Jessica Liu and Wan Ping Liu (no relation) are lead development representatives in the Hong Kong office of IBM’s Digital Business Group. Their job includes contacting potential customers based on current marketing campaigns and receiving customer inquiries through the toll-free hotline. Their role in sales, and proximity to the people that use IBM products, made Jessica and Wan Ping eligible for the IBM New Seller Journey (NSJ) onboarding program, an update to IBM’s acclaimed “sales school” curriculum.
The NSJ provides new global sales team members with formal, informal, and learning-by-doing experiences to build skills, confidence, and a network of peers. The program includes a volunteer experience, where groups of new IBMers identify a volunteer initiative they want to support.
Jessica and Wan Ping were ideal candidates to teach the benefits of Watson Analytics to nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, also based in Hong Kong.
Normally, NGOs might not consider analytics technology to be crucial to their mission, or they might not feel the organization’s limited resources allow them such an expense. But in this scenario, IBM volunteers like Jessica and Wan Ping were able to show NGO leaders just how transformational Watson Analytics can be.
Advanced technology, relevant and usable
To prepare for the training, Jessica and Wan Ping both committed about 50 hours of time. They had to prepare a presentation and demo to illustrate Watson Analytics capabilities to people who would be unfamiliar with the technology. The best way forward was to make the demo as personally relevant as possible.
“We needed to deepen the customer's business scenarios, and identify the language used in the organization to encourage the NGO to use Watson Analytics to its fullest,” Wan Ping says. The result was an increased interest by public agencies in the results of Watson analysis.
Such an opportunity to both learn and explain Watson Analytics was rare, Wan Ping says. “At first I thought that only long-time Watson experts could teach,” she says, “but later I found that there were a lot of self-learning opportunities for me, too.”
Jessica agrees that the experience was meaningful and informative. While helping NGO organizations, “we were also able to gain more product knowledge that aided us in our work,” she says.
She hopes that the NGOs can use Watson Analytics in their daily work to get more insight into their organizations. “The volunteer experience helped me understand customer business needs.”
And that kind of in-depth knowledge can have positive results. Following the NSJ project, Jessica became the first in her business unit to successfully propose an individual Watson Analytics solution for a client in China.
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