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Panamá – ‘Panama has offered us a peaceful and progressive business environment’: CEO Harsha Kumar

Harsha Kumar, CEO of Prodapt, emphasizes the expansion strategies that the company executes in the country. With an investment of $7 million and 500 jobs, it seeks to settle in the isthmus and project itself in other commercial niches

La Estrella de Panamá, July 3, 2023

First, Upender Singh Rawat, Ambassador of the Republic of India in Panama, concurrent to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, ratifies the interest in strengthening commercial ties between Panama and India (March). Then, the Minister of External Affairs of India, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, at the invitation of the National Government through Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, arrives at the isthmus (April). After that (May), Prodapt, a company in the connectivity industry, based in India, announces that it will expand its operations in Panama through an investment of $7 million dollars, leveraging the exclusive benefits of offshoring offered by the country.

Undoubtedly, diplomatic and commercial relations between Panama and India are strengthening at a good pace.

Harsha Kumar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prodapt, details that the company “is the first consulting and technology services firm, based in India, to establish operations in Panama. Driven by the country’s talented workforce and business environment, we have been able to grow the operation significantly over the past two years.”

In an interview with La Estrella de Panamá, Kumar reviews the benefits of the investment made in the country, the advantages and disadvantages of Panama in terms of the connectivity industry and reviews the company’s plans on country soil, asserting that in the future, success in Panama “will serve as a roadmap for similar close expansions in our markets.”

How did Prodapt choose Panama to expand its operations?
The company had begun to look for a destination with the resource and proximity to the Latin American market to help us improve the provision of services for one of our clients in the region. Weighing a set of options that include Mexico and Chile, we chose Panama to establish our strategic nearshore center for its unique multilingual capability, skilled workforce, and most importantly, the scope to provide specific services to the North American market, given the time zone compatibility that Panama enjoys with the United States. Panama has offered us an exceptional talent pool, a peaceful and progressive business environment, and a high level of support for the expansion of operations.

How long has the company been present in Panama?
Prodapt established its operations in Panama in early 2020, during the pandemic. We have managed to grow our workforce from six employees to over 200 people employed in the technical support and customer service space.

What are your plans on national soil in the short and long term?
Panama has invested in the development of a solid telecommunications infrastructure, including a well-established fiber optic network and advanced mobile communication systems. This infrastructure has facilitated high-speed internet connectivity and efficient communication channels across the country.
At the end of this fiscal year, Prodapt Panama will have 300 people. We recently announced a $7 million operations expansion that will involve significant investments in workforce expansion and related expenses. The multi-year investment will generate 500 jobs in several cutting-edge technology domains, including cloud computing and artificial intelligence. In the long term, we envision our Panama hub as the anchor facility for all Latin American businesses, representing 15% of our annual revenue. Second, the center will grow into an important facility to provide comprehensive services to the U.S. -. Going forward, our success in Panama will serve as a roadmap for similar nearshore expansions in other markets.

What does Panama represent for Prodapt?
It is an important resource base that offers us optimal talent and technological capabilities in a strategic location. The availability of people with multilingual capabilities and strong technological backgrounds in a nearshoring location is a challenge faced by several technology services companies today. The successful scaling up of service delivery is a model worth emulating elsewhere.

What kind of specialized jobs will be open to Panamanians? How will you find the right candidates or train them?
The recently announced investment will generate approximately 500 technology jobs in areas such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and technical support. Our workforce expansion strategy goes beyond leveraging the pool of experienced talent in Panama and includes attracting new talent coming out of universities. Prodapt runs a one-year training program for recent graduates to enhance their skills and offers broad exposure to our capabilities, services and solutions. In addition, our Learning and Development programs have customized offerings for our people with varying levels of experience to acquire the critical skills and certifications needed to grow and thrive in the technology industry. We execute programs to identify and prepare managerial talent internally and create a portfolio of leaders within the organization.

Generally speaking, as far as the connectivity landscape is concerned, in which areas does Panama excel and in which areas does it lack?
Panama has made significant progress in evolving certain technical and infrastructure aspects in the connectivity landscape. For example, Panama has invested in the development of a robust telecommunications infrastructure, including a well-established fiber optic network and advanced mobile communication systems. This infrastructure has facilitated high-speed Internet connectivity and efficient communication channels throughout the country. However, the connectivity industry is frequently disrupted by advanced technologies. It is worth mentioning that generative artificial intelligence is finding a widespread boom in companies today, which requires a new wave of skill development. To maintain a competitive edge, companies in Panama could consider upskilling as an ongoing process for their workforce, with a focus on areas including artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analytics and more.

How will reliance on artificial intelligence affect the economies of countries like Panama?
Artificial intelligence offers strong business value for companies looking to drive automation in their business operations/IT operations and achieve reduced operating costs. For a fast-growing economy with a large number of skilled professionals, Panama is well positioned to leverage the fast-growing adoption of AI (artificial intelligence) to attract foreign investment to the country. With continued investments by the government and the private sector, the evolution of a technology-driven startup community using this technology, including generative AI, will propel Panama into the league of sought – after startups around the world.

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