Infosys BPO rolled out the red carpet last week in Boca Raton, Florida, for the fourth-annual BPO Summit and Colloquium. Between the catamaran ride, golf and the various delicacies offered by the Boca Raton Resort and Club, two key Infosys execs came out as champions for nearshore: Head of Sales for LATAM Humberto Andrade and Ritesh Idnani COO of Infosys BPO.
The two made it perfectly clear about the region’s potential, both for local markets and for servicing international operations. “Latin America presents a clear opportunity for us, given the region’s healthy growth and rich pool of human talent. Our delivery centers in Mexico and Brazil have performed beyond our clients’ expectations, not only in basic transactional functions but also for more complex needs across finance, accounting, sourcing and procurement,” explained Idnani.
Idnani also explained that many of Latin America’s biggest companies including Valle Bimbo and Cemex are very interested in the kind of operational expertise that Infosys brings to the table. “They utilize us as a catalyst in order to expand and improve their global operations.” On the same note, D (Swami) Swaminathan, Managing Director & CEO of Infosys BPO stated in his opening remarks that “today’s changing face of global business has carved out a unique role for Infosys. Our clients partner with us to leverage our deep knowledge of BPO in order to drive efficiency, agility, as well as direct cost savings into their organization.”
On the topic of business environment down south, Andrade was quick to add that, contrary to popular belief, Latin American firms have been willing to move directly into third-party arrangements, taking a “big bang” approach to outsourcing instead of gradual adoption. “Multinationals have been bold and innovative in their approach and often jump directly over to Infosys.” Andrade also said that (particularly in Brazil) rapidly growing mid-sized firms often “come to us for much needed help” with bringing their back office house into proper order.
When asked whether Infosys is set to expand into other LatAm countries, the overall consensus was definitely positive. Costa Rica and Colombia came up more than once, although no specifics have been offered as yet. “We keep evaluating different options based on the needs of our clients,” responded Idnani. “Similar to how we got started in Mexico and Brazil, where key clients anchored our operations there, we are also having discussions with organizations in other parts of the region.”
Bottomless Labor Pool in India?
Yet, despite peaked curiosity, it was clear that Latin America as an offshore destination continues to be overshadowed by India’s dominance of the industry. When asked whether rising wages and inflation pose a threat to Infosys operations in India, one high-level exec shook his head and communicated a definitive NO (and chuckle). “There are so many people in India at different levels of the economic spectrum, that we never have problems filling jobs. When we advertise 300 new openings at a university campus in Bangalore, we can easily expect 1,500 applications.”
However, he also added that inflation is beginning to strain the higher end of the value chain and the availability of higher-skilled employees. “We run into more trouble with attrition and wage demands at the middle-management level and in higher-skilled IT roles. This is partly the reason why we’ve opened our new delivery center in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Madhu Menon the Delivery Head for Infosys North America also explained that the Atlanta location was meant to capture clientele that still feel uncomfortable with moving in-house operations offshore. “Once they’ve gotten a taste of Infosys and the many benefits of outsourcing, then they are more likely to work with us on a global level.” Likewise, the buzz from the handful of industry analysts that descended onto Boca suggested that there are still many US-based companies that continue to be conservative about offshoring.