TRUE AGILITY

Colombia 2019 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

Having a reliable local partner is one of the most important aspects during a firm's software development process.

Alejandro Salamanca
BIOGRAPHY
Alejandro Salamanca holds degrees in systems engineering and business management from Universidad de los Los Andes, as well as a master’s in software engineering from California State University. He has led Asesoftware as CEO since 1991.

How would you describe the presence of Asesoftware in Colombia, and what is its importance in the sector?
Asesoftware is a software development company with 29 years of experience in the market. Our main business lines are the development and maintenance of software and IT outsourcing, which represent 80% of the company's income. Our other business lines include analytics that turn data into actionable information, the organization's main strategic asset, and IT cloud services in which we focus on providing cloud infrastructure maintenance and monitoring services. We have dedicated ourselves to improving these services over the years to give them a worldwide dimension through internationally recognized frameworks and methodologies. Our certifications include CMMI DEV/5, which is a maturity framework in software engineering, and CMMI SVC/3, which seeks to fine-tune excellent practices in IT services. Some of our clients are the major players in the financial and insurance sectors, such as Banco de la Republica, Fiduprevisora, Scotiabank, Banco Davivienda, Seguros Bolivar, and the Colombian government.

How has your software evolved to work with your customers in this new digital world?
Banking is immersed in digitalization. However, the most disruptive aspect is the appearance of new business models. The banking sector is betting on new models with technology such as blockchain and other big data technologies. The banks are investing significantly in big data and AI and looking to compete with these new digital models, which generate business opportunities for software companies. On the other hand, the insurance sector is more conservative, but also has a great deal of technological movement, and is putting together several digital banking departments, which involves a great deal of software development.

What is the advantage for an international company such as Scotiabank having a local partner such as Asesoftware?
We know the local market, which has its peculiarities. One must know the legislation and regulations. Our added value is that we have in-depth knowledge of banking and know about the latest technologies that, for example, use Classpath. We have helped people maintain their systems for years. Understanding the business is the most difficult thing during software development, but this process can be more fluid with a local partner. We have spent a great deal of time looking at new technologies and issues of agile software development. The latter must include a design part of the customer experience, which is why we have sought to unite the world of design and software development to offer development equipment where these are intertwined. We adapt rapidly to external methodologies that seek agility in development while always considering the customer's experience. Before, software development was extremely technical and did not consider the user experience. Now the user experience is extremely important, especially in the digital world. In the case of Scotiabank in Colombia, we have offered our expertise in business and software development with agility and customer experience.

What can you tell us about your Seed Plan, and how does Asesoftware promote Colombian talent in the technology industry?
The Seed Plan emerged 10 years ago and sought to encourage job growth, not only from an altruistic perspective but also a business one in the field of systems. The need for talent in that area is impressive. The latest studies say there is a deficit of 60,000 people in the field of software development in Colombia; we have 500 people. In this program, we accept electronic engineers, mechatronics engineers, mathematicians, and physicists. A team of 15 people enters the Seed Plan, where they receive training to access the labor market in the following four months. We teach them the industrial techniques of software engineering and provide training in project management, quality, design, and analysis. Electronic engineers are excellent software designers. The objectives of the plan are to nurture the flow of personnel that we need and encourage entry employment.