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Feature: IBMers in Service

  • The Saigon River begins in Cambodia and flows southeast through Ho Chi Minh City and toward the edges of the Mekong Delta.

    Ho Chi Minh City sits along the Saigon River—home to over 7 million people…

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    …and what seems like a trillion motorbikes.

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    The Vietnamese have a saying, “Live in a globe and you are round. Live in a pipe and you are long”—meaning our environment shapes us.

  • Ho Chi Minh City throbs with life at all times of the day. Vendors sell everything from coconuts to soup served from pots on the pavement.

    As Ho Chi Minh City grows, so does the need for the city to provide a healthy, sustainable and livable environment for its citizens.

  • Michele Grieshaber (pictured), Director, Marketing Transformation for IBM Software, United States

    My name is Michele and I’m an IBMer. In February, five colleagues and I traveled to Ho Chi Minh City as part of IBM’s first executive team participating in the Corporate Service Corps.

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    We came from across the globe with backgrounds from sales, consulting, marketing and research and a common desire to gain global experience, share knowledge and improve the world.

  • Ho Chi Minh City leaders have defined a vision to be among the top cities in Asia.

    Our charge was to bring IBM expertise to bear on the city’s most difficult challenges. And, work together to shape a vision for a smarter city for the people of Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Rapid urbanization and industrialization continue to put pressure on the local water systems in Ho Chi Minh City. The quality of water is constantly at risk due to large amounts of industrial and untreated domestic waste.

    The city leaders identified five challenge areas—transportation, water management, food safety, education and electronic government.

  • Field research: IBMers Michelle Grieshaber (pictured, center) and Evelyn Bailey (pictured at right), S&D Client Director, Communications Sector for IBM, Canada.

    They called these “life or death” issues for the city.

  • Exploring a local clam farm: Dan Delos (pictured at left), GBS Partner, Strategy & Transformation for IBM, United States, and Pham Lam Chinh Van (pictured at right), head of the seafood division within the Department of Agriculture in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Over the next three weeks we worked separately and as a team to analyze each of these city challenges.

  • Officials at the local clam farm work to ensure people are in proper areas for digging. This local clam farm is known for its environmental sensitivity and the attention it pays to its product quality.

    Dan took the lead on water, Roy and Clara on transport, Evelyn on electronic government and Guru focused on education and innovation. I focused on food safety.

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  • Much of the Vietnamese population works in the agricultural and aquatic industry, which drives a valuable portion of the export revenue for the country.

    As part of our analysis we undertook field visits to clamming operations, a transport control center, hi-tech parks and vegetable farms.

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  • IBMers Roy Nicholson, GBS Partner, Life Sciences for IBM, United States, and Clara Challoner Walker, GBS Partner, Financial Services for IBM, UK, observed at the Ho Chi Minh City bus depot as part of their transportation research.

    We saw a side of Vietnam rarely experienced by tourists. Roy and Clara spent hours in the hot sun watching a traffic jam—on purpose!

  • IBMers Michele and Dan (pictured) reviewed records at the local clam farm to understand the data used to track source and dates associated with each clam harvest.

    In our last week, we provided a roadmap for becoming a smarter city to the city leaders with defined starting points for each challenge area.

  • The IBM team met with officials from the Department of Transportation in the Intelligent Transport Control Center (pictured), which brings together aspects of the city’s transportation, such as traffic light phasing and traffic volumes.

    Our final recommendation to the city was the creation of an integrated IT -management system to collect, analyze and act upon data from across all the departments.

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  • Guru Banavar (pictured), VP & CTO, Global Public Sector at IBM, United States, in a local stem cell research lab. Guru looked at ways for leaders to manage the development of innovation processes.

    In doing so, they’d be able to use information in new ways. For example, they could look at flood prediction models from the water department in the context of traffic patterns…

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    …and identify vulnerable parts of the city’s transport network in the event of a large storm system.

  • The waterways and the many unofficial ferries constitute a major means of transport for the people of Ho Chi Minh City.

    My colleagues and I were rewarded by participating in a project at the convergence of business strategy and citizenship…

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    …and by seeing first hand how our work can truly benefit society.

  • Follow the progress of all IBM Corporate Service Corp teams