When you think of IBM, what comes to mind first? The company’s hardware? Their consulting services, which make up over 50% of revenue? IBM services span far and wide, and the breadth of the company’s offerings helped it generate over $55B in revenue in 2021. However, within the IBM consulting umbrella, there exists a team called the IBM Interactive Experience (“IBM iX”) group which provides digital strategy and advisory services to enable businesses to become more consumer centric.
Are you a UX/UI designer with a passion for business? A strategist with a conviction that systems should be tailored to the user? If so, a role at IBM iX may be for you! Let’s dive in to discover what IBM iX is and how you can embark on a career at IBM iX.
What Is IBM iX?
So, “What is IBM iX?” IBM iX is one of the largest global digital and design consultancies with ~60 studios focused on enhancing the client-facing digital experience for all sorts of companies. Some of the group’s clients include BP, Lloyds Bank, and Crédit Mutuel. So, if you’ve interacted with these companies, chances are you’ve benefited from the work of a team from IBM iX!
IBM iX is a company within a company – in 2020, the group boasted over 17,000 employees and generated ~$300M in revenue.
According to its own messaging, IBM iX works at the intersection of “strategy, creativity, and technology to help clients digitally reinvent their businesses.” Let’s unpack the jargon a little bit.
For example, IBM iX works with clients to embed technology into their business model. This could look like redesigning a bank’s mobile app to enhance ease of use and engagement. Or the team at IBM iX could facilitate a transition of a client’s services to the cloud.
In all, the team leverages tools such as artificial intelligence, cloud, automation, and deep analytics to serve its clients. If you work at IBM iX, you’ll leverage an agile methodology and “human-centric” design principles to enhance your clients’ digital capabilities.
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When designing solutions, IBM iX consultants always keep customer experience as their North Star. Here are the six main offerings that enable the group to maintain this focus:
- Customer experience consulting, e.g., strengthening customer loyalty and engagement through technology and data insights
- Consulting across the customer lifecycle, e.g., helping clients design the customer journey and lifecycle
- E-commerce consulting, e.g., designing seamless omnichannel experiences
- Mobile app development, e.g., developing mobile experiences through partnerships with Apple and Samsung
- Customer service consulting, e.g., improving the contact center and field service experience
- Enterprise work management, e.g., helping clients integrate agile methodologies into their workflows
The projects at IBM iX are more reflective of projects you would see at Accenture versus McKinsey, Bain, or BCG. Specifically, the scope of projects at IBM iX is “end-to-end” – meaning that you won’t just be focused on strategy, but implementation as well.
This means that your engagements will be longer, and you may even be staffed on a staff augmentation engagement for up to 1 year. For example, you may help a client design a new customer experience and then support that client with the entire rollout of the new experience by joining the team for a predefined amount of time as an external expert.
If you like seeing the results of your work, the work at IBM iX may be right up your alley! But be sure before you join that you’re okay with supporting one client for an extended period. If you want fast-paced work and lots of different client exposure, you may not get that through a career at IBM iX.
Beyond its own considerable chops, IBM iX wins engagements due to its ability to leverage big daddy IBM’s extended capabilities. For example, IBM iX can leverage IBM’s strength in Artificial Intelligence, the data available from its consulting arm, insight into hardware, significant cloud capabilities, and more.
Finally, given its size, IBM iX can deploy a team of industry specialists / subject matter experts on a variety of engagements across financial services, the public sector, industrials, and more.
For more details on IBM iX’s capabilities, see here.
IBM iX Careers
When applying to IBM iX careers, you can apply to generalized IBM iX programs (management consulting) or specialized IBM iX programs (e.g., Adobe Executive Architect). This role distinction enables you to fully follow your passions and to be as deep in a specific subject matter as you want to be. To learn more about careers at IBM GBS more broadly, please see our in-depth firm profile.
IBM iX Internship
The IBM iX internship is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of what it is like to work at IBM iX and how IBM iX supports its clients. Although IBM iX is a subset of the general consulting group, the internship experience is completely different (e.g., much more focused on technical skills and design). For more information on the IBM internship, please visit here.
IBM iX Salary
IBM generally pays less than MBB firms and its pay is more on par with (or slightly below) the Big 4 consulting companies. For example, out of undergrad, IBM consulting generally pays new consultants $75,000 whereas McKinsey, Bain, and BCG pay around $100,000 and PwC and Accenture pay around $80,000.
The pay can reflect the difference in prestige across the firms and the difference in roles. For example, MBB typically focuses more on strategy whereas firms like IBM provide more operations and technology support. See the full MC Consulting Salary Report for more information.
IBM iX is a great career option if you are passionate about customer experience work and want to follow projects through from strategy to implementation. If you want a career at the intersection of strategy, creativity, and technology, a career at IBM iX may be the perfect fit for you.
If you are interested in IBM iX, it is important to craft a story around why you are passionate about that group (versus IBM more broadly) and why you are well suited for the type of work the practice does. Work with our expert team on resume edits and interview prep to ensure you put your best foot forward, and good luck!
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