Cisco has identified numerous opportunities that Colombia is a market with great potential for financial services, retail, health and manufacturing
By: Christian Onneto, President Cisco Colombia.
Published in Amcham Colombia Business Express, available here
At Cisco, we have defined the next top 10 emerging countries and Colombia has a special place in this list. Being among this list, means that there is a special focus at the corporate level in this market, and there are investment funds that we are focusing on in Colombia in order to create and define new business models regarding mobility, cloud and interconnection between objects and processes with people.
Our new office in Colombia, just opened a couple of years ago and it has all the characteristics of a modern business model. This important investment that we made in Colombia was conceived as a strategic value proposition, not only for all our customers and partners, but also for the entire market. In spite of already having physical presence in Bogota and Medellín, these new headquarters will help us to continue to reach, understand and cover the Colombian businesses more comprehensively.
In addition, for the past 15 years we have been working in the Cisco Networking Academy (CNA) program in Colombia, an IT initiative that is considered the largest classroom in the world with more than one million students participating in different countries every year. The CNA helps students and instructors to deliver top-quality IT skills and career programs by using a single online platform that, in Colombia, has already impacted thousands of students across the country.
Moreover, our company brought to the country, the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, a corporate initiative that seeks to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit, increase employment and help to develop and maintain economic growth throughout the world. With this program, we foster innovation, growth and prosperity in Colombia, but at the same time we help to transform the economic and social reality of the country by providing entrepreneurs with specific business knowledge that offers business advice and mentoring, internet business solutions for SME’s, and technology enabling processes.
In Cisco we understand that the success of education and training programs requires efficient and high level technological platforms. Therefore, the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute has partnered with the National Learning Service of Colombia – SENA to provide a wide range of applications that enable management, access and interaction solutions. As a result, hundreds of facilitators and entrepreneurs have been trained since 2009.
We’ve also been committed to the connectivity development, not only for businesses, but also for the country, as emerging social, economic, productive and educational opportunities rise in all regions of Colombia. Thus, our company has donated a Cisco TelePresence Room to the Colombian Government, which is one of the largest collaborative technology innovations that integrates ultra-high definition audio and video as well as interactive elements to provide the experience of a live face-toface meeting, via internet. This action lies on one of our current pillars: we work with educational institutions to bring connectivity to the classroom; therefore, it impacts the educative systems and models by making them more accurate to the needs of the XXI century.
We are a company that is committed to Colombia’s progress and we firmly believe in its potential as a country and society. From Cisco, we identified two types of opportunities in Colombia: the first one is technology coverage as there is a place for a higher market penetration with mobility, collaboration and data center technologies; and the second one is related to geographic coverage, since there are great chances to grow considerably in cities like Barranquilla, Cali and Medellín.
Insights for the coming future
In Cisco, we have identified several opportunities in the Colombian market and I would like to focus on two of them: broadband connection and the increasing entrepreneurship and business networks.
According to our last Broadband Barometer study, the opportunity to penetrate with more broadband connections in Colombia is big. Much progress has been made in just a few years since the market penetration is 9.1%, which shows great potential, especially when compared to other countries in the region. In this sense, one of the main concepts that Cisco has been working on is the Internet of Everything, which is the intelligent connection of people, processes, data and things. Bringing people, processes, data and things together to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before is not only a huge opportunity to turn information into actions, but also to create new capabilities, richer experiences and unprecedented economic opportunities for businesses, individuals and countries.
In Cisco, we predicted that between 2012 and 2017 the information flow within mobile networks will grow 17 times in Colombia. That prediction make us think that Colombia is a market with great potential when it comes to corporate clients when we see the growth of industries related to financial services, retail, health and manufacturing. There are a lot of things to be done, especially when it comes to video and data center business perspectives.
Besides this, there is an important ingredient in the Colombian economy: the entire entrepreneurship and business network that is continuously growing in Colombia and it will bring new needs and expectations for connectivity, security, collaboration and cloud services. There is a need for companies to be more productive and competitive and Cisco works every day to build leading solutions in order to optimize daily tasks. For example, the increasing importance of teleworking is taking us towards consolidating these practices inside organizations to positively affect the quality of life and efficiency of workers. Cities like Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga will keep working on models to become smart cities in Latin American and we would like to support these processes. Moreover, from our insight, the Government will keep on using connectivity as the locomotive of growth and progress for Colombian society and this is important news for the country’s development and well-being.
Our confidence in Colombia, leads us to think that we can double our operation in the coming years. We are convinced about this, as we firmly believe that there are currently many opportunities, as well as in the future. Colombia has been an excellent market; however, it will continue grow as the peace process continues. Ambitious goals such as becoming the most educated country in Latin America, the entry of Colombia in the OECD, and the infrastructure growth are important milestones to guide the development and forge a brilliant future. Therefore, Colombia will continue to be a priority, and it should be too for American companies that are considering expanding to one of the most important markets in the world. To all these companies, we look forward to seeing you in Colombia and we invite you to count on Cisco as your ally in this country.