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Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects

First edition, 2018
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, José; González-Alvarado, Tania Elena; González-Uribe,
Elsa Georgina; Espinoza-Mercado, Óscar (coordinators). Competitiveness
Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions. México: Universidad de
This work is a product of the members of RIICO (Red Internacional de
Investigadores en Competitividad) with external contributions. The
findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this work do not
necessarily reflect the views of Universidad de Guadalajara and RIICO.
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© 2018, Universidad de Guadalajara
Centro Universitario de Ciencias Económico Administrativas
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ISBN 978-84-17523-15-2
Prologue…………………………………………………………………… 5
José Sánchez-Gutiérrez
Chapter 1………………………………………………………………….. 7
Knowledge Management and Strategic Vision in Guayaquil
Manuel Alfredo Ortiz-Barrera
José Sánchez-Gutiérrez
Guillermo Vázquez-Ávila
Chapter 2…………………………………………………………………. 27
Service Quality Granted by a Marketing Company
Antonio de Jesús Vizcaíno
Luis Fernando Iñiguez-Charles
Adriana León-Luis
Bárbara Pérez-Rocha
Chapter 3…………………………………………………………………. 55
Sustained Competitiveness through Intangible Assets
Jaime Apolinar Martínez-Arroyo
Marco Alberto Valenzo-Jiménez
Angélica Guadalupe Zamudio-de la Cruz
Chapter 4…………………………………………………………………. 79
Management Leadership and Organizational Change in Commercial
Luis Alberto Bellon-Álvarez
José de Jesús Urzúa-López
Margarita Isabel Islas-Villanueva
Araceli Durán-Hernández
Chapter 5…………………………………………………………………. 111
Key Factors for Port Competitiveness in Mexican Container Terminals
Dolores Guadalupe Martínez-Peña
Irma Cristina Espitia-Moreno
Óscar Valdemar de la Torre-Torres
Chapter 6…………………………………………………………………. 149
Innovation in Distribution: New Strategies from Large Commercial
Víctor Manuel Castillo-Girón
Manuel Machuca-Martínez
Suhey Ayala-Ramírez
Chapter 7…………………………………………………………………. 185
The measurement of Regional Competitiveness in Mexico in
comparison with International Level
Emma Frida Galicia-Haro
Ana Lilia Coria-Páez
Irma Cecilia Ortega-Moreno
Chapter 8…………………………………………………………………. 209
Agricultural Competitiveness under a weighted perspective of the
Production Value. Case of Michoacán
Carlos Francisco Ortiz-Paniagua
Zoe T. Infante-Jiménez
Joel Bonales-Valencia
Chapter 9…………………………………………………………………. 235
A test of the performance of type 4 SIEFORES: Do these pay a better
return than all the less risky ones?
Oscar V. de la Torre-Torres
Evaristo Galeana-Figueroa
Dora Aguilasocho-Montoya
Chapter 10 ………………………………………………………………. 253
Asymmetric Collaboration in Mexican IT Companies: causes and effects
Tania Elena González-Alvarado
Renata Kubus
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT:
causes and effects
Tania Elena González-Alvarado
Universidad de Guadalajara, México
Renata Kubus
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
Collaboration between companies is essential for local development (Esser
et al., 1996; Alburquerque, 2006; Erkuş-Öztürk & Eraydın, 2010). In free
market environments, such collaboration needs to be run with agents
coming from other countries (González & Rodenes, 2008). It allows the
company to operate in several regions with lower risks, costs and resources
(González, 2007).
These collaborations may or may not lead to the creation of value (Band,
1994, Fernández, Montes & Vázquez, Vidal, 2000, Prahalad & Ramaswamy,
2004, Zott & Amit, 2009). Asymmetric relationships (Keohane, 1990, Di
Filippo, 1998, Tickner, 2011; Pérez, & Cambra-Fierro, 2015) present an
obstacle to business cooperation strategies and, almost always, the ties that
are formed are characterized by the dependence of the smaller company
towards the bigger one. The relationships encouraged among Information
Technology (IT) companies worldwide are mainly asymmetric. They are
maintained progressively through certifications. They validate the
representation and use of certain technology, property of the transnational
company for a smaller one.
