Whether you’re developing a new customer app or updating your legacy system, you’ll want to look south. Here’s why Argentina is making a name for itself as a hub for app development and software engineering.
Globalization has changed the business ecosystem forever. After two decades, however, the question isn’t whether to outsource — it’s where it makes the most sense to do the outsourcing. Increasingly, the best answer is to move it closer to home. This is true in just about every industry we can think of but especially in the field of software development.
As companies continue to chase cross-border efficiencies through outsourcing their IT projects, many are finding that Argentina, not Asia or Eastern Europe, delivers the goods.
We’ve written about the benefits of outsourcing before but this time wanted to speak to the benefits of nearshoring — specifically to Argentina. There are lots of reasons that international tech partnerships are strong in Argentina but here are the top four.
1. A CULTURE THAT PROMOTES INNOVATION
As we all know, innovation drives the modern economy. And at the heart of innovation lies creativity and creative thinking. We see evidence of this everywhere — consumers want innovative products, which drives companies to seek out innovative talent. “Innovate or die” is a common business catchphrase.
Dig deep into a talented, creative talent pool and you’ll find that what many of them have in common is a cultural background that nurtures innovation. In Argentina, for example, innovation is practically built into the national character. That’s because leaders (even political leaders) know they have a stake in the outcome when they promote a pro-innovation culture. As a result, Argentina ranks very well in this capacity.
And what, exactly, does it look like when leaders promote innovation at top levels? We begin to see improvements in three main areas:
- Technology: New inventions and improvements in systems and processes make a society more efficient. Support for R&D and other evidence of technological capacity appear frequently.
- Talent: There is a widespread ability to generate and retain skilled, creative people. This is measured partly in the percentage of people working in the creative class.
- Tolerance: Attracting talent depends on openness to new ideas and an openness to all kinds of people, regardless of background, culture, and personal identity. This too shows an increase.
A global creativity index made by the Martin Prosperity Institute in 2015 measures exactly these three factors. On a global scale, Argentina shows impressive scores in each of the three categories with an impressive overall rank of 27th in the world on the global index (second place in Latin America).
2. A LONGSTANDING EMPHASIS ON QUALITY EDUCATION
Argentina spends a lot of money on education — 5.57% of its GDP in 2016, actually. That’s a higher percentage than the United States, which spent just a hair beneath 5% in 2014, the last year the World Bank collected data on the USA. And if you line up the 200 or so countries the World Bank keeps stats on, Argentina is number 31, placing the country firmly in the top quartile.
In addition to the government’s efforts to invest in education, it also stands out for the quality of the country’s universities. Argentina is recognized worldwide and in the region for the quality of its education, which is reflected in the fact that its most important university, the University of Buenos Aires, is ranked as one of the 100 best in the world, according to the most recent QS ranking.
3. BILINGUAL PROFESSIONALS
All of the above adds up to an incredibly talented workforce. From their impressive multilingual skills to the rich and broad educational background, Argentinians are very well rounded, not to mention skilled and talented. That’s why you’ll see programmers who can communicate directly with clients in the clients’ own language (English).
And it’s not just English skills (although Argentina ranks as the top country in Latin America and is above China, Russia, and even India, according to the EF 2019 English Proficiency Index). It’s the rich educational background that allows even so-called “techies” to relate to other team members, no matter what discipline they represent. And it’s why business managers are able to break down communication barriers and get to the heart of the matter when speaking to stakeholders who don’t have a technical background.
4. AN INCREDIBLY CONVENIENT TIME ZONE
For anyone who’s ever worked on a remote team that’s spread across the world, the attraction of a convenient time zone is huge.
In fact, time zone difference is actually one of the biggest challenges of tech companies who outsource their dev work. Communication lags while half the team slumbers away during the other half’s most productive hours. Employees who stay up to ungodly wee hours of the morning to stay in sync quickly discover that a crazy schedule is not sustainable (and certainly not healthy!).
Speedy communication and real-time collaboration are essential for maintaining the levels of efficiency and productivity that the software development industry requires. With Agile practices that rely on rich feedback loops, cross-functional teams, and a culture of communication and collaboration, every team member needs to be available during peak performance hours of the day.
That’s why organizations with remote teams in places like Eastern Europe or India are starting to rethink their outsourcing activities. Looking closer to home for their software needs is called “nearshoring” and it’s on the rise, due partly to the attraction of a close time zone.
Eastern Time is 10.5 hours behind Mumbai, India. It’s seven hours behind Bulgaria. But it’s only two or three hours behind Buenos Aires, depending on the season. Argentina’s ability to offer real-time communication enables the kind of collaborative business model that today’s software development processes are built upon.
Software development firms in Argentina strive to be constantly available to their clients for communication on a number of levels. Whether it’s during the initial phases of a job when they’re heavily involved in getting to know the client’s needs or when they’re processing user feedback on deliverables, it helps immensely that business hours are only a few hours ahead of their North American clients’ hours.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
The software outsourcing landscape continues to evolve because it’s in the midst of a seismic shift. Once considered mere vendors, software development companies are now actual business partners as companies seek long-term relationships to help transform their operations for the 21st century. And when seeking a partner for the long term, it just makes sense to choose someone closer to home and someone who gets you and your business.