IBM Canada is about to become a big player in the Maritimes.
The company announced a three-way deal Thursday to take over management of Nova Scotia’s SAP applications, create a global delivery centre for SAP services in Halifax and Sydney which could employ up to 500 people, and create a centre of excellence in analytics education, certification, training and research in partnership with six provincial higher education institutions.
“We’ve been here for 50 years, but this is a game-changer for us” in Nova Scotia, Matthew Ivis, IBM Canada’s governmental programs executive, said in an interview.
“This is a real significant investment. Our footprint’s going to grow tremendously, which creates a number of other opportunities in partnerships.
The global delivery centre for application services, which will be able to host applications for customers around the world, is expected to open in the first quarter next year, he said.
IBM has a series of similar global delivery centres around the world, but this will be the first in Canada.
Part of the package is a 10-year deal with the province for IBM to provide SAP application management services for Nova Scotia’s Core Competency Centre (CCC) and Health Administrative Services Program (HASP) programs.
Although management is outsourced, the applications themselves will stay in government data centres.
IBM will offer to hire the 75 government employees who currently managing the applications.
The company will also spend a “multi-million dollar” amount of money partnering with Nova Scotia Community College, Dalhousie University, Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Saint Francis Xavier University and St. Mary’s University to create the IT training centre.
It will specialize in analytics education, certification, training and research to produce workers IBM says will have analytics skills that are in high demand, as well as train graduates in skills to make them more employable, and retrain valuable workers with aging skill-sets.
“Today’s students need continuous preparation for a digital world that blends both business and technology skills,” Don Bureaux, president of Nova Scotia Community College, said in a statement. “Our collaboration with IBM will spark the growth of specific skills businesses will need to grow and compete in a global marketplace. With this step, we will be providing Nova Scotia students with a home-grown opportunity to build these in-demand skills for meaningful economic impact.”
In a statement Premier Darrell Dexter said the deal will attract investment and jobs to the province.