GFT, an IT services and software engineering firm based in Stuttgart, Germany, has set its sights on the North American market, where it anticipates exponential growth for its digital transformation services.
The company tapped Marco Santos, GFT's president for the U.S. and Latin America, to lead the North American expansion. He directed an earlier growth campaign in Brazil and other Latin American countries. When he joined GFT in 2011, the company's Brazilian operation was an 80-employee endeavor. As of March 31, 2021, GFT employed 2,483 people in the Americas region, which GFT said represents 38% year-over-year growth.
GFT now looks for a similar growth trajectory in the U.S. and Canada. The company currently employs 300 people in offices in New York, the company's regional headquarters, as well as in Boston, Toronto and Quebec City. Santos said the company's group executive board tasked him to "create a new exponential journey" in North America.
Santos acknowledged his current remit is no simple objective. "I am not naïve -- the U.S. market is the prime league, the most competitive market in the world in terms of IT," he said.
The company's competitive differentiators include agility and scale, Santos said. GFT follows an agile development approach, versus a waterfall methodology, to provide digital transformation services. The company creates a minimum viable product for customers and iterates on top of it. In one example, GFT built a digital rights management platform for One Creation, a technology startup based in New York, using the MVP method and the AWS technology stack.
In addition, the company can draw upon nearshore resources to supplement the local personnel assigned to projects.
GFT, for example, has dedicated more than 400 nearshore engineers, located in Brazil, Costa Rica and other countries, as resources available for North American projects, Santos said. GFT will increase engineering resources and plans to launch nearshore operations in Mexico.
Santos also pointed to GFT's focus in the financial services sector, where the company offers services to retail banking, capital markets and asset management customers, as a differentiator. Open banking has emerged as a key initiative for GFT, he said. Open banking lets third parties develop financial offerings that use APIs to access, with permission, consumers' banking data. GFT helped design the open banking system in Brazil, working with the Brazilian Federation of Banks. The company has also launched a SaaS offering, GFT Open Banking as a Service.
The President Joe Biden administration aims to accelerate open banking in the U.S., Santos said. A White House executive order issued in July encouraged "the portability of consumer financial transaction data so consumers can more easily switch financial institutions and use new, innovative financial products."
GFT, meanwhile, can also wield its relationships with cloud platform vendors as it pursues cloud and digital transformation services projects in North America. GFT has partnerships with AWS, Google and Microsoft, Santos said. The company also plans to boost its relationship with Salesforce in the North American market. Santos cited Salesforce as a major partner for GFT in Latin America.
GFT will also expand its ServiceNow relationship, which Santos said is not as developed as its partnership with Salesforce.
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