In this recent video interview, Hans Maerki, former chairman and general manager of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa, touches upon, among other issues, IBM's successful transformation from a supplier of products to a service provider, its recent financial performance and the company's prospects during the current market turmoil.
Regarding IBM's dramatic shift of focus to service provision in the '90s, Maerki stresses that it was not an invention of IBM's, but rather a response to clients' changing needs. "If you really want to help the client try to solve problems, you have to understand the client," he says.
Turning his attention to the present, Maerki believes IBM is well-positioned to weather the current financial crisis. "IBM is more global than it has ever been in the past, which means that the reliance on certain single markets is no longer there," he says.
"Even if you are an elephant, if you want to dance, you have to react very quickly," he says, making reference to the title of the book by former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner. And, as recent financial reports have shown, the elephant is still dancing.