Economic, political stability key for IBM's US$300mn investment plan

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Costa Rica's economic stability and government investment plans to improve its citizens' skills were the main drivers behind IBM'sdecision to invest US$300mn in the next 10 years to build a new IT delivery center, Patt Cronin, general manager for IBM technology delivery and delivery excellence, told BNamericas.

IBM intends to employ up to 1,000 people at this new facility by 2014, although the exact location has not been decided yet, said Cronin, who declined to commit to any timeline for the project launch.

"Our business is growing, so we were looking to expand our footprint," Cronin said, adding that IBM's investment criteria sought countries that have a "proven track record" with its business line.

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This week, Costa Rica's government launched its so-called "social digital agreement" to promote digital technology.

"With the president [Laura Chinchilla] being part of the process throughout the entire time, here and in the US, we had very strong support from her to go forward. I think it matches with her agenda in terms of focus on education and 'up-skilling' the citizens of Costa Rica in terms of IT. Their focus on science and technology completely matches with the type of skills that we were looking for," she said.

The company's operation in the country currently focuses on human resources, finance and accounting, and shared services processes to clients in North and South America.

The new center will primarily support IBM's strategic outsourcing clients, providing server systems operations, security services and end-user services, including maintenance and monitoring of computer hardware and software systems.

This new center will complement IBM's investments in Latin America during the past 18 months, such as three new datacenters (Brazil, Chile and Peru), new global services delivery center facilities in Argentina, a microfinance hub in Peru, and the IBM innovation center and Project XIV, a 180 Terabyte-capacity storage device, both in Mexico.