IBM Study – Setting the Pace of Innovation in Africa (Infographic)

Image Credit:  IBM Center for Applied Insights

Image Credit: IBM Center for Applied Insights

IBM Study:  Innovating in Africa

Learn from IT leaders ahead of the pack

On January 27, 2014, IBM announced the results of a new study entitled Setting the pace in Africa: How IT leaders deliver on the potential of emerging technologies, which found that while nearly 87 percent of African IT leaders rank new technologies such as analytics, cloud, mobile and social media as being critical to business success, only 53% are pushing forward with adoption.  Africa’s IT and business climate is changing rapidly and the booming technological and consumer revolution is underway. But for all the new opportunities there also are some leadership challenges, skills shortfalls and security risks that threaten to slow tech-driven progress. However, pace-setting IT leaders are tackling these challenges and positioning their organizations for competitive advantage.

What’s holding businesses back – and giving Pacesetters the lead:

  • STRATEGIC BUSINESS LEADERSHIP FOR IT:  African Pacesetters do more to tangibly demonstrate the value of emerging technology.  They are 30 percent more likely than their peers to link IT investments to business outcomes.
  • IT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT: Half of African businesses are still addressing IT skill deficits and not yet developing skills to transform the business.  BUT – Pacesetters are 80 percent more likely than their peers to cultivate IT skills to meet future business needs.
  • INFORMATION SECURITY: The majority of African companies cite security of emerging technologies as a top-of-mind issue.  BUT – Pacesetters are 30 percent more likely to create a risk-aware culture, employ new security technologies and bolster security skills and expertise.

Learn more

(The study was by the IBM Center for Applied Insights in collaboration with the IBM Center for CIO Leadership.)



–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Virtual Job Fair for IBM Research Africa on Dec 5

The African continent accounts for 14 percent of the world’s population and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With a growth rate expected to average 7 percent annually over the next 20 years, Africa is poised to become a leading source of innovation in a variety of industries. With this growth comes many challenges spanning traffic congestion to the delivery of fresh water.

If you have what it takes to help solve these grand challenges, the IBM Recruiting team invites professors, scientists and qualified university students to participate in a Research Virtual Recruiting Event for several open positions at our new lab in Nairobi, Kenya.  The event will take place on 5 December and you can participate in several ways.

For details visit:



- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection via Chris Sciacca, IBM Research Communications

Africa News: Smarter Computing Helps Vietnam’s Viettel Cameroon Group Push 3G Services

Millions across Cameroon to benefit from high-speed data and voice services

- from PR Newswire

HANOI, Vietnam and YAOUNDE, Cameroon — IBM has announced that telecommunications operator Viettel Cameroon S.A.R.L. is using an IBM Smarter Computing solution to enable Cameroon’s 3G infrastructure and provide high-speed mobile data and voice services.

The new IT platform, based on IBM System x servers, IBM Smarter Storage systems and IBM DB2 software, will help provide advanced integrated mobile services to millions of new Cameroonian subscribers.

Viettel Cameroon S.A.R.L is a joint venture between telecommunications companies Vietnam’s Viettel Global and Bestinver Cameroon S.A.R.L. This project will make it the largest telecommunications company in the country, with 6,000 employees and a network covering 81 percent of Cameroon.

“This agreement marks our significant commitment to Cameroon – the second market in Africa we have invested in,” says Phung Van Cuong, CIO of Viettel Group. “IBM’s rich portfolio of smarter computing solutions is enabling us to provide next-generation wireless services at much lower cost.”  Get the full story.


IBM in Cameroon


What did you think of this story? Post your thoughts in the Leave a Reply field below.


- Posted by Regan Kelly

IBM in Africa: ‘We intend to grow rapidly’

IBM President and CEO Ginni Rometty (left) met with His Excellency Honorable Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya, to commemorate the announcement of IBM’s first research lab in Africa, Monday, August 13, 2012.  Honorable Mwai Kibaki was President of Kenya through April 2013.

IBM President and CEO Ginni Rometty (left) met with His Excellency Honorable Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya, to commemorate the announcement of IBM’s first research lab in Africa, Monday, August 13, 2012. Honorable Mwai Kibaki was President of Kenya through April 2013.

A year ago this month, IBM opened its 12th research lab in Nairobi, Kenya. This signals ongoing business and philanthropic commitment to the continent, according to Tim Docking, who leads the company’s Emerging Market Funding group.

