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Industry should talk to government, not the other way around

Sathya Mithra Ashok | April 2, 2014
In a chat with Reseller News MD of IBM NZ, Rob Lee, discusses the changes that the firm is going through globally, the effects it could have on the NZ market and how the firm is handling the skills shortage that haunts technology firms in the country.

Q: Will you be looking for acquisitions in NZ?

RL: Never say never. I would be amongst a group of people making that sort of decision but it is IBM corporation global that would be making those decisions. For the right reasons, the right fit, the right requirements, potentially.

It comes back to whether it fits what we are trying to do globally. There are many acquisitions, if you look at analytics portfolio that we are building and have acquired - they come from all over the globe.

There is no reason why it could not happen. It just comes down to what it is and why.

We also want to make sure that we are giving our local developer community the best shot at being successful on the world stage, as well. So our software development support community is working on making sure that we provide some of our technologies to these companies so they can be successful in what they do.

There is a local chapter here. It is part of the mission we have in A/NZ and we have these developers that we work with locally.

Q: How do you grade your people strength in the country and will you be looking to hire more?

RL: The challenge we have is to make sure we have got the right people to listen and talk to the clients. We are always making sure about have we got the right complement of people to do that engagement. So as IBM changes, the skills that our people need to have will carry on — and the requirements of those will carry on — changing, and they will be more highly geared and continue to grow in the Cloud, analytics, mobility and social.

With Cloud momentum in this market, I see the rest of the momentum growing, and that means the profile of the workforce that we need to address will change.

If the demand is there we will be looking to add on people in certain profile areas.

Q: What are your thoughts on the skills shortage in the country and how does IBM handle it?

RL: As an industry we all stare at this. The government looks at it, the education sector — primary, secondary and tertiary also look at it. I think there are a number of factors here. We need to make sure as a whole that this industry is seen as attractive to people to enter. That is the first thing.

Then it comes down to what we are looking for in this marketplace. Is there a shortage? I believe in some key areas there are. But how you fill those gaps is equally as important as identifying the gap. And, in the long view, you don't need just people who can work with technology. They can program, they can do stuff. You need people who can think about how they apply technology.

 

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