By The Valuentum Team
International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) has become a fundamentally different business in the past few years, one focused on providing hybrid cloud computing offerings. The company is a stellar free cash flow generator which enables IBM to reward investors via generous dividend increases, with shares of IBM yielding ~5.1% as of this writing. Substantial near-term headwinds remain, largely due to the various exogenous shocks seen of late (such as major inflationary pressures, rising interest rates, supply chain hurdles, and raging geopolitical tensions), though IBM is still worth considering as a high-yielding income generation idea.
IBM solves business problems via integrated hardware/software solutions that leverage IT and its knowledge of business processes. Its solutions help reduce a client's costs or enable new capabilities that generate revenue. The company was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in New York.
Back in 2019, IBM bought Red Hat (a top provider of open source cloud software) through a ~$34 billion deal which made IBM a contending hybrid cloud provider. IBM is looking to seize what it describes as a ~$1 trillion hybrid cloud opportunity, and exact growth in this area has been encouraging. IBM's revamped management team is working hard to turn things around after the company made various blunders during the 2010s decade. Its current Chairman and CEO, Arvind Krishna, has done a solid job righting the ship at IBM since taking on the top role in 2020.
In November 2021, IBM spun off its legacy business tax-free to shareholders as a new publicly traded entity, Kyndryl Holdings, Inc. (KD). Initially, IBM retained a 19.9% stake in Kyndryl though the firm intends to exit that position within 12 months of the spinoff.
On July 18, IBM reported earnings for the second quarter of 2022 that beat both consensus top- and bottom-line estimates. Its GAAP revenues rose by 9% year-over-year to hit $15.5 billion with strong growth at its Red Hat, various consulting services, and hybrid infrastructure offerings being key here. When removing foreign currency headwinds arising from the strong US dollar seen of late from the picture, IBM's non-GAAP constant currency revenues were up 16% year-over-year last quarter. IBM's portfolio optimization efforts are having a very powerful impact on its financial performance.
The firm's GAAP gross margin fell by ~185 basis points year-over-year last quarter, falling down to 55.4%. However, economies of scale helped drive its GAAP income from continuing operations up by 81% year-over-year in the second quarter, rising to $1.5 billion. There is some noise here due to the separation of IBM's legacy businesses (via the spinoff of Kyndryl) from its core operations. Keeping that noise in mind, IBM's underlying operations have performed quite well of late.
During its second quarter earnings call, IBM's management team noted the firm now forecasted that its full-year free cash flows would come in near $10.0 billion in 2022, at the low end of its previous forecast. IBM generated $3.6 billion in free cash flow (defined as net operating cash flow less 'payments for property, plant, and equipment' and 'investment in software') while spending $3.0 billion covering its dividend obligations during the first half of 2022. Its modest share repurchases during this period were related to tax withholding purposes as the new IBM is focused on retaining cash to invest in the business. We appreciate that IBM's dividend obligations remain well-covered by its traditional free cash flows.
The company exited June 2022 with a net debt load of $42.8 billion (inclusive of short-term debt, exclusive of restricted cash). One of the biggest risks to IBM's dividend is its large net debt load. IBM had $7.6 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and current marketable securities on hand at the end of June 2022 which provides the company with ample liquidity to meet its near-term funding needs.
IBM continues to expect that its constant currency revenues will grow decently this year (in the mid-single digit range), though sustained foreign currency headwinds are expected to offset strong demand for its offerings, to a degree. Over the long haul, we forecast that under its new management team, IBM will return to stable revenue growth which in turn should see the company's free cash flows swell higher. That would allow IBM to boost its dividend in a sustainable manner going forward, though we caution that its net debt load could limit the size of any future payout increases.
The Dividend Cushion Ratio Deconstruction, shown in the image up above, reveals the numerator and denominator of the Dividend Cushion ratio. At the core, the larger the numerator, or the healthier a company's balance sheet and future free cash flow generation, relative to the denominator, or a company's cash dividend obligations, the more durable the dividend.
The Dividend Cushion Ratio Deconstruction image puts sources of free cash in the context of financial obligations next to expected cash dividend payments over the next 5 years on a side-by-side comparison. Because the Dividend Cushion ratio and many of its components are forward-looking, our dividend evaluation may change upon subsequent updates as future forecasts are altered to reflect new information.
In the context of the Dividend Cushion ratio, IBM's numerator is smaller than its denominator, which suggests weak forward-looking dividend coverage. However, given IBM's strong and stable cash flow profile, we view its forward-looking dividend coverage favorably when considering IBM's ability to tap capital markets into account. Should IBM stumble for any reason, its ability to make good on its payout may be in danger.
The best measure of a firm's ability to create value for shareholders is expressed by comparing its return on invested capital ['ROIC'] with its weighted average cost of capital ['WACC']. The gap or difference between ROIC and WACC is called the firm's economic profit spread. IBM's 3-year historical return on invested capital (without goodwill) is 41.6%, which is above the estimate of its cost of capital of 9.2%.
