The Importance of Gathering: Going Face to Face with the Nearshore Community

Want to get a view into how fast the Nearshore outsourcing market is emerging? Consider the fact that during a 60-day span, from April 1 to May 30 of this year, there will have been three significant, newly launched conferences somewhere in the Western Hemisphere devoted to the subject. Surely a sign of the times. A bellweather of things to come.

Conferences, when executed properly, are incredibly valuable to virtually any industry sector, but they are especially important for a marketplace that spans the Americas region and includes at least three unique languages, has both commercial and geopolitical influences and includes a wide assortment of specialized outsourcing services. Conferences make industry human. They remind people that their toiling is not done in solitude. And, in many cases, the live conference fertilizes new ventures and new trends, getting people to think more collectively about the long-term viability of the industry itself.

About ten years ago, I was editor of a national telecommunications business publication - a magazine that actually had been around since the creation of the industry itself, in the early part of last century. During my tenure, I got to know countless associations, agencies and standards-bodies build around the central principle that the collective business community stands to benefit greatly when people get involved.  Although orders of magnitude larger than the Nearshore industry,  the telecom industry has long recognized that fostering innovation, lobbying government on the industry's behalf and having close ties to the top tier engineering universities all pay long term dividends. All of these activites become real and visible during various industry conventions and conferences.

The Nearshore community needs conferences, groups and activities that draw people in. I'm always amazed at how far-reaching our industry is - touching tens of thousands of US customers; performing extremely complex software and R and D projects; transforming the lives of many professionals in Latin America and becoming a valuable symbol of how globalization is touching our greater "Americas' neighborhood."

We commend the Inter-American Development Bank for its launch of the Outsource2LAC Summit which took place in Montevideo in early April. The conference attracted delegates from around the world, including leading offshore destinations like India and the Philippines. Later in April came an event launched by Nearshore Americas called Nearshore Nexus, which brought together consumers, sellers and influencers in the IT/BPO nearshoring market. One of my colleagues, Ken Stier, a writer with BusinessWeek who attended Nexus, remarked  after the event that he felt the overriding discussions demonstrated a 'tectonic shift' occurring whereby Latin America is gaining increasing favor on the world outsourcing stage.

Finally, next week a group called ANDI (Business Association of Colombia) is teaming up with other trade groups from Colombia along with the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, in staging the 2011 Latin America Outsourcing Summit, in arguably one of the most beautiful destinations in all of South America - Cartagena, Colombia. Leading industry firms, such as the sponsor of this blog - Softtek - along with hundreds of other passionate nearshoring folks (including yours truly) will be on hand to create another revolution of momentum to power the growth of this young industry.