Capgemini is talking of doubling the size of its Guatemalan operation over the next two or three years, as the French BPO giant seems increasingly convinced that the Central American country is the ideal location from which to serve its clients in the United States.
Guatemala’s solid broadband infrastructure, the easy-availability of finance and accounting graduates and the opportunity to serve clients on all U.S. time zones are the main factors that have convinced Capgemini to expand.
“We started the operation in Guatemala with just 77 employees, now we have grown to 900 staff, and we’re on course to cross the 1,000 mark shortly,” said Gustavo Tasner, BPO Center Director for Capgemini in Guatemala, in a telephonic conversation with Nearshore Americas. A native of Argentina, Tasner was placed in charge of Capgemini’s operation in the Central American country last month.
Tasner’s promotion and deployment to Guatemala underlines Capgemini’s growing ambition to expand its F&A services, a main source of its revenue in Guatemala. Tasner had previously helped several multinationals set up F&A and HR Shared Services in Latin America.
F&A and Beyond
Capgemini’s Guatemalan operations received a shot in the arm when the company landed a lucrative contract to provide F&A services for U.S. multinational Coca-Cola. “Guatemala fits into our strategy” said Tasner, adding that the company is currently serving eleven customers, mainly from the United States.
Though F&A is an important service in its offering, Tasner says they are also delivering supply chain and logistic management services to several American clients.
Five years ago, providing back-office services to utilities was the main revenue earner for Capgemini in Guatemala. But, Tasner says, the company is currently servicing many industry verticals including manufacturing, financial services and retailing.
Capgemini first arrived in Guatemala in 2006, establishing a tiny delivery center with a local partner – Transactel – to provide customer service for a handful of U.S. utility firms. Today, the role of Transactel seems to have been limited, and Capgemini is building much of the infrastructure all on its own and adding at least one new service to its offering every year.
Even today, continental Europe continues to deliver 70% of Capgemini’s total revenues, but operations in Brazil, Argentina and Guatemala are growing at an impressive rate. Capgemini’s headcount in Latin America grew from a mere 400 in 2005 to more than 9,000 today.
Ripe Talent Pool
What makes Guatemala so special for Capgemini is the abundant supply of finance and accounting graduates, a key human resource for its operations in the Central American country. Nearly 30,000 students pass out of colleges in Guatemala every year and approximately 30% of these graduates have knowledge of finance and accounting.
Last year, the French outsourcer inaugurated a new site with space for 2,500 seats. “Guatemala has flexible labor laws. Here our staff works on different shifts from 6 in the morning to 11 at night. We can serve on all time zones of the U.S.,” Tasner said.
Another advantage is that the Guatemalan government offers huge incentives to companies willing to train its graduates in the English language. Tasner, who told Nearshore Americas that about 60% of his subordinates are fluent in English, says his company is currently working on a plan to launch training programs in partnership with local universities.