Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nearshore Americas throws in the towel

Previously optimistic Nearshore Americas says Cuban offshore IT is a lost cause.

In an earlier post, I asked whether the nascent Cuban software community would thrive. The offshore IT firm Nearshore Americas seemed to think the answer was "yes." Two years ago, I described their report on Cuba’s Readiness for ICT Transformation, which spoke of barriers to success but also documented Cuba's talent pool and the government agenda for improving connectivity.

That was two years ago. Today, they have given up on Cuba. Kirk Laughlin, Nearshore Americas founder and managing director, has written a post stating that
For those who continue to hope that Cuba will turn the corner, stop hoping. It’s futile. We know it first hand, and in this piece, I’ll explain as plainly as I can that Cuba is a lost cause, a basket-case for global services and easily the biggest disappointment ever in the short history of Nearshore information technology and business process outsourcing.
He goes on to describe his frustrating interactions with stubborn, paranoid Cuban officials and diplomats during the ensuing two years. He came to realize that "an American pitching technology in Havana is like a Russian selling satellite equipment in Washington, D.C. – suspicions are instantly raised."

Hopefully, things will change in the future, but Trump's presidency is not likely to diminish Cuban official's fear of expressing opinions that contradict the party line and Díaz-Canel's policy is uncertain.

The following figures show results of Nearshore Americas' poll of Cuban IT workers two years ago.

Update 9/5/2017

Inspired by the Nearshore Americas post, Cuban blogger and professor Armando Camacho has written a post on the failure of Cuban outsourcing (in Spanish). He speaks of Cuba's potential as an outsourcing hub, Nearshore Americas' optimism after President Obama's liberal Cuban policy announcement in December 2014 and their disappointment with Cuba's response. As Camacho puts it "nobody likes to get a zero on an exam," and that is the grade he is giving the Cuban government.

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