Smart people making a 'Smarter Planet'
Meet IBMers who are helping to build a "Smarter Planet" in their own unique way.
Ananda, India: Helping Ghanaian businesses operate smarter
Ananda was looking forward to getting first-hand knowledge of emerging markets in West Africa, specifically Ghana, before leaving for his IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) volunteer assignment. He wound up getting a lot more than he expected from the experience.
Ananda was part of an eight member team assigned to the Association of Ghana Industries to assist two companies, Multiwall Paper Sack and West-West Agro Processing, with operation and organizational strategy.
Ananda worked with his clients specifically to reorganize their working capital strategy, optimize their supply chain, and create an organizational structure that could improve sales, reduce costs and establish a governance mechanism. He did this all with no pre-defined scope of work for the assignment.
"It might sound funny, but next to missing my daughter, my wife and my native food, I actually missed the processes that IBM utilizes to run its operations," says Ananda. "This was because everything about the situation, and the work involved, was completely ad-hoc."
"It was one heck of a learning experience," says Ananda. So much so, that it gave him the confidence to take on a new position at IBM as a senior IA (Information Agenda) consultant at IBM Malaysia. He now uses his newly found skills to help clients utilize information systems to deliver budgeting and planning, management information reporting and more.
See more IBMer experiences in Ghana in the right sidebar.
Maddy, Canada: Learning and growing
IBM Cognos 8 offering. Maddy enjoys what she does, but also notes that working at IBM isn't just about doing her "real job." "Of course, you're responsible for your deliverables, but there is an incredible amount of encouragement to participate in other projects," she notes.
That's how she got involved in social software; once she started exploring one path, she immediately met like-minded colleagues who recommended other projects and tools. "It's like being inside the world's largest library of cool software with an unlimited library card," she adds.
Maddy then started her own internal IBM blog to share some of the new information she had learned. Now she has a full internal network of people to talk to. "I'm a BlueIQ Ambassador, a Beehive, BlogCentral, and BlueTwit regular, and I'm teaching my colleagues here how to use these tools to work smarter and faster," she says.
Maddy adds that being part of a big company like IBM gives her a lot of freedom to learn and grow. "IBM is such an innovative, forward-thinking company, and that has made my future here all the more promising."
Michal, Israel: Cracking the disease code
With the right model, Michal and her colleagues from the Haifa Research Lab in Israel could crack any code. Even if the code happens to be one of the most pressing health issues of our time: HIV.
Antiretroviral drug therapy combinations have increased the average life expectancy for people diagnosed with HIV by 13 years. That's good. What's even better? Michal has found a way to help physicians make smarter decisions about which therapy combinations or 'cocktails' will work for a specific patient. Her work with European partners means doctors can access an online prediction engine that tells them which treatment has the best chances of success for their patient.
The prediction models of the Haifa team tap into a wealth of information amassed in Europe's largest database of HIV information. Tying this complex picture of blood tests, demographic information, and patient history to the outcome of clinical therapies seemed almost impossible at first - but Michal and her teammates did it. They started off with genomic data and ended up with a decision support system. Michal is confident that similar progress can be made for other chronic diseases.
That's smarter healthcare. For more details on IBM's healthcare agenda, see right sidebar.
Tomasz, Poland: Improving national security
The world is having an identity crisis.
Tomasz knows that. He's helping clients know when people are not who they say they are. In Poland, Tomasz worked with the Polish National Police to improve operations and reduce error rates by taking their old paper- and radio-based visa and identification system from the Dark Age to the digital age.
Ten thousand police, who used to walk around with paper and radios, now link in via mobile devices to a connected database that gives them immediate access to identification information.
Working with IBM's business partners, Tomasz integrated IBM System x and Tivoli software to help provide Polish police with direct access to a visa information database that enables them to check the identities and visa status of people entering Poland.
Prior to this smart system it took much longer to establish the identities of people, as well as vehicle registrations crossing the border, using their old radio-query system. Now, vehicles registered in the European Union (EU) can be queried in the "wanted vehicles" database, and visa status can be obtained immediately for individuals from non-EU countries.
Smart idea. Turning paper into bytes and Poland's police department into high tech crime fighters.
For more on IBM's vision to make public safety smarter, see the right sidebar.