A bright spot in Latin America’s economy today and a key priority for growth is the adoption of digital and automation technologies. The excitement around the topic has been evident at our series of “Digital Day” events around the region, where we’ve had the opportunity to meet thousands of executives and discuss the future of digital in the region. Late last year, 1,200 clients attended our “Digital Day” in São Paulo, Brazil; in March, we hosted over 200 attendees in Mexico City; in May, we hosted 400 attendees in Lima, Peru; earlier this month, we held events for over 400 attendees in Medellín and Bogotá, Colombia; and in October, we’ll be in Santiago, Chile.
“We’re seeing a lot of innovation initiatives happening in Latin America, especially in Colombia, with an increasing number of investors and venture-capital firms looking to fund start-ups,” says Adriana Vargas, a software architect who joined Digital McKinsey in Bogotá at the end of last year. She has a decade of experience in developing digital platforms for both the public and private sectors. Adriana is among the more than ten new hires to join the Bogotá office in recent months in order to help clients innovate their existing IT architectures as well as build new ones from scratch. In Brazil, nearly 30 new people have joined Digital McKinsey in just this past year in our São Paulo office, including Marcelo Tripoli, former chief creative officer of SapientNitro in Latin America.
With offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and now Panama, we’re serving the growing digitization needs for both incumbent companies and start-ups. “While Latin American economies are not as large as the US or some Asian countries, they offer the demand for and ability to support digital investments,” says Heitor Martins, a senior partner in São Paulo. “So we see many of McKinsey’s most important digital transformations in the world taking place in LatAm.”
For example, Adriana was on a team of 15 digital specialists that recently helped a Peruvian bank develop an account-opening app that uses facial-recognition software to authenticate users. The momentum from the project inspired the client to set up a new digital center of excellence to perpetuate a culture of digital and agile thinking. “This model has already been applied successfully to several other clients since that time,” shares Adriana.
Another story of impact is from a Brazilian insurance company where we helped launch an entirely new and separate digital start-up and brand. Over 12 months, our agile coaches, designers, and developers worked alongside the client to develop an internal set of IT solutions and customer-facing web sites and apps, and to recruit a digital native team of 50+ experts.
“When clients come to our ‘Digital Day’ events and see what’s possible—and what other companies are already achieving—it’s a big step forward in helping them imagine their own transformations,” explains Heitor.