“People should see that as a sign of our intention to not only invest in new ideas and innovation, but to also develop local ideas to solve local problems,” said Docking, adding that IBM’s business goals in Africa are “robust”. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty recently visited the continent, where IBM has offices in 20 different countries. Learn more about IBM in Africa (by Andrea Useem,


- Posted by Regan Kelly and Julie Yamamoto

Kenya News: IBM Opens Innovation Centre

- from IT News Africa

As part of its ongoing expansion in Africa, IBM has opened its first IBM Innovation Center in East Africa. Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the center will help fuel growth and innovation in the region. It is co-located with a new IBM Client Center that brings IBM’s expertise to clients in the region.

IBM has opened its first IBM Innovation Center in Nairobi, Kenya. (Image source: PR Newswire)The new IBM Innovation Center aims to nurture and grow regional IT innovation and help startups and new business IT solutions get to market faster. Read more.

(Image source: PR Newswire)



IT in Africa, the Next Frontier – IBM Is Leading the Way

A Smarter Planet: How to Build Innovation Ecosystems


- Posted by Regan Kelly

Getting to Know the Millenials – Q&A with IBM’s Abe Thomas

What can the recent IBM Global Student Study tell us about the leaders of tomorrow?

Abraham Thomas

Abraham Thomas

In this Q&A publsihed in Business Day Live, Abraham Thomas, IBM South Africa’s general manager, speaks to Margaret Harris about this, and the issues, differences, and challenges uncovered. Read more.


Insights from the 2012 Study

Download the report

study cover


– Posted by Regan Kelly, Editor/Community Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

South African Imbizo! – IBM South Africa and Its Leadership Team

by Natasha Pillay-Bemath

In this issue:

  • IBM South Africa
  • SALT – South African Leadership Team
  • Recruiting Team Looking for Candidates


IBM South Africa

IBM South Africa, operating since 2008, is a significant contributor to IBM’s MEA (Middle East & Africa) Region. 2012 saw the appointment of Abraham Thomas as Country General Manager. Mr. Thomas has brought with him not only decades of IBM experience, but also an infectious and powerful positive energy that has swept through Team IBM SA.

The team is determined to achieve its 2015 goals to be a stellar contributor for IBM. The African market is a major focus of IBM’s, and South Africa has the potential to be at the forefront of this next IBM venture.

IBM South Africa wordleOur three priorities to reach our full potential are:

  • Develop and grow our people
  • Bring value to our South African clients
  • Build a robust partner ecosystem

On the first priority – to develop and grow our people – we’ve done considerable work in a short time. Events such as Family Day and Heritage Day celebrations have helped to create and develop team bonds and team spirit:

Heritage Day


SALT – South African Leadership Team

SALT – the South African Leadership Team – was launched in mid-August 2012. Initiated by Mr. Thomas, its goal is to gear IBM South Africa for growth through the deliberate development of the Company’s leadership capabilities.

The initial sixty members of SALT were selected from across South Africa to grow their business acumen, actively team with colleagues, and ultimately help lead IBM South Africa to realize our Company and revenue goals. Candidates will graduate next year from this 12-month program, and then a new set of people will be chosen.


Recruiting Team Looking for Candidates

The Recruitment team in South Africa has a significant role to play in IBM South Africa’s growth and success. Our mandate is to proactively seek out South Africans, specifically previously disadvantaged individuals, and to secure them as IBMers. Team members include:

  • Busi Masango – Recruitment Partner for SWG, S&D, Sectors
  • Darryl Devar – Recruitment Partner for STG & GTS
  • Gavin Wood – Recruitment Partner for GBS
  • Natasha Pillay-Bemath – Recruitment Leader South Africa

The team has been actively hunting for candidates who have shown:

  • A track record of top performance.
  • The IBM Values and competencies.
  • A deep, sincere passion to contribute to the South African success story. This is critical.

African landscape w/ IBM logoYou can find our recruiting team on The Greater IBM Connection on LinkedIn.  Please connect with them if you feel you can be a part of our success story. And feel free to refer other South Africans that you believe can contribute the same.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Greetings from South Africa,
The Recruitment Team, South Africa

Supporting Nigeria’s Small Businesses – Citizen IBM

by Remi Abere, Citizen IBM

Remi Abere

As Africa’s most populous country (and the seventh most populous country in the world), Nigeria accounts for between 60 percent and 70 percent of the trade and investment flows in the West Africa sub-region. The human capital implications of this evolving regional dynamic on Nigeria’s trade, investment, economic development and growth is becoming increasingly obvious.

The bottom line is that there are huge skills gaps in business management and public sector administration.

