The woman has crisscrossed borders throughout the world with a technology company that boasts a worldwide staff of 7,000. But at the same time she modestly states that sharing the company was Softtek’s highest-yielding innovation.
The algorithm is simple for CEO Blanca Treviño, the much-admired native of Monterrey, Mexico: “When we started the company we decided to share it. We were never open to receiving investment funds or selling it, only bringing in and nourishing talent. We said: join us and the company is partly yours. You too are building your dream.”
That’s how Softtek, an information technology (IT) service provider, built a team of talented engineers who have helped the company to conquer markets that it hadn’t dreamed of when it was founded 30 years ago.
“I think if we were to talk about an innovation model that enables us to be where we are as an organization, we undoubtedly would have to talk about our culture, our organizational structure and stock participation,” Treviño says.
She doesn’t hide her enthusiasm for being part of an industry that she sees as fascinating and challenging. Talking about how the sector and the company she directs have evolved over the last 20 years, she says, “Just look at the computers of that time. Today you have an iPad or a Smartphone. All the potential you have in these little devices was unimaginable before.”
Not to mention online banking, a sector in which Softtek has played an active role.
How does Blanca Treviño imagine technology in 20 years’ time? “I just expect it will be something that I can’t even imagine today.” Touché.
What she can imagine is the future of the company she has directed now for more than 25 years: “I expect that Softtek will continue to be an important player in all of the industries it’s in, and will still be delivering value to the companies in these industries no matter what the techno-logy of the day might be.” She emphasizes that Softtek is a global player hungry for challenges.
So speaks the Monterrey native who led Softtek as it became Latin America’s leading IT company. In a telling detail, at each company anniversary, she invites its collaborators to celebrate the coming year and not the one just ended.
What’s important is what comes next.
Today Treviño is one of Latin America’s most celebrated businesswomen, but she never forgets the journey that positioned the company in the North American marketplace.
“It was all an adventure, that a Latin American company could become a player in this sector,” she recalls. “There were companies that asked: ‘Will you use technology?’ They didn’t ask if you’d develop it, they asked if you’d use it.”
Then came her Near Shore success, a system that revolutionized outsourcing services by offering them from countries close to the target market.
What challenges a company so successful and thriving, then? “Making sure we have the best talent: attracting it, keeping it, and developing it.” The Softtek CEO has bet on linking up with universities, working with them to structure study plans that closely replicate the real world of industry, while also opening the company’s doors to senior students with the aim of “enamoring” them with the sector and, of course, the company.
“Just as we have a value proposal for the customer, we have a value proposal for this human capital, so that they’ll say: ‘I want to be in Softtek,’” she says.
Treviño says each night she notes to herself: “Be aware of the risk. Your whole team is going home, as if it were your machinery. What are you going to do so they’ll want to be with you tomorrow morning?” The company has 10 percent annual staff turnover, while at the same time it must grow by 20 percent.
Even as she cultivates and attracts this human capital, Treviño could also be thinking about the inorganic growth that comes with acquisitions, as a means of expanding into new markets and industry sectors. Finding the economic resources is not the problem, but rather finding the right opportunity and choosing assertively, especially since she operates in an industry that changes so quickly.
There’s no doubt that Blanca Treviño already has some acquisition prospects in her sights.
Nancy Ibarra reported from Monterrey, Mexico
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