Yesterday I received an e-mail from a reader who wants to get started with an IT outsourcing business here in Argentina. Regular readers of this blog may recall that I'm in the same field. My company, GeoDesign
specializes in IT outsourcing & consulting. I'm sure some of you may be asking, "Why help make a competitor?" Well, the vast majority of my clients are in the online entertainment, media, and gaming industries and I compete directly against only 5 or 6 other firms that specialize in my particular niche of the IT industry.
As such, I'm very much able and willing to help anyone here who wants to get started in the IT business here. Before Argentina, our development center was in Hyderabad, India. After experience running a business in both countries, I can say that operating in Argentina is not only easier, but also much more advantageous.
Availability of IT Professionals
We've never had problems hiring in Argentina. Each time we've needed a software engineer, we've always been able to fill the position within 30 days and usually within just 2 weeks. Project-based IT organizations always seem to be hiring, since new projects and new clients continually bring on a demand for new workers. We've never had a problem finding staff here.
I consider myself very fortunate to have a very well-connected HR director and we've never needed the services of an outside recruiting firm to find IT workers.
India right now has growing IT employment as well as IT salaries. It was not uncommon for employees to switch jobs (sometimes en masse) every 6 months, continually looking for greener pastures. The loyalty among workers was practically non-existent and we had a case where another firm hired away 4 of our engineers at the same time. Often times, employees would leave right in the middle of projects, causing significant delays as new hires had to be brought up to speed.
Contrast that with Argentina, where I just lost one of my software engineers after two great years with me. He gave us 30 days notice of his departure and offered to continue to help on a part-time basis as a consultant if further assistance was needed. While it's always regrettable to lose a great employee, this was a very considerate way for him to depart and a testament to his professionalism.
Proximity To The United States
Most of my clients are on the west coast of the U.S., which gave us a 12.5 hour time difference with India. If we wanted to talk in real-time, either I'd need to stay up until 9:00 PM or they would. By that time, people just want to go home from the office and talks are sometimes cut short. Even when you leave the office at 5 or 6 o'clock and make your calls from home, it still puts pressure on family life when you're talking business at midnight every night. I'm glad I no longer have to hear, "Stop talking to the Indians and come to bed already," from my girlfriend almost every night.
With Argentina only 4 hours ahead of the west coast and 1 hour ahead of the east coast, it is almost perfectly situated. Our workday runs from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM and you'll find that many software engineering types, most of whom tend to be younger, are more than willing to start late. A late start fits in well with the party all night lifestyle of the younger crowd here.
If you're the type who's able to get into work by 8:00 AM each morning, you'll find that it's only noon in London, 1:00 PM in Paris, Berlin, Rome, and Zürich, and 3:00 PM in Moscow, making it easy to conduct business with European clients as well.
Availability of English Speakers
Although English is widely spoken here in the business community, it is not as ubiquitous among software engineers, as it is in India. Nevertheless, although I used to require that all employees spoke fluent English, I do not require this anymore among the IT staff. I only require comprehension of written English, which allows for a much larger pool of potential hires. My clients typically only interact with management here and English-speaking client service staffers. It is very rare to find an engineer here with perfect English. However, it's much easier to find an engineer with no problem at all with written English and then hire a manager or someone with a liberal arts & languages background to interact with your clients.
Contact Us For Additional Help
If you need help starting an IT business here (or any business for that matter), please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail. In addition to supplying you with an estimate of your start-up costs, we can also help you locate the right staff and arrange for interviews in your hotel when you arrive. We can also help you search for local partners if you'd like to get your feet wet before jumping in with a direct investment.