IBM’s Vision Statement and Mission Statement: Analysis & Recommendations

IBM corporate vision statement, corporate mission statement, components, information technology business case study, analysis and recommendations
IBM 305 RAMAC. International Business Machines Corporation’s (IBM) corporate vision statement and corporate mission statement present aims for leadership in the information technology industry. (Photo: Public Domain)

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has a vision statement and mission statement strongly associated with the organization and its brand. A firm’s corporate vision statement sets the desired future state of the business to guide strategic direction. IBM’s vision statement marks the importance of leadership of the business in the information technology industry. In relation, a firm’s corporate mission statement determines the types of actions that define the business, and guides the development of strategies and tactics. IBM’s mission statement indicates emphasis of operations in the information technology market, inclusive of computing technologies and related services, thereby competing against firms like Alphabet Inc. (Google), Amazon, Intel, and Microsoft. Also known as Big Blue, IBM successfully uses its corporate vision to establish the significance of its business throughout the industry and in a variety of markets. In addition, the company applies its corporate mission to influence employees, called IBMers, to ensure leadership in contributing to the business and to embody excellence in their work.

An understanding of IBM’s mission statement and vision statement contributes to the foundation of employees’ decisions and actions. For example, based on the components and details of the corporate vision and corporate mission, employees can develop solutions to challenges in the business, and address problems encountered on the job. Thus, the suitability, influence, and effectiveness of these corporate statements are factors that contribute to IBM’s success in the global information technology industry.

IBM’s Vision Statement

IBM’s corporate vision is “to be the world’s most successful and important information technology company. Successful in helping out customers apply technology to solve their problems. Successful in introducing this extraordinary technology to new customers. Important, because we will continue to be the basic resource of much of what is invested in this industry.” This vision statement depicts IBM’s developmental path as it maintains its position as one of the top players in the global market. The company also emphasizes the success and importance of its business. The following are the main components of IBM’s vision statement:

  1. World’s most successful and important information technology company
  2. Successful in helping out customers apply technology to solve their problems
  3. Successful in introducing this extraordinary technology to new customers
  4. Important, because we will continue to be the basic resource of much of what is invested in this industry

In the first component of the corporate vision statement, IBM’s focus is on the highest position in the information technology industry, in terms of success and importance of the business. In this regard, the company aims to maintain its business within the information technology industry. The second component of IBM’s vision statement helps define the kind of success indicated in the first component. For example, the company states that such success is based on the ability of the business to help customers use technology to solve problems. In addition, the third component contributes to the definition of the kind of success that IBM wants to achieve. For instance, this kind of success is also based on the company’s ability to provide extraordinary technology to customers. Furthermore, the fourth component of the corporate vision defines what business importance means in the context of IBM. It is stated that the company aims to be important by remaining as the basic resource in the industry. Thus, IBM’s corporate vision statement gives details about the nature of the business and what it can offer to the industry and the target market. This information is similar to the components of the firm’s corporate mission statement.

IBM’s Mission Statement

IBM’s corporate mission is “to lead in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics. And our worldwide network of IBM solutions and services professionals translates these advanced technologies into business value for our customers. We translate these advanced technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions, services and consulting businesses worldwide.” This mission statement shows what IBM’s business does. The details cover the company’s aims and its activities on how to fulfill these aims. The following points are the main components of IBM’s mission statement:

  1. To lead in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics.
  2. Our worldwide network of IBM solutions and services professionals translates these advanced technologies into business value for our customers.
  3. We translate these advanced technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions, services and consulting businesses worldwide.

The corporate mission statement highlights IBM’s leadership in the information technology industry. The details of the technologies linked to such leadership are included in the first component of the corporate statement. In the second component, IBM’s mission statement specifies the people involved in creating value for customers. For example, it is stated that the company’s solutions and services professionals are responsible for such value creation. On the other hand, the third component of the corporate mission presents the business activities involved in creating value for target customers. For instance, the company’s professional solutions, services and consulting businesses contain the mechanism for this value creation. This information makes IBM’s corporate mission statement specific in providing bases for business processes. Moreover, such information are strongly linked to the company’s corporate vision statement, which also emphasizes leadership in the industry.

Analysis & Recommendations – IBM’s Corporate Mission & Corporate Vision

As one of the biggest technology firms in the global market, International Business Machines Corporation has a vision statement that states leadership in the information technology industry and market. The company’s corporate vision also contains sufficient details about what such leadership means in terms of success and importance. For example, the second, third, and fourth components of the statement define success and importance in the context of the business. In this regard, IBM’s corporate vision statement is satisfactory and ideal. A recommendation is to enhance it by including recent, current and potential changes in the business. This recommendation is based on IBM’s repositioning and reform efforts, which have included divestiture of some of its businesses.

IBM’s mission statement is also detailed, providing specifics of what the business does. For example, the company states that it is involved in the creation, development, and manufacture of information technologies. In addition, the corporate mission includes information regarding IBM’s characteristics, such as the types of people involved in the business, as well as the organizational outputs offered to target customers in the global market. Based on such information, the firm’s corporate mission statement is satisfactory in serving as a guide for strategic decision-making processes. However, it is recommended that IBM adjust the statement to account for changes in the organization, including the sale of some of its businesses and the refocusing of the firm on core competencies.

References
  • Ekpe, E. O., Eneh, S. I., & Inyang, B. J. (2015). Leveraging Organizational Performance through Effective Mission Statement. International Business Research8(9), 135.
  • International Business Machines Corporation – 2016 IBM Annual Report.
  • International Business Machines Corporation, Form 10-K.
  • Kirkpatrick, S. (2016). Build a Better Vision Statement: Extending Research with Practical Advice. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Kirkpatrick, S. A. (2016, January). Toward a Grounded Theory: A Qualitative Study of Vision Statement Development. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2016, No. 1, p. 10225). Academy of Management.
  • Pace, S. (2017). Shaping Corporate Brands: From Product Features to Corporate Mission. International Studies of Management & Organization47(2), 197-205.
  • Singal, A. K., & Jain, A. K. (2013). An empirical examination of the influence of corporate vision on internationalization. Strategic Change22(5‐6), 243-257.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration – Software and Information Technology Services Industry Spotlight.
  • Von Dewitz, A. (2015). VAUDE: Sustainable Value Creation as a Corporate Mission Statement for Small and Medium-Sized Companies. In Sustainable Value Chain Management (pp. 261-274). Springer International.