Disease, drug wars and data centers

Just thinking about Mexico and the cards it was dealt getting blamed for swine flu. I was recently in Europe, and was surprised to hear friends refer to H1N1 as the “grippe mexicaine” or “Mexican flu”. There is even a dedicated website by the same name — grippemexicainehttp://www.lagrippemexicaine.com/. You don’t hear that in the US. We may demonize the swines but not our neighbors, the Mexicans. But, even the Mexican press attributes the outbreak to local pigs, hence the theory this particular flu had its origins in Mexico.  That theory or the flu itself is blamed in part for the severity of their economic downturn – along with the global financial crisis (and in particular its dependence on the US) and domestic drug wars.

But, I also can’t help thinking that despite all of these scares, Cisco forged ahead with their activities in Mexico. Mexico is one of the countries that Cisco targets with its country transformation initiatives. Country transformation is their strategy for going to market in high growth or emerging markets (I will be publishing a Forrester report on this soon, entitled “Building Business Technology Markets”). In Mexico they have worked closely with local private and public sector influencers, and assigned appropriate high-level Cisco executives in a board designed to help identify projects that would address critical economic and social development issues. In addition they have invested locally – in manufacturing and academic initiatives – in order to demonstrate their seriousness about transformation and establish a stake in the development of the local economy.

My point is — thinking back to my previous posts on identifying events that spark investment — that it takes more than just looking for catalysts to IT investment. Sometimes it takes overlooking what’s going on in the press, and involves serious commitment to technology-led transformation.

Cross-posted from B2B Beyond Borders