Colombia, Puerto Rico or Brazil: Which is Best for Software Development Outsourcing?

The team at Bydrec compares how Brazil, Colombia, and Puerto Rico weigh up as attractive locations for software development outsourcing in Latin America.

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With the Latin America and Caribbean region developing at such a rapid pace, many US businesses now view Nearshore software development outsourcing as “the best possible solution” rather than simply “a viable option”.

The benefits are well-known: it’s both cost- and time-effective; it provides business owners and managers a way to focus on their company’s growth without compromising time and human resources; and with prime communication tools and tech easily accessible to small, medium, and large businesses alike, Nearshore outsourcing is completely sustainable for any company, regardless of size or industry.

Software development projects have become a prime reason for many companies to turn to Nearshore providers, resulting in three countries gaining a significant reputation in this field: Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Brazil.

But which of these is best for your software development project, and how do they compare?

Colombia Overview

Colombia is part of a handful of countries collectively known as CIVETS—six distinct regions that are widely favored by economists due to a number of financial, political, and cultural reasons. They are, respectively: Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa.

Of the six CIVETS countries, Colombia is arguably the most beneficial for US-based clients and companies. Aside from the fact that it’s geographically the closest and shares a similar time zone with many states, Colombia also boasts of a highly westernized culture, eliminating the usual misunderstandings that come from culture clash—a common problem when outsourcing to offshore companies. The country also has multiple sophisticated financial systems in place, as well as controlled inflation and a stable economic outlook.

Fresh Talent Fueled by Colombia’s Top Education

Colombia has a steadily growing population of young, educated individuals specializing in engineering, software engineering, IT management, and other related fields. It is estimated that about 13,000 students graduate from highly commended Colombian universities—all fresh, all knowledgeable, and all ready to demonstrate their talent, tech skills, and prowess. In fact, between the years 2001 and 2013, the Colombian talent pool hit produced over 340,000 IT professionals.

Given that the majority of the youth gravitate towards a career in IT, most universities and outsourcing companies in Colombia make it a point to ensure their students and staff are up-to-date on all the latest equipment, processes, and concepts in their field. For instance, CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) and agile methodologies are currently the favored approaches for software development. Rest assured, developers in Colombia are well-versed in its uses and applications.

Language Skills

There are two major languages spoken in Colombia: Spanish and English. And although Colombia is ranked the 2nd largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, English is still very much prevalent. In fact, Colombians speak it well enough that Colombia has been dubbed the most business-friendly country in Latin America.

Colombia’s Political Conditions

Over the past decade or so, Colombia’s government has successfully managed to keep drug cartels and outlaw groups under control. In fact, they entered a peace agreement with the country’s largest, most infamous rebel group—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—last September 2016, finally bringing the 52-year-old conflict to a close. Ergo, their current socio-political situation is stable.

Puerto Rico Summary

As far as geographical location is concerned, Puerto Rico is the closest to the US (compared to the other countries on this list). It only takes about three to four hours—and roughly US$400—to get from one area to the other.

This kind of closeness is perfect for businesses that may need to travel to and from the software development outsourcing company every now and then to personally oversee quality, communication, or project progress. As such, it follows that different time zones aren’t an issue with Puerto Rico either. For businesses that need to work as close as possible with third-party agencies, outsourcing companies in Puerto Rico are your best option.

Currency and Culture

Puerto Rico has widely adopted American culture. Thanks to social media, a good percentage of the population follows the same societal trends and inclinations present in the US. This similarity extends to language and communication, which means that the little idiosyncrasies, abbreviations, and slang terms that are commonly used in the US won’t be mistranslated or—worse—completely misunderstood by Puerto Rican software developers.

Qualified Talent, Quality Results

One of the reasons Puerto Ricans—especially the youth—have no problem integrating and adapting to American culture is due to their educational background. A majority of Puerto Ricans choose to study in American universities to further their education. What’s more, they more often than not choose to specialize in engineering and software development. In fact, one of the top US engineering schools—the Mayaguez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico—can be found in Puerto Rico.

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It isn’t uncommon for big brands like Accenture, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, and Lockheed Marteen to set up job fairs in Mayaguez Campus to dip into their rich resource pool.

What does this mean for your business? Well, if you choose to outsource your software development projects to Puerto Rico, rest assured the developers will follow software engineering practices and methodologies that meet US standards.

Brazil Overview

Brazil has been named the number one country with the most IT service sales in Latin America (followed by Mexico and Puerto Rico), making it an attractive option for businesses seeking software design, development, engineering, and other similar services in the IT sector.

Geographically speaking, it’s a prime spot for delivery and development centers catering to Latin and North America clients. It also shares a similar time zone with some states in the US, which is highly advantageous if you need to schedule last-minute meetings or hold real-time conversations. By operating at virtually the same hours, US-based businesses can still maximize productivity and output by working with outsourcing companies in Brazil.

Utilizing Talent & Resources

Brazil’s government has recently modernized their labor laws in an effort to provide sustainable and beneficial outsourcing services for a global market. Like Puerto Rico, Brazilian culture already closely mimics the US, what with the youth and young adults adopting characteristics, features, and trends that are predominantly American. And in terms of IT, Brazil has a decent resource pool of talent and technology to meet the demands of international clients.

Socio-Political and Economical Stability

Brazil boasts a highly democratic socio-political structure and a solid economic situation, despite popular misconceptions and apparent evidence to the contrary. Their economy has, in fact, proven to be surprisingly robust, withstanding the economic crisis of 2008 and since then maintaining a steady, progressive growth. Ergo, it comes as no surprise that they—the country as a whole—are in a virtually unshakeable position right now, and can therefore afford to invest in servicing countries beyond their borders.

As far as intellectual property (IP) incidents are concerned, Brazil holds a virtually clean slate. Its Political Instability Index also ranks higher than most countries, including India and China.

Which country should you choose?

It all depends on a number of factors unique to your situation, resources, and industry. All three countries have proven to be hugely beneficial locations for outsourcing software development projects, which means you can’t really go wrong with either one.

Different companies from different countries will have something to offer your business. Selecting the right one simply means collecting and carefully reviewing your options to better make a smart, well-informed decision.

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