Spain could be a low-risk, high-value IT services destination for UK companies.
The AEC (Spanish association of consultancy firms), which comprises25 companies, was in London this week to promote Spain as a potential destination for near-shore IT services for UK companies.
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Spain is on a par with India if the total cost of an outsourced IT service is taken into account.
The countryhas a lot of IT graduates and is also a gateway to low-cost services in South America.
Juan Jose Kuntz, CEO at Santander's technology arm Isban in the UK, said the bank does not offshore IT but has services carried out in its Spanish homeland.
"The number of IT professionals is high and the knowledge of retail banking in Spain is one of the best in the world. The rates are also very competitive," he said.
The AEC said that the services Spain can offer are complementary to other destinations, such as India and Eastern European countries.It said Spain can offer project management and business insight skills.
Suppliers of outsourced services are building models that mix near-shore and offshore services.
Spain, according to the AEC, could also be a way for firms to access services from South America.
"Spanish companies have been offshoring to South America for about 10 years," said an AEC spokesman.
He said Spanish suppliers will communicate with South American offshore service providers to overcome language barriers.
Duncan Aitchison, president EMEA at sourcing company TPI, said Spain has been a near-shore option for a while, and has a good level of IT education and people who speak many different European languages.
He added that the historic relationship between Spain and Latin America is an advantage. "Countries such as Brazil and Argentina are establishing themselves as IT services destinations." He said they already service North America.
Robert Morgan, director atHamilton Bailey, which advises suppliers, said in his experience Spain's Catalonia region is a good near-shore destination. He said they can balance work between Spain and South America. "I have done deals where part of a service is carried out in Barcelona while some is carried out in South America. I rate it as a very good multi-lingual callcentre and application development destination."
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