IBM is not just a well-known company; it’s something more. Having begun long before the computer era, it not only influenced modern computers but in fact created their modern appearance. IBM is the world’s largest corporation working in the field of information technology. To date, it has 325,000 high-class professionals, 9 research laboratories in which worldwide discoveries are made, as well as factories that produce reliable, innovative equipment and software all over the world. IBM computers can be seen on Wall Street, aboard a spacecraft, and in a classroom. Research in IBM research laboratories is beyond commercial interests and is important for the whole of world science. IBM remains the leader by patents received for inventions in the US and is the largest provider of Internet services. The corporation operates in 164 countries.
A case study of IBM Company can be made from the perspective of introducing new technologies and cooperation between business and state in changing economic and political conditions. Moreover, it laid the foundations almost of all modern innovations.
On the Eve of the Digital Era
IBM’s origins go back to the distant 1896, when, decades before the appearance of the first electronic computers, an outstanding engineer and statistician, Herman Hollerith, founded a company for the production of counting and analytical machines, named TMC (Tabulating Machine Company). The essence of the invention was in his development of an electrical switch, which allows encoding the data in figures.
The carriers of information, in this case, were cards in which holes were punched in a special order, after which the punch cards could be sorted mechanically. This development, patented in 1889, produced a sensation that allowed the inventor to receive an order for the delivery of his unique machines for the US Department of Statistics, which was preparing for the 1890 census. The history of this company is rather unusual. IBM case study analysis shows that the invention that made it famous corresponded to the necessity of the state, but not the needs of the customers. This was due to the fact that this invention was more than just innovative and the state was the pioneer who tested it.
The success was staggering. The processing of the collected data took only one year, in contrast to the eight years that statisticians from the US Census Bureau needed to obtain the results of the 1880 census. It was then that in practice the advantages of computing mechanisms in solving similar problems were demonstrated, which in many ways was predetermined by the future “digital boom.”
The Genius Invention
Without much harm for themselves, the company experienced the Great Depression. And the US’s entry into World War II brought IBM multimillion-dollar orders. The company produced weapons, and then, in 1943, the first computer Marc I appeared. This electromechanical monster weighed 20 tons, covered an area of several tens of square meters and produced a hellish noise during operation. But it fully justified all the hopes. It allows processing great amount of data, so IBM big data case studies can be made on this basis. The beginning of the second half of the last century was of great importance for the modern world. Then the first digital computers began to appear. And IBM took the most active part in their creation.
During the war period, IBM worked for the government. Thomas Watson, who headed the company, set a nominal profit of 1% for released products. And even this misery was not sent to the profitable part of the company, but to the foundation of a fund to help widows and orphans who lost their families due to the war. This solution of the company was the part of its corporate ethics, and a case study on IBM can also be made on this basis.
There was also an application for counting machines. They were used for various mathematical calculations, logistics, and other war needs. They were also used in working on the Manhattan project, in the frameworks of which an atomic bomb was created.
In the 1950s, IBM received another major order from the government to develop computers for the SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment) system. This was a military system designed to track and intercept the bombers of a likely enemy. It worked on the first computer, which could easily serve as the prototypes of modern systems.
A lot of revolutionary developments came out at that time from IBM. The most interesting were the mass computer IBM PC, the initial prototype of a modern personal computer. The heart of the computer was the Intel processor, and DOS was used as the operating system, released by Microsoft. In addition, the most important thing was that the IBM PC architecture was open. Any company could produce their computers with a similar architecture. This was done because IBM was seriously pressured by the anti-monopoly authorities.
To date, the company has been manufacturing super-computers (its models rank first in the Top 500 Supercomputers ranking), high-performance servers, processors, and software. IBM is one of the ten largest manufacturers of various electrical and electronic equipment around the world. A very important part of the company’s work is scientific development and consulting.
IBM case study analysis can be conducted from the perspective of past and current IT trends. It allows investigating the development of innovative technologies, its application in different economic and political conditions, constant improving and achieving new results with the help of genius engineering thought.