In the chart down below, we show the probable path of ROIC in the years ahead based on the estimated volatility of key drivers behind the measure. The solid grey line reflects the most likely outcome, in our opinion, and represents the scenario that results in our fair value estimate. Assuming IBM's exact portfolio optimization efforts go as planned, the firm's ability to generate shareholder value (which historically has been impressive) should continue to improve.
Our discounted cash flow process values each firm on the basis of the present value of all future free cash flows, net of balance sheet considerations. We think IBM is worth $136 per share with a fair value range of $101-$171 per share. Shares of IBM are trading moderately below our fair value estimate as of this writing.
The near-term operating forecasts used in our enterprise cash flow model, including revenue and earnings, do not differ much from consensus estimates or management guidance. Our model reflects a compound annual revenue growth rate of 3.4% during the next five years, a pace that is higher than the firm's 3-year historical compound annual growth rate of -10.3%.
Our model reflects a 5-year projected average operating margin of 17.6%, which is above IBM's trailing 3-year average. Beyond Year 5, we assume free cash flow will grow at an annual rate of 2% for the next 15 years and 3% in perpetuity. For IBM, we use a 9.2% weighted average cost of capital to discount future free cash flows.
Although we estimate IBM's fair value at about $136 per share, every company has a range of probable fair values that's created by the uncertainty of key valuation drivers (like future revenue or earnings, for example). After all, if the future were known with certainty, we wouldn't see much volatility in the markets as stocks would trade precisely at their known fair values.
In the graphic up above, we show this probable range of fair values for IBM. We think the firm is attractive below $101 per share (the green line), but quite expensive above $171 per share (the red line). The prices that fall along the yellow line, which includes our fair value estimate, represent a reasonable valuation for the firm, in our opinion.
The steady decline in IBM's legacy business since 2010 represents a major reason why the firm spun off Kyndryl in November 2021. Going forward, IBM will need to prove that as a leaner and more focused enterprise, it can maintain solid revenue and operating income growth over the long haul. We think that will be the case, though substantial near-term headwinds remain. Investors looking for an income generation idea backed up by a strong cash flow profile should take a closer look at IBM.
Quantum computing will bring unimagined innovations to the world when it finally arrives in full glory. Still, quantum remains in the research labs at companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft. While companies and research institutions are investing billions of dollars to increase the capacity of quantum systems, a time will come in the following years, or decades, when researchers will reach "quantum supremacy." But these large quantum marvels could also jeopardize the security of critical information systems. Researchers, including IBM are working to develop new security algorithms that will be resilient to these attacks.
While quantum can solve computing challenges far beyond what is possible today, its ability to find the factors of large prime numbers makes it the ideal cybersecurity safe cracker once quantum computing systems mature in their scale, quality, and speed. Every computer system and every bit of "secure" data could become vulnerable to attack from quantum-equipped nefarious actors. The World Economic Forum "estimate(s) that over 20 billion digital devices will need to be either upgraded or replaced in the next 10-20 years to use the new forms of quantum-resistant encrypted communication. We recommend that organizations start planning for this now.”
What constitutes "adequate size" might give us some false comfort: a 2019 study suggested that a computer with 20 million qubits would take eight hours to break modern encryption. Today's quantum computers are on the order of only 100 qubits. But while that implies that the threat is in the distant future, one must consider that a bad actor doesn't need to wait for the massive quantum system to materialize. The "Steal now, crack later" approach leads to a latent future security threat. Consequently, organizations should deploy quantum-safe security as soon as possible to minimize future risk.
Consequently, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has been conducting an ongoing search for quantum-safe security algorithms that are both secure and efficient. After all, we need our laptops, cars, and mobile phones to also be able to resist attacks from quantum-equipped bad actors. After four rounds of submissions, NIST selected four algorithms from a slate of 82 candidates. IBM Research had submitted 3 of the four chosen algorithms. All submissions have been subjected to research by industry scrutiny by government agencies, academic scientists, and mathematicians. This process is now reaching its conclusion; the NIST is expected to publish standards based on these 4 algorithms sometime in 2024.
The NIST contest covers the two aspects of security that could be vulnerable to quantum computing: public key encapsulation (used for public-key encryption and key establishment) and digital signatures (used for identity authentication and non-repudiation). For the former, NIST selected the CRYSTALS-Kyber algorithm. NIST selected three algorithms for signatures: CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON, and SPHINCS+, with CRYSTALS-Dilithium as the primary algorithm in the signature category.
On September 29, GSMA announced the formation of the GSMA Post-Quantum Telco Network Taskforce, of which IBM and Vodafone are initial members, to help define policy, regulation and operator business processes to enhance protections of telecommunications in a future of advanced quantum computing. Since virtually all organizations and sectors conduct commerce on the internet, and the 800 providers whose pipes that carry all the internet traffic, the Telco industry is a good place to start. We expect other sectors to follow suit, perhaps starting with banking, government, and health care.
Given the magnitude of the potential risks, and the predominance of IBM Z systems in security-critical applications, IBM has included future-proof digital signature support in its latest z16 mainframe using CRYSTALS-Kyber and CRYSTALS -Dilithium algorithms selected by NIST. z16 implements this algorithm across multiple layers of firmware to help protect business-critical infrastructure and data from future quantum attacks. IBM has said it is also working to bring these new methods to the broader market.
