By looking at a few tech giants’ B2B case studies from 2014, we can learn how these major businesses are shaping the current world we live in. We’ll be able to see what strategies they use to succeed, what strategies aren’t working so well, and how the economic landscape is changing as a result.
Here are three 2014 case studies of the world’s biggest B2B tech companies:
For the past several years, IBM has been losing revenue on its Smarter Planet plan. This 5-year-old plan has been focused on data, social, cloud, and mobile. According to IBM, these information resources are analogous to industrial processes.
Data is a natural resource, for instance, while social media represents the new means of production, where people exchange ideas and knowledge. The cloud is an engine that makes business growth possible, and mobile capability means empowering employees to be productive no matter where they are.
IBM has been using its vast B2B penetration and resources to help businesses grow in these four areas. However, perhaps due to the aforementioned continued decline in revenue, the company has decided to focus on big data, analytics, cloud computing, and systems of engagement.
The company has formed a ”landmark” partnership with Apple, called MobileFirst. Towards the end of the year, both companies claimed that hundreds of businesses were interested in MobileFirst apps, which are mostly designed to analyze business data.
This strategic move gives Apple access to more businesses, while IBM will get paid to write the apps, host them on its cloud, and promote other products to customers.
The alliance between both companies will open up new territory to each of them, and allow them to penetrate more markets and forge ahead in new directions. Will it help IBM recover from its downward slide?
Time will tell.
The next case study involves Intel, the world’s most famous chip manufacturer. Like IBM, Intel has been experiencing a year-over-year decline in revenue and like IBM, they are responding by changing course. The company has decided to move into new markets, such as cloud computing, wearable technology, and the Internet of Things.
First came Intel’s foray into the world of wearables, by working with the fashion company Opening Ceremony to develop a smart bracelet, MICA. The bracelet hasn’t received nearly as much attention or praise as other smart devices, however.
Intel’s other major B2B venture has been much less experimental and much more successful. As IBM partnered up with Apple, Intel partnered up with Google to offer Chromebooks. Dell and Samsung also joined with Intel by offering Intel-powered Chromebooks of their own.
Perhaps to make up for its lackluster performance in other areas, and perhaps to compete with ARM, Intel is releasing almost two dozen of these this year. By all reports, Intel’s venture has been a success.
We can see that Intel is successfully holding on to its core business function, by partnering with major Chromebook manufacturers in order to offer higher-priced units. But its less-than-stellar partnership with Opening Ceremony will need some serious tweaking if it is to have any future.
Google has long since ceased to be simply a search engine. It has been compared to Bell Labs, the research and development subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent, since both companies invest heavily in technology. Google’s agenda currently focuses on technology that will potentially disrupt current industries and economies.
Driverless cars, for instance, will have a serious impact on the automotive industry. Other research projects include Google Glass, internet-providing high-altitude balloons, and even anti-aging research.
Google’s B2B interests tend to be focused on enhancing its research and development of technology, which it will then use to disrupt and dominate industries in the coming years and decades. Around the turn of 2014, for instance, Google acquired 8 robotics companies.
While we don’t know the specifics of Google’s research or plans, since they are all part of the top secret Google X division, Google is quite clearly playing a profit-oriented capitalist game. With the resources at its disposal and with the disruptive technology it is researching, the company will probably be able to outplay its competitors for the next several decades…at least.
These are the biggest, most successful companies on the planet right now, and it pays to study their motives and their methods. Understanding how the top dogs play the game can help any business, large or small, improve their own strategy.