Global CIO: IBM CFO Offers 7 Key Insights In Earnings Analysis

IBM's CFO sheds light on atypical opportunities, applications outsourcing, retail resurgence, business analytics, and more.
5) "One of the trends that we saw in the fourth quarter that was quite encouraging is the performance of smaller deals," Loughridge said in the transcript. "That is, smaller deals across our hardware business, our software businesses, our services business both in major markets and [inaudible] in our growth markets. Number one, smaller deals are a significant portion of our total revenue stream but I think what we are seeing in smaller deals have been more characteristic of a leading indicator." Nice to hear someone talk about "leading indicators" in a positive context. Are you and your team taking steps to help your company optimize small-deal opportunities?

6) "Frankly underneath that the retail industry saw growth for the first time in seven quarters," Loughridge said. "As we said, if you look at public sector it had the strongest performance in the quarter and for the year." He added that "we had growth in healthcare and life sciences that marked an 11th consecutive quarter of growth." Again, discussions of growth—and not only in sectors like healthcare where it's been happening for some time, but also in troubled areas like retail. If you've had your team and its capabilities in suspended animation for the past 18 months while your budget's been hacked, this is a pretty powerful wake-up call because when your CEO says it's time to fire up all those great ideas that have been on hold for a couple of years, it probably won't be a good career move to reply that you'll need six months to unthaw everything.

7) "The thing you clearly saw though is the difference between major-market performance and growth-market performance actually expanded in the quarter to about a nine-point differential," Loughridge said, emphasizing that declining revenue from Russia has stabilized. Nine points—that's pretty significant—are you and your team helping your company leverage this growth-market potential in India, China, Brazil, and Russia?


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

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