CONNECTING THE DOTS

Panama 2019 | LOGISTICS & MARITIME | INTERVIEW

Governments seeking to digitalize services must overcome enormous hurdles to get the job done. CrimsonLogic has the resources and experience to do this.

Gustavo Davis
BIOGRAPHY
Gustavo Davis is a professional with more than 15 years of experience. He has held positions as a business development manager and is currently Senior Country manager for Panama and Regional Manager for Latin America at CrimsonLogic. He holds an international business degree and a master’s in strategic management and corporate finance from USMA, having studied strategic planning at the University of California - Berkeley. He is a member of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, Chamber of Commerce of Panama, the Maritime Chamber of Panama, and the Freight Forwarders Association.

Can you give us a brief overview of the main highlights over the last year?

In 2018, CrimsonLogic continued to deepen and widen its presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, using Panama as our regional headquarters. In Panama, we expanded our customer base beyond the Customs Authority, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Colón Free Zone to include the COTEL. We strengthened our relationship with the Colón Free Zone by securing a project to upgrade its current system and give it the latest technology to digitalize its platform and position the free zone and Panama as a major e-commerce hub for Latin America. This required developing a new e-commerce flow, and then enhancing the integration with Panama Customs System (SIGA), to ensure a faster system processing of the operations. Also, in order to support this new business model, we are implementing a new risk management module and more advanced dashboard to minimize possible trade threats and maximize business intelligence through data mining. A key aspect was to include global best standards (e.g. Global Trade Identification Number [GTIN] from GS1). In addition, we are going to implement some new and disruptive types of technology like blockchain to help maximize transparency and optimize the traceability of cargo, increasing the positive impacts on Panama's Ease of Doing Business rankings. In the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia), we also continued to build and support the interoperability platform that we built to integrate and connect their electronic single windows for trade facilitation and exchange certificates of origin and phytosanitary and customs declarations. In the Caribbean, we have further expanded our position. From Trinidad and Tobago, where we built and maintain their single electronic window for trade facilitation (TTBizLink), we moved into new markets such as the Bahamas, St. Lucia, and Suriname. In Trinidad, we deepened our position by securing a digital platform project for construction permit filing and approvals. Also, we were awarded the project to build an e-Judiciary platform for the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court based in St. Lucia.

What challenges did the company face when expanding into Panama?

Having our corporate headquarters in Singapore, one major challenge was adapting to the culture, language, and time zone differences between Asia and Latin America. To address these challenges, we have been working hard over the years to localize operations. We now have a substantial presence in the City of Knowledge in Panama with the full range operations, handled by local employees in management and administration, business development, project management, programming, consultancy and maintenance, and support. The second major challenge was to secure the required skill sets in this region. For this, we have worked hard to develop relationships and agreements with universities and colleges in the region to provide internships, bursaries, and work opportunities for students.

How are you working on strengthening the importance of the products you provide in Panama and throughout the region?

CrimsonLogic is a global company with hundreds of implementations worldwide in the space of digital government over the last 30 years. With such extensive experience, we have been able to commercialize our solutions, especially in areas such as trade facilitation, judicial management, and public services. Our approach is to have products that adopt global standards, but at the same time have the flexibility and scalability to adapt to unique customer needs in countries like Panama and the region.
What is your strategy for disruption, and which partners have you targeted to partner with in this area?
Being a leader in the digitalization of public sector services, we are not a company that aims to disrupt the status quo, but, instead, to facilitate and make public services more efficient and transparent. Hence, it is more appropriate to call our strategy one of “fostering and enabling change" in government and public services to improve the overall ease of doing business within countries.

How have your plans to expand into Latin America progressed?

We have done extremely well as a company in expanding our footprint in the Latin American and Caribbean regions in the last 15 years. When we initially set up in Panama in 2004, we only had one customer and one contract. Today, besides Panama we have offices and projects in Peru, Chile, Trinidad, the Bahamas, Suriname, St. Lucia, and the Pacific Alliance countries. In total, we have secured over USD120 million in contracts in this region in the last 15 years.

What are your main targets and goals for 2019?

We plan to continue our expansion as our position. We will be strengthening our presence in the Caribbean by also investing in Trinidad, which is also becoming an important hub for the Caribbean region. We will also continue to strengthen our presence in Panama for the Latin American region and work as partners with our customers, be they in government or the private sector.