In addition, IBM has developed a multi-step process to assist clients toward rapidly making institutions quantum safe. The company works with clients to identify where they are vulnerable to quantum-based cryptography attacks, assess cryptographic maturity and dependencies, and identify near-term achievable cryptographic goals and projects. The risks clients may face vary substantially based on the type of applications and data an organization handles and the state of its current cryptography.
Quantum computing's potential threat to global information security may seem to be a distant and abstract risk. However, the inevitable advances of quantum technology and the "Steal now, crack later" approach bad actors are undertaking to make quantum-safe a genuine and pressing matter for vendors and IT organizations. IBM wasted no time bringing that technology to market in the IBM z16. IBM Research has contributed three of the four algorithms the NIST quantum-safe contest has selected to be the most viable, secure, and efficient of the 70 techniques evaluated.
Beyond the NIST-approved algorithms, IBM Is working to provide “crypto agility”, helping organizations not only replace the soon-to-fail existing algorithms but also transform their security practices to remain resilient as new threats emerge in the post-quantum world. Creating crypto observability, enabling ongoing monitoring and actions on crypto-related security items, will help keep the world safer from bad actors with virtually unlimited computing capacity at their disposal.
More information can be found at here.
Disclosures: This article expresses the opinions of the authors, and is not to be taken as advice to purchase from nor invest in the companies mentioned. Cambrian AI Research is fortunate to have many, if not most, semiconductor firms as our clients, including Blaize, Cerebras, D-Matrix, Esperanto, FuriosaAI, Graphcore, GML, IBM, Intel, Mythic, NVIDIA, Qualcomm Technologies, Si-Five, SiMa.ai, Synopsys, and Tenstorrent. We have no investment positions in any of the companies mentioned in this article and do not plan to initiate any in the near future. For more information, please visit our website at https://cambrian-AI.com.
A four-year bachelor’s degree has long been the first rung to climbing America’s corporate ladder.
But the move to prioritize skills over a college education is sweeping through some of America’s largest companies, including Google, EY, Microsoft, and Apple. Strong proponents say the shift helps circumvent a needless barrier to workplace diversity.
“I really do believe an inclusive diverse workforce is better for your company, it’s good for the business,” Ginni Rometty, former IBM CEO, told Fortune Media CEO Alan Murray during a panel last month for Connect, Fortune’s executive education community. “That’s not just altruistic.”
Under Rometty’s leadership in 2016, tech giant IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” in reference to roles that require a specific set of skills rather than a four-year degree. It’s a personal commitment for Rometty, one that hits close to home for the 40-year IBM veteran.
When Rometty was 16, her father left the family, leaving her mother, who’d never worked outside the home, suddenly in the position to provide.
“She had four children and nothing past high school, and she had to get a job to…get us out of this downward spiral,” Rometty recalled to Murray. “What I saw in that was that my mother had aptitude; she wasn’t dumb, she just didn’t have access, and that forever stayed in my mind.”
When Rometty became CEO in 2012 following the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate hovered around 8%. Despite the influx of applicants, she struggled to find employees who were trained in the particular cybersecurity area she was looking for.
“I realized I couldn’t hire them, so I had to start building them,” she said.
In 2011, IBM launched a corporate social responsibility effort called the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn. It’s since expanded to 11 states in the U.S. and 28 countries.
Through P-TECH, Rometty visited “a very poor high school in a bad neighborhood” that received the company’s support, as well as a community college where IBM was offering help with a technology-based curriculum and internships.
“Voilà! These kids could do the work. I didn’t have [applicants with] college degrees, so I learned that propensity to learn is way more important than just having a degree,” Rometty said.
Realizing the students were fully capable of the tasks that IBM needed moved Rometty to return to the drawing board when it came to IBM’s own application process and whom it was reaching. She said that at the time, 95% of job openings at IBM required a four-year degree. As of January 2021, less than half do, and the company is continuously reevaluating its roles.
For the jobs that now no longer require degrees and instead rely on skills and willingness to learn, IBM had always hired Ph.D. holders from the very best Ivy League schools, Rometty told Murray. But data shows that the degree-less hires for the same jobs performed just as well. “They were more loyal, higher retention, and many went on to get college degrees,” she said.
Rometty has since become cochair of OneTen, a civic organization committed to hiring, promoting, and advancing 1 million Black individuals without four-year degrees within the next 10 years.
If college degrees no longer become compulsory for white-collar jobs, many other qualifications—skills that couldn’t be easily taught in a boot camp, apprenticeship program, or in the first month on the job—could die off, too, University of Virginia Darden School of Business professor Sean Martin told Fortune last year.
“The companies themselves miss out on people that research suggests…might be less entitled, more culturally savvy, more desirous of being there,” Martin said. Rather than pedigree, he added, hiring managers should look for motivation.
