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After growing its quarterly revenue for the first time in more than five years, IBM officials believe the company can continue its upward trajectory in 2018.

The key to that will be continuing success within what the company calls its "strategic imperatives," IBM’s Senior Vice President for global markets Martin Schroeter said, including cloud computing, and innovation in its longtime mainframe business.

IBM's Z series of mainframes, including its newest version, the IBM Z, are manufactured in Poughkeepsie.

"Our mainframe is an enduring franchise. In fact, it is an enduring and growing franchise,” Schroeter said.

That growth helped IBM Thursday announce it had grown year-over-year revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017, ending a string of 22 consecutive quarters without growth. IBM's revenue was $22.5 billion in the final quarter last year, the company announced, up 4 percent from $21.8 billion the same quarter in 2016.

The report beat Wall Street estimates, after the third quarter of 2017 showed mostly flat year-over-year revenue.

The global tech giant reported non-generally accepted accounting principles earnings per share of $5.18 for the fourth quarter, up 3 percent from $5.01 the same period in 2016. GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, is a standard set of rules for financial reporting created to ensure consistency for each organization in an industry.

“Any way you look at this, this was a strong finish to the year,” Schroeter IBM’s senior vice president, global markets, in a conference call with analysts on Thursday. Schroeter stepped down earlier this month as Chief Financial Officer and was replaced by James Kavanaugh who was also on the call.

Analysts forecasted non-GAAP earnings per share of $5.17 for the quarter, and revenues of $21.96 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Equity Research consensus estimate.

The consensus on Wall Street was that IBM would see a positive quarter with revenues boosted by its investments, products, and acquisitions in its strategic imperatives categories.

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