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
In this way, the information technology sector is no stranger to the relations
under the competition strategy. It is a sector in which the ties tend to be
many, but they mostly translate into asymmetric and dependent
relationships. One of the reasons, is the need for telecommunications
infrastructure which is in the hands of one or two companies (Almeida,
2001, Fisher & Serra, 2004, Razo & Rojas, 2007). During the last century,
telecommunications infrastructure was developed by public capital, which
when privatized led to the existence of monopolies that persist to these
Another reason, is that technological innovation corresponds to more
developed countries, and its adoption has barriers for the transfer and
assimilation that many time results in another, own innovation (Godínez,
2000, Yarza, 2004, Bandala, 2007, González, 2008, Arceo & Urturi , 2010;
Maldonado, 2012). These two facts, infrastructure and barriers to
technology transfer, combine to characterize Mexican IT companies based
on the existing infrastructure for Telecommunications. Furthermore, it
implies scarce development of proprietary technologies; minor
development in terms of hardware; high concentration on a smaller size
and customized software development; oriented mainly to consulting.
In general, foreign corporations intensive in digitised services (for instance,
from banking sector), establishing itself in other countries, enter
accompanied by the need of their software adoption and implementation in
order to effectively take the control of their subsidiaries (being) established
there. In case of the periphery countries, lower costs and the distance from
the headquarters makes interesting an establishment of their own software
companies there, if prospering foreseen to provide even some IT services to
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
the mother company and its subsidiaries in other countries. In a particular
case of Mexico, relative proximity of the strong economy of the United
States or Canada, furthermore implying higher development and lower
risk level of Mexico, makes from this country an interesting starting
operational point for such IT of multinational companies which are for
instance from Europe.
However, the multinational companies are obliged to maintain strict
internal cost controls and to provide an extensive overview of the labour
conditions of their employees to the shareholders (and customers). Thus,
they do not expand so much the number of internal IT departments and
employees. They rather establish new IT and consultancy companies and/
or enter the allegiances with the existing ones. Because of the IT software
and hardware strict audit requirements perspective, they would need to
have the partners among the so called Big 5 global consultancy companies,
such as Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), Deloitte Touche
Consulting (Deloitte Consulting), Ernst & Young, KPMG Consulting,
PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Big international IT companies (IBM, Oracle,
INDRA, for instance) will be other partners to take into account for this
Prestige, lower risk and common history of collaboration in other markets
and countries are also relevant dimensions being taken into account. Other
IT companies to be considered would rather need to have strong, local
knowledge (reporting to national authorities is in general such an area, for
instance) or connections, or probably personal relationships, even if most
probably not direct ones. In sum, it leads to the establishment of rather an
opaque framework of flow of exchanging the benefits and losts, and
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
favours among the companies and their high executives and widening,
deepening and in general enlarging the sub-contraction chain of projects
and workers. Only at further stages, more genuinely local providers would
be probably able to enter the allegiances. Open source software companies
can be an interesting case to study, probably showing other dynamics in
The development and incorporation of new technologies in the economy is
essential in the process of value creation (Yoguel, 2000; Capó et al., 2007), it
translates into a major evolution of production and organization models
and other activities of the companies. (Sieber & Valor, 2008). However, for
its incorporation into the economy, innovative technologies require
telecommunications infrastructure. The combination of both, infrastructure
and technology, gives way to the development of customized software.
The software industry is knowledge-intensive (Novick, 2002, Erbes et al.,
2006) and can generate skilled and better-paid jobs, as well as innovative
environments. In addition, this business requires less initial investment
than others (Hualde & Gomis, 2007). It also implies high value-added
activities related to the software industry such as consulting, maintenance,
support and integration that, in general, are aimed at satisfying a specific
need of the client.
The technical and productive characteristics of the different activities that
the software industry comprises give rise to different relationships between
companies and, therefore, to a different geography of their disposal.
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
Customized software is developed through close and constant interaction
with the client (Hualde & Gomis, 2007). It is characterized by the provision
of intangible services, making intensive use of knowledge and innovation,
that are main sources of generation of competitive advantages. It has a high
potential to generate added value and create new jobs, it also implies
training that is much higher than for the average economy. In addition,
there is an evidence of an increasing penetration in various economic
activities and a clear predominance of micro, small and medium
enterprises (Estayno et al., 2009).
