One of Globant’s defining features has been its growth. Very little has stood in the way of this Argentine software development company, emerging from a concept chatted up during a bar-room meeting of friends to arriving on the New York Stock Exchange in July.
The company has recently opened a new development center in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Initially they plan to employ 112 people, while they hope this will increase to 150 with time. Employees will work to develop software products for a number of well known brands.
“Globant’s plan has always been to take the work to the people,” states Martin Umaran, Chief of Staff and Head of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). “We are breaking away from the ‘having to move to a big city to find work’ paradigm. Today, thanks to technology and the communication network, bringing the work to the people is a feasible option.”
According to Umaran, one of Globant’s cofounders, the significant growth the company has experienced over the last few years has not come about by chance – it is the result of a lot of hard work. “Our plan has always been to make the company as big as possible,” he explained during a recent interview with Nearshore Americas at his office in Buenos Aires. “We’ve come this far and we will continue to grow. When we started up the company, we never imagined we would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, we simply focused on consolidating our growth at every step of the way.”
Clearly Defined Focus
Globant primarily focuses on the U.S. market, which it serves from its delivery centers located in Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil. According to Umaran, a clear understanding of North American culture and the ability to think like their clients greatly facilitated their entry into this particular market. “You have to learn how to identify their needs and how to meet them in a way acceptable to them. Any company looking to enter this – or any other – market should strive to do this.”
Umaran adds that having reliable sales and business development teams, along with efficient delivery systems present in the target market is vital. This local talent should fully understand exactly how to operate in a market such as that of the United States. “I believe that Latin Americans know how to work. They are innovative. Generally speaking, Latin Americans tend to ask themselves why and how they can do things better. This is a very positive trait and we should look to adapting it to the work environment,” he states.
Umaran feels that if his business can successfully provide services to some of the largest global companies, they can do it for anyone, and it is well worth moving “out of their comfort zone.” But for now, he says, their focus will continue to be on the U.S. market. Globant does not currently have any plans to expand into Latin America. “We have a presence in the area in the form of our delivery centers. It is not our target market, although we are aware we would do well to give it a little more attention. There are a variety of important Latin American businesses with which we could work extremely well, but it doesn’t pay to have two focuses – it has to be one alone.”
According to Umaran, the profile of the professionals currently graduating within Latin America is very good. However, some could do with improving their knowledge of the most recent technological trends. “This is part of the training we need to provide. Generally speaking, they are good, solid professionals with a good grounding in the field, which means they are good at grasping any new concepts,” he states.
Being a fast learner has proven crucially important for Globant, especially when taking into account the speed with which it has entered certain technological markets; such as the mobility, analytic, wearable computing and social networking markets. Umaran is of the opinion that Globant is the place where engineering meets innovation, design and scale. “Nowadays it is impossible to come up with a business solution that doesn’t involve high-spec IT or a user interface that isn’t linked to Big Data, the Cloud and mobility,” he states.
One of the strategies that helps Globant stay on top of these advances has been the acquisition of and investment in new companies. Recently, Globant has invested in I AM AT (a new technology company), together with BDCine and Corporate Communications. I AM AT is a platform that maximizes the collective experience through the synchronization of the content between the first screen (cinema, TV, radio and live events) and the second screen (laptops, tablets, smart phones).
“We are constantly learning of companies that have the potential to add value to the Globant offerings, and I AM AT is one such company. The second screen gets to the heart of new marketing,” explains Umaran. He adds that it will give them the opportunity to interact in a new way with the public: “The opportunity presenting itself is enormous. I can’t say up until what point, but it is one of these disruptive technologies. While it may be true that, at the moment, they are immature, it is also clear that the future lies in interactive marketing.”
Coping with the Economic Crisis
The Argentine economy is currently in a severe recession with a high rate of inflation. It is expected to fall by 2% in 2014, with a 0% predicted increase in 2015. How does a business like Globant cope with this crisis? According to Martin Umaran, focusing on the long-term rather than the short-term helps: “We try not to focus on these “bad times”: they will pass in time. In 2008, there was a huge international crisis but we managed to keep going. It was difficult, but we achieved 15% growth.”
He adds that countries, like businesses, go in cycles, and they focus on the fact that what they are working on now will add value in the long-term. “We are looking to double our growth. We don’t know how long it will take, but we’ll get there. We work towards achieving this goal every day; it is the reason we invest and why we have an infrastructure that allows for such growth. We take into account how many employees we will have in a year or two years from now, where our clients will be based and how we plan to attend to them.”
Globant was founded in 2003 and currently employs 3,300 workers developing for companies such as Google, LinkedIn, JWT, EA and Coca-Cola, to name but a few.