The computer industry continues to be an increasingly competitive market. With a severely unstable economy, it is important for a company such as IBM to find new ways to service its clients by making changes within its organization in order to remain competitive. IBM needs to examine where it has come from, look at current trends and needs, and decide where it wants to go. From there, IBM can develop a strong strategic plan based on the information collected and steer its business in a path toward a brighter future. History of IBM
IBM’s history dates back to the early 1900s. According to IBM Archives: 1910s (2009), IBM was originally called Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (C-T-R) which was founded in 1911 by Charles F. Flint. In 1917, C-T-R opened up another segment of the company in Canada known as International Business Machines Co., Limited. The main focus of the company in the beginning was providing large-scale, custom-built tabulating equipment for businesses. Under the direction of Thomas J. Watson, the general manager, the company implemented effective business tactics such as “generous sales incentives, a focus on customer service, an insistence on well-groomed, dark-suited salesmen and an evangelical fervor for instilling company pride and loyalty in every worker” (IBM Archives: 1910s, 2009, ¶4). He doubled the company’s revenues and expanded its operations to Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia (IBM Archives: 1910s, 2009). Continuing to grow, the 1920s would show more change. To meet customers’ demands, the company would start off the decade by introducing new technology: the lock autograph recorder, the first complete school time control system, and the Electric Accounting Machine (IBM Archives: 1920s, 2009). C-T-R also acquired two more companies: Ticketograph Company of Chicago and Peirce Accounting Machine Company (IBM Archives: 1920s, 2009). They developed The Carroll Rotary Press in 1924 which produced punch cards (IBM Archives: 1920s, 2009). Due to the diversity in the company’s functions, C-T-R changed its name to what is currently known as International Business Machines Corporation (IBM Archives: 1920s, 2009). To their surprise, the 1930s continued to be prosperous. When the rest of the United States was suffering through the Great Depression, IBM continued to grow (IBM Archives: 1930s, 2009). Watson recognized the need to take care of his employees. So, IBM became one of the first companies to provide its employees with group life insurance, survivor benefits, and paid vacations (IBM Archives: 1930s, 2009). He also continued producing new machines even though demand was low. This ended up being a wise business decision when the company landed a huge government contract to maintain employment records for 26 million people after the Social Security Act of 1935 (IBM Archives: 1930s, 2009). Watson also recognized the need for education for his employees. In 1933, the IBM Schoolhouse was opened to provide education and training for employees (IBM Archives: 1930s, 2009). Yet another technological advance was made with the implementation of the International Proof Machine (IBM Archives: 1930s, 2009). The beginning of the 1940s would take IBM in a different direction due to the war. Because of the World War II, IBM began producing bombsights, rifles, and engine parts for the US government (IBM Archives: 1940s, 2009). Again, valuing his employees, Watson took one percent of the profits from the sales of the ordnance items and established a fund to help the widows and orphans of IBM war casualties (IBM Archives: 1940s, 2009). Technology was advanced again when IBM produced the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (Mark I), the first step towards computing (IBM Archives: 1940s, 2009). They also introduced the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator, the 604 Electronic Calculating Punch, and the Card-Programmed Electronic Calculator (IBM Archives: 1940s, 2009). The 1950s would prove to be an...
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