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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Publication sees PR emerging as IT leader

The information technology services sector is an important economic driver in Puerto Rico today, the publication Nearshore Americas noted. The foremost advantage that the island offers is convenience, given that it mirrors intellectual property protections and other regulations in the mainland United States.

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico has a robust, modern entrepreneurial and information technology (IT) services ecosystem burgeoning as an undercurrent, the publication Nearshore Americas highlighted recently.

Best practices developed by businesses in Puerto Rico in reaction to unpredictable weather over the years are also crucial in putting the United States at the forefront of a digital revolution, the publication said.

Hurricane Fiona, which hit the island recently, proved the resilience of domestically operating businesses and its local workforce, which prevented a cascading failure. Lessons from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the global COVID-19 pandemic helped companies in Puerto Rico maintain operations. Employees continued to deliver business value, and companies kept the supply chain running smoothly amid a crisis.

Today’s IT services sector is an important economic driver in the U.S. territory, Nearshore Americas noted. The foremost advantage that Puerto Rico offers is convenience, given that it mirrors intellectual property (IP) protections and other regulations of the U.S. Puerto Rico and the mainland U.S. also share the same currency, languages and cultures, plus an overlapping time zone, the publication said.

“The proximity of Puerto Rico to the mainland U.S. offers huge advantages,” the publication stated. “Merely a short flight away from all major U.S. cities, nearshore providers in Puerto Rico can conveniently work with clients on-site to ensure project deliverables with minimal disruption.”

“With world-class educational institutions and easy access to American ones, the talent pool in Puerto Rico has come to be highly skilled in advanced software engineering, data science, and other coveted fields,” Nearshore Americas stated. “The industry is also well equipped with state-of-the-art best practices and methodologies, such as agile, lean manufacturing, and more. And yet, Puerto Rico’s billing rates are 30-50% lower than mainland competitors. Global businesses have found a significant economic advantage in engaging Puerto Rico for its service support needs.”

Backing the aforementioned growth is Puerto Rico’s specialized and diversified industrial base, the publication continued.

“A skilled and educated world-class workforce proficient in English, a workday overlap for better coordination, a world-class communications infrastructure, and the legal and banking structures are the same as those in the U.S.,” it said. “As a result, Puerto Rico offers the same laws, regulations and standards as in the U.S. but a significant cost advantage as well, compared with the mainland.”

Because of a common currency, companies in Puerto Rico are immune to fluctuations in foreign exchange, Nearshore Americas pointed out.

“Simply put, for companies wanting the offshore advantage at a nearshore destination, Puerto Rico is the perfect fit,” the publication said.

As the complexity of tech grows and the need to bring advanced solutions to life quickly and efficiently amplifies, so will the market demand, the publication observed.

“There are many tax breaks offered to specific industries; public buildings can be leased at attractive rates; and there are varied wage incentives and access to financing through tax-free industrial bonds and direct loans,” Nearshore Americas said. “The [island] also simplified its taxation scheme by launching a program which cut the individual tax rate to a flat 4% across the board and 75% property tax exemption, among other benefits.”

U.S. policymakers’ demand to bring services and manufacturing back to nearshore destinations from far-flung geographical locations has opened more possibilities for Puerto Rico to leverage its varied conveniences, Nearshore Americas said.

The disruption of the outsourcing market in the Philippines because of the pandemic is another geopolitical factor working to Puerto Rico’s advantage. The territory already hosts some of the biggest names in the pharma industry, including Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Global companies such as Infosys, Microsoft and GE also have a strong presence in Puerto Rico.

The IT services sector in Puerto Rico, meanwhile, is seeing demand rise in multiple sectors, most notably in healthcare communications and technology, call centers, insurance and banking, the publication noted.

Puerto Rico continues to strengthen its position as a business and investment enabler. The island is leveraging its advantages, such as its highly educated workforce, strong infrastructure and sociopolitical stability, as well as tax credits and incentives. It is also preparing to be among the chosen few to initiate 5G testing, Nearshore Americas added.

“This will give further fillip to Puerto Rico’s tech services industry, as technology enablement firms test applications and build advanced use cases,” the publication said.

The key is to evolve constantly, and Puerto Rico is ahead in that race, the report asserted.

“Leveraging its human and digital capital optimally can very well position the island as the nearshore/offshore hub of the world,” the publication said.

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