IBM chalked up another big cloud win — its third in a week — and reported revenue that beat Wall Street’s expectations also boosted by its cloud business.
The company on Tuesday said it signed an eight-year agreement with France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas. The bank will use IBM’s hybrid cloud products including its private cloud and as-a-service IT offerings delivered through IBM’s public cloud. It will also integrate the IBM Cloud hosted in data centers dedicated to the bank.
Later in the day, IBM reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 results that beat analysts’ expectations. For the full year revenue was $79.6 billion, up 1 percent from last year. “Strategic imperative” revenue — this includes hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and security — was $39.8 billion, up 9 percent.
Cloud revenue for the year was $19.2 billion, up 12 percent. Additionally, its as-a-service annual exit run rate for cloud revenue of $12.2 billion in the quarter, up 18 percent year over year.
For the fourth quarter, IBM reported $4.87 per share on revenue of $21.8 billion. This compared to analysts’ estimates of $4.82 per share on $21.7 billion.
Also for the quarter, IBM posted “cognitive solutions” revenue of $5.5 billion, flat year over year, led by software, including analytics and AI. Business services, which includes its consulting and application management business, was up 4 percent, to $4.3 billion. Technology services and cloud platforms revenue was $8.9 percent, down 3 percent year over year with growth in hybrid cloud revenue. And hardware and operating systems software was also down, 21 percent, with $2.6 billion in revenue.
On an earnings call with investors Jim Kavanaugh, IBM’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, touted the company’s hybrid cloud success and pointed to its recent $34 billion Red Hat acquisition. Combing the two companies is “all about accelerating hybrid cloud adoption,” he said, adding that customers are already responding positively to the deal.
“We see the strong bookings Red Hat recently reported as further evidence of clients’ confidence in the value,” Kavanaugh said. “Remember, the quarter ended a month after the transaction was announced. From a value perspective, in addition to the growing Red Hat business itself, we see an opportunity to lift all of IBM by selling more of our own IBM Cloud and by selling more of our analytics and AI capabilities on OpenShift across multiple platforms.”
The company’s customer wins announced in the last week also signal its hybrid-cloud prowess, Kavanaugh said. “That’s why companies such as Vodafone and BNP Paribas are leveraging the IBM Cloud, where they benefit from our hybrid multi-cloud capabilities and access to the most advanced technologies.”
BNP Paribas Deal
IBM didn’t disclose the dollar value of its deal with BNP Paribas.
The two companies first teamed up in 2003 on a joint venture that created an IT services customer, called BNP Paribas Partners for Innovation. The new agreement extends the work on the joint venture as well as the bank’s usage of IBM hybrid-cloud infrastructure and services.
“The deal is significant in terms of size, scope, and duration. That’s partly due to BNP Paribas itself, which has nearly 200K employees at locations in 73 countries,” said Charles King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT.
When asked to estimate the dollar value of the deal, he said Microsoft’s recent cloud deal with the U.S. Department of Defense might offer some insight. It’s worth $1.7 billion over five years. “The comparison isn’t ideal since the Microsoft-DoD deal includes Windows software licenses,” King said. “But it seems reasonable to assume that eight years of IBM’s cloud and other services for a global enterprise like BNP Paribas will clock in at around or somewhat above $2 billion.”
Although it trails behind Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure in terms of cloud market share, IBM has long positioned itself as the cloud provider for enterprises. The BNP Paribas win and other recent cloud deals prove that this strategy is working, King added.
“IBM’s laser focus on satisfying its enterprise customers makes it a force in many of the cloud market’s most valuable sectors,” he said. “Not surprisingly, other cloud vendors are actively trying to find a place among those large business customers, but most have a long way to go before they match, let alone exceed IBM’s capabilities.”