Demand grows for business continuity in LatAm

LATIN AMERICA - The demand for business continuity services is accelerating in Latin America, driven not only by the growing sophistication of banks but also the spread of such services through new areas of the economy. Increasingly, it is leading service providers to extend their services in the region.

Sybase is bullish on Latin America for sales of business continuity solutions, particularly in Mexico and Brazil. According to reports, Sybase sales last year increased almost 20% for Latin America, which is seen as one of the highest growth regions in the world.

Growing interest in implementing and improving business continuity systems is being seen in Mexico. Front-runners have included BBVA Bancomer and Banamex, who were pioneers in implementing back-up centres, according to Francisco Olvera, sales strategy director at SAS North Latin America. The trend is now being embraced by other financial institutions.

The Brazilian industry got a boost with the Brazilian Central Bank’s introduction in 2006 of Resolution 3380, which required financial institutions to maintain an effective op risk structure, with the important rider that they include measures to prepare for possible interruptions to activities. “Since then, we have seen four times the demand (for business continuity services)”, says Ana Rosa, manager in advisory performance improvement consulting - IT effectiveness at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sao Paulo. Financial institutions have had set up plans, then test and improve them. Now they need to keep their plans up to date, she notes.

Outsourcing companies, including IBM and EDS, are investing large amounts of money to build and offer disaster recovery planning, while niche players and small companies provide more specific services.

An area in business continuity that is growing quickly regionally is the provision of additional data centres. This is an area that has seen increases both in demand and supply, and there’s still plenty of space for new providers. The market has attracted well-known global names, while innovation is creating space for small, nimble specialist companies to come in. “In this market we will see a lot of acquisitions and a lot of space for new companies,” predicts Rosa.

Non-financial institutions are also adopting business continuity plans, or are at least interested in the concept, in part because of regulatory pressure. Rosa says her firm has received interest from firms in the agribusiness area, as well as firms in the mining, energy and communication sectors. She estimates, of the firms looking to adopt business continuity systems, some 40% are financial institutions, 20% are in communications and entertainment groups, 10% are involved in mining and oil, and the others are involved in other economic sectors.

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