IBM's new top cloud man, Erich Clementi
When you add up all the different kinds of cloud computing services, you're looking at a $131 billion market, Gartner figures.
IBM says it plans to nab at least $7 billion of in the next 18 months.
So CEO Ginni Rometty just created a new Cloud Services division and put her old friend, Erich Clementi, SVP, IBM Global Technology Services, in charge.
Clementi is a 29-year veteran who revived IBM's mainframe business in the mid 2000's and then moved onto to something like a chief strategy officer role.
He's becoming a big part of Rometty's brain trust. In March, she made him co-pilot of IBM's $40 billion Global IT Services business unit, sharing the job with rising star Bridget van Kralingen. Clementi and van Kralingen took over joint stewardship of Services when Michael Daniels retired last March. Daniels was Rometty's main rival for the CEO job after Sam Palmisano retired in 2012.
We don't know how big a challenge it will be for Clementi to hit the promised $7 billion target because IBM doesn't report its cloud revenue numbers. But it is a big growth business for IBM, like it is for all the other enterprise IT players. In April, IBM said that its cloud business grew by 70% compared to the year earlier quarter.
IBM is clearly ready to buy its way into cloud revenue, too. Today it bought cloud computing company SoftLayer, outbidding EMC to do so. SoftLayer has about 21,000 customers and had an estimated $400 million in revenue in 2012. SoftLayer will become the cornerstone of the new Cloud unit, IBM said.
Rometty, who took over the CEO job in 2012, is still on the hook to make good on IBM's much promised $20 earnings-per-share target in 2015 and this new cloud unit is a key part of her plan. IBM says it will hit EPS of at least $15.53 in 2013.
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