Abby Kohnstamm was the 90s driver of IBM’s e-business vernacularizing under Lou Gerstner — brought to IBM from AmEx by Lou to become CMO.
’Research has shown that people will read lengthy copy if it interests them. Some readers will read the whole ad, others will just select snippets. It was very important for us to use local case studies because people don’t want to read about someone doing something in the US unless they are in the US. They want a company down the road to do it.’Campaign Live
“After assuming leadership position, Gerstner focused on restructuring and reorganizing the company. All the businesses within the company were categorized to three major groups: H1 for short term mature business, H2 for rapidly growing business, H3 for long term emerging businesses. H1 consists of short term mature businesses. 155 data center were reduced to 3 regional data center. He also reduced the number of CIO to one CIO who was responsible to make direct report to the CEO. The system development process was also reengineered, the number of in-house applications decreased from 16000 to 5200. It also integrated new technologies to meet the client demands. As part of restructuring efforts, company also focused on cost reduction process. The company had cut its workforce from 215000 to 86000 and reduced budget for its R&D activities (Applegate et al., 2009)
Re-organizing the Organization’s Culture
Gerstner was aware of the need to change organizational culture within the company to facilitate the smooth transformation. The centerpiece of the new e-business strategy for organization culture was a document called “One Voice.” Put out in 1996, “It was a very simple booklet; first time explained the business strategy to employees. It didn’t try to describe the ideal company. It said: ‘This is the mark of opportunity; this is what we have to do.” And because it predated the e- business marketing campaign by about a year, it helped our workforce understand where we were trying to go. “IBM’s salespeople were giving it to clients. HR used it for recruiting and it became must reading for managers. “‘One Voice’ did not change IBM. But it reoriented the strategy and changed their culture” (Gazis, 2010).
To help employees manage the flow of information that they needed to do their jobs, they created a personalized news service on the Intranet called “My News.” Each employee created a profile of work-related interests and based on that profile, “My News” filtered news feeds from both inside and outside the company. Several times a day, it created a news page for the employee with the information they specifically wanted (Lindquist, Madduri, Paul, & Rajaraman, 2007).
IBM also realized that it couldn’t allow the structure of the company to get in the way of their business model, which required cross-organizational teamwork. So it created another Intranet based model which was called as “The Matrix”. This new model was aimed to help employees to communicate information easily and quickly. The company also designed a series of Intranet tutorials called the ‘How To’ series. It covered some very basic things such as how to hold a meeting, how to use e-mail, and how to make decisions (Lindquist et al., 2007).”
Gerstner’s 8 principles:
1. The marketplace is the driving force behind everything we do.
2. At our core, we are a technology company with an overriding commitment to quality.
3. Our primary measures of success are customer satisfaction and shareholder value.
4. We operate as an entrepreneurial organization with a minimum of bureaucracy and never ending focus on productivity.
5. We never lose sight of our strategic vision.
6. We think and act with a sense of urgency.
7. Oustanding, dedicated people (constructive impatience) make it all happen, particularly when they work as a team.
8. We are sensitive to the needs of all employees and to the communities in which we operate.