MAXIMUM POTENTIAL

Colombia 2016 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Oswaldo Medrano, General Manager of Ikonosoft, on the company's transformation process, the sectors with the greatest potential, and how the company distinguishes itself from its competitors.

Oswaldo Medrano
BIOGRAPHY
Oswaldo Medrano is the General Manager of Ikonosoft. He has worked in several technological companies such as Compaq, HP, Xerox, Sun Microsystems, and IBM. In 2013, he joined Ikonosoft and a few months later, Medrano acquired part of the company. He has a business degree from Sabana University with a specialization in commercial management.

How has Ikonosoft evolved in the last year?

In 2015, Ikonosoft underwent a transformation process to respond to developments in this rapidly changing sector. We went from being focused on integrating well-known brands such as IBM with other producers to actually preparing our own products. We used to sell to the largest companies in Colombia; however, many of these companies then began to deal directly with the larger IT service providers, which forced us to reorient our strategy toward SMEs. There is huge potential from these customers. Out of the 10,000 largest companies in Colombia, only 1,000 are considered to be large companies, with the rest designated as SMEs.

Why did you decide to change your strategy?

The main reason for the change was the impact of the cloud on customers in Colombia. Today, every single customer can access these services without having to go through to an intermediary. In Colombia there are more than 500 IT intermediary companies, which is a figure that is far higher than it should be. We needed to reassess our services and objectives, and understood that we could reach a larger audience by producing rather than being an intermediary.

What products are you currently developing?

As an SME, our turnover is around $5 million, and we create products for medium-sized companies. To manage our stock with software designed for a multinational company, we would need to spend some $300,000 on it every year; therefore, we leverage our capabilities and base our strategy on signing partnerships with small producers. We provide our products and services with relevance and flexibility to adapt to the different needs of the different economic sectors, with a reasonable price and viability. We also base our strategy on developing a long-term strategy with our customers and partners.

What economic sectors hold the greatest potential in the short term?

Our main focus is on manufacturing companies, but we also have different applications depending on the product. We launched IkonoCloud Asset Management, a tool for companies to manage their assets on a renting basis. We also offer IkonoCloud Commerce, a tool for small and medium producers to reach their customers through e-commerce channels. In this context, we also focus on small and medium manufacturers selling regionally and nationally. We have products and services in the CRM sphere.

What are the main trends in the Colombian IT industry?

We see the greatest opportunities in the SME segment, which has been overlooked up to this point. There are more than 8,000 SMEs in Colombia, yet nobody has made specific IT products and services available to them. There has been a lack of technical and strategic innovation in Colombia. This has started to change, especially taking into account that today, 8,000 SMEs are driving innovation development due to the fact that they had to revise their cost strategy without negatively impacting their growth strategy to survive.

What are your competitive advantages?

We aim at making a difference by leveraging our capable and skilled workforce to provide our employees with the necessary tools for development. We have created a training and educational platform, Ikonoflex, on which we spend around $5,000 per quarter to provide learning opportunities to our staff. Since the creation of this educational service, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people interested in working for Ikonosoft. We also distinguish ourselves from the competition through our management of social media channels. We started to do thing differently in the sector and aim at further strengthening these innovative activities.

What are your main expansion plans for the future?

Over the course of 2016, we will invest more than $500,000 in the acquisition of systems in the training and recruitment spheres in order to broaden our services and product portfolio. We also want to expand our body of staff to around 40 engineers. In the future, we also see strong potential for exporting our knowledge to other regional countries, starting with our neighbors Panama and Ecuador.