When analyzing the position of Latin America in terms of digital transformation, we show that IT services played a fundamental role when COVID-19 forced the world to take a stand. IT enabled access to various services in sectors such as health, education and government and even allowed millions of companies from all economic sectors to continue operating. Technological solutions took a great leap into the future whilst it increased the demand for space and capacity of infrastructures such as data centers.
Nevertheless, the pandemic also evidenced the digital gap among regions, including the Latin American region. According to a 2020 report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), on digital transformation in the region, there is an important difference when talking about rural and urban areas. The CEPAL affirms that in most countries, there is a significant gap in the number of Internet users between urban and rural areas. On average, this difference reaches 25 percentage points, and in some countries, it reaches 40 percentage points.
However, it is clear that the digital transformation in the region is advancing rapidly, making it necessary to adopt several measures or changes to meet this transformation. A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE) and the United Nations, points out that, it is necessary to address digital gaps and for governments to be emphatic so that transformation benefits reach all regions, areas, cities, population groups, et cetera.
At a time when countries in Latin America and the Caribbean show a high and growing productivity gap compared to developed economies and countries, new technologies and digital transformation become the ‘indispensable’ factor of a region to boost productivity growth, especially for small businesses that are stagnant due to the pandemic.
The OCDE points out that these digital tools are triggering innovations in business models and production systems, the reorganization of economic sectors, new dynamics in the world of work, the supply of smart goods and services and new conditions of competitiveness, which is why the digital transformation must start by providing training, in terms of skilled labor, using these new technologies in all sectors of the population and by adopting a digital thinking culture.
In the case of Colombia, this is a country that strongly promotes the digital economy in the region and it is considered the fourth most important market for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Latin America.
According to Hootsuite data use report (global social media management platform), Colombia is among the 3 countries that surf the internet the most with 10:06 hours a day, while the world average is 6:54 hours, it is the fourth country after Mexico, Argentina and Brazil that most consumes streaming TV, 86.1%, in the ranking; furthermore Colombia is the second country in the world where people spend more time browsing social networks with 03:45 hours a day, only preceded by the Philippines.
All this data consumption requires a large infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment to host and process all the information that, for example, can be generated by the use of a streaming platform; Colombia provides Solutions such as Data Centers based on edge models which guarantee low levels of latency, availability of energy redundancy connection and physical and virtual security for these markets composed not only by audiovisual content companies but also by verticals such as Fintech, health, agribusiness, fuels, energy and telecommunications, logistics, government, digital marketing, virtual and augmented reality, business and big data among others.
Furthermore, the Colombian Federation of Software and IT Industry (Fedesoft) indicates that the ICT Industry represents 1.7% of GDP, with an annual growth of 3.4% compared to 2019.
Data from the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI) corroborates that, after the beginning of the pandemic, 60% of companies have a digital transformation strategy, while, in 2016, that percentage stood at 25%, evidencing an increase and an effort for the adoption of new technologies that promote the development and competitiveness of the region.
In a way, Latin America is advancing by leaps and bounds in terms of digital transformation, but it needs an adequate scenario with all available tools to achieve greater competitiveness, for example, the ZFB Group has developed 6 data centers in the last decade; completing more than 6,000 m2 of white area housing IT teams from large national and international companies and now introduces its most recent construction: Zetta Data Center Complex with a design and construction made for modular growth enabling and assuring flexibility to user needs (energy capacity and available space) whilst providing the basis for the implementation of these new incoming technologies.