Opinion: Harsh Criticism of Bogota is Out of Line

The hit on Bogota as the “Riskiest Place on Earth for Outsourcing” is a huge reminder of the vast amount of ignorance that exists both within the outsourcing industry and beyond about doing business in Latin America. I personally contacted “Black Book” author Scott Wilson two weeks ago to pursue details on his research methods and he initially was responsive. Karina Cuevas, our reporter on the story, followed up by sending specific questions, like:

-          Have you ever been Bogota?

-          What documentation and data did you base your analysis on?

-          Did you make contact with any institutions in Colombia to validate your claims?

Unfortunately for all of us, Wilson failed to respond to our questions. That leaves us all wondering about the validity of the findings, how certain Brown and Wilson are of their research, and what level of influence they may have been under from underwriters, clients or sponsors. We may never know the answer to these questions and Brown and Wilson certainly are not the first to distribute opinion parading as research.

The Bogota issue has raised eyebrows across the Internet, including a sharply written objection from well-regarded IT editor Bob Evans at Information Week. Others like Steve Mezak, the CEO at outsourcing consultancy Accelerance, point out that the ranking is largely a joke considering the improvements going on in Bogota.

What have we learned?

We at Caribbean CRM Central and parent publisher Nearshore Americas believe this is an important rallying cry for the region as a whole to recognize that random and erroneous claims such as this one should not go unchallenged.  One of our primary roles at this media organization is to bring to light the reality of doing business in Nearshore countries that is accurate and provides a voice for both customers and providers of outsourcing services. As a Brazilian friend – who works in the outsourcing services industry and grew up in Brazil – recently told me: Sao Paulo is a whole lot more dangerous than Bogota. Yet, where did the Black Book authors place Sao Paulo? The city placed 31st on the list of risky outsourcing destinations.  We’re not picking on Brazil either – the point is that the people who really know what’s going on are the people you want to talk to when you do “research.” The Internet can be a powerful tool in spreading the truth and portraying reality. That’s what we’re here for…. – Kirk

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2 Responses

  1. Over the last 20 years, I have seen a lot of changes occur in Bogota… one of my favorite cities in LatAm. The environment in the government is very US friendly now, with ample evidence that this good will may continue for the foreseeable future. The bad reputation spread about by ignorant or unprofessional people has helped to create less competition for professional managers.

    May I suggest that it is always a good idea to do all the research on a deal BEFORE getting to the closing table when doing business overseas? Here’s a resource you may want to consider.

    Stories abound on the blogs and boards that detail troublesome issues that occurred as the result of some unknown legal or administrative issue that caused a potentially rewarding opportunity to turn nasty.

    I am fortunate that I have a daughter who is an international lawyer with a firm in Coral Gables, FL that is involved in court cases in many countries around the world. She is Paula Aguila, resident of Miami Beach and Mar del Plata, Argentina. Paula was born in Brazil, lived in Argentina, Spain etc and is active in contract and trial law in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Her LinkedIn profile is http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paula-aguila/14/478/375

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