That’s certainly the case at IBM. Once the company widened its scope, Rometty said, the propensity to learn quickly became more of an important hiring factor than just a degree.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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Nearly 50 years ago, President Richard Nixon organized the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health where he called on Congress to take action to address America’s hunger crisis. It kickstarted a national conversation to address the growing problem of food insecurity across the nation. Many of the programs Nixon supported are still being implemented in some form today.
The Biden administration is preparing to host a similar forum later this month — the first presidential-led initiative of its kind in nearly half a century — to solve this continuing problem. Yet today, we lack the same bipartisan commitment Nixon showed to make this moment count for millions of underserved Americans who face every day without enough food to eat.
Unless our elected leaders express a sudden and unexpected desire to work together, Biden’s commendable objective of ending U.S. hunger by 2030 faces enormous challenges in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Nixon was determined to stop hunger in America. In 1969, he urged Congress to pass food assistance initiatives, expand food stamps, Strengthen food access to pregnant women and children and streamline the way food programs were administrated. He believed in it so deeply that he backed a plan to allocate $2.5 billion (in 1969 dollars) to fight it, and proposed creating a new government agency to oversee it.
“That hunger and malnutrition should persist in a land such as ours is embarrassing and intolerable,” he said to lawmakers at the time. “[T]he moment is at hand to put an end to hunger in America itself. For all time. I ask this of a Congress that has splendidly demonstrated its own disposition to act.”
Congressional leaders heeded Nixon’s call by working collaboratively with his administration to establish new benefit standards for food stamp eligibility. Food stamp initiatives grew five times during Nixon’s tenure in office and helped millions of people. Bipartisan support to combat hunger continued under George W. Bush, who helped restore food stamp access for America’s immigrant population. Since then additional improvements have been made to what we now call the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help the underprivileged.
Despite these efforts, the number of people in America who go hungry or lack access to healthy food every day is disheartening. The pandemic caused an astonishing 54 million people to be food insecure, and the racial disparity of COVID-19’s impact was stark, affecting households of color twice as hard as white households. Pandemic relief efforts made an enormous difference in 2021 by reducing hunger to the lowest level on record in nearly two decades for families with children. But the expiration of the child tax credit, the discontinuation of the COVID-19 economic stimulus and the skyrocketing costs of groceries due to inflation will likely cause a rebound in food insecurity across the country over the coming years.
Biden’s reversal of a Trump-era decision to defund SNAP brought back $1 billion per month of emergency relief to needy families. It was an important step but it won’t be enough to solve the hunger problem. SNAP is just one piece of the puzzle, helping more than 42 million people annually which, combined with the School Lunch Program, lifted three million more out of poverty in 2020.
While overall child poverty statistics have declined in America, the threshold by which we measure the poverty line remains incomprehensibly low ($26,500 for a family of four in 2021). Anti-poverty advocates at the Shared Humanity Project say this grossly underestimates the number of people across the country who are “struggling to make ends meet.” Solving hunger demands more resources if the country is truly committed to ending the problem once and for all.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the George McGovern-Robert Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Both men from opposing political parties dared to work together and put the needs of America’s most marginalized community before their own political desires. The idea that lawmakers might put their differences aside so that millions have enough to eat food sounds preposterous in light of how politically divided we are today. But we must, for the health of millions of people, refuse to accept this challenge as something that cannot be overcome.
Ending hunger in America is within our reach. Statistics from 2021 prove it can be done. The only thing standing in our way is an expression of political will from both sides to get it done.
Lyndon Haviland, DrPH, MPH, is a distinguished scholar at the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy.
The good news: we are born intuitive eaters. Have you ever had a meal with a toddler where they take two bites and then decide they don’t want to eat anymore, only to ask for the food again in an hour or so? This is an example of a person honoring their natural ability to intuitively eat and recognize their hunger and fullness cues. It’s something we’re born with.
Source: Michal Jarmoluk/Pixabay
The not-so-good news: we live in a world full of schedules, deadlines, commutes, and diet culture. The combination of all these factors sometimes can inhibit our ability to intuitively eat, and we deny or ignore our natural hunger cues.
Some background: intuitive eating is an evidence-based, anti-diet framework that was developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in the late 1990s. Intuitive eating is comprised of ten principles:
It's important to note that intuitive eating might not be easily accessible for everyone due to a variety of factors, including finances, geographic location, transportation, or other limitations to accessibility. Despite its many benefits, the concept of intuitive eating is not without its shortcomings.
Now, the fun part: did you know that you have four different types of hunger? Did you know that each type of hunger deserves to be honored without judgment?
“Honor your hunger” is one of the ten principles of intuitive eating. Sometimes, due to our busy lives and hectic schedules, it can become difficult to honor our hunger on a regular basis and eat intuitively. However, with a little awareness, education, and understanding, we can try to incorporate intuitive eating and honoring our hunger into our daily lives.
In addition to the ten principles, the intuitive eating framework also identifies four different types of hunger. Let’s dive into our different types of hunger and how we can try to honor them.
What it is: Simply put, physical hunger is what most people think of when they think of the word “hunger.” It can manifest as a growling stomach, a headache, feeling faint, or a variety of other physical symptoms. It is your body’s way of saying, “please feed me!”
