I am not smart enough to pick the big winners in advance. So I don't play the stock market, and at CSG we sell shovels to the gold miners instead of prospecting for gold ourselves. Sure striking it rich would be a thrill, but the world is littered with hundreds or even thousands of would be Googles. I was going to say would be Twitters, but they have not made any money yet!
This strategy has provided us with a very interesting vantage point from which to watch the show. And it is quite a show these days. I sure am glad I am not a telecom equipment vendor or a distributor -- it is easy to see what is going to happen to them. It is much easier to pick the descending parts of our industry than the ascending. Who in tech is going to do well?
There has been so much talk about services over the past ten years that we have both lost interest, and lost track of the definition of services. There are hosting services, IT services, software as a services, software + services -- and each time the word services means a different thing. IBM, Dell, HP, Microsoft, and Oracle all have significant services organizations. IBM generates more revenues from services than all of Microsoft's revenue. What is IBM doing when they deliver services to their clients?
Business pay IBM 50 billion dollars a year for services. And everyone in tech wants to get into services. I propose that we could learn a bunch about the future winners by digging into the question -- what are people paying IBM 50 billion dollars a year for?
Stay tuned, in tomorrow's post I will dig through IBM's annual reports.