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SGI Latin America: Scoring Goals One at a Time in FY '03

This is the fourth article in a six-part series regarding the Intercontinental (ICON) Region. These articles will be written by each of the six Area General Managers and will provide employees world-wide with a view of the business climate, opportunities, challenges and culture of these diverse geographies.

Any article about Latin America is going to start with our favorite pastime - futebol or futbol or soccer, depending on which language one speaks. After all, last spring, Brazil did take the title of world champions by outscoring 32 other teams in the World cup tournament. Prior to the tournament, the Brazilian team's coach told his team that they did not need to win the World Cup, but to only win seven matches - the exact number needed to clinch the title.

Whether it's one game at a time or one quarter at a time, this reflects the Latin American approach to victory. But back to soccer...

Area Fact Sheet

The undisputed star of the world cup, Romário de Sousa Faria, once played as #11 for the Flamengo team, sponsored by national oil giant Petrobras. His old jersey--which reads Petrobras 11--holds significant meaning to us here at SGI Latin America. There are currently 11 SGI® Reality CentersTM installed in Petrobras facilities throughout Brazil.

The success of Latin America has, in no small part, been due to our virtual monopoly in the energy market in Latin America. In addition to our many successes with Petrobras, we have a long-standing account history with PDVSA in Venezuela and Pemex in Mexico. Even so, Latin America--and our potential to contribute to SGI--goes well beyond Energy. Taking it "one match at a time", Latin America intends to be an $80 million dollar a year region in three years.

Lands of Opportunity

In order to understand the vast opportunities our region holds, one must first understand Latin America. Our area comprises all territories from Mexico and southward - a total of 68 countries and 600 million individuals. The economies vary, from lesser-developed nations like Guatemala and El Salvador to global economic centers like São Paulo, Brazil and Mexico City, Mexico. Opportunity exists within all 5 of SGI's Industry Verticals as well. This year we intend to build upon previous successes AND explore those areas in which we are only beginning to gain market traction.

The Latin American operation began 10 years ago in 1992 with the opening of our offices in Mexico City, Mexico. We now have 68 people in four offices. Our headquarters are distributed from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro (both in Brazil), Caracas (Venezuela), and Mexico City. Our region not only had the pleasure of hosting this year's President's Club in Cancun, Mexico but of having our own attendees as well. In addition to Marco Islas (attending his 4th) and Vinicio Ostrovski, I had the honor of representing Latin America as a region that achieved 108% of plan in FY '02.

Creativity and Innovation as a Cultural Value

Historically, Latin Americans have had to make due with limited resources. Throughout the centuries, this has built an intrinsic cultural and social need for creating new solutions and workarounds for every issue. This creativity and innovation extends into our professional lives and has, I believe, been a great contributor to our success at SGI Latin America. E.g. We have made an art of finding ways of getting more done with fewer resources and in less time.

If this bell rings in Sao Paulo, a deal has closed in Latin America
If this bell rings in São Paulo,
a deal has closed in Latin America

For example, our sales reps have a strong culture of presenting and delivering true 'solutions' that solve our customers problems. No longer pure box sellers, we first listen to our prospects and then look for creative ways to apply SGI's world class technology to help customers solve their biggest problems. This approach has enabled us to build a super strong funnel and a foundation for a successful FY '03.

Another key to our success embodies a much more pragmatic approach. With heavy government and industry ties in many of our countries, we have learned to target both the end-user-customer, as well as the source of funding. For example, more than 80% of all scientific research and R&D in the Oil & Gas and Manufacturing industries in Latin America is funded by government agencies or very largest investment banks. It is therefore our approach to sell equally to both the funding organization, as well as to the end user.

Seeing Stars and Fixing a Leaky Roof

Planetariums, in general, offer a great opportunity for us in Latin America. First of all, with over 30 planetariums throughout our territory, the sheer numbers alone represent a number of prospects. With more traditional entertainment venues less developed in Latin America than other regions, planetariums serve more prominently as a source of entertainment than in some other parts of the world.

photo fo Sao Paulo office
Sao Paulo office

One major planetarium in our region (to be named later) was built several decades ago and was once the city's shining pride and joy. Of late, the facility has suffered from a leaky (dome) roof and dismal attendance due to outdated content.

We recently presented to the city a proposal for leveraging the power of SGI technology to fix both of their problems simultaneously. First, our proposal would cover the leaky dome with a new exterior made up entirely of projection triangles. An SGI® Onyx® would generate images of planets (or even soccer balls!) onto the exterior of the building. The same machine could also be utilized to upgrade the planetarium content to the world class levels of the Hayden, and the soon to be Beijing Planetarium. We expect this proposal to come to fruition sometime within FY '03. Stay tuned...

