In the past decade, Brazil has transformed itself into one of the fastest growing economies in the world, doubled its middle class, and taken on a fight against massive poverty. So now the big questions are: Is all of this growth sustainable? How far can it go? And what about the IT industry — will it keep pace?
Those questions were brought up during the Brasscom Global IT Forum in São Paulo recently, where one of the themes was Brazil in the year 2022. Sourcing Brazil asked a few industry leaders and experts attending the conference to look ahead: “What do you expect of Brazil and its IT industry by 2022, and what does the country have to do to become a global technology power?” Their responses included:
- Diminish poverty and improve education
- Evolve beyond “stone age” thinking of software development as an industrial activity
- Discuss and develop a clear strategy of action for the IT sector
- Make sure innovation and the industry can scale up
- Develop technology to serve the needs of an aging population
But everyone agreed: There is much work to be done.
Marco Stefanini, CEO and founder of Stefanini IT Solutions
“I hope to see the country become a global potency. And I believe IT is a strong element in this Brazil of 2022 that may actually accelerate the productivity standards of the country. Because, for a country to become rich and not lose market share, with the salaries, all of the costs growing, you have to have compensations. How do you compensate for that? With more productivity, with more education, with more IT, more technology… these are elements that I see that can be improved. So what do I see in 2022? That we will make reality of all of these dreams… And that the country will keep some of its best qualities. It is a peaceful nation that has a neutral image in the world.
“And, not trying to dream too much, I hope that we keep diminishing the poverty around here. That would be what we call ‘win-win.’ At the same time we make those basic improvements to people’s daily lives, it also boosts all the other segments of the society. And, of course that for all of this to happen, we have to improve our education levels. We are on the way. I`ve never seen Brazil like this… So now we have to know how to use all this money that we have earned. In that sense, we need to learn with Asia and be far away from the Latin spirit of ‘being accommodated.’ It would not be nice at all to miss this timing.”
César Gon, CEO and founder of Ci&T
“I would like to see Brazil take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to it today. The country has to face directly its central problems to build up real growth. There is hope that the next decade will be determined by the countries of the world that at other times were considered peripheral. Now they are becoming more relevant, actually the inductors of global growth. China is, obviously, the great example of this whole scenario. But Brazil, for its natural and human resources, has the conditions to assume a much bigger and relevant participation in the world.
“When it comes to IT…. Our industry, at the same time it is at an apogee in terms of how it is seen in the society – with all the influence of gadgets and the social networks in our daily life – has to elevate itself to a higher level. The IT segment in Brazil, in a certain way, still lives in the stone age, trying to develop software as a repetitive industrial activity. Which does not make common sense if you realize that software, more and more, is a collaborative thing, a social thing. It makes no sense for Brazil to be just another country doing what has been done since the beginning, competing with the current leaders of that segment. We have to use all we have learned so far to improve our software development processes and come up with better solutions.”
Benjamin Quadros, CEO and founder of BRQ IT Services
“We have two huge events coming our way in the next few years [the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in Rio 2016], which will demand lots of investments, naturally. Part of that growth has already reflected directly in the real estate prices all over the country, which is an example of how the economy is inflated. I believe that, after the events, there will be a natural downfall in the prices of real estate, for example, as it might do in other segments.
“The IT industry itself has conquered a space in the national agenda that it has not ever had in the past, and that can be already seen very clearly in the President’s actions and priorities. Dilma has positioned IT as an important industry that is supposed to give support to the growth of the whole society, as an strategic segment. We intend to be among the five biggest IT economies, but for that to happen, we have to have a clear strategy of action, and discuss it broadly around here.”
David Tapper, vice president of Market Research, Offshore and Outsourcing at IDC
“I don’t want to predict the potential of the market size, or anything in that respect…. I think what will start to happen is that you will start to see the stress of the system because the opportunities will start to wriggle. The problem is: Will countries that used the traditional models start to become the referrals to these new ones? Your revenues might be growing, but your market may be shrinking. The best example I can give? The mainframe market. Most players got out of it. The only ones that remained, I believe there are just two, and IBM is the primary player. The second I believe would be Hitachi. So do you think that would be a market? So is that the way you want to go to?
“Sometimes you get positioned eventually in the long term, but the legacy does not. Your revenues can continue to grow, but then at some point it falls off because there are no more opportunities. I don`t want Brazil to be in that position. I want it to be the legacy country, so no other would come to you and drive you in any different direction. There is innovation in Brazil, but not in a scalable model, and you need scale to change a country.”
Antonio Gil, president of Brasscom
“Brazil is on its way to be one of the five biggest economies in the world in 2022. And this brings to the country a series of demands. The first is a change of the current mindset: What does it mean to be one of the five top economies in the world? It demands us to analyze how we are going to position our economy as a whole.
“When it comes to IT, the demands are even more aggressive. In 2022 Brazil will be, probably, the 4th largest IT economy in the world, and for that we will have to go through a lot of changes. It will also be an older country – people will be older, and consequently, the country will have expanded the economically active part of the population. This is a window of opportunity. In a certain way, it will be a moment of great technological motivation that is being born right now: with cloud computing, mobility, broadband, clean technologies, social networks… all of them change fundamentally the way we do business today. In that way, with technology more accessible and cheaper, you will start to work with the demands of a population that was not considered before, with services of health, education, and banking, for example. That involves a whole different scenario to be explored.
“What do I expect for the country? Not to be among the five biggest IT players, but within the top three. We are big, we are good, we have been using IT in very smart ways in the past few years, and we are positioning ourselves in a very good way to improve it even more.”
This article originally appeared in Sourcing Brazil