Cebu’s growth critical to IBM–manager-A A +A
Saturday, June 16, 2012
THE new president and country manager of IBM Philippines pledged to support Cebu in its transformation and growth, tourism promotion, and talent development.
“We are bullish in the Cebu market not only because of our long-standing presence here but because Cebu’s growth is critical to the growth of IBM,” IBM Philippines president and country general manager Mariels Almeda Winhoffer said in a press conference yesterday.
She noted that IBM has chosen the Philippines as one of its 20 growth markets, where the company is making focused investments to capture higher growth in emerging countries.
Under her leadership, Winhoffer, who is the first Filipina to hold such a high position in the American technology firm, said that IBM will continue strengthening the relationship it has established with various universities here in terms of talent development.
“We will be looking at the curriculum and how we can further elevate the value-proposition in light of the new technology and the new era of computing,” she said.
Winhoffer said they will continue helping the academe produce a high-value talent pool through internship programs, among others.
Dod Peralta, a leader of IBM Philippines Global Delivery Center (IT), noted an improvement in addressing the industry-academe gap. He said IT companies now have further reached out to the academe by offering internship programs at the junior and senior years of the students.
Peralta said there is already an urgent response related to the industry’s skills requirement as the students will be trained and exposed to various projects before they graduate.
“We are now slowly moving away from the traditional ‘hire-train’ model,” he said also adding that the company is working with the Philippine Software Industry Association to promote internship programs for all IT companies.
Winhoffer also met with some government officials to discuss social business, analytics, and next wave technology.
Last year, six senior IBM executives from the United States, Sweden, Germany and Italy worked closely with various cities and municipalities in Cebu Province through the newly formed Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB).
The IBM team shared their expertise in helping Cebu craft development plans that would address issues on land planning, governance and traffic.
“If Cebu would come together and collaborate in executing all the plans, then Cebu will top other cities,” Winhoffer said.
Winhoffer is the fourteenth country general manager, and the first female president of IBM Philippines. She succeeded James Velasquez, who has been appointed director for maintenance and technical support, IBM Global Technology Services IBM ASEAN.
Winhoffer will assume responsibility for all of IBM’s operations in the Philippines, including the company’s sales and distribution, systems and technology, software and services units, and fully owned subsidiaries offering global delivery.
“If we would be able to bring a lot of business here; tourism would come naturally,” she said.
Peralta said Cebu’s mix of businesses coupled with a 30-minute drive to the beaches is already a compelling destination for business operations. “There is a lot of future for Cebu. The key premise is how can IBM be essential to Cebu?” said Winhoffer.
Her visit to Cebu was also to spearhead the Mangrove Plantation Establishment and Maintenance project in Poblacion, Aloguinsan today in collaboration with Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 16, 2012.