How to honor it: In a perfect world, we would honor physical hunger by eating as soon as we notice these hunger cues from our bodies. However, we live in a busy and chaotic world, and sometimes it is not possible to eat at the exact moment that we feel the hunger cues. One way to combat this is to eat based on practical hunger (discussed below).
It could also be helpful to have some quick, easy snacks on hand throughout the day, so if hunger does strike during class or a meeting, you have a quick snack that is easily accessible, and you can satiate your hunger cues without too much disruption.
What it is: Taste hunger is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the feeling of desiring a specific food because of its taste (or texture, temperature, etc.). In the words of RDN Rachel Helfferich, it’s eating what “sounds good.” It’s the moment when you are in a dining hall or a food court with tons of different options for what to eat, you really consider what you are craving at that moment, and then you choose that food option. Unfortunately, diet culture sometimes gets in the way of honoring this type of hunger. When we engage in disordered behaviors, such as assigning moral value to food (foods are “good” or “bad”), or we become wrapped up in making the “healthiest” choice, we are ignoring and not honoring our taste hunger.
How to honor it: When you are faced with a decision of what to eat, take a moment or two to pause, breathe, and check in with yourself. Consider all of the food options that you have available and imagine what it would be like to eat each one of them. You might get a “gut feeling” when you imagine eating a certain food and have a moment of, “ah, that’s what I wanted.” When you have this moment, honor it. Try not to let diet culture or overthinking creep in. Let your ability to eat intuitively guide the way.
What it is: Emotional hunger is eating to satisfy an emotional need. A classic example is that cliché movie scene where the main character reaches for the pint of Ben & Jerry’s after a bad breakup. Emotional hunger gets a bad rap sometimes. People tend to assign moral value (“I’m so bad for having this”) to emotional hunger/emotional eating. However, eating to satisfy emotional needs is not an inherently bad thing. It can be a way to cope with emotions in the short term. Additionally, we can turn to food to satisfy positive emotions. Consider holidays like Thanksgiving, where food is a significant part of the day and is presented as a symbol of celebration and togetherness. Honoring emotional hunger is just as important to overall well-being as honoring any of the other types of hunger.
How to honor it: Allow yourself to use food as a way to self-soothe on a temporary/short-term basis. Do not assign moral value to any type or quantity of food, as this invites feelings of shame or embarrassment into the equation. Additionally, eliminate thoughts such as, “ugh, I’m so bad for having this,” or, “I need to hit the gym on Monday to make up for this,” from your vocabulary. We can feel free to eat for emotional reasons without having to feel guilty or “make up” for it.
That said, if you feel like your relationship with emotional eating is problematic and you are looking for a larger repertoire of coping skills, please reach out to a mental health professional who can conduct a more thorough assessment and provide additional assistance.
What it is: Practical hunger is the act of eating even in the absence of hunger cues because you know you might not have a chance to eat again for a while. This is arguably the most important type of hunger for people with busy or rigid schedules (students, teachers, people in jobs with long meetings) to learn to honor, as it protects us from getting too hungry (and hangry!) on those days where time just gets away from us and we might not have the opportunity to eat at the exact moment that our physical hunger cues strike.
How to honor it: Let’s say you are a therapist with back-to-back sessions from 5 to 8 p.m. Maybe you aren’t hungry for dinner yet at 4:30 p.m., but it’s the only chance you’ll have to eat for the next few hours, so you have something to eat before your sessions even though you are not experiencing physical hunger cues and it might be earlier than a traditional dinnertime.
With practical hunger, you can always check in with your hunger cues later on and decide if you need more food when you do have a chance to eat again, and then make a decision based on your intuitive self-assessment. However, by tapping into our practical hunger, we are protecting ourselves from getting too hungry and feeling the negative effects of restriction or lack of nourishment.
By honoring our four different types of hunger on a regular basis, we are communicating to our bodies the words, “I trust you,” and, in return, our bodies are learning to trust us as well. This mutual trust within ourselves and our bodies is critical to maintaining a healthy relationship with food, our bodies, and our mental health. As I mentioned above, it is important to note that intuitive eating is not always perfectly accessible for everyone, all the time. However, if we try to honor our hunger and respond appropriately as much as we can, in the best way that we can at that moment, the difference in our overall wellness will be invaluable.
A version of this article has also been published on Lukin Center for Psychotherapy's website.
IBM (NYSE:IBM) acquired Dialexa, a Dallas TX and Chicago, IL-based digital product engineering services firm.
The amount of the deal was not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.
The acquisition is expected to enhance IBM’s product engineering expertise and provide end-to-end digital transformation services for clients. Upon close, Dialexa will join IBM Consulting, strengthening IBM’s digital product engineering services presence in the Americas.
Founded in 2010 and led by CEO Scott Harper, Dialexa delivers a suite of digital product engineering services, enabling organizations to create new products to drive business outcomes. The company has deep experience delivering end-to-end digital product engineering services consisting of strategy, design, build, launch, and optimization services across cloud platforms including AWS and Microsoft Azure. Its team of 300 product managers, designers, full-stack engineers and data scientists, based in Dallas and Chicago, advise and create custom, commercial-grade digital products for clients such as Deere & Company, Pizza Hut US, and Toyota Motor North America.
