International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. In 2011, Fortune ranked IBM the 18th largest firm in the U.S., as well as the 7th most profitable. Globally, the company was ranked the 31st largest firm by Forbes for 2011. Other rankings for 2011/2012 include #1 company for leaders (Fortune), #2 best global brand (Interbrand), #1 green company worldwide (Newsweek), #5 most admired company (Fortune), and #18 most innovative company (Fast Company). At December 31, 2010, IBM had over 426,751 employees serving clients in over 170 countries, with occupations including scientists, engineers, consultants, and sales professionals.
IBM’s core values include a commitment to trust and personal responsibility and a pursuit of innovation that matters to our company and the world. Consistent with these principles, IBM is committed to leading on public policy issues that are relevant to IBM and the world. IBM Governmental Programs, a globally integrated function, provides worldwide leadership and expertise in advocating and advancing the public policy interests of IBM, its shareholders and employees with governments.
Periodically, IBM Governmental Programs reports to the IBM Board of Directors about the company’s policies and practices in connection with governmental relations, public policy, and related expenditures.
Trade and Industry Associations
Our policy restricts trade and industry associations from using IBM funds to engage in political expenditures. IBM has procedures to ensure that IBM payments to trade or industry associations comply with this policy. These procedures include IBM providing written communication of IBM’s restrictions to the association.
IBM joins trade and industry associations that add value to IBM, its stockholders and employees. These groups have many members from a wide variety of industries, and cover very broad sets of public policy and industry issues. As a result, there may be occasions where the views of a particular association on one or more specific issues are different than IBM’s views.
Public Policy Positions
IBM Governmental Programs is a globally integrated corporate function responsible for managing IBM’s public policy issues and government relations worldwide. With dedicated resources in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, IBM Governmental Programs pursues mutual objectives of global consistency and local relevancy in supporting IBM’s growth and business operations. IBM Governmental Programs works with governments on key economic, governmental, and societal issues, helping them solve problems and create strategies for the future.
Rapid changes in technology and international trade are reshaping contemporary business models and the approaches to workforce management. Companies and their employees confront rapid market shifts, demanding customers, and global competition. And employees have different expectations about flexibility in their work environment.
IBM succeeds by being able to employ and deploy the best talent and most suitable resources wherever they are available to wherever they are needed by our clients. A flexible and highly skilled global workforce is a critical component of IBM’s success.
To respond to contemporary global workforce challenges, IBM established a global team to identify and resolve global public policy issues that impact IBM’s growth, with focus on the following areas:
- Pursuing human resources-related policies that promote workforce competitiveness globally.
- Driving global strategies that improve regulatory frameworks affecting workforce flexibility.
- Leading global industry efforts to modernize, clarify and ensure predictability in human resources–related regulations and legislation.
As a globally integrated enterprise with operations in over 170 countries, and with over 60 percent of our revenue generated outside of the United States, IBM is a strong supporter of free trade. To better serve our global clients, IBM must be able to locate and operate near our customers, and we need the flexibility to leverage our global supply chain and the ability to draw upon our worldwide resources to meet our clients’ needs in the most efficient and effective way, wherever they are located. Trade barriers, cumbersome customs procedures, unnecessary supply chain regulations, and underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure can deny access to, or raise the cost of, our leading-edge services, information technology solutions, hardware and software for potential clients.
Information technology plays an important role in promoting innovation, improving productivity and enhancing competitiveness in individual firms and throughout entire economies. Countries that create barriers to trade in these products and services place their own businesses and governments at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace and hinder their countries’ economic development. Countries that open markets and allow competition to thrive among all providers of information technology solutions can improve their economies’ productivity and competitiveness.
