Cloud, Analytics, and Mainframes are IBM’s Bright Spots

IBM released its fourth-quarter and annual revenue numbers for 2015, showing soft business overall. However, the company’s cloud, analytics, and mainframes continued to surge forward. Total revenue for the year 2015 was $81.7 billion, down 12% from the previous year, and down almost 24% from a peak of $106.9 billion in 2011.

In the fourth quarter, revenues from z Systems mainframe server products increased 16% compared with the year-ago period. Total delivery of z Systems computing power, as measured in MIPS (millions of instructions per second), increased 28%. 

Overall revenues from IBM’s Systems Hardware segment were stagnant, totaling $2.4 billion for the quarter, down 1% year to year. Revenues from Power Systems were up 4% compared with the 2014 period. Revenues from System Storage decreased 11%.

IBM also reported that fourth-quarter revenues from “strategic imperatives” - cloud, analytics, and engagement - increased 10%year to year. For the full year, revenues from strategic imperatives increased 17% to $28.9 billion, now representing 35% of total IBM consolidated revenue.

For the full year, total cloud revenues (public, private and hybrid) increased 43% to $10.2 billion. Revenues for cloud delivered as a service - a subset of the total cloud revenue - increased 50% to $4.5 billion; and the annual as-a-service run rate increased to $5.3 billion from $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014.  Revenues from business analytics increased 7% to $17.9 billion for the year.  Revenues from mobile more than tripled and from security increased 5%.

Revenues from the Software segment were down 11% to $6.8 billion, compared with the fourth quarter of 2014. Revenues from IBM’s key middleware products, which include WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Workforce Solutions, and Rational products, were $4.9 billion, down 10% year to year. Operating systems revenues of $0.5 billion were down 12% year to year.

Overall, IBM’s fourth-quarter 2015 net income from continuing operations was $4.5 billion compared with $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 19% Operating net income was $4.7 billion compared with $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 - also down 19% 

IBM said the year-to-year decrease was the result of last year’s gain from the divestiture of the System x business, which impacted operating net income. Total revenues from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2015 of $22.1 billion were down 9% from the fourth quarter of 2014.  

Global Technology Services segment revenues were down 7% to $8.1 billion.  Global Business Services segment revenues were down 10% to $4.3 billion. The estimated services backlog as of December 31 was $121 billion, up 1% year to year adjusting for currency.

More details are available at the IBM website at