If you’re looking for a sound perspective on the developing IT Services market of Colombia, Yolanda Auza, the General Manager for Unisys in Latin America, is a great resource to turn to.
We checked in with Auza recently to talk about Colombia’s climb to respectability, the educational transformation within the country and the government’s role as a catalyst for change.
Auza, who has been working for Unisys for 23 years, oversees operations in eight Latin American countries – relying on a standards-based delivery model where capabilities provided by Unisys are equivalent around the globe. “We want to have every operation that looks the same globally because some of our customers are local and others are very large and the services should be the same no matter where they are,” she said. Most of the customers Unisys works with are seeking IT services within Latin America, but there are exceptions including a customer who requires Spanish language tech services for delivery into the US. Major customers supported out of the Bogota center include Unilever and Microsoft.
Long-term planning in attracting investment, strengthening education and instituting high-value business incentives continues to appear in various areas of the Colombia Market
What does Auza think of the potential of Colombia? A couple of things stand out – for one, the commitment to hard work is evident in Colombia, she says. “The quality of the people was one of the most important factors in setting up here,” she says. But she makes clear Colombia is not the lowest priced market for IT services in Latin America. As far as finding qualified, technically trained associates, Auza said she has had “no problem so far,” but that there is a noticeable gap in finding English-speaking second level engineers who have to be able to communicate with global Unisys IT colleagues when tackling issues that involved frameworks like ITIL. “It problematic and we’re trying to solve this along with the help of the Ministry of Economy.”
Long-term planning in attracting investment, strengthening education and instituting high-value business incentives continues to appear in various areas of the Colombia, which is a deliberate effort to maintain consistency throughout periods of political transition. The country is current preparing to elect a new president who will step in to fill the shoes of popular president Alvaro Uribe who is credited for taking a tough, yet pragmatic approach to everything from severely undercutting the drug trade’s grip on the country to making the Colombia’s economy a true-long term growth engine.
Auza is confident many of the advancements to improve education will pay off in the long term. “It doesn’t matter who the next president will be, they will continue to follow the same path,” she says, which includes programs to measure English proficiency so educators can identify gaps. Secondly, there is a much more serious focus on developing stronger teachers within Colombia. Also, the government has established funding programs to enable students who can’t afford a technical education to still attend university and educational institutions.