Is It Time To Expand Your Team To Mexico?

IT Managers are starting to discover nearshoring in Mexico
IT Managers are starting to discover nearshoring in Mexico

Image Credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

As an IT manager, you are faced with a number of significant challenges. One of these is to use your IT manager skills to get the most productive work out of your team given the budget that has been provided to you. There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this; however, there is one that you may not have thought of. It’s a relatively new concept: nearshoring. How would you feel with having a part of your IT team located in Mexico?

Why Mexico?

In the world of IT, when you wanted to grow your team cheaply, our IT manager training told us that the answer always used to be “go to India”. Or more lately, “go to China”. Sadly, as with all “one size fits all” answers, what used to work no longer seems to do the trick. What has happened is that the value of the Chinese yuan is rising and competition for skilled Indian IT workers is heating up resulting in a labor shortage. It sure seems like it is time to go looking for another solution.

For U.S. based IT managers; it turns out that the answer to how you can grow your IT team without breaking the bank may be closer than you would think: Mexico. The biggest advantage that Mexico brings to the table is that it is so very close to the U.S. In a pinch, an IT manager can always hop on a plane and a few hours later be meeting with his or her team to do some IT team building in Mexico. The same can’t be said for IT teams in India or China.

Mexico has a couple of other advantages going for it. The first of these is that way back in 1994, the U.S. and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) . What this means for you is that goods and services imported from Mexico can enter the U.S. duty free – one less hassle for you to have to worry about. Another advantage of basing part of your IT team in Mexico is that Mexico has a strong reputation for protecting intellectual property. In the world of IT this is a critical feature that India and China can’t always match.

Four Issues About Mexico To Be Aware Of

All of that being said, basing part of your IT team in Mexico is not like placing that team somewhere remotely in the U.S. There are going to be differences. As an IT manager you are going to have to be aware of these differences and you are going to have to adjust your management style to deal with it. Here are four issues that you’ll need to address:

  • Mexico Is Not Cheap: Now, it’s also not as expensive as doing business in the U.S. However, your IT budget is not going to go as far in Mexico as it does in, say, China. You should expect to pay roughly 40% more for your IT staff in Mexico than you would for the same staff in China.
  • Take Your Time: The one thing that you don’t want to do is to just show up in Mexico and set up a big IT team. Take your time and do this slowly. Start with a couple of team members and then grow the team over time. This will give your team time to get used to working with the Mexico team and vice versa.
  • Security Is Important: Mexico is not the U.S. There are still some major physical security issues associated with doing business in Mexico, especially depending on where your team will be located (there are more problems up North). Plan on paying for security guards to keep your Mexico offices and staff safe and secure.
  • Local Holidays Count: It can be too easy to start to treat Mexico like an extension of the U.S. Don’t do this. Mexico has its own culture and that is different from the U.S. culture. A good example of this is that Mother’s Day is a big deal in Mexico: make sure that you give employees that day off and try to do something special for their mothers.

What All Of This Means For You

IT managers always have limited budgets with which to work. What this means is that they are always on the lookout for ways to make their limited budgets go farther. One new way to make this happen is called nearshoring and it involves having part of their team be in Mexico.

Mexico offers U.S. based IT managers with some unique opportunities. It’s located close to the U.S. and can be easily reached. The North American Free Trade Agreement allows good and services to be exchanged with no import duty. IT managers do need to be aware of a few things. Costs may be similar to the U.S., building a team in Mexico should be done slowly, physical security matters, and you need to respect the local culture.

In this business, opportunities to get more done with the same amount of money come along far too rarely. Reaching out to Mexico to build part of your team is an idea that every IT manager needs to consider. There are, of course, a number of issues that you need to be aware of. However, in order to build a better team, this is yet one another option that may allow you stretch your IT budget further..

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How much of your team in terms of a percentage do you think you could manage being in Mexico?

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