In April of 2006, IBM’s then CEO Sam Palmisano outlined his vision for the 21st century global corporation in an article published in Foreign Affairs, - The Globally Integrated Enterprise. The transformation of IBM into one of the world’s leading global enterprises is among Palmisano’s biggest accomplishments during his tenure as IBM’s CEO, from January of 2002 to December of 2011. He has continued to pursue his interest on the subject over the past year by organizing the Center for Global Enterprise (CGE). The CGE is a private, nonprofit research institution devoted to the study of the contemporary corporation, globalization, economic trends, and their impact on society. It was recently launched with Chris Caine - former head of IBM’s global public policy programs, - as its president.
Today, most everyone agrees that globalization, - along with the emerging digital age with which it’s closely intertwined, - is transforming just about all aspects of economies and societies around the world. While globalization has been with us for a long time, we are still learning how to deal with its implications in its present, Internet-driven incarnation.
Globalization was beginning to gather steam in the early to mid-2000’s as business was recovering from the aftermath of the dot-com bubble. Broadband Internet was becoming ubiquitous and interconnecting countries around the world, helped along by all the fiber optic cables that communications providers went deeply into debt to lay out during the bubble. The world was waking up to the growing economic power of emerging markets and the BRICs in particular, especially with the publication of The World is Flat in April of 2005, Tom Friedman’s best-seller that did so much to explain the transformative powers of globalization and digital technologies. This was the environment around the time that Palmisano’s Foreign Affairs article came out.