International Business Machines last night posted better than expected third-quarter revenue, helped by growth in the company's cloud and analytics businesses. 

Under CEO Ginni Rometty, the technology services company has shifted toward more profitable areas, such as cloud services, artificial intelligence, analytics, and security.

At the same time it has trimmed its traditional hardware and services businesses. 

Revenue from those areas, which the company calls "strategic imperatives," rose 16% to $8 billion in the third quarter. Cloud revenue jumped 44% compared with a 30% rise in the second quarter, it said.

IBM has made a string of acquisitions focused on elements of its strategic imperatives business, including The Weather Company and Truven Health, spending $5.45 billion so far this year. 

In comparison, the company spent $821m on acquisitions during the same time last year. 

The company's revenue marginally fell to $19.23 billion in the quarter ended September 30 from $19.28 billion a year earlier, but beat the average analyst estimate of $19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. 

Its net income fell to $2.85 billion, or $2.98 per share, from $2.95 billion, or $3.01 per share. 

Excluding items, IBM earned $3.29 per share, beating analysts' average estimate of $3.23 per share.