IBM Latin America develops digital transformation re-skilling plan

The company is partnering with organizations as an attempt to address skills shortages in the region.

IBM is developing a strategy to help address the shortage of IT skills required for digital transformation in Latin America.

According to IDC, Latin America will experience a shortage of more than 550,000 IT professionals by 2019, especially in technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing.

IBM's own data suggests that 60 percent of Latin executives are currently struggling to keep workforce skills up-to-date and relevant enough for new projects. In order to help its clients, the firm is driving a series of educational initiatives.

The company has so far partnered with 300 universities and 400 education institutions. It collaborates with institutions in the creation of classes that enhance students' skills in the technologies - students then create technology-based solutions to real problems with support of IBM mentors.

According to the vendor, more than 370,000 Latin American students have benefited from education programs bolstered with its content.

"The success of businesses in the transition to the digital economy is absolutely dependent on the adoption of new technologies in their business models, but also on the ability to develop a culture of continuous learning to generate a sustainable competitive advantage in the region", says general manager at IBM Latin America, Ana Paula Assis.

"[The need to keep up with] talent changes is a recognized fact. The point is how quickly and deeply we are able to drive this evolution - working as an extended ecosystem, composed of private companies, educational institutions and public entities - to avoid talent shortages and impact on our professionals, societies and economies," Assis adds.

The company has also been promoting free education in large scale online in the region and has also developed an itinerant training scheme that offers 3-6 week courses at universities, as well as programs with startups and initiatives that aim to stimulate take-up of STEM careers by women in the region.

Corporate citizenship initiatives in Latin America are combining pro-bono consulting from IBM with volunteer initiatives from employees around knowledge transfer aimed at digital transformation.

In addition, IBM is looking to stimulate "triple helix" dynamics between the private sector, universities and academia. One instance is the partnership between Mexican university Tecnológico de Monterrey and local bank Banorte around an identity management system based on blockchain.