IBM recently proclaimed the accomplishment of their 15th Corporate Service Corps pro bono problem-solving engagement in the country. Some selected IBM’s highest performing employees were among the participants of the said event. They provide assistance to both local governments and community organizations.
For its 15th Corporate Service Corps deployment in the country, 13 IBM employees were sent on a four-week engagement in Metro Manila. The center of the team’s pro bono consulting assignment is on several projects at the country’s National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
During the event, issues such as local economic development, entrepreneurship, transportation, education, citizen services, health care, and disaster recovery is tackled. The program is said to have a direct economic impact in many of the 37 countries it has engaged, thus dubbing it as a “corporate version” of the U.S. Peace Corps.
The Philippines has been enjoying a higher than average GDP growth rate in the recent years since it was forecasted to be the second fastest growing economy in the world by Bloomberg. The Philippine Government, therefore, is accelerating its efforts to reduce poverty incidence from 25% to at least 18% by 2016, to sustain and ensure inclusive growth.
To boost these efforts, IBM performed work and presented its findings and recommendations:
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA):
- 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.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
- 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.
Economic Planning Secretary 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. She said, “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”.
“Government units and private sectors in the Philippines are working towards sustainable and inclusive economic development,” said Luis Pineda, President and Country General Manager, 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 Corporate Service Corps Program is a powerful way for IBM to provide national, municipal, civic and social institutions across emerging markets with the same expertise that the company provides to its commercial clients.
Since establishing its office in the Philippines in July 20, 1937, IBM has evolved to become the leader in information technology, providing hardware, software and IT-enabled services to domestic and global clients. It is known for the quality of its products and services in a long-standing tradition of excellence, customer satisfaction, and commitment to business ethics and integrity. IBM’s deep commitment to drive progress through innovation resonates in the company’s engagement with the industry, academe, government and communities that strategically employs IBM’s technology and expertise to enhance the country’s global competitiveness and help improve the lives of its citizens.
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.
Sarah O’Connor, the CEO of Australian Business Volunteers, which has partnered with IBM to deliver the CSC program was in Manilla to mark the occasion, “As a not for profit organisation which values altruism, and whose mission is to relieve poverty, it has been fantastic to work with a company that has such strong commitment to corporate responsibility and citizenship. There are other corporations which have international pro-bono programs, but IBM’s CSC program is truly world leading, both in terms of its scale, and its commitment to achieving community impact.”
The Corporate Service Corps program was launched in 2008. The value of their work to date is estimated at USD 70million. 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.
Corporate Service Corps is sponsored by the IBM International Foundation. Via its Foundation, IBM implements key initiatives that address specific, vital issues such as education, the environment, community economic development, and health care.