Clients need solutions. Aside from the obvious economic gap that Covid-19 created between growing technology needs and descending cash flow within companies, most businesses are still asking for different ways to involve digital solutions in their strategies. Given this context, two opportunity areas are emerging from the perspective of the Mexican software development company PlenumSoft – datafication (the transformation of an organization into a data-driven enterprise) and last-mile logistics (the final step of the delivery process from a distribution center to the user).
Victor Gutierrez founded PlenumSoft in Merida, Mexico, more than 25 years ago. He also serves as president of the CCE (Consejo Coordinador Empresarial or Business Coordination Council), under the commission for Innovation and Technology in the national council for the private sector.
Now, Gutierrez’s leading IT company works with a team of 260 skilled professionals to support IT projects globally. He believes the economic recession due to the pandemic will be temporary. He even argues that Nearshore IT services will be critical for survival and profit in the emerging new landscape.
“What opportunities are coming? A lot of companies are trying to embrace digital transformation” Gutierrez said. “In some areas, for example logistics, and particularly last mile, they now have a strong impulse because a lot of people are doing e-commerce. So, last-mile logistics is in a new boom now, there are new business models, new companies that are providing those services for huge companies in logistics.”
What is datafication?
The CEO said the pandemic increases the importance of datafication, a trend that goes beyond digitization to permeate society and entire economies. This phenomenon, as Gutierrez refers to it, can be classified into three main areas: data in rest, data in motion, and data in action. Data in rest is active data that is stored physically in any digital form, data in motion refers to collecting and using different sources of data for analysis and decision making, and data in action means the act of using data to generate value or action with big data analytics and AI. These techniques will bring about new opportunities for IT companies that have a skilled workforce with the advantages of Nearshore: cost-savings, cultural similarities, similar time-zones and language ability.
Facing those new challenges, PlenumSoft has received contract renewals and closed new deals in the second semester of 2020. For instance, three weeks ago, the company received an extension of a contract from a financial institution based in Texas. Another customer has signed a new contract for the development of projects related to supply chain, and a university in North America has approached them for data science services and robots aided by artificial intelligence. Gutierrez was also surprised to see how another company in the United States that is creating partnerships and investments is looking for Mexican companies that want to be a part of a merger or an acquisition.
Reaping the Rewards of Collaboration
In the context of Covid-19, the appetite for collaboration has risen. “It is very good news that these [executives] are discovering that there are Mexican companies that can work with emerging technologies,” said Gutierrez. IT companies in Mexico and Latin America should take advantage of these unique times to push their services.
Additionally, following Trump’s revised free trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada, Gutierrez believes that Mexico’s recovery will be easier post-Covid-19. The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is an updated version of the NAFTA agreement and includes new policies on labor and environmental standards, intellectual property protections, and some digital trade provisions, to name a few, which will incentivize cooperation between the three nations. “The recovery of the United States and Canada could be faster than Mexico’s. So, the difference between the peso and the dollar will provide an extra margin for us to provide services to the United States,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez believes that Mexico’s IT talent is uniquely positioned to serve clients in North America and beyond. Aside from the geographic advantages of Mexico, the country has also introduced new, fully bilingual courses at universities for IT students. In fact, Gutierrez took part in the creation of Politécnica de Yucatan, the first public university in the country to offer bilingual education for IT professionals, focused on teaching emerging technologies.
“The first generation of these engineers graduated this past summer,” said Gutierrez, “Many universities and the government are looking to implement similar plans for the recovery of the country, which involves a plan for the development of IT talent.”