The Business Year

IT firms have had enormous success finding and training the right local talent in Costa Rica, with scarcely a job that cannot be performed from there.

Alberto Mainieri Costa Rica

Country Manager, IBM

IBM’s delivery center operations started in 2004 with a fairly limited scope in business process outsourcing (BPO) and HR processes such as payroll, benefits, and travel and expense accounting in the F&A space for around 11 clients. We started to expand our scope in the BPO field, where we started doing full scope services for F&A, including balance sheet reconciliation, records and reports, shared services, and internal support to IBM North America in various areas. For every new scope, we found talented people with excellent English, and most importantly with great attitudes and a willingness to learn. Once we had the full scope of BPO services here, we expanded into the IT outsourcing area, which is closer to IBM’s core business—technology. In 2011, IBM reinvested in Costa Rica and opened a delivery center for IT outsourcing because the technical skills in the market were as good as the business process skills we had found here. We were able to grow by about 1,000 people in this area within a few years, all with technical skills, including incident management, technical project management, mainframe support work, provisioning, and support for data center installations and migrations. Our delivery center here has continued to evolve, and we started doing cloud services and cybersecurity. We are constantly re-skilling and up-skilling our resources and preparing our team to support other service lines.

Francisco Alba

General Manager, Fiserv Costa Rica

Big data and analytics are number one on our radar for the coming year. Number two could be agile technologies that are permeating software development, among other areas. One thing happening in the financial industry is the digital revolution and transformation. Some of those technologies are related to AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, robotics, and so on. One can have great tools like AI and analytics, though if they do not have automated processes, they will not be fast paced. As for servicing locally, we are increasingly seeing companies hiring workforces anywhere in the world; some are even 100% remote. That requires a set of tools to be able to get the teams together in a global landscape and be effective. There are still significant advantages in establishing personal relationships from a sales efficiency standpoint of a better hit rate and better grasp of customer needs, however. One of our core values is to earn clients’ trust every day, something we cannot do that without a closer, more personal relationship with partners. We have to localize our expectations, customize our solutions, and understand the needs of the tier-two and three banks in the region. We also need to adapt ourselves in terms of the size and pricing of the solutions we offer. It is a learning curve for Fiserv and its customers.

Ineke Geesink

Country Manager, Ineke Geesink

Costa Rica is unquestionably one of the hot spots in terms of talent acquisition. Companies such as Microsoft see Costa Rica as a great opportunity to work with talented people from a range of ages. The fact that it is also a country with social and economical stability is another attraction. For several companies, the incentives offered under the free trade zones and other conditions are also a strong reason to set up shop here. But for us it is mainly centered on the talent. As for the biggest trends in the industry, digital transformation is a reality right now, and we see AI and cloud as two of these. Microsoft’s mission is to work with its partners and customers to increase their adoption of these technologies. AI will bring the next step in technology and the way people work and collaborate. We see this as an historic disruption in terms of how people innovate and businesses impact their processes and handle their information. As a rule, Microsoft has a strong relationship with the local ecosystem. We currently have more than 1,000 channels with whom we work and a strong of partners with whom we drive our customers’ transformation. This is our business model worldwide and in Costa Rica. Our priority is to be the best partner possible by solving customers’ problems and empowering people to achieve more.

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