Argentina: The Source of Technological Talent That Captivates the World
Argentina: The Source of Technological Talent That Captivates the World
Argentinian software industry holds a promising present, a condition that will be even better in the future. A sales growth that will reach 4700 million dollars is expected that by 2015, that is, 21% more than recorded in 2013, estimated in 3700 million dollars.
The data correspond to the Chamber of Enterprises of Software and Computing Services (CESSI, in Spanish) an entity that gathers approximately 85% of jobs and incomes in the sector with the representation of more than 600 companies all across Argentina.
But there are even more figures: according to the information of the Argentinian Ministry of Industry, the software industry meant 900 million dollars in exports in 2013,apart from employing 80 thousand qualified professionals.
These figures have a positive tendency in the Software and IT Services market, whose growth has been sustained over the last decade: between 15 - 20% per year since 2003.
Great part of this evolution is the result of the work made by CESSI when it comes to positioning Argentinian technology in and outside the country, whether it is from the quality of its human resources to the added value in the offer of software products and IT services.
One of these developments is the country brand-name or Red Argentina IT, an internalization platform whose objective is to facilitate the insertion and consolidation of Argentinian software and IT services companies in the most attractive world markets.
Pablo Laniado, Coordinator of CESSI's External Market Commission, explains the way in which Argentinian technology is positioned around the globe and the growing world interest in its professionals.
Argentinian economy is in a particular juncture and yet, the technology sector -mainly in export - still has a very positive prognosis, how can you explain this?
It is public knowledge that in the last year and a half there have been many situations that complicate the country's exports in general. However, exports went from 4 million USD to 22 million in ten years, and that has been annually gradual, of course. Employment went from 19 thousand people to 80 thousand according to our data collection. Evolution is very strong, the country brand-name is something we are really working on. We have an offer of activities from the Chamber that help us to promote Argentinian software through different Embassies and Consulates. The clear reflection of these actions is that companies are exporting more. Today, Red Argentina IT is operating in five countries.
What are the foundations of what Red Argentina IT is and in which country is it operating?
The reality of Red Argentina IT was somehow an evolution of the Chamber's work, the different poles and clusters in the Government and some institutions that foster exports. There were more activities every year and then all that was articulated in what today is Red Argentina IT, a country brand-name that has a mini - Chamber in each of those chosen countries. Five countries came up a priori between the partners, it's not a fixed number but there were five initial countries for this launch: United States, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. The launches were in 2013 in all of them, Embassies had an active participation and they had a strong impact. This year the axis is set in the offer of each country.
What kind of support is given to the companies that want to be in these markets?
Whatever product or service is offered by a company, whichever this may be, the idea is to act as a consolidated group, a country brand-name, the Red (which is Spanish for 'net') is more than each of its providers. Our focus is to be able to impose a brand and to work in an associative process; a win - win situation. We are interested in changing the old idea of going abroad to sell on your own; you do have to go but trying to make associations with local companies and do joint work. If you don't do it like that, then you won't be allowed to enter the country's market since you become a direct competitor; but on the other hand it doesn't mean that much as the possibility of complementing each other with local companies. In fact, there are subsidies for bi-national projects that demand at least one company per country.
Among the companies that form the Chamber and Red, is there a vertical that is more requested abroad?
We do divide companies between those which offer services and those which offer products. There are companies that sell development services, and there are others that relate only to products. A lot is sold to Retail and also to Banking and then there is a strong gaming development.
Why is the talent of Argentinian technology experts so well known abroad?
I will tell you what I am told when I travel or what our counterparts say to us. They see us as creative people, in the sense that we have the possibility to find solutions that they wouldn't find in any other way. That is a strong value. The other aspect that they highlight is the general formation of our people. In other countries, they are used to having people with specific formation or training for one area or sector in particular.
Do you have any examples?
The expert that's developing a management software, not only knows the software itself and whatever he has to know, but he's also a bit familiar with the processes, he has a more general vision; in such a way, he can visualize the whole business better. We were able to complement the local staff, and I think there are more interesting examples where complementarity is being achieved as well.
What can the Chamber do in order to boost exports?
We are working and there are many things to improve. One of our current inconveniences is the lack of human resources. We are working strongly in the formation and training of even more people. One initiative we are managing is to shorten careers a bit so they don't have such a high percentage of drop-outs. One thing we need, from the industry's point of view, is to trigger a 'buy national' mindset. There are countries such as Brazil or Chile that prioritize their national industries when it comes to buying software.
Here in Argentina we are still working on that particular habit, and many organizations and entities still go for foreign brands. It would also be very important to have another kind of financing. We're a very intangible industry for banks or funding organizations, I think that the Government has to facilitate financing somehow. Although there are stocks for bi-national projects, we understand that this can be improved with, for example, the creation of more instruments for these purposes.
Is it planned to open a new market for Argentinian brands? What should a country do if it was interested in reinforcing links?
Doors are open. What we ask from the Chamber is the existence of at least five partners that decide to have active participation in this chapter - as we call it. So far, we've opened those that had more votes initially, but the possibilities are for all.