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August 15, 2016
IBM has continued its transition into the world of cloud computing, announcing it now counts Workday as one of its customers.
The news in itself is positive for the company, but nothing exceptional. Big companies win big customers all the time, but the seven year agreement with Workday, one of the world’s largest cloud-based human capital management and enterprise resource planning vendors, does indicate the company is beginning to close the gap on the top three in the cloud market segment.
As part of the agreement, IBM Cloud becomes the primary platform for Workday’s development and testing. Workday will continue to use the AWS platform for some of its work, but it does answer some questions as to whether IBM can compete with AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google in what is shaping up to be a highly competitive market.
Grouping together AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google at the top of the cloud segment ranking would generally not be seen as unusual, as market share statistics from almost every analyst and research firm confirm this is the case. Big blue however has been making moves over recent quarters and is gaining ground. Research from Synergy highlighted IBM’s share of the cloud market place (SaaS, PaaS and Private) increased by 57% year-on-year during Q2, and now sits in the top four alongside AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure, accounting for more than 50% of the world’s market share.
“Leading enterprises like Workday continue to turn to IBM Cloud for its global reach, flexibility, and resiliency,” said Robert LeBlanc, SVP at IBM Cloud. “Through a preferred cloud partnership with IBM, Workday can accelerate its innovation efforts to better serve clients around the world.”
Aside from Workday, SAP, VMWare and Box also count as customers, with Box working alongside IBM to create more localized solutions to help counter data residency fears which has been swirling through the industry since the removal of Safe Harbour last year. The list continues with other hard-hitting names such as Halliburton, Pratt & Whitney, FleetCor, Ethiad and Kaiser Permanente. The company now has 50 data centres in 17 countries on six continents.
Following its dominance in the 70’s and 80’s, numerous people in the industry were asking whether IBM had lost its way, though it would appear it is finding its feet again. In its recent earnings call, the company reported declining revenues for the 17th consecutive quarter, though the strategic imperatives (cloud, analytics and engagement business units) delivered $31 billion in revenue over the 12 month period, and now represent 38% of IBM, lessening the dependence on what would now be considered legacy solutions. Winning Workday as a client, one of the larger cloud-native organizations in the world, demonstrates the progress which has been made in the last few years to redefine Big Blue as a company for the cloud computing era.
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