Commentary - IT outsourcing is not uncommon in the United States. U.S. firms have traditionally looked to places like India, China, and even Mexico to outsource tasks like IT support, software development, etc. More recently, Chile has begun to emerge as an additional alternative with distinct features that provide advantages over other hubs, making the country and its IT industry a better fit for U.S. companies to outsource IT. This includes a historically tech-savvy population and rapidly growing tech industry, pro-business government, and a value for customer service (especially for smaller firms) that U.S. companies expect when outsourcing IT services.
Information Technology in Chile is a $3.3 billion annual business and has averaged eight-percentage growth in the past five years. The country supports 500-plus companies serving the entire Western Hemisphere.
During a recent speech, Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, commented that the country’s future growth is largely dependent on its rapidly expanding IT community. The Chilean government has made a commitment and investment in supporting IT and is implementing specific programs designed to make it easier for U.S. companies to sell to and buy from Chilean companies, including a recent tax treaty between the U.S. and Chile.
Chilean business culture is similar to the U.S. Chilean IT companies take a customer- centric, results-oriented approach to working with U.S. firms. This is again an instance where the country’s relatively small geography and population have provided an advantage over other countries. Chilean-IT companies have learned to leverage their strengths and assets by offering complete solutions to the customers (partnering among themselves or with companies in other countries or regions). This in turn has strengthened the industry’s integration capabilities and distributed work environment that translates well to providing outsourced solutions.
Additionally, Chile is still striving for more than just a business relationship with the U.S., they want to become ‘America’s IT partner’, connecting U.S. customers with all IT resources in Latin America in an organized and stable environment. Chilean IT companies work with a large network of companies throughout Latin America; therefore, they are able to leverage this partnership to work faster, more efficiently, and scale up and down as necessary. Small businesses especially benefit from the Chilean IT network because, unlike the large outsourcing ‘factories’ (as some may call them) that countries like India and China offer, Chile possesses a smaller, more focused industry that provides high-value service and a personal touch and interaction that small businesses need.
In some cases, U.S. companies can receive comparable services at a fraction of cost for the same services in the U.S. This is on par with other outsourcing hubs, but the similarities in business environment and time zone allow Chilean companies to provide specialized attention, especially for small and mid-sized companies who would not normally consider using outsourced services because the cost savings would be negated by the challenges of managing a foreign partner. In the end, this provides Chile a distinct advantage over more traditional outsourcing centers.
Chilean IT companies provide a unique opportunity for U.S. companies to outsource their IT processes while remaining on the same page, offering very competitive prices and delivering quality work. The Chilean IT community is advancing the global outsourcing space and is a hub that U.S. companies should keep on their radar as enterprise technologies and structures continue to evolve.
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Juan Carlos Munoz is CEO of Chile IT, the international umbrella organization of the Chilean Association of IT Companies (ACTI), which is designed to support the Chilean IT industry and its growth in both Latin and North America. For more information visit www.chile-it.com.