Tech titan IBM has announced the completion of the company’s 15th deployment of its Corporate Service Corps in the Philippines.
Often called a “corporate version” of the US Peace Corps, the program has made a direct economic impact in many of the 37 countries it has engaged.
Participants, who are selected from among IBM’s highest performing employees, provide pro bono assistance to both local governments and community organizations. Among the issues they tackle are local economic development, entrepreneurship, transportation, education, citizen services, health care, and disaster recovery.
For its 15th deployment in the country, IBM sent 13 employees on a four-week engagement in Metro Manila. The team?s pro bono consulting assignment focused on several projects at the country’s National Economic Development Authority and Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Currently forecast to be the second fastest growing economy in the world by Bloomberg, the Philippines has been enjoying a higher than average GDP growth rate in the recent years.
To sustain and ensure inclusive growth, the Philippine government is accelerating its efforts to reduce poverty incidence from 25% to at least 18% by 2016.
IBM performed work to bolster these efforts, and presented its findings and recommendations:
- IBM provided assistance in the development of the National Online Feedback Systems. The online survey will support NEDA’s Long Term Development Vision 2040 project by engaging key target groups such as youth and overseas workers. IBM’s recommendations include the use of social media for netizens to actively share ideas, creation of a strategic communications campaign to drive participation, and adoption of analytics to gather insights.
- IBM developed a solution plan for managing the information database of the National Policy and Planning Staff. IBM recommended a cloud-based solution for easier file sharing that helps promote collaboration across teams and individuals.
- IBM came up with a set of recommendations for the KALAHI-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Project (KC-NCDDP) to optimize program activities and increase the engagement of residents in “poor” municipalities in community planning and implementation. The IBM team performed an evaluation of the current processes and identified opportunities and technologies to improve program management practices.
- IBM evaluated KC-NCDDP’s data collection, management, and analysis procedures for the more than 800 communities that it serves. The IBM team recommended an intelligent reporting system that can help identify key community priorities and challenges and reduce time spent on data management tasks.
NEDA chief Arsenio M. Balisacan stressed the importance of making use of different online social media platforms for gathering accurate and timely data as inputs for policy and plan formulation.
“It is important for NEDA to know citizens’ views on development issues. Social media technologies allow us to generate useful citizens’ feedback efficiently so we’ve asked IBM to help us in this initiative. We also appreciate their assistance in improving our databases.”
DSWD secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman emphasized the importance of information management in the department’s processes.
“Reaching poor, vulnerable, and marginalized communities is important, but the accurate, timely, and transparent information communication is necessary to ensure that the resources and the aid provided to them are done effectively,” she said.
“Government units and private sectors in the Philippines are working towards sustainable and inclusive economic development,” said Luis Pineda, president and country general manager of IBM Philippines.
“The objective of our latest contribution to the country’s growth agenda will inculcate the use of emerging technologies such as analytics and social, to tap on valuable insights which will be useful in strategic planning to help address key developmental issues such as poverty alleviation, unemployment, and skills development.”
The engagement in Manila is one of many Corporate Service Corps projects across the Philippines. Since July 2008, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps has deployed more than 150 IBMers on 15 teams to different locations, including Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Santa Rosa, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Zambales.
Through these projects, IBM has worked with the Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) to liaise with local organizations and businesses. ABV provides business skills training to small and medium enterprises across the Asia Pacific using highly skilled and experienced professionals.
The Corporate Service Corps program was launched in 2008. The value of their work to date is estimated at $70 million. Teams consist of IBM employees from over 60 different countries who have expertise in technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, human resources, law, and economic development. The program has provided the know-how of nearly 3,000 employees and have served more than 1,000 projects.
IBM selects up to 500 IBMers per year for the Corporate Service Corps. They are chosen from a pool of thousands of applications submitted by top-tier employees and IBM executives.
The teams, usually comprising between six to 15 members, are engaged for about six months. They spend three months preparing for their assignments, one month on location, and another two and-a-half months back at IBM wrapping up their projects and mentoring teams sent to the same and other localities.