Tip Your Hat, Raise a Glass to Three Champions of Nearshore IT Services

Turning a concept into a thriving reality ain't easy. Just ask the President of the United States about "hope and change." So, today it's time to salute a few people who have helped accomplish something essential to this blog — and, somewhat more important, to the lives of millions of people: turning the concept of nearshore outsourcing into reality.

The new Power 50 list that recognizes the most influential people in nearshoring has just been released, and appropriately it includes a few people from the company that came up with the idea of "near shore" way back in 1996. While many of us were watching Fargo or debating Clinton vs. Dole vs Perot (Mr EDS himself!), some people in Mexico, at a little company called Softtek, were daring to take on the Asian outsourcing juggernaut. They had this crazy idea that technology services could be delivered effectively and competitively from right here in this half of the globe, that they could provide an alternative to shipping work thousands of miles away, into the night, as it were.

Ranked second on this all-star Power 50 is Beni Lopez, chief globalization officer of Softtek. The Power 50 judging panel calls him "instrumental in driving Softtek's value proposition in front of an expanding set of global customers," and cites several other accomplishments: the 2004 acquisition of GE's captive center in Mexico, the 2005 joint venture with Caixa Galicia for a delivery center in Spain, and the 2007 acquisition of China's I.T. United. The company also has operations in Brazil, Argentina, and St. Louis.

This is what Power 50 judge John Parkinson, a man with more than 20 years in the global outsourcing business, said about Mr Lopez: “No one is better at articulating a comprehensive services vision that is both credible and engaging for customers and employees alike."

But even better is this aspect of his career, taken from the Power 50 nomination form: "Beni considers his most significant accomplishment around generating employment and professional opportunity for thousands of IT professionals throughout Latin America." Brings it all down to the human level, doesn't it?

If you've never had the pleasure of meeting Mr Lopez, check out this video for a digital approximation, where he explains the origins of the term "nearshore" but more important the benefits.

Mr Lopez's colleague Marcos Jimenez was voted into the #21 slot on the Power 50 list. As CEO of Softtek USA and Canada, he has the responsibility of handling the business in a key region; in fact, what you might call the IT center of the world. Here's what the Power 50 deciders said: "Jimenez not only understands how to articulate the value that Nearshore can bring to US corporations, but knows what's needed to build a sizable and successful Nearshore operation."

Alex Camino, whom readers will know as another voice on this site, was also duly recognized for his role in furthering the nearshore cause. "Camino is one who knows how to build bridges and seize and articulate the most outstanding features of global services innovation," the Power 50 judges said. He's also a good interview. I had the chance to quiz him for a Sourcing Brazil Q&A and was struck by his forthright comments, which I must say you don't always get from VPs of marketing.

The success of the nearshoring model is due to many factors, including the hard work and dedication of the uncelebrated workers who write the code or test it or answer the phones. But without the men and women who had the vision and the persistence to create an alternative to distant offshoring, to dream of a better way to do things and make it a reality, the world would be a different place. Let's raise a glass to Misters Lopez, Jimenez, and Camino and the other 48 and say "Salud!"