The Business Year

Alberto Mainieri

COSTA RICA - Telecoms & IT

80% of operations in English, 20% in Spanish and Portuguese

Country Operations Manager, IBM


Alberto Mainieri is currently responsible for the IBM Costa Rica Country Operations and is also a program manager for worldwide projects in the IBM Global Technology Services business unit.
An industrial engineer who graduated from Universidad Lationamericana de Ciencia y Tecnologia, he also has an MSc in strategic management from Aden Business School with over 15 years experience in services outsourcing and operations management. He spent the first seven years of his career in the call center industry and the last 11 years at IBM Costa Rica in different areas including, call centers, quality/continuous improvement, solutions and transitions, program management, and country operations management. As country operations manager he has supported the growth of the IBM footprint in Costa Rica from one to five units, and overseen 300% HC growth from 2012 to 2016.

"Today there are about five jobs in the IT market for every person who is currently studying IT."

What role does IBM play in Costa Rica, and how important is Costa Rica in your global portfolio?

We are a delivery center which provides technology and business services for our clients across the Americas and Europe. We support business process outsourcing for finance and accounting, human resources, procurement, supply chain, and recruiting. We also do outsourcing for IT services such as cloud, data centers support, IT infrastructure management and cyber security and provide shared services (internal support for IBM). From our delivery center we support clients in the Americas and to a smaller extent, Europe. About 80% of our operations are in English while the other 20% is in Spanish and Portuguese.

Many companies consider one of the biggest strengths of Costa Rica to be human capital. What value do Costa Ricans workers add to your operations here?

Human capital is our most important asset. Costa Rica’s educational base is excellent and considering we do significant in-house training at IBM, this is crucial. Besides hiring resources with master’s degrees, we also hire entry-level positions with basic skills and knowledge and train them with the required skills.. In the recent years we have established several partnerships with universities to support the development of both current technical skills and skills of the future in fields such as data science, security and cloud. . In doing so, we are contributing to the development of the country and its resources. We want to encourage students in the first few years of high school to choose engineering, mathematics, or technology careers, especially for women. Today there are about five jobs in the IT market for every person who is currently studying IT. The services sector is the fasting growing sector in Costa Rica, surpassing even tourism as a source of revenue for the country. This means there is a great demand for professionals. As a high-value driven operation we are looking for professionals with strong technology, analytics, engineering foundations and good command of the English language.

How is the cyber security market evolving in CR and why is it important to include cyber security among your services and operations?

Cyber security is a hot topic worldwide. We provide support from Costa Rica to the entire world. We have a 24/7 operation and our X Force Command Center for Cyber Security is the second largest worldwide. Cyber security is a growing need for all companies. Many large companies know and appreciate the importance of cyber security in markets like Europe and North America, but we have seen that Latin American countries have only recently started giving it the attention and importance it deserves. To clarify, cyber security is not firewalls and antiviruses. Cyber security is like an immune system where users will inevitably get attacks and the key is to have proper security tools that will identify the attacks in time, analyze the impact and provide the proper tools to mitigate those attacks. We have several security solutions and automated systems through our Watson Solutions that analyses millions of attacks every second for our clients, and our analysts assess these threats, define a solution, and feed it back to our clients. IBM is one of the leaders right now in the market. IBM is the largest security provider for enterprises with a yearly worldwide business of over two billion dollars. Our worldwide security unit accounts over 7,500 researchers, developers, and experts.

What are your most in-demand and popular services and who are your main clients?

Hybrid cloud the fastest growing segment in the enterprise cloud space. When it comes to cloud for every large enterprise, IBM sees nothing but a hybrid cloud market. Hybrid Cloud is a strategic business imperative that drives expanded reach, innovation, and business model change. Hybrid Cloud is the bridge that links the client’s existing IT environment with any type of cloud and IBM understands that sometimes the client’s problem couldn’t be solved with just only one type of cloud, you need to combine solutions in order to attend client’s needs. IBM is the only company to offer a complete hybrid cloud set of offerings —sell on premises technology (Servers and software), provide services to integrate public/private together as an integrator (GTS/GBS), offer a public cloud infrastructure (Infrastructure as a service). We hear from clients all the time that they don’t want to move everything to the public cloud or keep everything in the private cloud. IBM makes it simple to migrate any existing enterprise data to the cloud. In terms of our client portfolio, we have clients from all sectors, including banking, telecoms, other financial institutions, and consumer goods.

To what extent do you think CR is ready for this new era of technology, considering so many companies are relocating here?

In terms of providing services, the country is well equipped and has the capability to develop the right technical skills and professionals to succeed. The private sector and public institutions need to work together with the education sector to develop programs and support schools, technical high schools and universities to get the young population excited about technology, analytics and engineering careers and have the right curricula to prepare them for the jobs of the future.

What are your expectations and goals for 2018?

We plan to continue expanding our services (in all areas) and capabilities as we support our clients in their digital transformation journey and artificial intelligence adoption. We will keep focusing on up-skilling our resources and developing our professional’s career path in the company. We are looking at expanding our local services to include analytics services positions. We opened a co-creation center along with our business partner GBM in August 2017 and are currently doing workshops and programs to improve cybersecurity skills for attendees, the use of IBM cloud open source products and women in IT initiatives. We are always also looking for partnerships with technical schools, universities, and business partners.



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