IBM Public Relations Become Embarrassment as Company Struggles

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International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has had a habit of putting out large numbers of press releases that say little or nothing about the company’s prospects. At times, it will post more than one of these a day. With its future as a viable large tech public corporation in doubt, the practice has become more and more bizarre.

Most recently, IBM posted this news about itself on August 4:

IBM today announced that Codify Academy, a San Francisco-based developer education startup, tapped into IBM Cloud’s cognitive services to create an interactive cognitive chatbot, Bobbot, that is improving student experiences and increasing enrollment.

Using the IBM Watson Conversation Service, Bobbot fields questions from prospective and current students in natural language via the company’s website. Since implementing the chatbot, Codify Academy has engaged thousands of potential leads through live conversation between the bot and site visitors, leading to a 10 percent increase in converting these visitors into students.1

IBM Cloud with Watson provided Codify Academy with the speed and scale needed to immediately start building with cognitive intelligence. Bobbot can answer more than 200 common questions about enrollment, course and program details, tuition, and prerequisites, in turn enabling Codify Academy staff to focus on deeper, more meaningful exchanges. For example, students can ask questions such as “What kind of job will I be able to find after I complete the program?” or “How do I apply, and what are tuition rates?”

Codify Academy does not appear to be an even modest sized start-up.

On July 27:

IBM announced today that it has been selected as the strategic partner of Bank of Cyprus, the leading banking and financial services Group in Cyprus, for the implementation of the Bank’s digital transformation.

Bank of Cyprus provides a wide range of financial products and services to individuals and businesses in Cyprus, holding significant market shares across all business segments. The Bank is committed to implementing a modernization agenda that is designed to transform its business model to ensure that it can compete efficiently and better serve the needs of its customers. To facilitate momentum in delivering these changes through an accelerated multi-year Digital Transformation Program, Bank of Cyprus has selected IBM as a strategic partner.

The Bank’s Digital Transformation Program is designed to create a more modern and efficient IT platform, supported by streamlined processes. Improving the customer experience through visible and positive changes to how the Bank interacts with its customers is a key deliverable for this program.

In the world of global banking, Bank of Cyprus is barely on the radar.

None of this “news” can distract investors from IBM’s ongoing disastrous financial results and the stock market’s reaction. Its shares have dropped 17% in the past six months to $145, against a 52-week high of $182. IBM cannot turn itself around, but it is good at press releases.