Close to Nature

With a little creativity, even a volatile economy can offer opportunity. In the case of Latin America, recent economic downturns have driven governments and individuals to more closely scrutinize our agricultural assets. The newly placed importance on vegetation means also a need to be able to better analyze weather patterns.

Case in point - 2 SGI® Origin® servers (80 and 32 processors) installed at The Brazilian Meteorological Institute (InMet) where scientists are able to visualize weather down to a 7x7 kilometer range. Covering all of South America, InMet is looking in the next year to more heavily utilize Reality Centers as well as to increase their visualization capabilities to a 5x5 kilometer range.

Given the high impact weather has on our large agricultural export business, these types of initiatives are heavily supported and financed by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. The Brazilian Ministry of Defense supports these activities as well in processing images for surveillance of the Amazon, narcotics traffic, and contraband activities, as well as to monitor air traffic. And where there are images, there are opportunities for storage!

Another of our larger customers in Latin America is Embrapa--a Brazilian company conducting agricultural research. One of their key scientists, Professor Goran has utilized SGI to break new ground in applying genomic research to plant life in order to isolate and combat vegetation disease. We believe Professor Goran's work could help to set the stage for opportunities in vegetation genomic research worldwide for SGI.


Latin America also hosts our fair share of the world's manufacturing industry. Brazilian-based Embraer, for example, is the world's fourth largest airplane manufacturing company. They utilize an SGI Reality Center not only for Design and Engineering, but also as a sales and marketing tool. In the center, customers and prospects collaborate with Embraer engineers to customize--in real time--aircraft according to the customers' needs and desires. Embraer has plans to expand their Reality Center use, as well as to build a mobile facility that they can take to everything from tradeshows to customer sites.

For those of you who prefer land travel, the automotive industry is also thriving. We have plants from all major automotive manufacturers like General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler Chrysler, Mercedes, Renault and FIAT, among many others. Given the varying involvement in everything from high-end design to pure production, we see opportunities in everything from loads of workstation (exemplified in a $1.4 million deal with Daimler Chrysler this past quarter) to high end Reality Centers.


And, of course, Latin America has some of the largest Oil & Gas companies in the world. Petrobras of Brazil is the world leader in ultra-deep water oil exploration and produces over 1.5 million barrels a day and expects to reach the country's level of "self-sufficiency" in oil production by 2005 as it will be producing over 2 million barrels per day.

Petrobras describes their 11 Reality Centers as "vital for Petrobras' growth". PDVSA in Venezuela is the seventh largest oil production company in the world and produces 3.9 million barrels a day. PEMEX in Mexico also shows impressive numbers, with a current production of 3.6 million barrels a day. It doesn't take seismic data processing to know that these are fields worth continuing to explore.

A Partnership

My friends, less than 2 hours south of Mountain View by airplane, the Latin American region feels so close but is yet so far. "Down here", we have 68 of the most passionate individuals SGI has to offer. We have learned to evangelize how both the government and private sector can leverage SGI's amazing technology to improve productivity and thus the livelihood of our 600 million citizens.

As partners, I believe we can work together to apply the technology created and produced just a few hundred miles away from here to impact even more lives in Latin America. In partnership, in peace and with passion only a Latin could offer, I invite you to join us in making the future of SGI Latin America.

photo of Jose Carlos Gouveia
Jose Carlos Gouveia

About the Author
José Carlos Rodrigues Gouveia lives mostly in São Paulo, Brazil. He joined SGI in June 2000 as a Country Manager for Brazil and was named Area General Manager for Latin America in July 2001. He has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Campinas - UNICAMP and has done post graduate studies in Brazil and in the United States in manufacturing and marketing. He also has an MBA in marketing.

In addition to Portuguese, he speaks English, Spanish and Italian. Before joining SGI, he worked as Director or General Manager for Andersen Consulting (Accenture), Novell, Peoplesoft, JDEdwards, EDS and Dun & Bradstreet.

Gouveia is married and has 3 "kids" that are already engineers. He develops volunteer work for the community where he and his wife manage a house for 200 ancients. In his "spare" time, he plays squash, tennis and soccer and he has 2 dogs (Lhasa Apsos.)

As set out by Bill LaRosa, SVP ICON- the ICON strategy is driven by 5 core "P's"- Process, Performance, Pride, Passion, and Potential.

We asked Jose Carlos Gouveia which of these "P's" meant the most to the Latin American strategy and Jose Carlos selected "Passion."

"As a mixture of Italian, Portuguese, Armenian and Latin American - I have no real choice other than to select Passion. This Passion is not only a principle held high within our team, but it emanates to our partners and customers. They feel it, they embrace it and it has allowed us to build long standing, trusting relationships with some of the largest entities in our region. Passion is the critical start to believing in what you are selling. Once you believe, the sales process becomes much easier."

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