Facing the Future at Made in the Americas, Global Digital Services Summit

Propelled by innovation, new technologies and competition, the global BPO/KPO and Shared Services industry has evolved rapidly from where it started more than 20 years ago.  Representing Jamaica at the Made in the Americas Global Digital Services Summit in Argentina on July 11 and 12 was an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about the digital transformation driving the BPO/KPO and Information technology sector. 

With more than 1,500 attendees and 60 international speakers, this event which is a part of the Outsource2LAC series sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank was a unique opportunity to learn about trends in the BPO/KPO and tech services sectors and the future of digital technology in export services.

The Summit also gathered government representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean, along with private tech companies from the region and the United States and Europe. Speakers from various companies shared their success stories across the region and ideas on preparing for the future. 

The Global Digital Services Summit also allowed outsourcing companies and startups in Latin America to showcase their value propositions, talent and professionalism to prospective partners. Along with talks by noted speakers, there were rounds of B2B meetings and the opportunity for countries like Jamaica to speak with potential investors about our services sector and the unique value propositions that we offer.

Representing the Caribbean were Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Barbados and Belize.

The event also emphasized that outsourcing providers from the LAC region are gaining share globally, delivering greater omnichannel value in a more demanding environment. Latin American outsourcing and tech companies from Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina have been leading the charge in the Information and communications technology (ICT) field with app, animation and video game development among others.

More countries in the Caribbean region are moving toward developing their industries to compete in this arena through government support and private sector initiatives. The future of our region relies on diversification of value-added exports and promoting knowledge-based initiatives and startups. Digital Transformation presents challenges for the region such as talent development (at high school and university level), legislative change which keeps up with technology . Support for SME’s in the tech services arena is also essential for home-grown innovation. Latin America has become a leader in the animation and video game industry, with a greater expansion than in other regions of the world, with a lot of the development being done by boutique firms. 

As the industry continues to grow and evolve through new technology, it is important to understand the direction and how Caribbean and Latin American countries and their companies can meet the challenge and also preparing their workforce for both the future and now. Latin America and the Caribbean now needs to build the infrastructure and pipeline of the best renewable fuel, an ecosystem for innovation. 

Investment and trade promotion agencies have a key role to play in attracting foreign companies to set up operations which not only provide jobs but are important for knowledge transfer. IDB research shows that export promotion agencies have a significant impact on the external sales of a country and that trade promotion especially favors exports of more sophisticated products. Likewise, a survey of executives responsible for selecting the destinations of their companies' foreign investments found that 65% of these had worked closely with these agencies when deciding where to locate their businesses.

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