Infrastructure has a high impact on poverty reduction and sustained
economic development (González, 1993; Moser, 1998; Roller & Waverman,
2001; Ali & Pernia, 2003). According to Perrotti and Sánchez (2011) in Latin
America and the Caribbean, recent years have shown a decrease in
investments earmarked for this purpose, which caused a distancing
between the infrastructure requirements and the effective provision of it.
According to Perrotti and Sánchez (2011), it is necessary to invest annually
around 5.2% of the regional GDP to respond to the needs of companies and
final consumers in the region, only in the period 2006-2020. This volume
investment has not been achieved in Latin America. Graphs 1 and 2 show
the low and inconstant investment in telecommunications infrastructure in
Latin America. Careful consideration of the data is required as the time
span is corresponding to the last collapse related to international crisis.
There is an inconsistency happening both in public and private investment.
The countries with the greatest impact of investment in this area are the
smallest of the region.
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
Graph 1. Private investment in telecommunications as a percentage of
GDP (2008-2014)
Source: Own elaboration based on BID (2017) data.
Mexico is positioned in the last places in this statistical comparison (Graphs
1 & 2). This is unfortunate because it impedes the development of the
region. The maximum investment has been concentrated in the big cities
and in the main commercial routes, both of them are attractive for foreign
investment that is shaping up as a maquiladora (assembly line services and
This favors economic growth in the short term in certain regions of the
country but accentuates the inequalities between regions and hinders the
growth of rural areas. There are locations areas of companies with
international activities that have no proper communication infrastructure
and, therefore, do not have Internet access. This condition in turn requires
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
establishing offices in the urban area, increasing operating costs and further
complicating the company operations.
Graph 2. Public investment in Telecommunications as a GDP percentage
Source: Own elaboration based on BID (2017) data.
Mexico is positioned in the last places in this statistical comparison. This is
unfortunate because it impedes the development of the region. The
maximum investment has been concentrated in the big cities and in the
main commercial routes, both of them are attractive for foreign investment
that is shaping up as a maquiladora (assembly line services and industry).
This favors economic growth in the short term in certain regions of the
country but accentuates the inequalities between regions and hinders the
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
growth of rural areas. There are locations areas of companies with
international activities that have no proper communication infrastructure
and, therefore, do not have Internet access. This condition in turn requires
establishing offices in the urban area, increasing operating costs and further
complicating the company operations.
A greater availability and quality of infrastructure services facilitates a
higher productivity and lower production costs for producers (Rozas,
2010). The higher profitability encourages investment and, therefore,
increases the product growth potential. The main reason for the insufficient
development of the basic infrastructure of Latin America in the last two
decades lies in the difficulties that countries have had to maintain an
adequate rhythm of investment in the different activities of the sector
(Rozas, 2010).
Both public and private investment retain an important role in the
construction of environments that facilitate the use of IT and its adequate
assimilation by local agents. The existence of competitive companies that
operate in the IT sector depend heavily on the existence of
telecommunication infrastructure.
Investment in infrastructure leads to an increase in the number of
companies operating in the sector; such is the Spanish case. It needs to be
taken into careful consideration as Spanish economy and its actors have a
prevailing old-school inclination towards the hard infrastructure (see for
instance, real estate and associated bubble undermining the general
economy, regional airports or motorways explosion with the waste of
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
public money due to their closing or need for compensation for the private
The telecommunications infrastructure is one of the best in Europe,
however the operations run on them are not at the level that hopefully will
increase in the future. The Spanish IT sector is characterized by the
sustained growth in the number of companies, which went from 25,838 in
1999 to 55,707 in 2008. Small companies, however, are proliferating, and in
many cases, micro-companies with sole ownership. Thus, 56% of the total
companies in the sector correspond to self-employed professionals without
contracted employees (which represents an increase of 5 percentage points
with respect to 2001), and 24% corresponds to companies with one or two
employees, especially in the IT services segment, where 58% of the
companies are formed by independent professionals. It is followed by the
telecommunications services segment, with 50%, and third, manufacturing,
with 34%. (Sieber & Valor, 2008)
Likewise, the IT services segment brings together 88% of the total number
of companies in the IT sector, which are mainly focused on consultancy,
supply, IT assessment for applications and computer programs, as well as
rental, maintenance and repair of machinery and equipment. (Sieber &
Valor, 2008).
