Amid an industry-wide shortage of IT talent, Oracle Mexico is confident that the country can help to fill that gap as it begins work on a massive new development center in Zapopan, Jalisco.
Since opening in Jalisco in 2011 with just 500 people, the company has now gathered almost 1,200 developers, with 95% of them coming from Mexico. With the finished expansion pegged for late 2018 – early 2019, capacity will be boosted to 4,500 people, 3,000 of which will be working there in no more than a couple of years.
Javier Cordero, CEO and President at Oracle Mexico, talks to Nearshore Americas about the company’s growth strategies and Mexico’s fountain of talent.
Nearshore Americas: What is the main objective of the Jalisco expansion? What technologies will Oracle Mexico be working with in the new facilities?
Javier Cordero: Mobility is an important focus, as well as Cloud, IoT, Java, and Linux, for which solutions will be developed in the new center. In terms of industries, it will focus on aerospace, automotive, education, healthcare, and natural resources. Systems and applications need to be developed for a mobile environment, so that is something we will focus on in Mexico.
The choice to open this development center came primarily from Mexico’s proximity to Silicon Valley, but also because the talent and ability for inventing new things is part of the Mexican DNA. We have access to many universities and young people who are proficient and capable of thinking outside the box.
Our current development center in Mexico is already the third largest for the company in terms of size and growth. The center has been working on new Cloud capabilities, database projects, and the Oracle Enterprise Manager, as well as many Mexican-made innovations.
Specifically, Mexican engineers in Jalisco have developed an in-memory database, which allows customers to do rapid calculations that are extremely important in the era of Internet of Things (IoT). This is one example of what we are already doing in Jalisco.
Nearshore Americas: How is Oracle Mexico acquiring this talent? Where do you intend to get an additional 1,800 people to meet your 2018/2019 goal?
Javier Cordero: Talent is coming from universities across Mexico, but mostly from Jalisco. We recruit people from the most prestigious organizations around the country. We have people from Monterrey, from the south, and a lot from Jalisco.
Many companies used to have development centers in India, but they are now realizing that people in Mexico have the same abilities, and it’s much easier to interact because of the language, time zone, and cultural affinity, so Oracle is taking advantage of that.
Nearshore Americas: Is Oracle Mexico benefitting from the US anti-immigration policies that are driving talent south?
Javier Cordero: Oracle has always been an open company. We promote talent, regardless of nationality. We are not worried about politics or nationalities, but we’re concerned with focusing on gathering as much talent as possible.
As a global company, there is always a lot of mobility with our people, so you will often see an Oracle team comprised of many nationalities. Regardless of your market share and your financial muscle, the ability to innovate is key in this industry. That innovation comes from talent and that talent comes from many places.
Ultimately, I prefer to be on the optimistic side of things. In the past, some brilliant people wanted to go to the US to look for new opportunities, but Oracle is providing those opportunities in Mexico, so when you join our development center in Mexico you become part of an international team that works toward the same objective. Working from Mexico on an international project is something that we promote.
Nearshore Americas: With NAFTA facing the axe, are you concerned that its removal or amendment will affect business for Oracle?
Javier Cordero: I don’t think it will affect our business. Large companies like Oracle have developers all around the world, so NAFTA doesn’t impact us because everything is produced on the Cloud – programs are not kept in one specific location.
If you come up with a great idea, you locate teams around the world for security reasons, so no-one has the full vision of what is being produced or invented. For example, you may have a team is the US doing one task, a team in Europe doing another, and a team in Mexico doing another, but all working on the same project.
Every time a developer hits a key on a keyboard in any location, the information travels to our headquarters, so the code isn’t situated in the development center where it was created. The import and export rules don’t apply to this structure.
We may see a slight impact on our hardware production, as some of it is built in Mexico, but if this does impact our business it would be very minor. In terms of Intellectual Property, it really doesn’t matter where it gets produced because it’s not a tangible product.
Nearshore Americas: As CEO of Oracle Mexico, what challenges do you personally face in the industry? What keeps you up at night?
Javier Cordero: Technology evolves much faster than our ability to understand it. In other words, we in the industry become obsolete every day, so to keep up with that change and keep people specialized is the biggest challenge. Regardless of the technology, this is a business done by people, and it is difficult to grow if you don’t have the skills to accurately explain the products and solutions. My biggest challenge at Oracle Mexico is to keep up with the innovation that our headquarters produces, and not letting our people become obsolete.
When we became a Cloud company, we were able to target new markets that we couldn’t before. In the past, those solutions used to cost a lot, they were very complex, and were centered on large corporations, but with Cloud we can now help small and medium companies become more efficient. So, the second challenge I have is to increase this coverage even further.
Finally, capacity – there aren’t enough consultants in the market to meet demand and implement our solutions.
Even so, we are sure that we will empower customers with technology that will allow them to make Mexico a better place. I see new ways of doing business and new business models appearing every day, empowered by technology, that allow companies to do things that were previously impossible. That ability needs to be somehow leveraged by more people, and Mexico is part of this effort.