Global CIO: An Open Letter To IBM CEO Sam Palmisano - InformationWeek
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Global CIO: An Open Letter To IBM CEO Sam Palmisano

We ask IBM's chairman and CEO about analytics, competition, mobility, and how the pursuit of a Smarter Planet will extend the transformation of the world's most-influential IT company.

Dear Sam:

As IBM prepares to close the books on another strong year, you and your team clearly have a lot of successes to savor: Smarter Planet, analytics, your revamped hardware line, and surely your financial results and stock price.

But since you didn't get to where you are and IBM didn't get to where it is by focusing on how wonderful you both are, I wanted to toss out some questions that reflect some of the market's concerns about IBM.

As you'll see,some of these concerns or questions are mildly tactical and are posed to clarify the perception of IBM in a turbulent economic time, and others dig more deeply into your company's unfolding strategies during a time of massive change within the technology industry.

Your perspectives on these issues are vital, Sam, because IBM is simply not viewed by the world as just one of many excellent tech companies. Rather, by virtue of IBM's 100-year legacy of innovation plus your own 10-year record of transformation and vision, the IBM company is seen as a leader of not just the tech business but as one of the foundation pieces of the global economy.

So when you have a chance, we'd love to get your thoughts on these 10 questions to understand more fully where the company that dialed up the Smarter Planet is heading:

1) IBM's powerhouse in microprocessors and chips. I think most people have something of a vague idea that IBM at least dabbles in microelectronics, but that also means that very few people understand the depth and breadth of your position in this field where world-class science meets the market-accelerator of engineering.

From your extraordinary successes in the high-tech games industry to your advanced nanotechnology work, there's a great story to tell here of how this extraordinary chip-level expertise will underpin IBM's next wave of growth as Smarter Planet evolves from a brilliant concept to a powerful reality.

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2) The Smarter Planet gets real. Your company has succeeded in inspiring not only itself but also huge portions of the global business community to think very hard about this idea of a planet that is deeply instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent.

That vision extends out to a dazzling array of prospects that need to become smarter:

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