The Business Year

Oswaldo Medrano

COLOMBIA - Telecoms & IT

IT Guys

General Manager, Ikonosoft

Bio

Oswaldo Medrano studied Business at Sabana University, and gained a commercial management specialization from the same university. Since 1999 he was worked at several technology companies including Compaq, HP, Xerox, Sun Microsystems, and IBM. In 2013, he began at Ikonosoft and, after few months, he purchased a share in the firm.

"As an SME, our turnover is around $5 million, and we create products for medium-sized companies."

How has Ikonosoft evolved over the past year?

In 2015, Ikonosoft underwent a transformation process to respond to developments in this rapidly changing sector. We went from being focused on integrating well-known brands such as IBM with other producers to actually preparing our own products. We used to sell to the largest companies in Colombia, but many of these companies then began to deal directly with the larger IT service providers, which forced us to reorient our strategy toward SMEs. There is huge potential from these customers. Out of the 10,000 largest companies in Colombia, only 1,000 are considered to be large companies, with the rest designated as SMEs.

Why did you decide to change your strategy?

The main reason for the change was the impact of the cloud on customers in Colombia. Today, every single customer can access these services without having to go through to an intermediary. In Colombia there are more than 500 IT intermediary companies, which is a figure that is far higher than it should be. We needed to reassess our services and objectives, and understood that we could reach a larger audience by producing rather than being an intermediary.

What products are you currently developing?

As an SME, our turnover is around $5 million, and we create products for medium-sized companies. To manage my stock with software designed for a multinational company, I would need to spend some $300,000 on it every year, so we leverage our capabilities and base our strategy on signing partnerships with small producers. We provide our products and services with relevance and flexibility to adapt to the different needs of the different economic sectors, with a reasonable price and viability. We also base our strategy on developing a long-term strategy with our customers and partners.

What economic sectors hold the greatest potential in the short term?

Our main focus is on manufacturing companies, but at we also have different applications depending on the product. We launched IkonoCloud Asset Management, a tool for companies to manage their assets on a renting basis. Therefore, all industrial companies lending machinery or equipment offer a great potential for us, such as companies with large fleets. We also offer IkonoCloud Commerce, a tool for small and medium producers to reach their customers through e-commerce channels. In this context, we also focus on small and medium manufacturers selling regionally and nationally. We also have products and services in the Customer Relationship Management sphere.

What are the main trends in the Colombian IT industry?

We see the greatest opportunities in the SME segment, which has been overlooked up to this point. There are more than 8,000 SMEs in Colombia, yet nobody has made specific IT products and services available to them. I also think there has been a lack of technical and strategic innovation in Colombia. This has started to change, especially taking into account that today, 8,000 SMEs are driving innovation development due to the fact that they had to revise their cost strategy without negatively impacting their growth strategy to survive.

What are your competitive advantages?

We aim to make a difference by leveraging our capable and skilled workforce to provide our employees with the necessary tools for development. We have created a training and educational platform, Ikonoflex, on which we spend around $5,000 per quarter to provide learning opportunities to our staff. Since the creation of this educational service, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people interested in working for Ikonosoft. We also distinguish ourselves from the competition through our management of social media channels. We started to do thing differently in the sector and aim at further strengthening these innovative activities.

What are your main expansion plans for the future?

Over the course of 2016, we will invest more than $500,000 in the acquisition of systems in the training and recruitment spheres in order to broaden our services and product portfolio. We also want to expand our body of staff to around 40 engineers. In the future, we also see strong potential for exporting our knowledge to other regional countries, starting with our neighbors Panama and Ecuador.

What is your vision for Ikonosoft over the coming five years?

We will continue to focus on offering our services, and I expect we will reach a turnover of $20 million by expanding our product portfolio. We also hope to reduce our dependence on the intermediary services we still offer, which represent around 50% of our overall business activity.

What are your expectations for 2016?

We expect to reach a turnover of more than $100,000 from cloud-based services. In terms of engineering products, we should reach turnover of $1.5 million. We aim increase our overall turnover from $5 million to approximately $7 million.

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