For solution providers looking to expand their business into emerging markets, Latin America may be your best opportunity.
That was the message from XChange Latin America, held in Dallas this week. Ricardo Villate, vice president, IDC Latin America, presented data at the show revealing a geographic region ripe for growth, especially in the areas of cloud and mobility.
On the mobile front, the smartphone market is expected to grow 659 percent from 2007 to 2016 with the tablet market growing at a pace of 590 percent, Villate said. Even PCs, which are seeing stalled sales in the U.S., will double over this same time period, he said.
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Edemar Marinho, an Oracle VAR in Brazil whose business grew 20 percent last year, agreed. While his company focuses on CRM and sales force automation, he sees a lot of opportunity around leveraging mobile platforms. Customers now want those CRM and sales force automation applications to be accessible on iPads and smartphones, Marinho said.
For Brazil, the growth numbers are even higher. The smartphone market is expected to grow 723 percent and the tablet market is expected to grow 772 percent from 2007 to 2016, according to Villate. One of the drivers of that growth is that 15 percent of the population has moved out of poverty and been incorporated into the middle class, he said.
Overall, Latin America is expected to outpace all regions in the world in terms of growth, said Villate. In 2012 and 2013 Latin American companies are projected to spend $41.3 billion on new IT projects, with the total Latin America market projected to reach $137.6 billion next year. Sixty percent of this spend will be in the enterprise and 60 percent of that will be done through the channel, he added.
Villate said much of this growth will be a result of four key innovations: cloud, big data, social web and mobility.
The cloud market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 69 percent from 2011 to 2015, he said. Meanwhile, 45 percent of midsize and large companies expect to invest in big data, with a $370 million opportunity this year and a $1 billion opportunity by 2015.
Roberto Serrano, a general manager for Computron, a managed services provider in Ecuador, believes the cloud platform is a viable alternative for his company and he sees a lot of opportunity because of its reliability and low price point.
Meanwhile, for Latin American solution providers, leveraging social media and other Web 2.0 technologies may differentiate you from the pack.
While Latin America appears to be in step with the U.S. market when it comes to the adoption of cloud and mobility platforms, it is behind in terms of marketing and leveraging social media technology, according to Ruben Bravo, digital marketing consultant for WSI.
"Buyers expect a complete experience. They want to buy, but they do not want to be sold to," said Bravo. "In Latin America we are still pushing our products."
Solution providers in Latin America need to understand the new marketing and sales channels available, including search engines, directories, blogs, content sites, reviews and social platforms. Beyond the actual sales, they must be mindful of the experience and whether the customer would be a reference for them in the future.
Furthermore, solution providers need to consider their online reputation, including "the one people give you and the one you want to build," said Bravo.
PUBLISHED AUG. 23, 2012