IBM promotes policies to open markets and eliminate unnecessary regulations around the world for information technology products and services, ensuring that any organization can have access to the best available tools at market-based prices. IBM also encourages partnerships between industry and governments to secure global supply chains against external threats, while ensuring the smooth flow of legitimate trade. We work with governments to educate them about the benefits of open markets and competition, including faster innovation, increased choice and lower prices, and we promote the use of international standards and industry best practices. We leverage industry trade associations, working with both clients and other IT-sector companies where our trade policy goals align, to influence governments around the world. We focus especially on growth-market countries that provide the greatest potential opportunities and present the most significant market access challenges.
Finance, Taxation and Corporate Governance
- Protect IBM’s business interests as regulations are written in the U.S. and Europe to govern use of financial derivatives, mortgage services, captive financing activity, and the service-related business activities of key clients.
- Promote tax policies/practices and regulatory efforts that promote a competitive global tax position for IBM.
- Advocate comprehensive reform of U.S. corporate tax system to improve U.S. competitiveness.
- Promote and protect R&D and innovation tax incentives in key jurisdictions worldwide.
- Drive negotiations for tax treaties that reduce tax barriers to investment and eliminate double taxation.
- Maximize government incentives for IBM investments with special attention to service delivery centers, innovation and R&D activities, and other projects with new capital and employment growth.
Governmental Programs’ WW Market Support team assists IBM’s Sales and Brand teams pursue growth revenue opportunities by providing strategic public policy insight and government relations advocacy support. Specifically, we focus on increasing IBM’s relevance to national agendas and providing tailored political insight into business unit execution.
Through the network of Governmental Programs professionals located in 33 countries, we currently support more than 100 opportunities primarily in public sector and/or regulated industries. Following IBM’s Growth Agenda, the WW Market Support team coordinates Governmental Programs support for specific Growth Market Unit programs, including the Global Enablement Teams initiative (GET) and the Geo-Expansion strategy.
WW Market Support has also developed a specific public policy/government relations practice in support of IBM’s Global Delivery Centers, as well as in collaborating with the Multilateral Institutions to develop a deeper understanding of their activities and programs that could be relevant to IBM’s Smarter Planet agenda.
IBM Works with governments around the world to encourage policies that foster innovation, protect intellectual property, and encourage use of technology to address important societal needs.
In 2012 we are focused on the following key issues:
- Encouraging balanced cyber security policies that help secure government and private sector IT infrastructure, while maintaining global competitiveness.
- Enabling collaboration between governments and industry in key technology areas such as high performance computing and nanotechnology.
- Promoting reform of intellectual property laws to improve patent quality and reduce unproductive litigation.
- Advancing the development and use of open standards in public sector procurements in order to foster interoperability and improve customer choice.
- Educating governments about the benefits of cloud computing and data analytics as a means to improve government efficiency and citizen services.
IBM devotes significant resources globally to comply with a complex system of export controls Given the breadth of IBM’s global operations and dependence on exports, it is vital that IBM be able to conduct operations with minimal delays or other impacts to serve our customers in a competitive IT marketplace. The Export Regulation Office (ERO) is the focal point for a worldwide network of export regulatory professionals that ensure compliance with current export regulations and development of IBM’s positions on specific export control issues and best practices.
In the global economy that exists today, export controls need to be based on multilateral agreements to be most effective. For example, unilateral controls based solely in the U.S. will generally fail to achieve their goal and will create competitive disadvantages for U.S. companies with their foreign competitors. IBM supports export controls that advance well defined national policy objectives with a minimal impact on our industry and the economic base. Export controls should be adaptive, administratively efficient and clear. Export policy should recognize when controls are no longer meaningful due to technological or market realities.
The ERO is involved with the following issues:
- Monitor and comment on the U.S. Administration’s export reform initiative
- Encourage a balanced effort to reauthorize the Export Administration Act.
- Ensure that any legislative or regulatory efforts to change licensing and reporting requirements for “dual use” items do not adversely affect ordinary commercial practices and place IBM at a competitive disadvantage.
- Engage with the Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury on a variety of rulemakings.
- Provide corporate oversight over local non-U.S. IBM country export regulation internal control programs.