When you think about your ideal IT outsourcing location, what comes to mind? You'd want proximity for on-site visits and efficient communication; you'd also want a highly talented workforce to help you elevate your projects; you'd want to be able to cut costs without sacrificing quality, and you'd want a team you can communicate with easily in your own language. You may have already identified Latin America as an option, but you may not yet be aware of all the advantages Colombia offers—so much so that many companies around the world have selected it to outsource their offshore software development projects.
In the last decade, following years of significant government investment in security and attention to social issues, the country has emerged as an example of economic and social transformation. Additionally, Colombia has strengthened its capabilities and education system around technology with the country's "Colombia Bring IT On" campaign in 2014, looking to boost the Colombian IT industry and position itself as a player in the global IT market.
Every year, more and more companies come to Colombia as the fourth friendliest destination to do business in Latin America (Doing Business 2018). Its growing economy has positioned the country as an attractive business environment thanks to its political stability and respect for private ownership and initiative. Likewise, Colombia's economy has seen consistent growth in the last decade, growing 3.8% on average between 2010 and 2017 and surpassing its Latin American peers by 1.8% in 2017 alone.
The country's technological infrastructure also facilitates collaboration with 5 underwater cables and a national fiber-optic ring that connects 300 locations with the world at large. Its advantageous geographic location has also allowed Colombia to access global markets easily and develop logistics infrastructure to support these connections. This, coupled with Colombia's multiple trade agreements and accession into the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2018, makes working with Colombia a delight for American-based and global companies.
Colombia's troubled past may have overshadowed one of its most valuable resources: a highly educated workforce. The country currently boasts some of the highest enrollment rates in Latin America for secondary and tertiary education and ranks seventh for Latin America in the 2018 Global Talent Competitiveness Index. These rates have been achieved thanks to the country's commitment to expanding its education system, increasing the access at all levels and to all regions of the country. Colombia's goal is to become the "most educated" Latin American country by 2025.
When it comes to offshore software development, Colombia offers a vast talent pool of more than 340,000 IT professionals graduated between 2001 and 2013 and is ranked 3rd among Latin American companies with most IT service sales behind Brazil and Mexico. There are more than 50 universities in the country, both public and private, and more than 10 have been included in QS's ranking of top universities in 2019.
The history of Colombia's transformation is often traced back to the city of Medellin, which served as the base of operations for one of the world's most infamous drug cartels during the 1990s. Today, however, the city has been revitalized and boasts increased security, stability and innovative infrastructure bringing the city's more marginalized neighborhoods into the urban center through gondolas, escalators and a complex metro system.
These improvements, alongside Colombia's focus on education, have earned the city some renowned distinctions including CitiBank's Most Innovative City award in 2013 and the biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize in 2016. The various recognitions, as well as the city's entrepreneurial spirit, have made it the location selected to host one of the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s new Fourth Industrial Revolution headquarters. Aimed towards global cooperation and advanced collaboration to advance science and technology, the affiliate center is set to initiate operations in 2019.
Colombia's growing economy and government policies that support trade and foreign investment make it a great place for companies to expand their operation and grow. As stated in A.T. Kearney's Global Services Location Index, "the negative perception of security in Colombia is slowly diminishing, and the falling value of its currency will likely increase its popularity. Between 2011 and 2015, Colombia won 12 percent of new BPO and shared services centers in Latin America and the Caribbean."
In addition to that, Colombia has quickly become a favored spot for corporate tourism, hosting events such as the Summit of the Americas in 2012 and the World Business Forum in 2019. Its modern buildings and hotel infrastructure facilitate meetings and larger gatherings, and its many sites and touristic destinations provide a pleasant experience for business people.
Colombia's quick rise from a troubled state to a thriving nation has made it one of the most popular and interesting places to do business in Latin America. The warmth of its people, the quality of its professional workforce, and the country's commitment to fostering international business are some of the many advantages companies that expand their operation within Colombian borders enjoy. As Colombia continues to work towards enduring peace and geopolitical stability, organizations looking for a reliable business partner will be hard pressed to find a more promising location to outsource their software outsourcing projects.