IBM Corp. is making some big changes to its data storage services, announcing today that it will bring Red Hat Inc.’s storage products and associates under the “IBM Storage” umbrella.
The aim, IBM said, is to deliver a more consistent application and data storage experience across on-premises and cloud infrastructures. It’s a big move that will see IBM Spectrum Fusion data management software adopt the storage technologies of Red Hat’s OpenShift Data Foundation as its new base layer.
Even more interesting, perhaps, is that the open-source Red Hat Ceph Storage offering will be transformed into a new IBM Ceph storage offering. IBM said this will result in a unified, software-defined storage platform that’s better able to bridge the architectural divide between data centers and cloud computing providers.
The computing giant said the move is in line with its software-defined storage strategy of a “born in the cloud, for the cloud” approach that will unlock bidirectional application and data mobility based on a shared, secure and cloud-scale solution.
IBM Systems General Manager of Storage Denis Kennelly said the shift is designed to streamline the two companies’ portfolios. “By bringing together the teams and integrating our products under one roof, we are accelerating IBM’s hybrid cloud strategy while maintaining commitments to Red Hat’s customers and the open-source community,” he insisted.
The company presented the changes as a big win for customers, saying they will gain access to a more consistent set of storage services that preserve data resilience, security and governance across bare metal, virtualized and containerized environments. More specifically, IBM is promising that customers will have a more unified storage experience for container-based applications running on Red Hat OpenShift, with the ability to use IBM Spectrum Fusion, which is now based on Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation. Doing so will provide higher performance, greater scale and more automation for OpenShift applications that require block, file and object access to data, the company said.
As for IBM Ceph, the company said this will deliver a more consistent hybrid cloud experience with enterprise-grade scale and resiliency.
Furthermore, by unifying IBM’s and Red Hat’s storage technologies, customers will be able to build a single data lakehouse on IBM Spectrum Scale to aggregate all of their unstructured data in one place. Benefits will include less time spent on maintenance, reduced data movement and redundancy, and more advanced schema management and data governance.
Industry watchers were united in their belief that the changes would be of benefit to customers. Steve McDowell of Moor Insights & Strategy told SiliconANGLE that today’s move makes a lot of sense because it enables IBM to leverage the storage strengths of both companies.
McDowell explained that although IBM Spectrum is considered to be one of the most comprehensive data management platforms around, its foundation predates the rise of cloud-native technologies. On the other hand, he said, Red Hat OpenShift was built from the ground up to support cloud-native workloads.
“IBM is evolving Spectrum Fusion to take the best of Red Hat’s efforts, and is using Red Hat’s storage software as the base for its IBM-branded products moving forward,” McDowell said. “It makes a lot of business sense for IBM to leverage R&D from Red Hat into its more traditionally proprietary systems. It also gives IBM an easy path to better serve the needs of containerized workloads.”
International Data Corp. analyst Ashish Nadkarni said the two companies are now “speaking with one voice on storage” and finally delivering on the synergies between them that were mentioned when IBM acquired Red Hat in 2019.
“The combining of the two storage teams is a win for IT organizations as it brings together the best that both offer: An industry-leading storage systems portfolio meets an industry-leading software-defined data services offering,” Nadkarni said. “This initiative enables IBM and Red Hat to streamline their family of offerings, passing the benefits to their customers.”
IBM also moved to reassure users of Red Hat’s open-source technologies that it will remain fully committed to them following today’s announcements. As part of the deal, IBM will take over Premier Sponsorship of the Ceph Foundation and, along with Red Hat’s teams, continue to drive innovation and development. Both IBM Ceph and Red Hat OpenShift will remain 100% open-source, the company added, and will continue to follow an upstream-first development model.
McDowell said today’s move would likely make some users nervous about the prospect of Red Hat’s technology becoming more proprietary over time. “IBM has been very careful since it acquired Red Hat in 2019 to keep Red Hat’s open-source business segregated from IBM’s branded offerings,” he said. “This is the first time we’re seeing IBM cross that that line, and it’s natural to wonder how blurred those lines will become.”
Still, McDowell said, he’s inclined to believe IBM’s promises as it has been very deliberate about keeping Red Hat’s storage technologies open-source.
“Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation and Ceph will still be available as they always have, though its evolution will undoubtedly be more strongly guided by the needs of IBM’s storage business,” the analyst continued. “Overall this is a net positive for IBM and its customers. It makes good business sense and there should be minimal impact to Red Hat’s existing community.”
IBM said the first storage solutions to launch under the new IBM Ceph Storage and IBM Spectrum Fusion banners will arrive in the first half of 2023, so users will have plenty of time to digest the changes.
