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IBM's global message: the UK versus the US
Two events, four similar messages
European analysts received the same basic messages as their US counterparts – but with some distinct differences in emphasis due to IBM Europe's multi-disciplinary approach to deliver its message. So this makes one ask the question: "Why doesn't IBM in North America use a multi-disciplinary approach to deliver its messages?"
The answer to this question appears to be two-fold.
First, there are comparatively far fewer IT research analysts in Europe than there are in North America. In order to provide analysts with the personal attention needed to ensure they get to meet with the right executives on the right topics at the right time, IBM separates its analyst events into more manageably-sized systems/software events by geography.
Second, there is a tremendous amount of specialisation in hardware talent in North America. With this much specialisation, a hardware-focused event still makes sense – as does a software-focused event. On occasion, a services focused event might also make sense in North America.
One might ask: "Why not bring the Europeans to IBM's US events?" And even though US and European analysts share many interests, I would argue that there are issues that are germane to Europe that deserve special European coverage.
For instance, Europeans appear to be more willing to take a more global view on environmental issues than the US; Europe does not have vast oil resources; The EU supports the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; several European countries have rigorous pollution controls and legislation in place. By comparison, the US is way behind Europe in dealing with green initiatives, so it probably makes sense to separate the European messages from the US messages in this particular space.
The bottom line after these two events is that despite obvious geographical and cultural differences, IBM's basic messages remain the same – innovation, GIE, green, and SMB.
But these topics carry different weights by region and by the specific IBM organisation that presents on these topics. While there were marked differences in the coverage of green and SMB issues at both events, overall each augmented the other.
This is a situation that works well for IBM, and also for me as I attempt to stay on top of IT and business transformation in both North America and Europe.
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