By Ike Suarez
It is a cheery December day and we are at Victorino?s restaurant at the corner of Scout Rallos and 11th Jamboree Streets in Quezon City.
With me are a number of members of the Information and Communications Technology Journalists Association of the Philippines (ICTJAP), also known as Cyberpress. With us also are various personnel and executives of IBM Philippines.
There?s a three-year-old tradition now for IBM Philippines and members of this group of tech scribes. Since 2011, Big Blue has been conducting its yearend corporate social responsibility event with the Cyberpress.
The activity consists of IBM formally launching the implementation of its KidSmart Early Learning program in a school to which it has donated this solution.
This 2014, the beneficiary is the Bridges Foundation in Scout Limbaga, Quezon City. It is a school whose mission is to help special children to maximize their individual potentials to become functional in society. The pupils have special educational needs — many of them autistic. Others have Down Syndrome, while some have epilepsy.
As with children without special needs, they, too, can use ICT by way of the IBM?s KidSmart solution to learn in today?s world. And so, IBM Philippines? decision to donate a couple of these kiddie computers suits for this solution to the school.
The turnover ceremonies took the entire morning: demo classes by IBM experts before certain pupils, speeches by school officials, IBM executives and Cyberpress members, musical numbers by the students.
After the ceremonies were over, we then moved to Victorino’s where we meet Luisito Pineda, IBM Philippines? new president and country general manager. He is also a balikbayan who has spent 23 years with IBM Corp., his career there a series of upward climbs.
A Davaoe?o, he migrated to the US with his parents and siblings when he was 12. He went on to the University of Washington to earn a bachelor?s degree in computer science and afterwards, a career with Big Blue.
The luncheon serves to introduce him to many in the country?s technology press. This, of course, means he must make a statement on where IBM Philippines is today and where it intends to go.
Implied by his statements is that IBM Philippines has now reinvented itself and is doing very well. Its near-death experience in the 1990s has been overcome and is now conquering new worlds. IBM Philippines is now a provider of IT and IT-enabled services to the world even as still sells hardware and software to customers in the country.
The company?s customers for its various businesses now cover 84 countries, according to Pineda. These countries can be found in North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Clients to whom these services are offered have a combined total of over a million employees in their payrolls.
The support is given from 15 sites around the Philippines: nine in Manila, two in Cebu and one each in Davao, Pampanga, Laguna, and Naga.
Support for these services in done in 16 languages. They include English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Hungarian and Polish.
IBM Philippines provides services in software, facilities and networking, systems, and maintenance. Its global process deliveries include human resources, finance and administration, procurement, and customer relationship management services.
IBM Philippines though has not abandoned the local market — far from it. This reflects in the fact that it today has 5,000 domestic clients and 130 business partners. To them and all prospective clients, it offers a complete portfolio of hardware, software and services, according to Pineda.
Furthermore, IBM Philippines will soon enter into collaborative R&D projects with the Department of Science and Technology in the areas of weather prediction, disaster management, genomics and smarter agriculture. It will also collaborate with Philippine universities to help hone ICT talents.
As IBM Philippines president and country general manager, Pineda will have strategic oversight over Big Blue?s performance locally.
He succeeds yet another balikbayan executive Mariel Almeda Winhoffer, who has now gone up another notch as IBM Asia Pacific vice president for global business partners.
Yes, IBM Philippines not only is alive — it is also thriving. This is one more indicator of the country?s economy on the uptick.
Merry Christmas everybody!