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Strong US Dollar continues to drive the great Southern migration of outsourcing design and engineering services

*This is an update to an article I wrote in 2015, and it could not be even more true today.

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I have been working in the outsourcing of creative and IT services/digital agency space for 25 years, and exporting these services to Fortune 500 clients in the US from one of the most exciting countries in Latin America, Colombia. Yes, Colombia with an O! The recent and continued US economy strength has provided exporters a competitive edge in pricing. Commodities like coffee and crude and almost everything else from Colombia is cheaper lately, and is forecasted to remain that way for a while. Not since I started my outsource design and technology firm Zemoga in Bogota in 2002 have I seen currency exchange rates at these levels. We are talking an over 50% increase in dollar strength since 2014 and teetering on 10 year highs for the past 18 months. Thats a strong greenback. But Colombia has much more than morning joe and beauty queens to export. It also happens to be a hot bed of innovation, technology and creative talent, winning global awards and launching companies and applications that have huge impact in the U.S. Just look at what Zemoga did for Fox’s latest film Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s brilliant.

What does that mean for companies who struggle with finding new outsource partners that deliver real value and impact the bottom line? What does this mean for agency and IT professionals looking to tap into an unbelievable talent pool at rates not seen in well over 10 years? NOW is the time to seriously consider moving South. Now is the time to consider a location that gives other global outsource markets reason to worry and US resources a solid run for the money. NOW is the time to switch the teams and ditch the partners that are inefficient and untrustworthy, providing you and your firm nothing but headaches that put you and your client’s business at risk. Consider this, Colombia is a market with the most rigid and lowest turnover workforce in LatAm powered by over 50,000 IT professionals graduating a year from renowned Universities and some of the highest English proficiency in the region. The Renaissance of Colombia has been widely recognized with examples including the recent accolades Medellin, Colombia received from Citibank and the WSJ, being voted the #1 most innovative city on the globe.

The 5 year currency trade chart of Dollar/Peso as of 1/29/19

Regardless of the he days of Escobar are over regardless of Narcos and as I called it in Adweek, the “Digital El Niño” is upon us, and Colombia is riding the face of that wave.

This wave is not the one time rogue kind, it is sustained by some of the most talented designers and technologist in the Western Hemisphere available at rates that are more inline with some of the less collaborative and less culturally aligned global competition in the East. For those of you who are decision makers in the acquisition of talent, and have the need for a new option that has a solid and stable political system, bullet proof US trade protections and agreements for IP and practically the same time zone as the US!!!! Look into companies just a 4.5 hour flight from NYC and you will not be disappointed. Companies like PWC, William Sonoma, Toyota, Novartis, Viacom and Adidas have all tapped the deep Colombian talent pool to service their US consumers. So make the call, reach out to people like yours truly and we’ll be happy to tell you more.

There you have it…..the “gato” is out of the bag!

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