“Nobody gets fired for buying IBM”

By Guy Melamed, CEO at Exberry

May 20, 2024

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The phrase “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM” has been a steadfast mantra in the tech industry, underscoring the inclination to choose established, reliable vendors to sidestep blame when issues arise. Twenty years ago, everyone knew that choosing reputable brands, such as IBM, was the way to go. Yet, they were slow to implement and didn’t always deliver what was needed. Decision-makers preferred taking the easiest route, even if it meant waiting years and spending millions, just to avoid risking their own positions.

Thankfully, this notion is no longer relevant. And for good reason. This outdated, safety-first mindset frequently results in suboptimal decisions and hinders innovation, preventing businesses from reaching their full potential.

 

The problem of homogeneity

The problem with this approach is the lack of differentiation; everyone choosing the same vendors results in a monotonous market with no innovation. If there’s no differentiation, the market stagnates, offering nothing new. 

This is unacceptable today. 

Relying only on big names means you’ll always encounter the same flaws and restricted offerings as your clients and competitors. This limits what your teams can achieve and leads to dysfunction rather than progress. Don’t get me wrong, IBM is an amazing company that makes incredible products. However, in our business, specific needs require tailored solutions. Choosing IBM-type solutions solely to stay in a safe zone will never propel your organisation forward. It’s too slow, too expensive, and not agile enough.

 

What’s changed today?

Today, transparency, advancement and innovation are crucial. Choosing the most expensive, easiest brand is no longer the right approach for everyone because, nowadays, the market is much more fragmented. In addition, technology is advancing at a breakneck pace. Sticking with old technology will leave you behind; you simply can’t survive like that anymore. 

What happens, for instance, when you need specific solutions for a new order type or instrument? You find yourself stuck, waiting years for the upgrade simply because you do not take precedence in the queue alongside the larger exchanges. You thought you bought a limousine, but instead, you’ll have to try to enjoy the ride in a Fiat Cinquecento.

 

A fresh perspective

Make the right decision by selecting the right vendor and bringing fresh perspectives to the table. The more competitive you get, the faster your technology needs to evolve, with better tools and deeper capabilities. There are providers out there who may not have a big household brand name, but they can take your business much further. The next step is to differentiate for growth.

 

Choose growth

The old adage “no one got fired for choosing IBM” no longer holds true. Using outdated methodologies from the past won’t cut it anymore. The fear of being wrong and getting fired should be eradicated from modern organisational policy. Without the willingness to innovate and iterate, progress is impossible. Choosing something different is not a liability, but rather a pathway to growth and success.

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