By Francisco Blagevitch
The IT market in Brazil is run by more than one million professionals, accounting for $95 billion in income in 2011, which is equivalent to 4.4% of the national GDP. The scenario points to continued growth, mainly because Brazil has shown itself to be an important player in many areas worldwide. The eyes of the world have turned toward us; we live in a time of a strong and vibrant economy, with constantly increasing capacity, along with one characteristic that makes us very different from other cultures: our willingness to serve.
I can tell you that specifically in the sector of service desk + field services, which arose in Brazil about 25 years ago (at the same time that I was founding the company Asyst International), this willingness to serve, together with the natural optimism of Brazilian people, already makes a difference in the first contact with clients. We are the only ones who begin with a smile — and, yes, it is possible to feel this, even when the first contact is by phone.
I have an example that proves that the Brazilian market is one of the great players worldwide. Last year, I was at the HDI fair, in Las Vegas. There, I talked to nearly 20 companies, and they were very enthusiastic when I suggested testing Brazil as a provider in the service desk sector. The way professionals behave has also changed; Brazilians attending global meetings no longer maintain a discreet posture. On the contrary, they make their point, show their potential, and also, in a global comparison, their best performance results (quality, competitive pricing, and better than average results). Facts such as these show that Brazil can be an important hub in this sector, which would increase even more the tendency of worldwide players to request service desk work provided from here.
According to HDI Global, in general 5% of the annual IT budget of a company is destined to service desk or field service. And when the customer evaluates IT, 87% believe IT is only service desk. In other words, service desk is indeed the flagship of IT. But not everything is roses. When finalizing global contracts, we compete not only with companies in Brazil, but also in other countries, such as Argentina and India. One characteristic that will become obvious in this scenario is that there will come a time when quality is going to be the most important requirement – not the price.
Today, we provide service on-the-spot for more than 3,700 cities within Brazil – or better, from Brazil – and also remotely for another 100 different countries. The opportunities for service providers will only grow, as the size of the Brazilian IT market will almost double by 2020 (internal growth only), according to research by Brasscom.
However, that growth also brings great challenges. A study carried out by Brasscom predicts that by 2014 we will have an unfulfilled demand in Brazil of 45,000 IT professionals, with only 33,000 graduates for the 78,000 available positions. In other words, Brazil is going to become more attractive. This situation sends up a flag; we need a qualified labor force and IT universities that can adequately prepare excellent professionals able to spread the concepts of service desk. If that does not come about, we will observe a trend toward importing services, instead of using our local structure.
Francisco Blagevitch is president of Asyst International + Rhealeza, a leading provider of service desk and field services in Latin America.
This article originally appeared on our sister publication Sourcing Brazil