Founded in 1911 as a Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, International Business Machines (IBM) needs to keep its finger on the pulse of the development of information technology not to be ousted by younger tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon. With the advent of the internet, IBM needed to widen the spectrum of its products and services to retain its strong position in the tech field. Although the company lost its dominance, having only a 5% market share in 2021, as opposed to 68% shared by Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, it has many spectacular achievements to its credit. IBM holds more patents than any other technology company and takes pride in employees who have earned five Nobel Prizes, four Turing Awards, five National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science. And it had been the top tech company for longer than any of the titans dominating the market now.
Also called “Big Blue,” IBM indeed has an impressive pedigree. After starting to produce hardware at the beginning of the last century, it thrived in this business for decades and became the leading provider of mainframe computers worldwide. IBM’s gross income had inexorably grown in the last part of the twentieth century, expanding from $14.450 billion earned in 1975 to $71.940 billion made in 1995. The company’s revenue skyrocketed to the record level of $106.9 billion in 2011, after which it has steadily been declining amidst its transition into new technologies and lines of business. To move with the times and survive the competition from other tech titans, IBM gradually shifted its focus from hardware to software and services. It began to devote more energy and money to cloud-based services and cognitive computing. IBM focuses now on offering primarily network services, application services, cloud services, digital workplace services, business processes and operations, technology consulting services, and AI services. IBM Watson, a cognitive system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, has become the company’s high-visibility offering in the technology field. IBM has a strong faith in Watson, promoting the system as a benevolent digital assistant that would help hospitals, offices, factories, and farms. The company’s white paper referred to Watson as “the future of knowing.”
To see how well IBM has prepared for, what it calls, the new age of understanding, study the statistical data presented below.
Sources: IBM, Wikipedia
Once an unparalleled tech giant, IBM has been struggling for the last decade. It had to adjust to the changing world by selling its low-margin businesses and investing in high-margin ones. To implement its strategies, Big Blue sold IBM WebSphere Commerce to HCL Technologies in 2018 and a part of the Watson Health business at the beginning of this year. Although IBM’s earnings are still high, they do not reach the levels hit between 2006 and 2012. The company’s annual revenue skyrocketed to $106.9 billion in 2011, whereas it was only $57 billion last year. In the second quarter of 2022, IBM’s earnings dropped below expectations. IBM’s falling fortune is reflected in the table below:
IBM’s Annual Revenue since 2000 (in $US Billion)
|Year||Annual Revenue (in $US Billion)|
|2022 (Q1; Q2)||$14.2 billion; $15.5 billion|
Source: Statista; IBM
Big Blue has repeatedly changed the segment reporting to reflect its move away from being hardware, software, and service company towards becoming a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company. It changed its segment reporting in 2016, 2019, and 2021. The last change was dictated by IBM’s need to align its segment reporting with its platform-centric approach to hybrid cloud and AI. There are presently six segments in IBM’s business: Technology Services and Cloud Platforms, Infrastructure, Software, Consulting, Financing, and Other. In 2021, IBM’s software segment generated $24.14 billion of its global revenue of $57.35 billion. In 2022 so far, the Software division earned $5.77 billion and $6.2 billion, in the first and second quarters, respectively. The Consulting sector brought the company $4.83 billion in Q1 and $4.8 billion in Q2 of the current year. The revenue earned by the Infrastructure segment amounted to $3.22 billion in the first quarter and $4.0 billion in the second quarter. Revenues generated by IBM’s segments in the last two years are shown in the table below:
IBM’s Annual Revenue by Segment for 2020-2021 (in $US billion)
|Technology Services and Cloud||$25.00||$28.00|
In the second quarter of 2022, IBM’s Cloud Infrastructure had only a 4% share of the worldwide market, lagging behind Amazon, Azure, and Google Cloud. The spending on global cloud infrastructure services soared to $55 billion and thus brought the industry’s total for the twelve months to more than $203.5 billion. Outshining IBM, Amazon and Microsoft together accounted for more than half of cloud infrastructure revenues in the three months that ended on June 30.
