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Costa Rica 2018 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Franklin Apuy, Vice President of NTT Data Services, on the strengths of the Costa Rican market and facilitating the growth of employees.

Franklin Apuy
BIOGRAPHY
Having studied at Costa Rica’s National University, where he obtained a master’s degree in IT and later an MBA, Franklin Apuy began his career at local food manufacturing company and then leapt to the IT industry, where he has been for the last 20+ years at firms including Acer Computers, Intel Co., Hewlett Packard, and Pfizer Inc. He was responsible for setting up NTT Data Costa Rica’s operations in late 2015.

Why did NTT Data choose Costa Rica to establish its LatAm presence?

The company decided to open a new nearshore center in Latin America to maximize its potential and Costa Rica was chosen after an in-depth assessment among different strong players like Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Panama; the country offers very attractive conditions: cost efficiencies, convenient time zone, geographical location, highly educated workforce, and socio-political stability, among others. We started operations officially in April 2016 with 14 employees and now we have about 100 people. NTT Data Services is a large multinational and with its headquarters in Plano, Texas. We have a presence in over 50 countries and an annual revenue of approx. USD16 billion. Our client mainstream comes from Fortune 500 companies (80% are currently part of global client portfolio), and have nearly 110,000 professionals around the world. With regards to Costa Rica, our plan is to grow to over 300-400 people within three to four years.

Which parts of the business do you seek to grow?

We serve all industries and the goal is to develop our local presence in consulting and managed services areas such as: digital and application services; infrastructure, financial services and insurance; healthcare and life sciences; cloud and security services; and enterprise application services. I would like to engage with the local medical devices sector to provide IT services; our company has vast experience serving this industry. In Costa Rica today, we provide IT application and production support to clients belonging to the financial services, medical, retail, and insurance industries. We also serve enterprise application services such as Oracle and SalesForce.com and that is another area for growth during 2018. One of the biggest challenges that we have encountered so far is that the talent is there, though not in the quantities we need. The demand for IT resources in the local market is quite aggressive, pushing costs up and restraining the number of available candidates. On top of that, technologies are diverse and evolving, so eventually we find out that some technical skillsets are not even present or available in the region.

What are you doing to facilitate the growth of your employees?

We foster personal and technical development within our culture; we possess a huge learning training platform with more than 3,000 free technical courses for our employees and a proprietary training certification institute with more than 14 certified programs (i.e. java, .net, SQL, PM, etc.). When our clients want a certain profile, they are not able to afford any extra cost to build them and we therefore have to invest. We work to pull together programs internally with our center of expertise and with universities. We also bring in recent graduates and train them via our training program, called Campus to Career. Campus to Career provides in-depth technical training in particular core technologies, for example SQL, Java, project management, and so on. Once we take that candidate into the job, the learning curve eases. Our company appraises meritocracy; therefore, we promote a “rotational" exchange program whereby employees are offered the opportunity to work for 1-2-year periods in another country so they can apply their expertise and learn from foreign cultures.

Why should people choose NTT Data as a strategic partner to solve their IT problems?

NTT Data is well recognized as a top player in the industry. We were the ninth-largest in IT services worldwide in 2016 by market share (Gartner), 13th largest in consulting services in 2016, and fifth in 2017 IDC Financial Insights from FinTech Rankings: Top 100. NTT Group operates 240+ data centers worldwide, processes 100 million healthcare claims annually, serves 25 of the leading financial institutions in North America, serves the top-10 automotive companies worldwide, manages more than 300 million security identities, and supports almost 4 million end users and 11+ million service desk contacts annually.