The Transformation of Mexico’s National ICT R&D Center (INFOTEC)

It’s no novelty that times are changing and technology adoption is increasing at a speed we had never seen before. Hence this, citizens, governments, private sector and other spheres of the Mexican Society need to become immersed in the transition into an imminent digital age. Paraphrasing Mark Warschauer, we should privilege the capacity of the people to make use of technology and participate in meaningful social practices [1], this over the quantity of computers and the availability of internet connections.

In other words, the transition does not depend on how many people have access to technology and how many don’t. Though the second part of that statement is a necessary element to accomplish the task, the suitable scenario considers both factors; technological availability and the widespread ability to use it though individuals capacity and the availability of services. In reality both factors are necessary to achieve a functional digital ecosystem.

With this in mind, the Mexican government has opted not only in creating the right conditions for its technological infrastructure to grow, but are also focused in developing the availability of government services in a tech era, as well as developing future generations in technology areas. Actions are diverse from tech savvy community colleges to the use of tech language and the incorporation of tech concepts as language into the national legislation.

The evolution of INFOTEC is aimed at establishing the institution as the technological stronghold of the government, this by being an Institution that contributes to the transformation and digital inclusion of a modern Mexico.

Since its foundation in 1974, INFOTEC has gone through periods of intermittence between dynamism and lethargy, of fleeting and sometimes lasting productivity. Today, INFOTEC has two headquarters, one in Mexico City and the other in Aguascalientes, the latter being recognized as the first data center in the Mexican public sector, internationally certified with Tier III classification by the Uptime Institute. In both locations there is a wide offer of services such as the portfolio of solutions, software development, internet of things (IoT), technological infrastructure, as well as research and teaching.

Under this and other ideals, INFOTEC (Mexico’s National ICT Research and Innovation Center) establishes its transformation and digital change. Its institutional redefinition has a strongly focused on doing things the right way, with transparency and legality in redefining its competitive stance in an ever changing government and commercial environment. Where innovation and integration of products is crucial to overcoming negative paradigms that have overshadowed the greatness of the institution in the past.

In this sense, the institution works on the development of key products that meet the cross-cutting needs of the federal public administration and the private sector, such as: payroll management systems, GRP systems, NUBE by INFOTEC (cloud services), among others. These products seek to improve the administrative efficiency of the Government of Mexico and the optimization of the public resources.

Another one of INFOTEC’s tools to achieve this objective are research, innovation, academic education and digital literacy, based on the development of ICT products and services aimed at public and private sectors.

It is important to mention that INFOTEC is part of the Public Research Centers network of CONACyT and is aligned with the National Digital Strategy, therefore, to meet the objectives mentioned in the previous paragraphs, the institution also guides its efforts in the training of tech professionals and constant research, thus forming a formula that allows raising standards of tots products, the technological coverage and the generalization not only of knowledge in digital matters, but also of ICT tools for the operation of public and private entities.

In regard to this last point, INFOTEC has an academic offer of seven master’s degrees and a doctorate, as well as diverse executive courses and specialties, all of them aimed at developing ICT knowledge and their application in the productive field (current academic offer can be consulted in our website or in social media). In the research field, the institution is constantly developing research projects applicable in the field of ICTs that have an impact on key fields of the country.

The above resumes roughly what INFOTEC is and its spirit of change towards social and technological inclusion and digital literacy, in which functionality and accessibility are privileged, that favors the establishment of effective and efficient institutions. Through the use of free software and the development of systems and solutions for the government, which in addition would mean a benefit for the users of government services, that is to say, for general citizens.

If we remember the idea of Warschauer mentioned at the beginning of this text, the digital evolution of a country is not only about having many computers and generalized access to the internet, but of the creation of a permanent and constantly evolving digital culture. As well as the generation of the conditions for this to happen, taking into account the factors coined by Zygmunt Bauman regarding time and liquid modernity [2] [3].

It is in this sense INFOTEC will contribute to the generation of conditions, settings and favorable environments for the government digitization, developing new high-quality solutions and contributing to the administrative simplification that the country needs.

An institution like INFOTEC cannot remain static. Its condition and reason for being demands movement, progression, growth and constant change. The institutional transformation consists in advancing hand to hand with the development of the country and the technological requirements of Mexican people.

[1] Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital
[2] Bauman, Zygmunt. Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty
[3] Bauman, Zygmunt: Liquid Modernity