Miami has IT strengths to build on, not all in the industry

Miami isn’t known as a hub of information technology, but the city has its strong points.

There’s Terremark World-wide Inc., the information technology and cloud computing subsidiary of wireless communications giant Verizon. Terremarks’ headquarters and its Network Access Point of the Americas data center are downtown, where the company employs about 400 people.

There’s also Neoris, an international information technology and business consulting firm, with its corporate headquarters near Miami International Airport. Anywhere from 50 to 100 people can be working out of the company’s Miami office at any given time.

“Neoris opened its global headquarters in Miami because at the time it was an entry into the US market,” the company said in a statement to Miami Today.

“It also presented a unique capability to serve the Latin American markets and gain access into Europe,” the firm added. “Miami is a central location that makes sense from a logistical standpoint.”

Like other cities, Miami also has companies in other fields that have incorporated aspects of information technology, or IT, into their business operations.

“IT firms are but one part of the IT industry,” according to the Beacon Council’s Target Industries report.

“IT workers are found in all industries , and many large companies in other industries have dedicated IT departments and staff focused on software development, mobile applications, and Internet management,” the report states.

Overall, information technology in Miami-Dade accounts for more than 6,800 jobs. That makes it the smallest of seven local industries targeted by the Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal program for the creation of quality jobs.

The sector shrank by an estimated 478 jobs in Miami-Dade in the recessionary period from 2005 to 2010. However, the sector is expected to rebound with an estimated annual job growth rate of 2.6% from 2010 to 2020, according to a Beacon Council analysis.

“Miami-Dade County’s relatively low concentration of IT workers is reflective of the county’s traditional industry concentration in tourism, construction, and health care,” the report states.

“With a small young professional population and limited technological research activities,” it adds, “Miami-Dade County has not traditionally been considered a hub for information technology or a candidate for IT firm relocation and VC [venture capital] investment.”

However, the Beacon Council is expected to announce specific strategies for growing information technology and the other targeted industries during a May 7 event at Miami Dade College.

As the report noted one way information technology has expanded is through the creation of IT staffs or departments at companies in a wide range of fields.

For example, the Miami accounting firm of Kaufman Rossin created its own information technology unit several years ago to offer its clients an additional service to help them handle the seemingly limitless stream of computerized information.

“We’ve seen the need in the market for these types of consulting services,” said Jorge Rey, director of information security and compliance at Kaufman Rossin.

Mr. Rey said the firm has dedicated five or six employees, himself including, to its information technology unit as companies in need of accounting and auditing services also are in need of protecting that information in the age of cyber-nation.

“In the past,” he added, “someone could steal a box of records, and they’d get 50, 60, or 70 papers. Today, someone can come in and take a backup (digital) tape and it’s like they’re stealing thousands of pages.”

With computerized records now the standard, companies also must protect their information from computer viruses and hackers, and that’s where IT security specialists like Mr. Rey come in.

Not only do jobs in the field generally pay well due to the technical and business administrative skills require, Mr. Rey said, but also there seems to be a foundation for growth here because of Miami’s collection of small companies and entrepreneurs.

“Is there more innovation in Silicon Valley and Boston than Miami? Probably,” he added. Still, “Miami has a very interesting mixture of small and entrepreneurial firms that are incorporating information technology into their business plans.”

The Target Industries report agreed.

“With large financial services, professional services, healthcare, international trade, and tourism sectors, Miami-Dade County has many of the firms that drive demand for IT services,” the report found.

It also noted that Miami-Dade has assets to support the growth of the IT industry, including the presence of Neoris, Terremark and Spain-based Telefonica. Several incubators potentially useful to IT startups also are here: Incubate Miami, Miami Shared and LaunchPad UM.

The report added: “A growing base of application software success stories has demonstrated the potential of blending the county’s traditional industries with creative design and software talent to create new companies.”


Jorge Rey, CISA, CISM, is a Cybersecurity & Compliance Principal at Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.