By Emeka Aginam
Having worked through the months to  successfully complete  another program of corporate citizenship activity in Nigeria aimed at helping Cross River State compete in a global marketplace, IBM consultants have helped the Cross River State University of Technology in the implementation of modern processes and technologies to ensure the effective running of the university and to train staff in the latest IT based approaches including database management and open source software.

However, over the past months, twelve IBM consultants from nine different countries have worked along side  with the  Cross River State Government and the state owned University of Technology to support local organizations and government departments with implementing new processes and technologies and developing skills.

Similarly, following on the work started by a previous IBM CSC team, IBM consultants have helped the Cross River State ICT Development Department create an information technology framework to better manage the state computer network so that eighteen different government departments can collaborate more effectively. IBM’s consultants also supported with the training of the department’s staff.

“IBM is well known for helping public and private sector organizations and companies around the world to leverage technology to drive innovation and do things smarter,”  Remi Abere

Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM West Africa, told IT journalists last week in a ceremony to take stock of their experiences during the time in question.

“In bringing the Corporate Service Corps Program to Nigeria we have been able to offer our wealth of skills and experience to benefit local communities so that they can grow, prosper and compete in a global economy. IBM also benefits from the experience by growing its next generation of leaders with the skills required to lead in a globally integrated world.”

“The IBM teams have had a profound impact on the region by bringing highly valued skills on local projects and helping to transfer those skills to emerging centers of business across Africa,”  Deidre White, president of the  CDC Development Solutions, the Washington-based Organization which has partnered with IBM for this initiative across Africa said, adding that , “The result has been to significantly advance projects that will have a sustained impact in the community and help lay the foundations for a 21st century global enterprise.”

The Nigerian initiative is part of a program of African activity during which IBM has deployed teams of its employees to South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana as well as Nigeria.

For one thing, the  Corporate Service Corps (CSC) is global IBM initiative designed to provide small businesses, educational institutions and non_profit organizations in growth markets with sophisticated business consulting and skills development to help improve local conditions and foster job creation.

IBM deploys teams of top employees from around the world representing IT, research, marketing, finance, and business development to growth markets for a period of one month.

The employees work pro bono with local organizations and businesses on projects that intersect business, technology and society.

This current activity is part of a program which began eleven_months ago and during which IBM has deployed over forty consultants to work on twenty-three projects in areas key to the development of Cross River State including: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Social Welfare, Public Transportation, Agriculture, Tourism, Forestry, Finance, Academia, Investment Promotion  and Health. Together, the projects represent approximately 7500 hours of business and IT advisory services delivered by IBM in Cross River State during this period.

Meanwhile, the  most recent IBM teams in Cross River State have worked on the following projects:

Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture:

IBM CSC consultants have worked to strengthen the strategy and processes of the Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS) Department. One of the areas looked at was the use of modern technologies to assist in the generation, analysis and storage of data to enable the ministry to make fact_based decisions. The IBM team also made recommendations about the use of wireless, hand_held devices by field officers to help with the accurate and timely input of agricultural data.

Cross River State Ministry of Finance:
IBM CSC consultants have worked closely with the Ministry of Finance to help apply the latest technologies to help transform the ministry, increasing transparency, improving accountability and ensuring the equitable distribution of financial resources.

Cross River State Forestry Commission :
Following on the work started by a previous IBM CSC team, IBM consultants have helped pave the way to digitize the Forestry Commission’s communication and data systems to help better map and manage forest reserves in Cross River State.

Cross River State Department of Public Transportation:
Following on the work started by a previous IBM CSC team, IBM consultants have worked with the Department of Public Transportation Management and Operations to use information technologies to help lay the foundations for an efficient Public Transportation System. One of the areas explored was the use of internet based technologies to create transportation maps that can aid the running and marketing of the system.

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