Another example is Egypt. During more than three decades, Egypt has
implemented IT policy plans and established the relevant institutions and
regional technology centers in order to boost the international
competitiveness of the sector and the inflows of IT related foreign
investments. In 2011 and 2012, the number of Egyptian IT companies
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
increased at an annual rate of approximately 15%, so that in 2012 the
country had more than 5,000 companies of this type. (WIPO, 2014)
In the period 2011-2012, the income of the IT industry reached 65,000
million Egyptian pounds. In 2012, exports reached a total of 1,442 million
Egyptian pounds. In the period 2012-2013, the ICT sector contributed 3.3
percentage points to Egyptian GDP. In 2012, the IT sector employed 283,000
workers through direct contracting. For IT companies in other countries,
Egypt has been an attractive destination for investment for more than a
decade. Companies such as Apple, Cisco, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle,
Teradata, Valeo, Vodafone or Yahoo!, among others, have subsidiaries in the
country (WIPO, 2014).
Most Egyptian companies are engaged in data transmission and hosting
activities in the field of IT services and related administrative support
services, or what is also referred to as outsourcing of business services, or
software manufacturing. Either these are Egyptian companies that provide
their services mainly to foreign multinationals from high income countries
or else such multinationals have established subsidiaries in Egypt, and
those are the ones that execute the activities directly (WIPO, 2014).
On the basis of available data, it is not easy to adequately analyze the
extent and nature of innovation in the IT sector in Egypt, whether these are
local ICT companies or subsidiaries of multinational companies (WIPO,
2014). When analyzing the available IT specific data; or the main data
compiled during the study mission, it appears that only a small number of
Egyptian IT companies were engaged in R & D and innovation activities.
Thus, for instance, among the 400 software companies, the focus is on the
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
production of a customized software, intended for another end user, as
input to services aimed at completion of a tangible or intangible product
(WIPO, 2014). The activity focuses on traditional processes, testing and
configuration and other basic activities, rather than on more advanced
When deciding on matters and investment, multinational companies did
not usually take into account Egypt's R & D capabilities or considered them
irrelevant. Most of the affiliates of the multinationals in the ICT sector in
Egypt are engaged in marketing and sales and the possible manufacturing
or adaptation of existing products to local markets or other Arabic-
speaking countries. For these companies, the main investment factor in
Egypt is a highly qualified and specialized workforce (WIPO, 2014). The
point is here that this is a stage in the innovation ecosystem establishment.
With time probably this activity will have the possibility of evolving into a
more advanced one.
Mexico is the sixth best destination in the world for the location of global
services, which include outsourcing of Information Technology (IT) and
business process outsourcing (BPO) services, as well as work in voice (such
as contact and call centers). On the other hand, Mexico ranked second in
Latin America as an investment destination, attracting 23% of the total
investment in the software sector projects. Furthermore, it is considered
also the best destination in the Americas for the establishment of IT
companies (ProMéxico, 2017).
Mexico has become the third largest exporter of IT services worldwide.
Exports of IT services and BPOs showed a 12.25% growth, increasing its
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
value to 5.560 million dollars with respect to the previous year, 2011.
(ProMéxico, 2017).
The IT industry in Mexico is composed by small and medium-sized
companies oriented mainly to the production of services. A significant
proportion of software production in the country is self- or in-house
consumption, so that large companies in other sectors develop or adapt
internally the software programs they use and the IT services they require.
(ProMéxico, 2017).
The largest or so-called corporate companies are focused on
implementation services and, in particular, the development of customized
software and the implementation and support of solutions; a very high
proportion of these services are offered through outsourcing of personnel
where the company is not responsible for the project, which reflects lower
added value and vulnerability (Select, 2012).
