Central America and Caribbean

Sunny in foggy times: IT in Latin America

Many North American companies consider Latin America as a region with high-performance software developing teams, able to compete with any region in the world in terms of best practices, quality and performance. Though there are also still some challenges.

Living proof of Latin American promising IT-conditions is PSL, a company with offices in Mexico and Colombia that solves complex engineering challenges. It holds a successful history of international recognition and recently was granted another important award.

“Latin America is privileged as a software outsourcing destination because it shares a time-zone with the US, the most demanding software engineering market in the world. Companies in the region have unique opportunities [… ] but need to focus on excellence rather than cost to be able to compete effectively,” says Jorge Aramburo, PSL’s CEO.  PSL specializes in the deployment of agile-based, tailored IT services (software development, application development, Web banking platforms, QA services, software maintenance and DevOps deployments).

The company holds a nearshore model, generating 60% of its revenues in the U.S. It partners with large companies like Deloitte, FedEx and the Panama Canal. It’s Colombia’s biggest exporter of software towards the US. A year ago, Colombia’s software and IT-related services represented 1.19% of Colombia’s GDP.

The 530-engineer software outsourcing organization has over 30 years of experience and is recognized for delivering high-quality. PSL was the first company in a Spanish speaking country to be granted the CMMi-5 level of maturity in 2017. It wasn’t the only time that the company has been rewarded with renowned international prizes in the field of software throughout its history. In 2006 it received the prestigious IEEE/SEI Watts Humphrey Award, something formerly won by NASA and IBM. And in 2010, PSL won the International Award of Software Excellence of the European Software Institute.

And at the end of November 2017, it was bingo again: Clutch rewarded PSL as Global Leader, a prestigious award given to only a select group of companies worldwide. Clutch is an online platform that analyzes and catalogues over 7,000 software service firms worldwide. It provides an innovative research process to help buyers of services distinguish qualified companies.

Previously, PSL had received recognition from Clutch as a ‘Leading IT Outsourcing Provider’ and as ‘Top Web & Software Development Provider’ in Latin America. “Latin America’s contributions to the B2B technology, development, and digital services space are becoming stronger each day as more businesses nearshore business services,” said Ricardo Real Preciado, Business Analyst at Clutch.

But it’s not all puppies and sunshine. 36% percent of surveyed firms in Latin America declare the lack of skilled people to be a major threat to their performances. This significantly above the global average (20.9%) and doubles the percentage in regions with distinct development trajectories as South Asia, OECD economies, and East Europe. Colombia is heading towards a shortage of 70.000 IT talents in 2019.

The problem is often caused by a deficient educational system. Since it’s expensive to study computer science in Latin America, a lot of interested and talented people are excluded. Another related problem in Latin America is its bilingualism. Less than 5% of Colombia’s population manages to English, which is a real problem when you try to export software services”, says PSL CEO Jorge Aramburo in an interview with Nearshore Americas.

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