Though technology has made a drastic impact in minimizing the distances among us, culture, in some ways, keeps us apart. Despite its richness and many beneficial attributes, cross-cultural communication requires time, patience and understanding. For this reason, as the recent HfS report How Latin America Powers Global IT Delivery has found, many U.S. and European companies like the fact that LatAm culture is so similar to their own.
Increasingly, English fluency and “Western” accents are becoming a requisite for business efficiency and communication flow. Indeed, language makes up a large part of culture – but it’s not the only component when it comes to communication matters in outsourcing. And as pointed out
by Chairman and Managing Director of ParkWood Advisors LCC John Parkinson, during the Nearshore Nexus Event: "English is the one language you can mangle and muddle and still have the idea communicated.”
As the HfS team has found, customers in the region relish the close proximity and time zone as attributes that go a long way in fostering real-time collaboration. Furthermore, proximity also reduces problems associated with oversight and resourcing. And while many offshore organizations do their best to adapt to their business partners’ customs, change—especially in terms of deep-rooted assets like culture—cannot take place over night. It’s important to do your homework to decipher those who not only talk the talk but can walk the walk.
Again well put by Parkinson: “If you don’t have cultural alignment, it doesn’t matter how cheap your workers are.” So true.
I invite you to take a look at HfS Research’s report and see not only how Latin America fares as a whole in the global outsourcing arena, but also how countries like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina compare across cultural affinity and offerings. Do you agree with the findings?