It seems that when the size of the Mexican company decreases, its portfolio
of goods and services is becoming more diversified; that is, smaller
companies sell equipment, software and services in a more heterogeneous
mix, reflecting less focus and specialization. The same happens when
analyzing ICT services divided into consulting, implementation, support
and outsourcing. This diversification is also associated with lower
proportions of turnover per employee, so it can be affirmed that the most
specialized companies are those with the highest performance (Select,
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
Both, small and medium companies are those that have a higher percentage
of linkage with multinational companies. In general, all sizes of companies
mainly serve as distribution channels (23%), solution integrators (30%)
and / or service providers (47%) of multinational companies that do not
necessarily have headquarters in Mexico (Select, 2012). Of the 23% of the
companies that serve as distribution channels, 35% reported that in
addition to distributing solutions, they are in the process of obtaining the
necessary certifications that accredit them as service providers (Select,
On the other hand, of 42% of the companies that do not have a business
relationship with a multinational company, 47% reported that they are
already in the process of having it. The software development and IT
services sectors, as well as the research centers, have high percentages of
association with global companies and institutions. It is noteworthy that
the creative media segment is mainly focused on the realization of local
projects. This finding reflects the need for programs focused on the
internationalization of this sector in Mexico. Lastly, remote business
services and contact centers are the segments with the lowest linkage
percentages due to the weight of local content derived from the type of
activities they perform (Select, 2012). Under this scenario, we proceeded to
analyze the results achieved by a group of small and medium-sized
Mexican companies.
The database on companies operating in business cooperation networks
within the framework of Al-Invest corresponding to the information
technology sector, was integrated by companies that participated in the
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
program through Nacional Financiera (NAFIN) . The Eurocentro Nafin
organized 16 business meetings in the period 2002-2009 (2,724 participating
companies). Two of these events were for Information Technology. About
the companies studied, those that had disappeared were identified and a
comparison was made between those that are still operating and those that
closed. In a period of ten years the information is available for the
companies that once operated in the sector and are not there any longer
The companies initially had the requirements included in different
directories, these were: website and links with companies from other
regions. The Nafin Eurocenter was asked for the data about the events
starting in 2002 because it was allowing a greater distance between the
current situation of the companies and the meetings. In this way, we were
able to analyze in retrospection the behavior of the links between
companies and other local agents. Since the strategies within the business
collaboration link were the aim of the study, the employer or strategist was
required to facilitate interviews, workshops and field visits. This greatly
reduced the study group and subordinated its size in terms of the
phenomenon studied. In this way a study group consisted of only 35
Mexican companies.
Flyvbjerg (2006) points out that when the objective is to achieve as much
information as possible about a given problem or phenomenon, a
representative case or a random sample may not be the most appropriate
strategy. This is because the typical case or the average case usually does
not provide the best or the most appropriate information. Atypical or
extreme cases usually reveal more information because they activate more
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
actors and more basic mechanisms in the situation being studied. In
addition, from a perspective oriented to the understanding but also to the
action, it is usually more important to clarify the deep causes of a certain
problem and its consequences than to describe the symptoms of the
problem and the frequency with which they occur.
Random samples that accentuate representativeness will rarely produce
this type of knowledge and it is more appropriate to select only some cases
due to their validity. (Flyvbjerg, 2006: 45) That is why within this project the
case study is deepened, event if this leads to obtain results more slowly and
with a greater cost.
A questionnaire was applied to entrepreneurs in the sector, field visits were
made, and a workshop was held with eight businessmen. The evidence
recovered through these three tools has been complemented with the
search for information about companies through electronic means. This
allows to triangulate the results and complement the obtained information.
A database was created, containing both qualitative and quantitative
information for each company. That allowed the recording and analysis of
the results. In relation to qualitative information, the binary system has
been fundamental to measure the frequency of events among the
companies studied, identifying tendencies, contradictions and unusual
situations that may contribute to the theory of international cooperation
links, local development and strategies for international competitiveness in
the Information Technology sector.
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
The analysis of the data is enriched with the statistical and economic data
obtained by international organizations (IDB, ECLAC, among others) and
national organizations (INEGI, WIPO, SE, among others). Because the
phenomenon studied is the international business cooperation network
and its local impact, the development of the analysis and interpretation
were run at three levels: global, national and local.
