This is highlighted by a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study in association with NTT DATA, focused solely on trends seen in the region. A total of 88% also consider that the benefits justify the investment. Edge computing, biometrics, and advanced robotics are the three areas with the highest levels of adoption. Shortage of talent: the great hindrance.
In a context in which Latin American companies are inclined to experiment and innovate and in which the region's digital infrastructure is becoming more robust, the adoption of emerging technologies is growing: 90% of interviewees say they will increase their investment in this segment in the next twelve months.
The data comes from the study titled Driving the adoption of emerging technologies in Latin America, carried out by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in association with NTT DATA, the global IT services company focused on digital innovation. The survey includes responses from 316 executives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, and it focuses on the reality of the region and addresses different matters, such as the impact of emerging technologies on businesses, the most adopted ones, their implementation objectives and obstacles, and the people strategically responsible for making the decision to adopt them.
A noteworthy conclusion is that both the results achieved to date and the outlook for the future with the adoption of these technologies are positive. Indeed, 90% consider that emerging technologies can contribute to the success of their organizations in the future, 87% state that they have taken advantage of them in the last two years, and 88% consider that the benefits obtained justify the amount of the investment, with improvements in brand reputation, increased revenue and profitability, or customer retention as some of the most relevant elements.
Edge computing is the most used emerging technology by organizations in the region, with an adoption rate of 65%. It is followed by biometrics (63%), advanced robotics (60%), virtual and augmented reality (56%), 5G (55%), and artificial intelligence (54%). A few steps further down are blockchain and digital currencies (49%) and the metaverse and quantum computing, both at 45%.
Regarding what motivates organizations to implement these technologies, one of the classic challenges of Latin American businesses predominates: the need to increase productivity, which was directly mentioned in half of the responses.
When it comes to obstacles, the most relevant ones are the lack of talent, of experience, and of skills (73%). Other barriers include the difficulty in integrating solutions into existing IT infrastructure (34%) and the lack of financial resources to invest in training or in the technologies themselves (31%).
Is it possible to avoid these complications? For 88%, a large part of the solution lies in choosing the right technology partner. For another 86%, it is also essential to develop a corporate culture based on innovation.
In terms of leadership, the IT departments continue to be key in identifying the solutions that best fit the organization's strategic objectives: in 65% of the companies, the decision on projects passes through the hands of the c-level executives in that department. However, the involvement of the highest-ranking managers, such as presidents, CEOs, and general officers, is growing, and it already reaches almost half of the cases.
"The main contribution that this report provides is that, unlike what usually happens with similar studies focused on regions such as Europe, North America, or Asia-Pacific, it allows us to understand the reality of Latin America," said Alberto Otero, Head of Digital Technology Americas at NTT DATA. “At a time when all companies are becoming digital businesses, staying ahead, and adopting emerging technologies is synonymous with meeting the challenges that the future holds in terms of productivity, competitiveness, growth, and resilience. What we are seeing with great enthusiasm is that Latin American companies are not only making their investments grow in this sense, but, most importantly, they have increasingly developed the innovative gene in their culture,” he concluded.
The complete study Driving the adoption of emerging technologies in Latin America is available here.