Too many providers in Latin America are heavily focused on the Nearshore business model, without understanding the larger implications of delivering services to the United States. However, when it comes to software development, some companies have a mission that expands to include a wide range of values.
“There is a mission, and it is about helping American software companies to leverage competitiveness with human resources that share common work values, and to aid these human resources to earn decent compensation,” says Miguel Hernandez, COO of ParallelStaff, a San Francisco-headquartered Staff Augmentation and IT Managed Services company. “We can considerably reduce the gap between the Americas’ economies if our work interaction is done through Nearshore IT Services.”
The United States has a diverse economy that has led the world for more than 100 years. Simply due to their proximity, many Latin American countries closely understand, and relate to, the influence of their northern neighbor.
“Had it not been for being so close to the US, Latin American economies wouldn’t have found a certain balance by imitating American practices, particularly in Mexico,” says Hernandez from ParallelStaff, which has delivery centers in Cuernavaca, Mexico City, and Toronto. “Nonetheless, several social and political factors have led to the question of whether Latin America is effectively following the American economic model, because no Latin American country has been able to offer the quality of life the US offers.”
Certainly, people in the US are aware of the challenges faced by the people of Latin America, and how this has resulted in immigration pressure, and a tendency towards unfair labor practices. And within the industry, there may be some familiarity with offshoring staffing companies that simply head-hunt software engineers and throw them into a soulless recruitment process.
“These staffing companies tend to go by volume instead of quality, and many times they pay low wages to their resources,” says Hernandez. “As a result, many American companies have experienced the frustration of not getting a developer that’s motivated enough to deliver the work as expected.”
The result is that engineers end up being similarly frustrated. Therefore, it is critical to value staff both in terms of economic compensation, as well as by involving them in a community that shares the same values as the provider and the client.
“We’ve spotted a way to circumvent all those recruiting bad practices, and to spot the indicators where an American company shares the same core of values with us,” says Hernandez. “We don’t throw our community engineers into the first staffing opportunity just for the sake of making a few extra dollars.”
When efforts like these are incorporated into a company’s values, they can be key to its success, but they also serve to change the larger view of Latin America. It is important that clients not see Latin America exclusively through a lens in which the people are understood to be poor, uneducated, and oppressed. This is both inaccurate and unproductive.
“It is far from the truth when we speak about software development and information technology,” says Hernandez. “Latin America is an IT powerhouse, and it is rapidly advancing. Currently, it is offering a vast source of highly qualified, well-educated software engineers that don’t necessarily need to migrate to the US. These individuals are eager to grow professionally.”
This is an important consideration when looking at a Nearshore operation that has as its mission the high valuation of its workforce, and that is working to counteract the one-dimensional and simplistic perception of Latin America as a source of economic migration. Done right, Nearshore can provide a win-win situation, not only to the provider and its clients, but also to the society at large.
“I know first-hand that when leading a team of Nearshore developers and making sure they understand the importance of the economic interaction with American companies, they push the envelope and become trustworthy allies,” says Hernandez. “Their work is aligned to the interests of the American client. As a result, American companies find the correct, cost-effective model to meet their goals, while the developers grow professionally.”
The critical factor is determining a mission wherein developers realize they aren’t just working for the money. Instead, subtle aspects related to the quality of the work, and respect for the entire human being, result in a powerful formula that delivers higher productivity and quality. Importantly, all of this can be accomplished with high satisfaction from a Nearshore environment.
“For us, there are five key factors: talent, speed, flexibility, security, and loyalty,” says Hernandez. “ParallelStaff considers these to be the most critical success factors when it [comes to] outsourcing software engineers. This is how we help leaders in the IT industry.”
It is also how a company like ParallelStaff, as well as its clients, can benefit from the trend in Latin America wherein IT workers are continuously educating themselves on the newest technology trends, embracing software development methodologies, and diligently studying English as a second language.
It’s a mission – and it’s a good one.