By Anna Valmero
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, the first female country manager of IBM Philippines, plans to infuse “innovation and transformative programs” to drive growth for the country’s technology industry.
Winhoffer follows the lead of the global IBM office which named its first global president and chief executive, Virginia Rometty, in 2011.
“IBM projects significant growth in the Philippines, which is also one of the company’s 20 growth markets,” said Winhoffer in an interview.
Under her leadership, the company’s first female country manager plans to leverage the “key plays,” such as cloud, smarter analytics, smarter planet, and geo expansion to drive the innovation in the country.
Specifically, Winhoffer aims to support the government’s national agenda for economic growth by establishing a platform for collaboration to deliver higher value services for local and global markets and to enable the Philippines to lead and redefine the BPO market and industry by leveraging smarter analytics.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will also form a big part of IBM Philippines’ core strategy for growth and investment.
Over 90 percent of the country’s businesses are classified as SMEs, which are now turning into investing on information and communications technology (ICT) to improve operations and handle increasing amounts of digital data. This is a huge market that remains untapped and a big opportunity for technology businesses like IBM.
“IBM prioritizes SME clients, primarily in our geographic (Geo) expansion program, where we aim to expand reach to emerging markets and serve the vast amount of untapped opportunities outside the metropolis,” said the official.
In the Philippines, “geo cities” represent 46 percent of total opportunity for IT expansion hence the significant focus to expand coverage of emerging metro cities such as Calamba, Subic and Clark in Luzon, and Cebu and Davao in the south.
“Our strategy is to work closely with our clients in these cities and to empower them to drive innovation and business efficiencies while improving service and productivity.”
The company is also focusing on long-term partnerships with government, educational institutions, local ICT groups, and businesses as well as expanding its partner eco-system to actively promote and harness technology for business and economic growth in the locality, Winhoffer said.
“Given that majority of the businesses in geo cities are SMEs, IBM considers them as engines fueling a smarter planet, creating roughly 65 percent of the worldwide gross domestic product,” she added.
(Photo courtesy of IBM Philippines)
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