Critique

Assess the Relationships and Conflicts

Like many other successful tech companies, IBM has partnerships with several specialists, including software developers, manufacturers, multimedia companies, and other organizations. The wide network of relationships helps the organization to utilize its resources best and pursue innovation in the field. IBM notes some of its more vital partnerships on its website while also discussing the products and services each relationship provides (IBM Strategic Partnerships).


As noted by IBM, the two organizations have been partners for more than 20 years (IBM Strategic Partnerships). Adobe specializes in many types of graphical software and hardware, providing IBM with a varied playing field for potential cooperation. Their collaboration transforms modern customer experiences through an arrangement of Adobe-branded products. In addition, the fruits of Adobe and IBM’s labor are used in corporate settings as well.


With Apple, IBM works to develop various applications used in IOS and Mac-based systems while additionally providing specialized services. Professional software, such as flight planning programs and optimized algorithms, are used throughout the world (IBM Strategic Partnerships). The partnership with a famous brand provides IBM with a steady supply of revenue and notoriety.


Together with Microsoft, IBM creates apps for Microsoft Azure, focusing on the user journey and active experience optimization. IBM is said to invest in the growth of the platform (IBM Strategic Partnerships) heavily.


Samsung, much like Adobe, has been IBM’s long-standing partner in the tech sphere. In recent decades, the scope of cooperation has only been expanding, with IBM providing significant input into the implementation of 5G and other advanced network services (IBM Strategic Partnerships).

Business Partnerships and Conflicts

As an organization, IBM primarily works with other companies in the tech industry, providing them with advanced solutions and frameworks for improving customer experience. Due to this fact, no need for retail partners or other mass-oriented services is necessary. The ability to work only within the corporate sphere diminishes clashes of interest and conflicts. In regards to other organizations that work with IBM, no notable instances of conflict were noted.

Strengths and Weaknesses


Strong Partnerships

By working together with major organizations, IBM has had the ability to secure both solid partners and large profits. Many of the companies working closely with IBM rely on their products in order to perfect their technology and apply it in professional settings. Through its extensive list of connections and being based in the US, the company benefits from having many choices. In addition, IBM’s common partners are mostly veterans or professionals in their relative spheres, providing IBM with a higher probability of their products being successful.

On a separate note, the capacity to work with other companies has other additional benefits to IBM. Notably, the professionals working within the company gain an ability to procure new skills, knowledge or abilities through cooperation. Working with major technological giants also eliminates some of the competition suffered by the company. Having a comparatively modest success and a specific niche, the elimination of unnecessary professional rivalry in favor of collaboration works in IBM’s favor.

Long History

Established during the time of the first computing devices, IBM has been involved with the technology industry for many decades. The experience gathered throughout the years and continuous growth secured the company a position on the market. Having survived the technological boom of the previous generations, an economic crisis, and many other events, IBM has the professional resilience and determination required in order to continue providing value to its customers. In addition, previous experiences help the company to respond to future uncertainty properly. It should be noted, however, that the position of the company as a vital player in the field has shifted significantly, both due to changes in popular tech and the entrance of new players. However, IBM still retains a sizeable influence within a growing market.

Good Reputation

According to employee-centered websites such as Glassdoor, IBM has a good reputation in the field (IBM Reviews – Glassdoor). Reputation allows this organization to keep working with other credible companies, attract new partners and retain their staff. In addition, the company is noted for taking good care of its employees, including worker compensation. Partially due to the organization’s long history and stored legacy, it also becomes easier for IBM to retain their staff, command respect and the necessary authority inside the tech industry. A good reputation and a good track record regarding product quality are also why many major companies find relationships with IBM to be worthwhile.

Qualified, Happy Personnel

The combination of well-established business, famous collaborations, and solid company policies allow IBM to retain its workforce well. According to the data presented by Comparably, as many as 82% of employees are excited to go to work each day (IBM Company culture | comparably). Good treatment of employees guarantees that professionals with high skill levels are kept as core staff. Qualified professionals working at the company bring profits to the organization as a whole and stacks the distribution of talent in the industry in IBM’s favor. The more people continue to work at IBM, the less they are able to apply their expertise to IBM’s competitors. In addition, the presence of satisfied personnel is good for PR, conducive to work organization and productivity. Happy employees are more likely to interact better within the company, fulfill their obligations and seek innovation in the field. Media views companies that treat its employees well with better regard and more people want to work in such an organization.


Focus on Large Enterprise Partnerships and Customizing Existing Platforms

While the segment occupied by IBM allows the organization to effectively work with other large organizations, it also has significant detriments. The strict focus on enhancing customer experiences for other organizations only captures a limited share of the entire software/technology market. A broader focus has the potential to yield more profits. With a broader focus or a wider niche, it could be possible for IBM to be more profitable. In addition, the process could open the door towards hiring more talent, and attracting fresh minds with a good reputation and work opportunities.