These figures show how much Big Blue fell from grace because, in the past, it used to enjoy the leading position. In 2017, IBM reported cloud revenue growth of 33% year-over-year in its first quarter earnings. In that quarter, its cloud revenue jumped to $3.5 billion. IBM’s total cloud revenue over the past 12 months that year hit $41.6 billion and catapulted IBM to the top of the list in the field of enterprise cloud. In the first quarter of 2017, today’s winners were obliged only to trail behind with lower earnings: Microsoft with $14 billion, Amazon with $12.20 billion, and Google with $10 billion. The latest market share of the main providers of cloud infrastructure can be seen in the table below:
Worldwide Market Share of Cloud Infrastructure Providers in Q2 2022
Sources: Statista, IBM
Net income is defined as a company’s net profit or loss after it has accounted for all its revenues, income items, and expenses. IBM’s net income for the quarter ending on June 30, 2022, was $1.292 billion, which constituted a 5.06% jump year-over-year. The company’s net profit for the 12 months ending on June 30, 2022, was $5.588 billion, demonstrating an increase of 4.76% year-over-year. Last year, IBM’s annual net income reached $5.743 billion, a 2.74% surge from 2020. The first year of the pandemic brought IBM a net income of $5.59 billion, which was a whopping 40.73% drop from 2019. In 2019, IBM’s annual net profit was $9.431 billion, an 8.05% advance from 2018. The uneven trajectory of IBM’s annual net income is drawn in the table below:
IBM’s Annual Net Income since 2009 (in $US Billion)
|Year||Net Income in $US Billion|
IBM is the fifth largest employer in the United States. In 2021, the company employed 282,000 people worldwide. This year, the number of people working for Big Blue dipped to 245,000. As the company has lately been struggling, experiencing drops in its revenues, it is trying to restructure its business and be on par with such tech giants as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Hence the decline in the number of its employees this year. The table below shows how the number of IBM’s employees has changed over the years:
IBM’s Number of Employees Worldwide from 2000 to 2022 (in 1,000s)
|Year||Number of Employees (in 1,000s)|
As the world is facing a probable recession, analysts believe that the enterprise tech sector will still continue going strong. People who are tech-savvy will turn to IBM in these unpleasant times to help them survive in a tighter economic environment and use the company’s software, consulting, and infrastructure to work productively during an economic decline. Big Blue can definitely provide the products and services people will need in the near future. IBM’s Q2 2022 results signify that technology spending in such spheres as AI, cloud, automation and networking is steady. The company beat anticipated results in the second quarter and boasted its first double-digit quarterly revenue growth in more than a decade. Automatic calculations conducted at Coinpriceforecast.com inspire faith in the company’s future and the cost of its stock. At the beginning of the year, IBM’s stock price was $116.92. At the time of writing, IBM is trading at $118.81, thus demonstrating a 2% jump from January 2022. Coinpriceforecast.com foresees that by Christmas, IBM will surge to $138. In the first half of 2023, the price of the stock might advance to $145 and end the next year at $155, adding 30% to today’s price. Whether or not these predictions prove to be correct, IBM will surely continue pushing technology and innovation forward, as it has spectacularly done since the beginning of the twentieth century.
Ahead of President Biden’s conference Wednesday where his administration will call to end hunger and decrease diet-related diseases by 2030, the White House announced that the private and public sector are committing more than $8 billion to reach that goal.
“These range from bold philanthropic contributions and in-kind donations to community-based organizations, to catalytic investments in new businesses and new ways of screening for and integrating nutrition into health care delivery,” the White House said in a fact sheet released Wednesday.
The first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health was held more than 50 years ago, according to the administration.
The White House noted that at least $2.5 billion will be used to back start-up companies finding solutions to hunger and food insecurity, while over $4 billion will go toward philanthropy that strengthens access to healthy food, encourages healthy choices and expands physical activity.
A senior administration official told reporters on a call that over 100 organizations “have committed to bold and, in some cases, paradigm shifting commitments that will meaningfully Strengthen nutrition, promote physical activity and reduce hunger and diet related disease over the next seven years.”
Actions to achieve the president’s goal are spread across five pillars: improving food access and affordability, integrating nutrition and health, empowering consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, supporting physical activity for all and enhancing nutrition and food security research, according to the White House.
The administration announced that wholesale restaurant food distributor Sysco will give $500 million to advance healthy eating for its serving communities and Warner Bros. Discovery will give 600 million meals to children experiencing food insecurity.
Google will also introduce new features in its products to help people obtain public food benefits and health care services, it said.
Last year, 10.2% of American households experienced food insecurity at some point, the Department of Agriculture said.
The White House also announced that the National Restaurant Association will increase its Kids Live Well program to 45,000 more restaurants. Major fast-food chains, including Subway, Burger King and Chipotle, have already committed to the initiative, which helps restaurants create healthier meal choices for children.
Restaurants in this program commit to certain standards like only offering water, milk or juice for kids' meals, rather than soda, the fact sheet said.
For at least 1 million Americans at risk for a diet-related disease, MyFitnessPal will grant them free and premium-level membership on its app by 2030, White House said. The Special Olympics will also introduce an initiative that will, in part, increase SNAP-Ed benefits for people with intellectual disabilities.
Starting next year, the White House said the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Heart Association aim to mobilize $250 million in partnership with Kroger to build the first national “Food is Medicine Research Initiative” to integrate healthy food into the healthcare approach.
“The Biden-Harris Administration envisions an America where no one wonders whether they will have enough money to put food on the table, where the healthy food choice is the easier choice, and where everyone has the same opportunity to be physically active,” the administration said in an executive summary of the White House’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.
Some of the initiatives in the strategy, like expanding free school lunches, would require congressional cooperation, but that seems unlikely to happen in the near future.
In the summary, the White House noted “the rising prevalence of diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and certain cancers,” and how the consequences of them and food insecurity “disproportionately impact historically underserved communities.”
Obesity was more common in Black adults than other adult groups, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found last year, which increases their risk of serious diseases and health conditions.
Almost 50% of Black adults were obese, compared to 45.6% of Hispanics, 41.4% of Whites and 16.1% of Asians.
“Food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely preventable, if we prioritize the health of the nation,” the White House said.
Held in the nation’s capital, the conference is expected to draw more than 500 attendees -- from farmers to business leaders and academics to activists.
Biden at Hunger, Nutrition and Health