Crystalis Consulting charts new course in Colombia, Bolivia

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spanish IT consultancy firm Crystalis Consulting has thrown its Colombia and Bolivia expansion plans in reverse, as intentions to enter those geographies through acquisitions and partnerships, respectively, have hit significant speed bumps.

Crystalis partner Santiago Fernández said last year that the most surefire entrance into Colombia's competitive market would be through inorganic growth. Although still interested in purchasing a local firm, Crystalis has backtracked partially, and will now emphasize organic growth in that country.

"We're hoping to find a company to acquire, but we can't just sit around waiting for that opportunity to come up," Fernández now told BNamericas. "During the course of the next few months - in the first half of the year - we will have people there working."

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Fernández also said last year that partnerships with local firms represented the key to success in Bolivia. Still, those plans have not panned out.

"We are keeping an eye on the political situation in Bolivia," he said. "All the work that we're doing there now is mainly being run out of Peru."

"We are working alone.... We haven't found any company with which we can form a strong partnership."


Colombia and Bolivia, together with Brazil, represent Crystalis' newest Latin American markets.

The Spanish firm, which focuses exclusively on services related to SAP (NYSE: SAP) software solutions, saw its overall Latin American revenues increase 35% to US$43mn last year, beating out previous growth expectations of 15%.

Brazil has emerged as one of Crystalis' top Latin American growth drivers, driven by business in sectors such as construction.

"In Brazil, there is space to grow. We didn't go there to take away market from anyone else," he said. "There are industries where other consultancies have not yet arrived."

Plans for 2011 include implementing SAP solutions on mobile devices, expanding BI and ERP projects in the Caribbean and leveraging the recent acquisition of Argentine BI provider Crystal Solutions, which has presence in Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia.

The Spanish firm is also awaiting government technology tenders in countries such as Chile, according to the executive. "For example, we are talking with the health ministry and we see some opportunities there. We have also been working with the planning ministry for a while."

"There are software implementation tenders coming up in the health ministry."

Crystalis expects its Latin American revenues to increase 20% this year. On a global level, the company saw revenues increase 10% last year, reaching US$175mn, Fernández said.