The new centre aims to enhance the city’s technology sector and diversify the economy. It will have a focus on sustainability, delivering consulting services and technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud, and blockchain, helping to elevate Alberta’s position as a centre for energy transformation.
Sustainability challenges have impacted important economic engines in Canada, and according to an IBM study, 83 per cent of chief executive officers believe sustainability-related investments will improve their business results over the next five years.
Through the Western Canada CIC, IBM will help businesses transform their environmental and social goals to create a long-lasting impact for their communities, employees, customers, and investors in five key areas: climate risk management, infrastructure and operations, supply chain, electrification, energy and emissions management, and sustainability strategies.
“IBM’s choice to locate its new Client Innovation Centre for Western Canada in Calgary is truly something to celebrate. This investment shows once more that Alberta has the economic momentum to continue to move Albertans forward. We have worked closely with IBM over the past year to make this investment possible, and are thrilled to see this happen, adding even more momentum to Alberta’s rapidly growing tech sector,” said Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta.
The creation of the CIC aligns with efforts from Alberta and the City of Calgary to create jobs and grow its already changing tech sector. Reports from Calgary Economic Development and IDC Canada reveal that Alberta’s spending on digital transformation is expected to surpass C$20 billion by 2024, of which Calgary businesses will account for nearly C$7.5 billion.
New jobs associated with the centre will include application developers, business and transformation analysts, testers, and project managers. The centre is an opportunity to help retain youth like recent graduates in the city, giving them an opportunity to have a global career in Calgary.
In today’s announcement, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said that Calgary is focused on growing its tech sector and this new centre is a step to increase job opportunities and focus on sustainability developments while building the city’s economy.
“The centre will help organizations accelerate the pathways to net zero, and it will continue to elevate Calgary’s position as a world leader in energy transition and transformation. … People are definitely taking notice of Calgary, and they’re all wondering how we’re meeting with such incredible success in growing our economy. … We have a very skilled and diverse workforce in our city, and that’s a very important reason that IBM chose Calgary for this expansion,” she said.
The CIC will assume a portion of the 25,000 square foot office IBM currently occupies in the Beltline area of downtown Calgary as a collaboration hub for IBM, clients, and partners.
Tracy Bean, IBM Consulting, partner, Client Innovation Centres, noted that the company decided not to build a completely new centre for real estate footprint reasons.
“Through COVID, in the last few years everyone was looking to reduce their real estate footprint … we’re going to retain what we have in Calgary. We’ve actually earmarked a component of the office to the growth for this centre,” Bean said.
The Western Canada CIC will be part of IBM’s proven model for tech and skills growth with its network of IBM Client Innovation Centres, including those in Canadian cities like Halifax and Montreal.