Friday, May 6, 2011

I Want it Now – On Demand (Finally) Resonates

Mplanet - Keynote - Sam Palmisano, IBMImage by hyku via FlickrIn 2002, IBM announced a new strategy centered on a concept called “On Demand.” As a marketing manager involved with the announcement at the time, I can tell you that it caused some confusion.

The concept of “On Demand” didn’t always resonate.


Industry analysts were confused. Not used to an announcement from IBM that wasn’t about a new product, IT industry analysts had no idea how to evaluate it, or what to tell their clients.

The press was confused. They had no idea what to write about this thing called “On Demand.”

The market was confused. Customers wanted to be able to buy it, even though they weren’t quite sure what “it” was.

Employees were confused. I recall many conversations with employees where I explained that what we had announced was a strategy. It was not a product per-se, but a vision for how information technology would support the need for “on demand” services, and how IBM would play a key role.

Less than a decade later, even a five-year-old can tell you what “On Demand” is. It’s a button that you push (on your computer, on your TV remote, or on your mobile device) so you can watch any TV show or movie you want, whenever you want. Of course, the on demand concept is not limited to video, but due to that simple example, everyone now understands what IBM and other technology companies envisioned just a short time ago.

Was IBM ahead of its time, or brilliant and right on target?

4 comments:

Carol Kilgore said...

If only I could "On Demand" my manuscript finished. How I'd love that!

Happy Friday :)

Steve in POK said...

"On Demand" has been co-opted by the cable TV folk - Entertainment on Demand, HBO on Demand. It still exists as a logo on a very nice jacket I have. More lately it has been subsumed at IBM within "Smarter Planet" (and Smarter Datacenter & Smarter Computing)and therefore, less likely to be poached by its competitors. BTW, these marketing themes are playing very well and are highly appealing to even non-IBM biased audiences and is likely to have atypical longevity.

Liz Fichera said...

I'd say they were brilliant and lucky. :-)

I'm with Carol: I'm waiting for the "On Demand" button for manuscripts. Now THAT would be brilliant!

Colette said...

Ha -- yes, I want that "on demand' button for manuscripts too!