IBM has organized a geographic expansion roadshow for clients and business partners in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental as part of the company's commitment to bring smarter business and technology solutions to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the key areas outside of Metro Manila.

Ireen Catane, country management for General Business of IBM Philippines, Charis Fiel, territory business manager for South Philippines, Lope Doromal, chief technologist of IBM Philippines and Owen Cammayo, external relations of Leaderm, IBM Philippines organized the roadshow yesterday at L'Fisher Hotel.

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Geographic expansion is one of the core growth strategies of IBM in the Philippines focused on growth outside the capital cities or metropolitan areas across the country. It refers to how IBM is expanding into new and untapped markets around the world, IBM stated.

"IBM has the right tools to help SMEs thrive in today's economy. By enabling businesses in Negros Occidental with access to world-class technology and expertise, we also hope to become smarter and better equipped to seize greater opportunities to play an integral part in the country's economic growth," Catane said.

At the roadshow, IBM showcased its Express Advantage program, a comprehensive portfolio of hardware, software and services that have met stringent criteria, including affordability, ease of implementation and ownership to bring real value to mid-market businesses.

The program received IDC's first Small and Medium Business Excellence award for its effectiveness in helping mid-market businesses thrive in a rapidly changing business environment.

IBM's Express Advantage also incorporates IBM's Business Partner ecosystem, industry insights and connections to help mid-sized companies succeed in today's "smaller, flatter, and smarter world."

Doromal presented an overview of the company's Smarter Planet vision to participants.

The Smarter Planet vision is a practical way to address the kinds of problems that were seizing the world in 2009, during a time when the world financial system was in free fall, Doromal said.

"Because we believe that the solutions are within reach for business and society, we have committed the resources of IBM to making this reality. We are here, right now, because it all makes sense," he said.

Doromal said IBM considers SMEs as the engines fueling a smarter planet, creating about 65 percent of the worldwide domestic product.

"Local companies in Bacolod and neighboring areas play a big role in making the Philippines smarter-one city at a time," he said.

IBM realizes that the world is becoming instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent, thus it endeavors to help the planet becomes better through "smarter health care, government, water, and education," Doromal said.

Fiel said that in 2009, they deployed a team of IBM employees from various countries to Bacolod as part of its corporate service corps program.

IBM has also deployed KidSmart Early Learning Program to several elementary schools in Negros Occidental in partnership with Bulig Mo, Kabuhi Ko (Your Help, My Life). (Carla N. Cañet)