Outsourcing in Latin America: 9 Questions Every Business Should Ask About Nearshoring Software Development

Even companies experienced with offshoring discover challenges in outsourcing Agile software development. Traditional offshore locations such as India or the Ukraine may be a solid choice for outsourcing tech projects that require minimal teamwork or communication, such as code maintenance. With complex or custom projects, or Agile development practices that require real-time collaboration, the different time zones, languages, and cultures can derail projects. Tech outsourcing providers that lack experience and infrastructure to support teams that may be working from home for extended periods of time in crisis situations can also threaten project success. Frustrations mount, while work quality and team morale declines. The bottom line of your business may suffer most. 

Nearshoring locations such as Costa Rica in Central America and Colombia in South America, put the margoal of successful Agile outsourcing within reach. Outsourcing services from software development companies in Latin America offers the ideal combination of location, language, culture, education, and innovation you need to support Agile software development.

How can you decide whether Agile software development outsourcing in Latin America meets your business and technical needs? Since 2003, we’ve helped hundreds of leading businesses evaluate the advantages of outsourcing in Latin America for their high-stakes software projects. In this article, we’ll consider nine questions every business should ask about the potential benefits of nearshoring Agile software development.


Table of Contents


1. Does outsourcing in Latin America make real-time collaboration and communication in Agile development easier?

Agile software development requires real-time collaboration and clear communication between team members daily. Unlike offshore outsourcing services, nearshore locations in Latin America, such as Costa Rica and Colombia, offer the right mix of location, language, and culture:

• Latin American locations are in the same or adjacent time zones, so you can have collaborative meetings within your normal operating hours.

• Latin American countries invest in developing strong English language skills so you can communicate clearly with everyone on your team.

• With a strong sense of service and community, Latin American cultures make it easy to build teams that collaborate well in real-time and problem-solve with creativity.

The alignment between our clients and our software development teams in Costa Rica and Colombia is so good, our clients often can’t tell the difference between their U.S. team members and their Gorilla teams.

2. How does language fluency in Latin America impact Agile development teams?

When software development teams share fluency in a common language, you realize the best outcomes in Agile development. Many global businesses use English as their primary language, so most Latin American countries invest heavily in developing strong English language skills , starting with primary education. In fact, for countries like Costa Rica and Colombia, English has become the official second language.  

In Costa Rica, the government promotes English language skills from primary to post-secondary education programs, and 88% of primary school students attend English lessons. Costa Rica now ranks ahead of countries like Brazil, Chile and Mexico in English proficiency. 

In Colombia, the government aims to become fully bilingual by 2025

3. Will cultural similarities with Latin America help nearshore Agile teams work more effectively?

Latin American countries align well with North American culture including business practices, science and technology education, infrastructure, and more. 

As one of the oldest democracies in Latin America, Colombia is deeply committed to promoting security, prosperity, and democratic governance. Cultural affinity is one of the key factors that puts Colombia consistently in the top of Agile tech outsourcing locations lists. You can count on Colombian developers to know how to work well with U.S. workplace culture. 

Costa Rica mirrors North American culture through its business practices and dedication to science and technology education. The tech community pursues certifications that North American businesses value, such as PMP, Six Sigma, ITIL, and more. Renowned for its role as a leader for environmental policies, Costa Rica was recognized for its role as a global leader in environmental policies and a pioneering fighter against climate change when it was named UN Champion of the Earth in 2019. It is also one of the safest countries in Latin America.

4. Will time zone and travel proximity with Latin America help Agile software development?

When project timelines are tight, you can’t lose time waiting for answers to simple questions. Located in the central time zone (UTC/GMT -5 hours), our Agile teams in Costa Rica and Colombia make real-time collaboration easy, a major perk of nearshoring in Latin America.

Another bonus? When you want to visit your nearshore team (and we recommend you do!), traveling to Costa Rica or Colombia is safe and easy, with ample international flights every week. Travel time from Dallas to San José is only four hours. From Miami to Medellín it’s just 3.5 hours. To get to offshore outsourcing locations on the other side of the world, you could be flying 20 hours or more.

5. Does Latin America provide a highly educated workforce for outsourcing software development services?

Education drives economic opportunity. Latin American countries recognize this and invest heavily in preparing students for the workforce. Costa Rica and Colombia are no exception.

Latin America has High Education Levels

Costa Rica ranks as one of the most highly educated countries in Latin America. With an adult literacy rate of 97.98%, Costa Rica:

• Graduates over 4,000 IT and engineering students every year

• Has over 60 private and public higher education institutions

Colombia spends 4.4% of its GDP on education, higher than many countries (the U.S. spends 3.5% of GDP). Colombia’s adult literacy rate is 94.65%, and the country counts:

• Over 30 award-winning universities and leading technology centers

• The highest number of IT and engineering graduates in Latin America

6. How active are the software developer communities in Latin America?

You’ll see the enthusiastic and energetic spirit of Latin Americans reflected in its software developer communities.