The studied companies are mainly concentrated in large cities (Mexico City,
Guadalajara and Monterrey). Because they depend on the
telecommunications infrastructure, none of the group of companies studied
is located in the rural areas.
As indicated in Graph 3, the inward trend of ties with foreign companies is
the establishment of representation agreements. Second, and with fewer
companies interested, are consulting and technology transfer contracts.
This is contrary to what would be expected in the sector. As a sector
understood to be oriented on the development of technologies, in principle,
agreements should be characterized by technology transfer and joint
investment projects. In relation to the establishment of ties and their
maintenance over time, entrepreneurs show a highly rational attitude in
terms of profitability and liquidity. The same, in principle, cannot be
applied for the risk derived from the links, only 57.14 percent considers it.
In fact, 94.28 percent of companies are in a constant process of search of
new international partners despite the fact that 74.28% have faced failures
within the ties. This is due to the fact that especially in the IT sector, the
strength of the company is considered also in terms of the agreements
portfolio (with a particular accent on the international ones). When larger
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
and more diverse, the negotiation power and future outlook of the
company in particular are reinforced.
Graphic 3. Collaboration agreements type
Source: own elaboration based on the results from the projects PAPIIT IN308008 UNAM
and "Generation of value and international cooperation in the small companies in Latin
America" UDG-CA-484.
The history of the collaborations is also relevant for acquiring new
contracts, some of them can even be not profitable in the economic terms
but are considered due to the terms of prestige. Being in the game is an
important asset for company image also. As for the results and quality of
the cooperation itself it is always prone to mixed experience.
7'68 +/ 5/ 190,)-+ * :')0
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Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
According to generally accessible estimates two thirds to 90% of the IT
contracts are not delivered in time and within the budget and when this is
the case it is because they were initially overestimated as recognized by the
companies’ managers. This is due to the limited knowledge of the reality,
not sufficient time taken for the assessment and also the fierce competition
in the field meaning that high executives know that probably the
evaluation provided would need severe amendments.
In principle, the extreme cases of projects proposals are not contemplated
directly (the most expensive or the cheaper, for instance) as not being
‘rational’. It can be considered a kind of silent pact between both sides. In
this way software or service provided in the estimated timeframe is
somehow corresponding to the initial requirements but not really working
for the reality. As this is the general dynamic this is rather hard to recognize
who was bad or worse.
Especially that it is mixed with the human factor, simply accompanying the
customer with different problems arising during the project
implementation can be considered more valuable than the real success of
some project, anyway very difficult to reach with the unrealistic
expectations being the general dynamic (as much as 75% of IT managers
believe that their projects are doomed from start).
Probably this is the unwanted outcome of the 2000 IT bubble when some
even small IT amendments were charged very high, after that the general
expectation was that IT sector specialists are always ‘overshooting’ with the
difficulty. From higher level everything is tending to be simplified, and
smaller projects can be more easily sold in and outside the company for
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
running them. Once in the project, it is difficult to leave it and restart it
with other partners, the same is the case for the innovation companies. This
shows the high rationality of the strategists when establishing the ties
(Table 1).
Table 1. Perception of the informant about international ties
Source: own elaboration based on the results from the projects PAPIIT IN308008 UNAM
and "Generation of value and international cooperation in the small companies in Latin
America” UDG-CA-484.
Following the explanation, 80 percent of the companies studied maintain
ties with foreign companies. This is a fundamental characteristic if one
takes into account the need for certifications to participate in the market
and the interest in representations. In other words, the Information
Technologies sector is characterized by international ties, the exception
being the existence of unrelated companies. These unrelated companies
pursue the establishment of such links (Table 1).
The group of companies that closed shows similar results to the group of
companies that remain active (table 2). Although, there is greater interest in
calculating profitability, liquidity and risk in the companies that are active.
