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AWS in Latin America: Public Sector Drives a Winning Strategy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is betting on Latin America. Last year, Bloomberg reported that Amazon prepares to invest $800 million to build and operate a mega data center in northern Argentina. Currently, AWS has operations in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile; Amazon’s cloud computing strategy in the region is growing more formidable by the month.

What is driving growth? Jeffrey Kratz, General Manager and Regional Head of Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean at AWS, told Nearshore Americas recently that public sector alliances are a relevant component, combined with rising commercial businesses demand.

Jeffrey Kratz
Jeffrey Kratz, General Manager and Regional Head of Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean at AWS.

“Over the past year, we have witnessed IT modernization transform from a watercooler discussion to a top priority across the public sector and commercial businesses. A major misperception that has faced cloud innovation, is the idea that existing IT infrastructures will have to be completely removed in order to migrate to the cloud. However, we’ve seen this myth evaporate,” Kratz said.

“AWS maintains a relationship with governments throughout the region. We seek a relationship based on how fast we can work, how proactive we can digitally transform services for the benefit of citizens. We cover security issues, data privacy and much more. It’s the exciting thing about working with governments since governments can act innovatively like a startup,” he added.

Kratz says that AWS’s public sector cloud offerings set the stage for government agencies to embrace the latest cloud-based data analytics technology so that they can tackle more problems and save resources.

During 2019, a series of events, projects, and initiatives brought AWS and Latin American governments together. Colombian President, Iván Duque, joined the AWS Public Sector Summit in Bogota, last March. There, Kratz announced a strategic partnership with SENA, the Colombian government institution responsible for the social and technical development of workers. This partnership involves training students throughout Colombia in IT and cloud technology starting with 2,000 students in Bogota.

In April, AWS was selected as a founding member of Chile’s Data Observatory project, a public-private alliance with the Chilean Government. This project aims to consolidate, analyze real-time, and archive astronomy data streams from all wavelengths across all Chilean observatories in the Atacama Desert, where 70 percent of the world’s telescopes are located due to its ideal observation conditions.

Amazon’s platform has also secured an alliance with Innovate Peru, an agency of the Ministry of Production in the South American country. There, AWS’s CloudStart program will contribute to developing solutions to promote the growth of local startups and businesses.

The Characteristics of AWS’s expansion in Latin America

Despite AWS’s presence in Latin America since 2011, with its presence in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019 showed the clear intentions of the cloud services provider to consolidate its impact in the region. Last year, new AWS Edge locations created the first Latin American network access points outside of Brazil.

“We announced three new Amazon CloudFront Edge locations, in Bogota (Colombia), Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). The new Edge location provides low latency and high data transfer rates to AWS customers who will be able to deliver dynamic and static web content to end-users while providing a full suite of benefits,” Kratz said.

“Also, we agree that interested citizens should be armed and ready to innovate with the latest AWS cloud services and capture high paying, in-demand jobs for the 21st century by learning the latest technology and cloud computing skills. The Memorandum of Understanding, which AWS signed with Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Honduras, is focused on IT modernization, innovation, agility, and workforce development,” he added.

In this context, Kratz considers that the main barrier for their growth in the region is still education.  “We understand that cloud migration is the result of educational work, not only by technical professionals but also by business teams. The information technology area already recognizes the benefits of cloud computing, whether for improving security or speeding up operations,” he said.

The global network of AWS Edge locations now consists of 187 Points of Presence (176 Edge Locations and 11 Regional Edge Caches) in 69 cities across 30 countries, including locations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and now South America. In Latin America, AWS has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico.

Diego Pérez-Damasco

Diego Pérez-Damasco is a writer and managing editor at Nearshore Americas. He has more than six years of experience covering politics and business in Latin America. He has been published in media outlets throughout the Americas and holds an MA in International Journalism from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. Diego is based in Costa Rica.

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