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Brazilian companies are lagging behind in digital transformation

Local CIOs have been way too focused on cost reduction due to the recession, says Gartner.

Brazilian organisations have focused too much on reducing costs over the last two years and have neglected the need to invest in digital strategies, according to analyst firm Gartner.

According to Gartner's research vice president Cassio Dreyfuss, the economic, political and social challenges faced by companies and government bodies in Brazil have prompted local chief information officers (CIOs) to go back to some old management habits.

"Hardware, software and services in Brazil were always more expensive in Brazil and for a long time things were just not available - so the successful CIO here has been the techie that can put ancient pieces of equipment together and get them to work," Dreyfuss told the press at the analyst's annual symposium in São Paulo today.

"These leaders focused on infrastructure and operations - and on bringing cost efficiency to those areas - are now perplexed and don't quite know what to do as optimizing spending is still important but there are other things to think about - and digital is now a priority," the analyst adds.

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The Gartner analyst adds that he does not share the view that Brazilian companies are ahead of the curve in terms of innovation at present and budgets for new initiatives have been consistently decreasing since 2014.

"Our crusade is to bring awareness to CIOs and get them to realize that companies overseas will not sit, wait and think that those poor Brazilians are undergoing a bad moment. They will just sprint ahead," Dreyfuss says.

"So while these organizations are dealing with a complex situation they also have to respond to the challenge of global competition," he adds.

However, Dreyfuss points out that there are opportunities, but reinforces that a mindset shift is required.

"What Brazilians have as an advantage is their capacity to be creative and innovative as we have seen in global references such as our tax assessment systems, digital elections and our financial services industry, which is one of the most advanced in the world," the analyst says.

"So we have plenty of transformation examples and talent - we just have to leverage on that," he concluded.