Expensive Production

Many of the services and products provided by IMB are highly specialized or technologically intensive. Therefore, the costs of producing goods are high for the company. In an expanding market, a company with a specific focus and big hosts may face problems retaining its position. While collaborating with IBM opens up possibilities for many organizations, those same organizations are constantly expanding and increasing their scope of operation. For IBM, this trend can mean that its collaborators may no longer need to cooperate, instead coming into a more direct competitive relationship with the organization. In this case, high costs of production will be among the first problems IBM shall face, no longer being able to justify costly production with the profitability of results. To decrease the possibility of being overshadowed or rendered irrelevant by the expanding technological landscape, IBM might find it vital to change its business strategy.

How the Organization Builds Trust

IBM builds trust in its niche through a variety of coordinated services, including transparency, a long-standing reputation, high-quality goods and its partnering decisions. Most of the information necessary to understand IBM is available on their website, including extensive lists of their collaborators and achievements. Their publicly available information even includes systematic guides for their partners. The presence of IBM on the market since its inception also helps promote the company’s credibility. The company improves services for organizations and adapts existing products for better customer experiences using high-quality software and hardware, which is a sign of commitment to professionalism.

In What Phase of the Relationship are Various Channel Members

Channel members of IBM, i.e., organizations that collaborate with it, work in multiple phases of the relationship at once. First, their presence is notable in the production process, since every IBM product is defined by the needs of their collaborators and their potential customer base. Additionally, partner companies act as marketers and distributors of IBM technologies. The inclusion of IBM services, solutions, and improvements has become a point of advertisement.

Existing or Potential Risks of Conflict

While working tightly with other organizations and handling competing interests, the potential for conflict exists. For IBM, problems can potentially occur is their business partners fail to properly distribute, utilize or advertise the organization as a key collaborative force. Working only within the professional sphere, it is crucial that IBM is able to continuously establish itself as a suitable choice in the market.

Suggest Strategies to Avoid or Reduce the Conflicts Identified

Strategies in order to avoid conflict, can range from changing relationships between IBM and its partners to increasing the professional niche of the organization as a whole. It is possible to reinforce the need for IBM collaborators to act as a distribution and marketing device through contract agreements. Alternatively, IBM can work on reaching a consumer audience or working with smaller companies on a more constant basis.

Map the customer journey

First, potential clients discover the work of major tech companies and organizations. Giants such as Apple and Adobe provide IBM with an invaluable platform and credibility. Then, a customer has the capacity to become more acquainted with what IBM is capable of, both through its partners and through the IBM website itself (How to buy IBM Software and services 2018). The journey from getting familiar with the selection of items and services on sale then becomes easy, with the use of an online shop and smooth navigation.

Online Marketplace and Competitor Analysis

Due to occupying an especially specific niche, IBM enjoys a comparative lack of high-profile competition. Most companies that work within the same general area of business specialize on other types of services and technology production. Notable competitors would be Hewlett-Packard and Xerox, manufacturers of both hardware and software components (Top 20 IBM Competitors & Alternatives 2021). However, both the former and the latter have major investments in digital photography and printing spheres, which are outside of IBM’s specialty as a business. A combination of a good reputation and a lack of direct competition makes IBM the optimal choice for any collaborator.

Online trends for the market

Major trends for IBM’s niche include a focus on high-quality, sustainable, and versatile software/hardware, the application of smart systems into more areas of business and commerce and a push towards cloud technology. Tech companies seek opportunities to develop their influence in newer fields find a use for their products in all areas of life. IBM, in turn, makes it possible for others to focus on delivering high-quality, unique experiences and fulfilling necessary tasks.

Revenue models and suggestions

While the revenue streams for IBM may not be as widely-understood as those of more publicly-oriented companies, the organization has managed to continue its sustained operation with the changes in the technology market. It provides cognitive solutions, global business services and platforms for other companies (Cuofano, 2019). This work allows IBM to stand within the central space of innovation for its sphere and secure good professional relationships. Notably, the revenues of the organization have been steadily on the decline in recent decades (Jurevicius, 2021). Change may be necessary to answer the challenges of the future. A more broad business focus can be a solid opportunity for improvement. Finding new applications for the skills and competencies of IBM workers has the potential of helping it branch out. Additionally, a more mild course of action is also possible. In that case, a focus on working with a wider range of organizations may improve revenue streams. The company could also more actively push for its recognition in the tech sphere through its existing collaborators.


Cuofano, G. (2019). How does IBM make money? IBM Business Model in a Nutshell. FourWeekMBA. Web.

How to buy IBM Software and services. IBM How to buy IBM software and services. (2018). Web.

IBM Company culture | comparably. (n.d.). Web.

IBM Reviews – Glassdoor. (n.d.). Web.

Jurevicius, O. (2021). IBM SWOT analysis – SM insight. Strategic Management Insight. Web.

Top 20 IBM Competitors & Alternatives. Business Strategy Hub. (2021). Web.

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