November 13, 2012
Invest in Bogota and the District's Secretary for Economic Development (SDE) contracted a study on future perspectives for IT & BPO services sector in Bogota.
The highest competitiveness factors in Bogota are: human talent, infrastructure and connectivity, business climate, the presence of strong institutions supporting these sectors.
Bogota is not just the face of growth of these activities in Colombia; it has little by little earned a place among the main destinations in Latin America and the world.
A study carried out by Indian consultancy AON Hewitt, and contracted by Invest in Bogota and the District's Secretary of Economic Development has identified the advantages and challenges that information and communications technologies (IT) and outsourcing services -BPOs have in this city.
The cost of human talent in Bogota is among the most competitively priced in the region, in terms of BPOs (US$ 550 per month), and the second lowest for IT (US$ 1,224 per month), all these including all social security costs. The study points out that Bogota graduates the highest percentage of professionals in engineering and economics-related areas in the country.
AON Hewitt is forecasting that Colombia is able to triple the capacity of its ICT market, reaching figures between 5 and 7 billion dollars in 2017, and also to multiply its BPO capabilities, which may reach figures between 1.5 and 2 billion for the same year.
Adriana Suarez, Director of Invest in Bogota, comments on the results of the study: "It is quite evident that Bogota has clear competitive advantages that make it into a very attractive destination for IT and BPO operations. The city is not just the face of growth in these sectors in Colombia, but is also considered among the main destinations in Latin America and the world for operations in these sectors".
Suarez concludes: "The most noteworthy opportunities that Bogota has in terms of ITs are: ADM (application development and management); RIM (remote infrastructure management); and ERP (enterprise resource performance) operations, as well as cloud-based services support. In terms of BPO: bilingual voice services, back-office operations for the financial and telecommunications sector; creation of a cluster. In emerging sectors: digital media, applications development, financial and accounting services, regional shared services centers, e-governance initiatives, training and development".
The most competitive factors offered by Bogota in terms of BPO and IT
1. Human talent
Bogota has trained human talent, with availability for work.
Salaries and wages make the city more competitive, and have brought it to the attention of large BPO and IT firms.
The quick growth experience by the city's industry has fostered the creation of training programs to tend to this industry.
Bogota is the Colombian city with the highest number of higher-learning graduates per year, in BPO and IT related professions and majors.
2. Infrastructure and connectivity
Bogota's infrastructure for these sectors is at the same level as other main outsourcing destinations.
World-class real-estate infrastructure.
Five deep-sea cables provide over 500 GBPS of broadband for a reliable telecommunications infrastructure that is suitable to tend to the industry.
Its privileged geographic location make it possible to reach the main business hubs in both the United States and Latin America in 6 hours or less.
3. Business Environment
Bogota is harvesting benefits from the country's political and economic situation.
The improvement of security indices, its scoring and increase in competitiveness rankings raise investor confidence.
4. Strong institutions supporting the industry
Bogota has an investment promotion agency that supports those investors who are exploring opportunities in the region: Invest in Bogota
Bogota is home to numerous institutions supporting these industries, which facilitates the management of information, the establishment of companies, and the signing of contracts. Some of these institutions are: Colombian Contact Centers Association, Fedesoft, Andi, SinerTIC, Bogota Chamber of Commerce, and the Bogota High Advisory for ICTs.
Most noteworthy among the incentives offered to investors in these industries are the exemption of Value Added Tax (VAT) and local sales taxes for off-shoring.
Two of the main programs for the training of human capital towards these industries are: Talk to the World (bilingualism program managed by Invest in Bogota with resources from the Secretary of Economic Development), Uniempresarial (an affiliate of the Bogota Chamber of Commerce, which trains individuals to contribute to the city's economy).
SENA Bogota. This national institution has a 6-month training program for professionals aspiring to work in contact centers.
Uniminuto. A university with a social calling which, through an alliance with AVANZA, one of the largest contact centers in Bogota, offers training programs for the BPO industry.