Going Global Without The Grief

Think small and you will undoubtedly get left behind. The increasingly global nature of business means organisations must look beyond the local or even national boundary. Through the process of globalisation, economies and cultures have become more integrated. Such integration has been enabled by communication and transportation networks.

Businesses now source from across the globe and sell their products and services to a series of worldwide locations. But how do you make sure your information and processes are ready for the increasingly global market place?

The first thing to recognise is the importance of difference. Just because something works at home does not mean it will be applicable elsewhere. Host countries have their own laws, particularly regarding customer records and data compliance.

It might be within the legal jurisdiction to hold records within a different part of the European Economic Area, but you will need to be very careful about holding information in other parts of the world.

Your team will need access to smart financial management technology that can help ensure compliance is straightforward, rather than a bind. Systems such as electronic procurement and document management will make sure contracts are tight and that no element of governance has been overlooked.

Good customer service that meets local regulations will require strong information management. Pay attention to data warehousing and master data management to ensure records are complete, accurate and truthful.

System choices will be affected by locality. Just because an approach works in the UK does not mean it can be easily transplanted to another country. Look for business software that can be flexibly deployed in line with national infrastructure and network capabilities.

Finally, finding local people that can deal effectively with customers and that can comply with standard and local business practices is key. Use human resources software to ensure the right personnel are found and trained, and that the correct global workflow processes are established.

Moving into new markets is exciting – in fact, it can be viewed as a necessity if you want your business to grow. Just make sure you get the ‘behind the scenes’ infrastructure and processes right so that going global does not cause your business grief.

Dean Dickinson is Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions, formerly COA Solutions. Dean has been in the finance software business since 1990. He was part of the senior management team at QSP/Arelon prior to the acquisition by COA Solutions at which time he became Deputy Managing Director for the business as a whole. Since the acquisition of COA Solutions by Advanced Computer Software Group in February 2010, Dean has become Managing Director for Advanced Business Solutions. He is a specialist in consultancy and has a strong knowledge of business processes within a high volume/high value environment.