It’s Here: 2020 IBM Annual Report
Arvind Krishna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
“Dear IBM Investor: Today your company is positioned to lead as we enter the era of hybrid cloud and AI. As I write you, the world is still experiencing disruption as a result of the global pandemic.
What we have witnessed over the past year is an acceleration of digital transformation. Every company in every industry wants to build a much stronger digital foundation to fundamentally change the way its business works. There is no going back. In the next two to three years, we expect to see digital transformation at a rate that, before 2020, we thought would take 5 to 10 years.
Perhaps the most profound and exciting change our clients are experiencing is the adoption of new business models based on digital technologies that IBM is building. This is evident whether you look at the use of AI-powered assistants to offset the massive increase of requests flooding call centers, the meteoric rise of telemedicine, or the use of hybrid cloud to build rich, personalized and secure experiences in areas like digital banking. As I will describe to you in this letter, we have made decisive moves to help our clients thrive by tapping into the immense power of hybrid cloud and AI. My confidence in our ability to exit this turbulent period stronger is grounded in the strength of our strategy, the progress of our transformation, and the talent and resilience of IBMers around the world.”
– Arvind Krishna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
A Few Highlights from the 2020 Annual Report
Hybrid Cloud and AI are IBM’s Clear Path to Growth
At the beginning of 2020, less than 25 percent of mission-critical workloads had moved to
the cloud. As companies sought to equip their employees to work remotely during the pandemic, many sped up the pace of their technological changes. They’ve realized the sooner they can make the jump to cloud and cloud-enabled AI, the better. This trend will continue until the 75 percent of workloads that were left behind migrate to hybrid cloud. IBM is doubling down on its investment in hybrid cloud and AI because we see it as the best way to help our customers on this journey. They want the speed, efficiency and innovation that comes with moving to the cloud, without having to reinvent their entire IT infrastructure. That’s what hybrid cloud is all about.
Unlocking the Power of Client Data
Throughout 2020, IBM helped organizations unlock the power of their data to drive measurable results at scale. Clients deployed our hybrid cloud software to modernize their IT landscapes, use data to predict and shape future outcomes, automate workflows, enhance customer service and secure their organizations against cyber threats. AI for business requires mastery of automation, natural language processing and trust. New Watson Natural Language Understanding capabilities from Project Debater will help businesses analyze linguistic nuances, while new AI FactSheets for Watson Studio in Cloud Pak for Data will increase the transparency and explainability of AI models. Trust is critical to AI adoption. We help our clients understand how AI models make decisions, provide transparency into how AI technology is built, and govern and champion the responsible use of AI.
Creating Intelligent Workflows
IBM Global Business Services (GBS) helps organizations reinvent the way they work. With intelligent workflows, businesses can reshape core functions across their organizations—from supply chains to recruitment and bill processing. Running on the hybrid cloud and powered by IBM’s leading AI automation software and analytics, intelligent workflows connect data from disparate systems, streamline processes and generate actionable insights.
Driving Innovation and Resilience
Maintaining business continuity, enabling remote workforces and strengthening virtual customer engagement were all critical in 2020. In response, IBM Global Technology Services (GTS) rallied for go-to-market coverage—taking client service to the next level to keep businesses up and running while facilitating their migrations to hybrid cloud.
Enhancing the Client Experience Through Ecosystems
As the need for digital transformation accelerated in 2020, it became clear that businesses benefited the most when they were supported by an ecosystem of partners that continually provided the best technologies and industry expertise. That’s why IBM has committed to a $1 billion investment in its hybrid cloud ecosystem over the next three years. This investment has already begun supporting a coalition of best-of- breed global system integrators and independent software vendors that are helping clients migrate their mission-critical workloads to IBM’s hybrid cloud platform.
The Industry Standard for Cloud and Enterprise IT
As governments and regulated industries migrate their mission-critical workloads to hybrid cloud, they must be confident in the safety, security and reliability of the IT infrastructures they rely on, and know that their systems are built to adapt to client needs—not vice versa. IBM’s industry-optimized clouds enable clients to focus on their business processes instead of on IT and applications.
New Milestones for IBM Research
In 2020, IBM Research doubled down on transformative innovations. Chief among these is quantum computing, which uses quantum physics principles to solve problems far faster than binary computing. Complementing classical computing, quantum could help tackle some of our toughest challenges.
Transformation and Culture
Having the right culture gives meaning to IBM’s mission, fosters growth and innovation, and contributes directly to our delivery of differentiated value to our clients.
Reinventing the World of Work
Events of the most difficult year in recent memory tested— and then affirmed—IBM’s pioneering commitment to reinventing the world of work. Our tradition of applying intelligence, reason and science to all challenges for our employees and our clients became more relevant than ever during a period of global pandemic, social unrest and political uncertainty that taxed all of our resolve. To manage these crises, we relied upon the full force of IBM values, technologies and humanistic approaches to protect, support and inspire our workforce.