Latin America’s potential for digital transformation explained by Grupo Assa’s CEO

19 July 2018 3 min. read

Roberto Wagmaister, the CEO of Grupo Assa – an Argentinian-based digital business transformation consultancy firm – shares his thoughts on his career and digitalization within the Latin America region.

Grupo Assa, which is known cordially as gA, has recently celebrated its 25th birthday. The Buenos Aires headquartered firm has grown since its inception to have offices in 11 countries and over 1,400 professionals globally. In the Americas, the firm has locationsin Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the United States whilst also working across the Atlantic in Europe and in Asia.

Wagmaister – in conversation with América Economía’s Tecno – outlines the fundamental shifts which are occurring in businesses across the globe. The shift towards digitalization will have a profound effect on Latin American businesses and bring significant opportunities with it.

Whist Latin America is not exempt from the growth of these new markets which stem from the digital ecosystem, according to Wagmaister business owners and employees must embrace this change to fully realise its potential for regional development. 

He exemplifies this via research findings from gA’s Center for Digital Transformation. The research center did a study on the business mentality towards digitalization and the potential which it would bring to the business.  

“The conclusion was that the level of investment in digital technologies in Latin America is acceptable, reaching 80 on a scale of 100, but the perception of the concrete benefit of said investment is still very low, reaching 46 on a scale of 100,” said Wagmaister. 

Latin America’s potential for digital business transformation explained by Grupo Assa’s CEO Roberto Wagmaister

This shows that there is still a high level knowledge gap when it comes to digital technologies implementation in Latin America causing hesitation to adopt or implement. One reason for this resistance which Wagmaister cites is job stability; the fear of being replaced by a robot. 

“But there is also a fundamental thing, which is that the organizational structures of companies are designed for analog economies, not for a collaborative economy, which is the current economy, and this mismatch is what creates fear, not the use or integration of the technology,” he continues.

The gA CEO believes that, if properly implemented, digital transformation will bring significant opportunities for Latin Americans. “We live extraordinary times in the region to make a catchup, as emerging countries that we are, looking at the most developed countries.”

Latin America is perfectly positioned to capitalize on the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies. With a young, digitally inclined and resourceful population the region possess many of the characteristics which will flourish in the current disrupted market. Wagmaister believes that the region has developed its creativity and entrepreneurial talent based on resilience to hardship.

“Talent is full of creativity, which rightly have in their origin the continent's difficulty of being able to develop. And that characteristic today is worth its weight in gold... I am very optimistic with the digital transformation. It will help progress the entire region. And in Latin America there is a huge talent pool available for digital transformation. They are here – you do not have to bring them in from Jupiter.”

In Latin America, the consulting firm has offices in Tandil, Argentina, Santiago de Chile, Mexico D.F., Bogotá, Colombia, São Paulo & São José dos Campos, Brazil as well as regional offices spanning from Miami to Brussels and Madrid. Grupo Assa also has a global alliance network of partners including BearingPoint in Europe, ABeam Consulting in Asia and West Monroe in North America.