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Colombia 2016 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Adriana Lucia Falla, General Manager of SoftManagement S.A., on the important elements of the company's business, its key strengths compared to its competitors, and the significance of the IT sector in Colombia.

Adriana Lucia Falla
BIOGRAPHY
Adriana Lucia Falla is the General Manager of SoftManagement. She has over 25 years’ experience in project management of software development and over 20 years in technology and business management. She has taught in the faculty of systems engineering at EAN and Piloto universities in Colombia. Falla has published several articles in magazines such as Innovación in the Misión Pyme Magazine and Empresarial & Laboral Magazine. She has a degree in systems engineering from Piloto University of Colombia and is a financial management specialist from EAFIT University and superior direction in management and leadership from Los Andes University.

Which of your services are developing at a more rapid rate?

Our strength is operation and manufacturing software, and this trend will continue in the same line for the near future. With the recent changes, we intended to boost consulting and services. Our experience and knowledge enabled us to start offering services of supervision and auditing, enterprise architecture and cloud. Up until now, our main customers were government and large corporations and through the new services, we intend to reach to SMEs, widening our portfolio of customers. All the services we recently started providing have great potential; however, since our main strength is in software development, we understand that supervision and auditing services are those with the greatest potential, because large companies are the ones requiring these kinds of services.

What is the role of R&D within your overall business activity?

R&D and innovation are key elements of our business. We have a dedicated group of people developing this activity and have a particular methodology. This group works on a full-time basis to develop new tools as well as the application of these tools. These people also work alongside our quality department to develop and improve our current procedures. Thanks to that group of people, we apply innovation to our products and services. We also invest a great deal of effort in the development of pilot projects alongside our customers, where innovation is key in this context.

What are your advantages compared to the competition?

We have received several awards in the last few years. For example, the Ingenio Award is for the IT sector and is judged on the IT solutions presented by a customer and has to be technologically innovative. In 2014, we presented a joint project with the Ministry of Culture as part of the Read Again project where we tried to boost the reading culture, especially among children. We developed a strategy to link all the public libraries in the country as part of the virtual libraries network of Colombia, and we received the award in the category of education. In 2015, we participated in another joint project with Certicamara, a nationwide leading entity when it comes to digital certificates, where we presented a solution in the field of dematerialized securities from a digital perspective. One of our strongest points with these projects is that we always try to understand the structure behind the problem and generate value from that.

How would you assess the current investment environment within the IT sector in Colombia?

The IT sector in Colombia is one of the most attractive sectors in our economy for foreign investors. This is due to the fact that we have become a key sector for the economy and we have an aligned political strategy from the government, in order to strengthen the investment environment. The government has appreciated that IT is one of the country's greatest assets in terms of potential. There is a public strategy to diversify our economy, which in the past used to be based on traditional sectors such as mining and coffee. One of our main challenges is the lack of enough qualified human resources; however, the country also has a nationwide strategy supported by the government to develop more IT professionals. Colombian IT professionals are extremely innovative and creative, we always say our workforce is our most valuable asset.

What are your expectations for SoftManagement S.A. for 2016?

This is a year full of challenges, and we have targeted 24% growth; however, this goal has to be put into context because the country expects to grow at a 7% rate. Furthermore, from now until 2020, we expect to grow by 200% and expect to have operations in two other countries, consolidating our brand and company as a leading provider of IT solutions and services.