Sao Paulo, Brazil: Creating formal linkages between countries in the Nearshore region and using these collaborations to stimulate global sourcing is a very powerful concept. It’s not a new idea and plenty of people like to talk about how great it would be if Latin America as a whole – or more likely – clusters of regional countries join together to put a sharp point on their overall value proposition, encourage cross-border education and technical training expertise and – bottom line – create a more unified voice about the attractions of Nearshore outsourcing. Are these ideas just pie in the sky?
Three key investment and industrial development organizations in these countries have begun formal talks to establish a sustained structure of collaboration, according to Richard Asse, Marketing & Exports Director at Brasscom, in an interview with Nearshore Americas this week. In addition to Brasscom, the other two groups are CESSI from Argentina, and ACTI (Chilean Association of Information Technology Companies).
The structure of the collaboration is formed around four key areas: a commercial trade agreement focused on exports; joint educational and technical training exchange; infrastructure build up best practices and the creation of a single voice to market the sourcing and ICT value proposition of establishing relationships in each of the countries. “We believe we will be stronger than standing alone,” said Asse.
Lots of details are still to be ironed out, including the structure, administration and operating objectives of the organization. Clearly the group will require some support and sponsorship to come to life – potentially backers include the governments in each of the countries, Inter-American Development Bank, The World Bank and also vendors and souring providers with a presence in one or more of the countries. “In the future, we’d like to involve Uruguay and Colombia,” said Asse.
We’ll be tracking the growth of this group and see how its sorts out governance of the organization and how it will actually enact some of its principles. Without doubt, the upside is intriguing. Imagine multinationals and major buy-side clients would applaud being able to go to a single group to access valid information on country incentives, education systems, and the myriad other qualifiers that go into pursuing a new sourcing opportunity.
Where with the group be most effective? One key measurement will be this group’s capacity to actually get in front of the potential buyer pool to present the value proposition of the various countries. This would require – in our minds – a presence in developed markets, either through on the ground staffers or regular engagement meetings and conferences.
For the rest of the Nearshore, we consider this news a wake up call to look very seriously at joining hands – at least at a high level – with regional neighbors. A block of Central America call center/ BPO organizations is very achievable given the similarities and roadmap goals of many of those markets. Less likely, but just as sensible, would be major Caribbean promotion groups to partner, but our sense is that’s a long way down the road if it ever where to happen.
Remember, the Americas region (outside of the US) represents roughly 10% of the professional export services industry worldwide. An established and visible cross-border industry group would speak volumes about the serious, long term efforts to build an Americas-centric sourcing case. We like the vision – but the devil will undoubtedly be in the details.
– Kirk Laughlin, Editorial Director