IBM wants people with new ideas

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am

When people bought computers 10 years ago all they got was a hardware box, and they needed an expert to help set them up.

With the growth of information technology, people nowadays are no longer satisfied with just the hardware and software. They want added value such as follow-up support and total solutions, and these have become the keys to making computer companies stand out from the rest.

To meet the demand for customer support and consultancy services, IBM China/Hong Kong needs to fill more than 20 positions, including a system service representative trainee, an associate project manager, a solution design IT specialist and a managing consultant.

Gabriel Lo To-ha, human resources manager of the company, said most of the positions were customer service-related jobs.

Being one of the leading computer companies, IBM used to focus on manufacturing and selling computer hardware and software as well as doing research. 'However, there has been a transformation in the company over the past eight to 10 years,' Ms Lo said. 'We realised that clients were not satisfied by just getting the hardware or software purchased from our company, and we started to provide value-added services.'

When a client buys a processor, storage system or software from IBM, the company not only provides an implementation service, but also total end-to-end solutions such as consulting and management-related services.

'We are shifting from a product-centric to a more customer-centric and service-oriented firm,' Ms Lo said.

The managing consultant's position requires the person to be responsible for providing that service to clients' IT staff and business executives.

Ms Lo said because the skills and knowledge of the internal IT teams of many companies may not be up-to-date with the latest technology, IBM's managing consultant could be there to implement the service and offer professional assistance to help the company with its IT strategy and planning.

Other than the specific qualifications and product-oriented skills required for each position, IBM is looking for people based on the company's core values which are: dedication to every client's success, innovation that matters, and trust and personal responsibility in all relationships.

Ms Lo said IBM looked for people who could bring in new ideas and had a client-partnering mindset.

'They need to care about the clients' needs and think about how to help clients achieve their goals. Being a trustworthy person is essential too. Our staff is required to have integrity when dealing with clients and working within the company,' she said.

Good team players with an open mind, outgoing character and good presentation and communication skills are in demand.

'Our staff do not just need to deal with customers, they also have to deal with more than 1,000 colleagues.

'There are lots of collaborations between departments; you need good interpersonal skills to express what you need and what you want to execute your job smoothly,' she said.

'The industry trend is that being techie is the fundamental criterion; beyond that you need to possess good interpersonal and problem-solving skills and an analytical mind.'

IBM emphasises career management to help employees grow and develop.

Staff in the service stream can proceed to the managerial level or they can take the professional path, becoming product-oriented specialists, IT architects or project managers.

She said project management employees with adequate skills and experience could apply for the IBM certification - a globally recognised accreditation showing expertise in the profession.

To help staff identify their career development, an individual development plan is run each year, where managers discuss short-term and long-term aspirations with each employee.

'For instance, if the employee aspires to be an IT architect, we will come up with a development plan, provide training, assign projects or send them to seminars and workshops to offer him a more hands-on experience and develop them to meet the requirement so that his career can move on,' Ms Lo said. 'There are loads of career opportunities in the company.'

Tech specs

IBM China/Hong Kong needs to fill more than 20 different positions, most of which are customer support-related jobs

Candidates need to be good team players, open-minded, outgoing and have good presentation and communication skills

People with an innovative and client-partnering mindset are preferred

IT professionals need not only have proficient and up-to-date knowledge of technology, but must also have good interpersonal, problem-solving skills and analytical minds

Individual development plan is carried out every year to help employees build their careers