Digital Transformation – The Writing is on the Wall!
Cisco President Latin America & Senior Vice President in the Americas
Smart and Connected Communities
The Latin American Opportunity: Creating Competitive Advantage Today and Into Tomorrow
It’s an exciting time to be in Latin America – digital transformation is taking place all over the region, changing the way we live and do business. Projects in many Latin American countries are using technology to deliver cutting-edge citizen experiences, boost innovation, and transform business and government processes to become more efficient.
The writing is on the wall, and savvy business leaders are trying to figure out how to digitally transform their companies – where to start, what to do, and how to use digital technology to add value for their customers and their business. Government organizations and businesses in all industries are realizing that in order to be successful, they must embrace new digital operating models.
And Cisco LatAm is helping these businesses thrive in this new digital economy, engaging and personalizing every digital project through the LatAm Digitization Acceleration Framework. Each new digital initiative causes a ripple effect that improves the lives of everyone in the region -- creating new jobs, providing expanded access to education, bringing better healthcare to more people, increasing public safety, and more.
Cisco’s Framework replicates best practices within three main pillars: government efficiencies, national competitiveness, and social inclusion. Citizen services, smart cities, connected industries, education, and healthcare are all included in these pillars.
For instance, Cisco is supporting the City of Panama in an initiative to transform this key Central American capital into a Smart & Connected City. Based on a joint assessment by the City and the Inter-American Development Bank, this transformation will alleviate the growing pains that have plagued this financial powerhouse since it doubled its population and tripled the area it occupies over the last 20 years. Going digital will strengthen and stabilize the infrastructure in this busy logistics hub, prioritizing urban mobility, transportation, waste removal, water management, resolving urban development inequalities and reducing disaster vulnerabilities. By its 500th Anniversary in 2019, the City expects to be a true “Smart City.” Cisco is also supporting the Central Government of Panama in the implementation of their digital “Panama 4.0” agenda, working hand in hand with the Innovation Agency (AIG) and the Ministry of the Presidency to transform education, health care and government services for its people.
The growth in Panama City has been nothing short of explosive. And as the city transforms, so must its businesses. Banco de Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest private bank, opened a branch in Panama City in 2008, and soon felt its own growing pains. The bank’s two data centers, built on legacy technology, were not able to scale fast enough to support Banco de Guayaquil’s growth. The bank turned to digitization -- and Cisco -- to find a solution, in the form of a new stable, scalable, and secure digital data center platform.
As businesses transform, they need three things: a strong, reliable, widespread network, employees who understand how to manage the new digital technology, and a government that prioritizes digital transformation. Digital inclusion is part of Costa Rica’s country strategy at the uppermost level – it is one of three pillars in the country’s digital transformation strategy, along with increasing government efficiency and taking advantage of the digital economy to increase national competitiveness. Cisco is working with the country’s leaders to strategize the best way to raise their ranking in the Network Readiness Index through digital transformation, which has a strong correlation with economic growth.
One way Costa Rica plans to meet their digital goals is with a focus on education and training – getting its people ready to fill all the digital jobs that will be needed in the next 20 years. The Cisco Networking Academy is celebrating a ten-year partnership with the Costa Rican Ministry of Education this year. This partnership, in collaboration with leading educational institutions, government and NGOs in Costa Rica, has helped prepare more than 53,000 students for IT careers, and that number continues to rise exponentially. This year alone over 14,000 students are enrolled in the program, which will prepare them to build, support, and maintain the all-important network that is powering the digital revolution. 24% of those students are women. To put the numbers in perspective, the enrollment in the Cisco Networking Academy program is almost half the size of the biggest university in the country!
The Cisco Networking Academy, in conjunction with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and SENA (a government-funded technical training institute), is also helping to resolve a different social and economic issue in Colombia – one that is unique to the region. A pilot program is helping injured soldiers learn networking skills, and solving two problems at once – employing the thousands of injured soldiers who are no longer fighting in Colombia’s 50-year civil war, and filling the country’s IT jobs gap.
These are just a few examples of how Latin American countries are using digital transformation to bolster their economies and improve the quality of life for their citizens. This infographic highlights several more digital initiatives that Cisco is supporting in Latin America. Take a look!
Digital transformation is happening now. And Cisco’s digital network is a critical part of a business or government’s journey to digitize. We are excited and proud to support the transformation of this region!