Saturday, October 10, 2009

IBM Support for Small Business: A Visual History

According to Vandies (2009, p 1), network computing is at the heart of IBM’s E-Business On-Demand project. This On-Demand computing allows companies, and their external partners to work seamlessly together. IBM brokers this effortless, cooperative information sharing by offering a suite of technology services.

Analysts speculate that only a small subset of the eventual service offering is now in place. Leong and Chamberlain (2009, p 1) note that this is true industry-wide. In their Gartner article, they rate IBM as a leader, with vision and the ability to execute that vision. It is important to stress IBM’s history of executing visions for small businesses.

Although On-Demand is a far cry from selling hardware, it does follow the IBM tradition of supporting small businesses. Here is a short, visual history of its support for small business over the past century. All of the equipment shown below was designed for and used by small and medium sized organizations.

1930s-40s: IBM 405

1940s-50s: IBM 603

1950s-70s: IBM 1400 Series

1960s-80s: IBM System 3 Series

For the 1980s-2000s, IBM Defined an Era

For 2009 and the future: On-Demand Services

IBM anticipates that 60% of the profits in the high-tech industry will be derived from software services (see Vanides, 2009, p 1) and they want to be there. IBM has purchased an on-demand tool vendor and a major consulting firm. IBM itself is eating its own dog food and becoming a user of its on-demand services.


Figure 1: IBM 405 Series Business Machine. Retrieved on September 19, 2009 from

Figure 2: IBM 603 Series Adding/Multiplying Machine. Retrieved on September 19, 2009 from

Figure 3: 1400 Series Computers. Retrieved on September 19, 2009 from

Figure 4: IBM System3 and 30 Series Computers. Retrieved on September 19, 2009 from

Figure 5: IBM Personal Computer. Retrieved on September 15, 2009 from

Figure 6: On-Demand Services. Retrieved on September 20, 2009 from

Leong, Lydia and Ted Chamberlin (July 2, 2009). Magic Quadrant for Web Hosting and Hosted Cloud System Infrastructure Services (On Demand). Gartner Research, ID G00168687. Also, retrieved on September 16, 2009 from

Vanides, Alexia (2009a). Lesson 5: Online and Other Email Marketing Techniques. Retrieved from WVU IMC 626 Week Five Lesson on September 13, 2009.

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