IBM Simplifies Structure of Sales Team
By John McCormick
International Business Machines Corp. said it is restructuring
its sales organization, streamlining how it classifies
The new sales structure -- which cuts the number of customer
groups to two from 50 -- is designed to make it easier to do
business with the company, Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice
president for global markets, told CIO Journal. The changes, she
said, also will better support the company's effort to capitalize
on hybrid cloud computing, in which companies use a combination of
their own data centers and computing resources leased from others
and accessed online.
The changes, announced internally on Monday, are part of a
broader series of changes under Chief Executive Arvind Krishna, who
took over last year with a mandate to accelerate growth. IBM has
since announced plans to spin off a part of the company and refocus
operations on growth markets such as hybrid cloud and artificial
IBM is putting all of its customers into two groups. One segment
includes large, global customers looking for an integrated set of
IBM products and services. This group will consist of about 500
clients. IBM said it would provide these companies, many of which
are looking to run hybrid cloud computer environments, with
dedicated technical and business experts.
The other segment includes customers looking to IBM for
particular products or services. These organizations will be served
by IBM sales representatives who specialize in the technology or
service in which the customer has an interest, the company
The company said its sales team will be trained as part of its
continuing education efforts and that there are no planned job or
cost cuts associated with the move. The company declined to say how
large its sales team is.
IBM has appointed technical sales leaders for its 20 or so
geographic markets, such as various U.S. regions, Canada and Japan,
to oversee and coordinate its efforts. The changes are under way,
but the company didn't provide a time frame for when the process
will be complete.
Previously, IBM had separate sales teams for its various
software, systems and services, which were further broken down by
geographic market, client-company size and industry.
Catherine Luelo, senior vice president and chief information
officer at Air Canada, said IBM is already serving the airline with
a dedicated team of experts. She said the new sales strategy should
allow other large customers to tap into IBM's significant and broad
business and technology expertise.
"As an integrated account, you have the opportunity, I think, to
access capability across their global scale," she said.
Tim Crawford, an adviser to CIOs, said it isn't easy to deploy
hybrid clouds, because of the different systems, software and
vendors involved. He runs a firm called AVOA, based in the Los
Companies are looking for teams of experts who can help them
figure out how to bring all the pieces together. "I think [this] is
where IBM could really succeed," he said.
IBM has said hybrid cloud services represent a $1 trillion
business opportunity and the company has been bulking up its
The company said revenue for the first nine months of 2020
totaled $53.3 billion, a decrease of 4% year to year, and that it
is looking to boost growth.
IBM in October said it was spinning off a unit that manages
clients' IT infrastructure -- and accounts for nearly a quarter of
its sales and staff -- to focus on growth opportunities such as
hybrid cloud computing and AI.
Write to John McCormick at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 05, 2021 20:51 ET (01:51 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.