IBM decided to help close the skills gap in Nigeria’s small business milieu as part of its social investments and continued commitment to Africa’s economic growth. Recently, we conducted a project management workshop for 30 young entrepreneurs in Lagos – a city of nearly eight million people, and Nigeria’s economic and industrial hub. The workshop was enabled by an IBM Service Grant, and was the first of its kind in the Middle-East/Africa region. IBM South Africa wordle

Collaborating with FATE Foundation, a wealth creation and skills development non-governmental organization, the IBM Service Grant Workshop was attended by young entrepreneurs involved in internet marketing, printing, event management, furniture making, catering, agriculture, renewable energy, research, healthcare, carpet retailing and market research. The workshop has helped in no small measure to create fresh organizational perspectives, and prepared the budding entrepreneurs for the competition and business development challenges of their respective sectors.

“As a proactive and responsible corporate citizen, IBM will continue to help galvanize knowledge and skills acquisition for small businesses in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa. Despite concerns over funding support for small-sized businesses, finance and cash flow management appears to be the least of their headaches.” – Taiwo Otiti, Country General Manager, IBM West Africa

Skills shortage, education and business management knowledge have been identified as the bane of the small and medium scale enterprises (SME) sector in Nigeria. So, having the right knowledge, the right skills and the right tools and techniques will help these entrepreneurs deliver the right business results.

IBM is committed to narrowing the skills gap and helping small businesses in Nigeria become more efficient in their operations, and the Service Grant Workshop has helped participants to begin to incorporate smart initiatives in their respective businesses.

Remi Abere leads IBM’s Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs efforts in West Africa.

Related Resources:

IBM in West Africa

IBM Service Grants

Leadership Insights from Raeleen Medrano, Vice President of Finance for IBM North America

(from Women at IBM, Facebook)

Meet Raeleen Medrano and read what she has to say about making a difference in her global career, tackling problems outside your comfort zone, and achieving the all-important work life balance

What made you decide to work for IBM?

IBM's Raeleen Medrano

IBM’s Raeleen Medrano

I joined IBM (in Australia) because it was a large international company and I believed I would have the opportunity to work in many different areas and would have the chance to use what I’d learned in gaining my degree.  Now, twenty-six years later, what makes me stay at IBM is very much the same – the opportunity to work on a global scale, and really apply my financial know-how to drive business performance.  I feel like I can make a difference every day at IBM, and no two days are the same.

Have you had any valuable mentors or sponsors?  How have they helped you in your career?

My mentors and sponsors really have made a difference in my career.  They helped me understand the scope of career opportunity at IBM, and helped me believe in myself, and sponsored me for opportunities – they helped me  and others believe that I could take on greater career challenges and be successful.  They’ve also been there for me when I needed business advice – for example,  how to tackle a problem in an area outside my normal scope. Just recently, one of my very first formal mentors, helped me with a client situation.  Being in finance, we’re not dealing with clients on a regular basis, and it was really important that I got this particular contact right – my mentor helped me prepare, and helped me role play with the questions the client was likely to ask me about the business.  It really made a difference by giving me greater confidence in tackling a conversation where I wasn’t in my comfort zone.

Can you describe an interesting project?

Beginning last year, I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to work on a project to better understand how IBM can be successful in Africa.  It has been a terrific learning experience and has given me the opportunity to build on my leadership skills and work with other IBMers on what actions we can take as a company to drive profitable growth in an extremely exciting and emerging market.  We gained hands on experience in Africa, and established many new relationships – both inside and outside IBM.

Has IBM provided you with any unique work-life integration solutions?

I’ve been a “working mother” at IBM now for almost twenty years.  I’ve learned many solutions to managing work-life integration, and I’ve found IBM to be an excellent partner in that journey.  I’ve always found my managers to be very supportive, and also the line leaders that I’ve supported over the years.  One of the cool things about achieving work-life integration at IBM is the fact that when you strive for it, it usually enables others to do the same.  When I’ve needed to attend to matters outside IBM, for example attending my daughter’s soccer games, I let my team know that I trust them to cover things for me while I’m away.  Not only does this help me cover work while I’m gone, it let’s my team know I have confidence in them too.  It also let’s them know it’s OK to do the same – and that I’ll cover for them, and they cover for each other when they need time away from the office as well.  It creates a positive teaming environment, and everyone feels like they can get the things done that are important to them – inside and outside the office.

What makes you proud to be an IBMer?

There are many things that make me proud to be an IBMer – and one of the most important is the foundation of integrity that we have at IBM.  It makes me feel very proud to know that IBM will always insist on doing the right thing, and really make a positive difference in society.  Our clients, shareholders and employees can all count on that – and that’s very important.


–Posted by Regan Kelly

Share your comments below – how have you achieved balance with your career in your life?