Secret No. 4 is to align business and globalization objectives. Matching up one initiative with the other helps to ensure organizations maximize their overseas efforts.
I’ve said before that a company wishing to flourish in today’s global market must adopt a services globalization strategy. But not every organization is ready to globalize every process today. A successful strategy takes diligent planning and thought; and that takes time and focused effort.
In my last column, I brought up the following questions: Should the organization globalize? Why will the organization globalize? What will the organization globalize? When will it globalize?
In answering the first two questions—about why the organization is globalizing and if it even should globalize—an organization must look at globalization in relation to its overall business strategy. If the company’s globalization strategy doesn’t align with its business strategy, the organization is wasting its resources and should not globalize.
As services globalization becomes a business imperative for industries ranging from financial services to healthcare, companies will be even more inclined to jump on the bandwagon with their peers. Afraid of being left in the dust, too many companies globalize without really considering whether services globalization is right for them and whether their particular approach to services globalization is the best one.
While it’s true that services globalization should receive due consideration from executives at every organization, it is not a one-size-fits-all proposition: the way Company A executes services globalization will not necessarily work for Company B, just as the reasons for Company B to globalize are not necessarily the same as those of Company A.
In other words, too often globalization initiatives are taken on with no real strategy at all, or an organization allows its globalization strategy to drive its business strategy. Successful globalizers, in contrast, develop very clear globalization strategies before setting one foot out the door, and those strategies are driven every step of the way by their corporate strategies.
Q: What part of your business strategy does globalization help you execute? Consider this: In addition to aligning its globalization strategy with its business strategy and ensuring that the business strategy is the driving force behind globalization, the successful globalizer has a clear idea of what part of its business strategy globalization will help execute.
For example, a Fortune 500 computer systems company provides an example of an organization that didn’t have a clear idea of which part globalization would help execute before beginning its initiative. As a result, the it encountered a number of (avoidable) problems.
The company initially decided to offshore its corporate business customer service; retail customer service; levels 1, 2, and 3 customer support; order processing; accounts payable and receivable; and order-to-cash processes to third-party suppliers as well as captive centers in India and the Philippines.
Once the initiative was underway, the computer systems company found significant performance and quality issues at its captive center handling corporate business customer service processes. Additionally, the ramp-up of higher-end, customer-facing processes was slower than the company had originally expected.
After analyzing the problems of its services globalization initiative, the organization realized that the fault lay in not fully analyzing its portfolio of processes to understand the fundamental what, when, where, and how questions that services globalization requires. Additionally, the company found that its fragmented processes needed to be aggregated and that an effective transition needed to be based on a detailed analysis of processes.
The Fortune 500 computer systems company responded to the deficiencies it found in its services globalization roll-out, re-planned the initiatives by answering those critical what, when, where, and how questions, and developed a clear picture of how globalization would help the company accomplish its business objectives. It now has very successful offshore operations. To successfully leverage services globalization—to be right in globalization decisions—organizations must ensure that their globalization strategy is driven by and aligned with their business strategy. Answering the questions highlighted in this column will help your organization do just that.
Don’t miss my next column on the fifth secret of successful globalizers: Assign the best people.