The IT community in Costa Rica may even rival the community in Silicon Valley. From meetups to hackathons, and through programs such as MenTe that promote women in science and technology, Costa Rica’s vibrant software culture attracts many foreign companies looking to establish development centers. There’s also a burgeoning startup ecosystem which helps foster a creative, entrepreneurial culture.

With 64,000 developers, Colombia’s high-impact IT and developer communities are active in all major cities. Colombia also hosts the largest JavaScript community in Latin America, and the largest Spanish-speaking JavaScript community in the world. In Medellín, the developer community is booming. The Facebook group Digital Nomads Medellín has more than 7,000 members. Groups like Colombia Startup and FCP Innovation foster a very robust entrepreneurial and developer ecosystem.

7. How easy is it to outsource business to Latin America?

Latin America may be one of the best kept not-so-secret secrets in the business world. Over the last several decades, many Latin American countries, including Costa Rica and Colombia, have pushed reforms and new initiatives designed to attract foreign investment and jobs. 

Costa Rica ranks in the top five and Colombia ranks number one of Latin American countries for ease of doing business and cultural affinity. 

Costa Rica is one of the most politically and economically stable countries in Central America and has shown sustained economic expansion for over 25 years. 

Colombia aggressively pursues foreign investments, offering tax incentives, Free Trade Zones (FTZs), and other hiring and investment benefits to attract top-tier businesses. The long list of US and international companies outsourcing in Colombia puts proof behind the country’s long-standing commitment to business values. In 2019, Medellín won the Nearshore City of the Year award from Nexus.

8. How do Latin American investments in innovation benefit your nearshoring strategy?

As a region, Latin America enthusiastically embraces innovation, and Costa Rica and Colombia shine brightly.

Costa Rica ranks in the top three of Latin American innovation leaders, according to the WIPO 2019 Global Innovation Index

Medellín has won international recognition for its innovation focus. The city invests 2.14% of its GDP in science, technology, and innovation-related activities. Medellín is also one of only five cities in the world (including San Francisco, Tokyo, Beijing, and Mumbai) to host a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These Centres are World Economic Forum hubs for regional and global cooperation to promote science and technology. 

9. Which companies are already outsourcing software development to Central and South America?

Tech giants such as IBM, HP, and Intel have all discovered Latin America, have well-established nearshoring presences throughout the region, and continue to expand their operations. 

Gorilla Logic clients, including Finish Line, Home Advisor, and Maxar have leveraged our nearshore development teams in Latin America for years. In addition to our clients, nearly 300 high-tech companies, 24% of which are Fortune 100, have established operations in Costa Rica. In Colombia, there are over 200 foreign companies (not counting franchises) with current operations, including HP, Kimberly Clark, Amazon, and UPS. Ruta N, the showcase of Medellín’s technology and World Innovation Center hub, hosts over 320 companies from over 30 countries.

Tech Outsourcing in Latin America puts you in great company

When you need to build a high-stakes software solution that can deliver differentiated business value, you need Agile development teams you can trust that work in your time zone and on your terms. To succeed, you should choose a nearshore partner that can deliver:

• Real-time communication and collaboration—miscommunications and time-delayed communications can significantly slow down your project so you want to choose a nearshoring partner that can make sure teams communicate in real time, so your project progresses smoothly without delays.

• Language fluency—build your team in regions that invest in developing and promoting English language skills, so that you have access to skilled technical talent that can communicate effectively in your language.

• Cultural affinity—when everyone on your team understands and aligns with commonly shared business practices, education, infrastructure, and more, the team produces high quality work faster.

• Time-zone proximity—whether it’s in the day-to-day communications within a team or in the ease with which you can visit your outsourced team, nearshoring means you spend less time getting work done.

• Access to a highly educated workforce—outsourcing software development in regions that invest in developing highly skilled workers means you will always have a readily available pool of skilled talent for your projects.

• Locally active developer communities—the best developers learn from and inspire each other, and Latin American is home to some of the most vibrant and active developer communities in the world. 

• Ease of doing business—Latin American countries prioritize initiatives that attract foreign investment and jobs, making it easier for you to do business.

• Local and regional focus on innovation—Latin America embraces innovation, a boon when you are building your own nearshore development team of highly-skilled Agile software developers.

• Presence of global leaders—when leading global companies set the example by successfully outsourcing their business-critical operations in Latin America, you can bet they’ve discovered a business advantage.

For complex software development projects that require real-time communication and collaboration, as well as the very best technical skills and creative minds, Latin America is the game-changing answer. Nearshoring your project with a purpose-built team of expert Gorilla developers in Costa Rica and Colombia means you get the very best technical skills and creative minds, together with the exceptional combination of location, language, culture, education, ease of doing business, and innovation focus you need for Agile outsourcing success. It’s clear that when outsourcing in Latin America with Gorilla Logic, you’ll be in great company.

Ready to be Unstoppable? Partner with Gorilla Logic, and you can be.