President’s Corner: South America Represents Opportunity for Marriott, BirchStreet

I posted recently about Marriott’s growth in Asia-Pac – and how BirchStreet is helping with this. Today, I’d like to handshake-on-puzzletouch on the boon that is currently underway in South America as well.

From Chile to Paraguay and Brazil to Peru, South America is experiencing one of the most vigorous economic expansions in decades, due in large part to infrastructure investment.  Unique to this region have been improvements made in public-private partnerships (PPPs).  Historically, PPPs have failed or not gained much traction due to political circumstances in the region. Things are different today – we are now seeing PPPs projected to deliver $450 billion in infrastructure investment between 2012 and 2015.

Similar to what’s happening in Asia-Pac, BirchStreet’s growth is a second derivative to growth in infrastructure investment.  Also similar to the situation in Asia-Pac, South American countries have very complex and dynamic tax regimes.  Because of BirchStreet’s flexibility and ability to react quickly to change, our system is at a competitive advantage in the region.  We like to view our platform as a canvas for the unique complexities of our customers – and our South American customers are certainly a good example of this.

For example, a requirement for the region has been on-site training in Spanish. Rising to the challenge, BirchStreet has been adding more and more multi-lingual resources to the team – and will continue to do so.  Additionally, because we are a global technology company, we are published in 12 languages and 50+ currencies – eliminating language barriers and flattening the learning curve for our products.

As more capital is deployed in the region and complexities are increased, productivity will be stretched to the limits.  This is a natural consequence of growth – and a very solvable problem.  BirchStreet’s shared-services platform increases productivity by allowing users to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on core, value-added functions.  Marriott South America understands this, and, as a result, has chosen to implement BirchStreet’s full P2P platform- eProcurement, Inventory Control and AP Reconciliation (and in some cases Recipe Management).  It’s quite exciting – and a huge opportunity.

While South America is still a developing region and not without risk, it without question presents a huge opportunity for technology companies at large.  My expectation is that BirchStreet will see increased traction in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Peru, as these areas have scored the highest from a political, investment and financing perspective. Several Marriott properties in South America are using BirchStreet, including:

  • Renaissance Jaragua hotel and casino
  • JW Caracas, Venezuela
  • JW Playa Grande, Venezuela
  • JW Lima, Peru
  • JW Cusco, Peru
  • Marriott Los Suenos Golf and Resort
  • JW Panama
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