Colombia is an IT and business services leader
What makes Colombia a global IT and business services hub?
Colombia is now a strategic center when it comes to the outsourcing of IT and business services, with international investors attracted by the skills and size of its workforce, its favorable business climate and its geographic location.
The sector has shown impressive growth, with Colombia receiving 387 new investment projects in the BPO, KPO, software and IT services sector in the past seven years, according to fDi Markets and PROCOLOMBIA reports.
PROCOLOMBIA supports Colombia's IT and business services sector to export and expand through the resources on its 'Colombia Bring It On' website. The 'Colombia Bring It On Tour' also traveled strategic areas of the country to support providers in promoting their talent and expertise.
PROCOLOMBIA's president Felipe Jaramillo said: "Colombia is a strategic center in the region for the development of IT and business services because it can provide every service a company needs to undertake a digital transformation.
"Such services might include the administration and management of customer services, telecommunication networks, large database analysis and the use of artificial intelligence or the Internet, both in local operations and for export to third parties."
Countries currently investing the most in these sectors in Colombia are the United States (24.5%) Spain (22%) the United Kingdom (7.2%) Argentina (6.4%) France (4.5%) and India (4%).
Exporting IT and business services
Colombia's exportation of IT and business services, such as software development and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has increased year-on-year since 2010. BPO exports saw an impressive 619% increase between 2010 and 2017, while software development exports have soared 1,365%.
Exports in this innovative sector continued to grow a further 7.4% in the first nine months of 2017 as both national companies and foreign firms exported services including mobile applications, technical assistance, Cloud Computing, Big Data, infrastructure and other specialized services.
Recipient countries included the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, India, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Switzerland. Further opportunities have been identified in Brazil, Paraguay and the Caribbean.
Figures suggest BPO exports alone achieved estimated sales worth USD$289m in the first nine months of 2017, an increase of 32.9%. Recipient countries include the USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru. Further opportunities have been identified in Honduras, Panama, Spain and Brazil.
Computer services worth USD$150m were also exported in this period, a 2.6% increase, alongside telecommunications' exports worth USD$125m.
The size and skill of Colombia's workforce
One of the biggest draws for investors is the breadth and diversity of Colombian talent. Colombia has the second most qualified workforce in South America, according to the IMD World Talent Report 2016, ahead of countries such as Brazil, Peru, Chile and Venezuela.
Colombia's Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MinTIC) certified more than 37,000 Colombians in digital skills in the third quarter of 2017, adding to the field of innovative developers in the software development sector.
Figures suggest there are more than 4,000 software and IT service companies across Colombia. About 3% of those are large companies, 80% of which are based in the central region of the country with four percent in the north, six percent in the west, four percent in the east and the rest distributed across the country.
More than 225,000 Colombians work in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in Bogotá, Antioquia, Valle de Cauca, Caldas, Santander, Cundinamarca and Risaralda, which makes this sector alone one of the country's biggest job creators.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
PROCOLOMBIA aided the arrival of 141 foreign projects in the BPO, software, IT and business services sectors between 2010 and 2017.
These FDI investments came from 19 different countries and were worth more than a billion dollars in total, generating more than 75,000 skilled jobs in professions such as systems engineering, business administration, marketing, economics and finance, among others.
PROCOLOMBIA has now identified opportunities in human resources', sales and customer service, e-commerce, credit management, risk management, helpdesk, back-office, telemedicine, market research and engineering services. It is also available to support the installation of Shared Services' Centers.
If you wish to learn more about business opportunities in IT, explore our map of investment opportunities in Colombia and discover the events we have scheduled throughout the year. PROCOLOMBIA works alongside international investors and Colombian exporters, so we can drive the Colombian economy together.