August 22, 2016
Today was the big day. I guess that’s why they called it the kick-off. Thinking about it, that’s not the best terminology. My guess is that it’s related to sports, but even if there’s a kick-off, there’s some person on the other side that is going to try to return the kick-off. I don’t think anyone tries to return a kick-off in the business world unless it’s a hostile takeover.
In any event, today’s kick-off was quite nice. We were driven to the IBM-Colombia office where we met up with fellow IBMers and our clients. The IBM office reminded me of home and really showed the consistency of the IBM brand, as the Colombian offices look similar to the IBM offices one would visit in the Washington D.C. area. As an IBMer, it’s reassuring to know that wherever you go, there you are.
For this CSC program, there are four clients, so our group of 11 was split up into four teams. The clients presented their needs, followed by introductions of each IBM team. All the projects are admirable in the desire to drive change and promote a way to better humanity in its own way. After the presentations concluded, each team left with their clients.
I was part of the team chosen to work with The Nature Conservancy on developing a financial management system to better track water funds. Having no expectations when entering into this program, I quickly realized that this project could have been proposed anywhere. The issues they face in Colombia are concerns that other countries also encounter. The hope is that if our solution is successful, it will be able to be replicated to other water funds.
Everyone we have met thus far has been warm and welcoming and meeting our clients confirm that there is something special about Bogotá. In addition, we also gained an assistant. Her name is Camila and she will be assisting us with translation and basic research. We all developed an instant rapport with her and I was impressed with her background and the promising future that awaits her.
We spent many hours listening to our client and discussing their wants and needs. At one point, we were asked how will we do our magic. To which I responded, “The magic is that we are a team from diverse locations and backgrounds that have assembled to assist you in finding the correct solution. It’s a unique opportunity for all involved and one that will advance the mission of your cause.”
As we headed “home” for the night, we talked about the day and what was yet to come. Although we have only been in Bogotá a few days, it’s beginning to feel like my kind of town. Anurag, Luisa, and even Camila are becoming my buddies and the clients are my kind of people. I think even Juan Valdez would agree that something special is brewing in Bogotá.