85% of the companies that closed maintained international ties, and even,
they had fewer failures than the active ones. This shows that in business
Maintains relations considered as an international cooperation
Has failed to establish links with agents from abroad
Considers profitability in establishing relations with agents from abroad
Considers liquidity when engaging with agents from abroad
Calculates the risk derived from the links with agents from abroad
Remains in search of new international collaborators
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
collaboration for one hundred percent open and high-speed industries,
international collaboration is basic and in principle does not add more to
the competitiveness of the company, even for the case of economies in the
periphery. Everything depends on the particular partners, agreements,
ways of approaching the projects executions and perhaps simply the good
luck in its implementation and the environment of the time. However, in
case of the periphery, this collaboration is probably more dependent,
asymmetric and competition mechanisms are more forced.
Table 2. Comparison between active and non-active companies
Source: own elaboration based on the results from the projects PAPIIT IN308008 UNAM
and "Generation of value and international cooperation in the small companies in Latin
America". UDG-CA-484
There is rather scarce commercial policy and development in the
telecommunications sector in Mexico. Although this sector is an important
step towards innovation and furthermore supposes an increase in the
Companies that
closed (percentage
over 13)
Active companies
(percentage over 22)
International cooperation ties
Failed to establish links with agents
Consider profitability in establishing
links with agents from abroad
Consider liquidity when engaging
with agents from abroad
Calculate the risk derived from the
links with agents from abroad
It remains in search of new
international collaborators
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
population welfare. Such is the case in countries like Korea, an example of
the positive impact of telecommunications on development.
The data shows that in Latin America the symptoms are general. The
smaller countries have a higher proportion of investment compared to
GDP. In the case of the larger countries, such as Mexico, the proportion is
smaller. This can be retracted to the scale effects. Being a maquiladora
(assembly line industry and services) country, in principle this does not
negatively affect economic growth; but it does not positively affect
economic growth accompanied by local development.
The main symptom is the drastic change from year to year in the amount of
investment dedicated to this question. It is clear that investment in the
telecommunications sector depends more on the individual decision of the
investors in the unfolding world scenario, leading to investment and
disinvestment, rather than a national policy that attracts capital to this area.
This can be traced back to the disposition of exploitation of the market
potential by the international companies, which in principle does not
require an active country policy, probably involving the national and local
governing part wanting to participate in the benefits, which in turn rather
retracts the investors appetites due to the higher risks of involvement in
doubtful and prone to the prestige affecting operations, furthermore not
easily gaining support at the higher company levels.
The problem with the infrastructure is that it can hardly be ‘rolled-back’,
once done it will stay in the country benefitting or not the investor. So that,
the investment in this case will highly depend on the economic cycles,
Asymmetric collaboration in Mexican companies in IT: causes and effects
González-Alvarado, T; Kubus, R.
expanding when the environment is favorable and retracting in more
challenging times. Anyway, the international companies need to be in the
picture, for the international prestige and for demonstrating the business
savviness of the managers, i.e. not losing the potential business
opportunities that can arise in unforeseeable future. This makes it difficult
to distinguish the real dynamic behind the infrastructure investments.
What happens with the Mexican companies that operate in the sector?
They identify more with software development than with hardware. It is
considered that the most important innovation should be in the hardware,
or hardware plus software ... otherwise, there is a risk of having only
companies that create small systems without importance and which rather
foster the technological dependence on the countries advanced in this area.
The question here is also that this software is volatile, can be rather easily
copied and replaced by a cheaper one in the future. In other words, in
Mexico we are facing the companies that hopefully only at this preliminary
stage adapt the technology already created to the activities of local agents
who demand their services, encouraging the consumption of technology
rather than innovation.
It is not surprising that these companies are passive in the search of foreign
partners. Neither, that most of them have foreign suppliers and probably
no customers from other regions. Nor it is surprising that companies that
are competitive at the national level, are those with foreign capital. But the
IT companies from Mexico or with Mexican participation are starting to be
involved in the game, which opens the doors for learning and taking a
more proactive stance in the global world of IT sector in the future. As
Competitiveness Development in Regions, Sectors and Institutions
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, J., González-Alvarado, T., González-Uribe, E., Espinoza-Mercado, O. (coord.)
already explained, probably Mexico is the best bet for IT development
among the Latin American countries anyway. Hopefully further research
can deepen the analysis proposed.
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