The world keeps getting smaller.
In Europe and America, consumers have long been accustomed to seeing manufacturing labels of Asian countries on a broad range of consumer goods.
Now, when Europeans travel across to Asia Pacific and walk into high-end supermarkets in cities across the region, they can find an extensive selection of European wines that they recognise, along with the finest French champagnes. And on the streets of those cities they see premium autos from Europe and America. In fact for luxury car companies, the single country of China frequently ranks as their most important market worldwide. In turn Asia automakers are designing and manufacturing cars specifically targeting European and US market tiers.
A recent Bloomberg study estimated that globalization contributes $450 billion to worldwide growth each year, and with so many opportunities available to companies of all sizes, that’s likely to keep growing. As well as bringing direct economic benefits, this expands competition in markets across the globe, providing more options for consumers and creating more dynamic local markets, enabling both businesses and individual consumers to get the best products and services at the best prices.
But that doesn’t mean to say that all these markets have the same look and feel. Successfully crossing new frontiers in commerce needs people who understand local preferences as well as global drivers. In addition, technology has also been a great enabler of globalization, so the right balance between people and tech is key to success.
Cloud computing opens markets
From my experience in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East, of all the game-changing technologies pushing businesses forward today, cloud computing in particular has created unprecedented market advantages in reach, access, and customer engagement.
Whether it’s the latest e-commerce platform that lets businesses expand into global markets, or innovative digital services that let organizations engage consumers directly, we’ve never been so connected. Through the power of cloud platforms, businesses can now launch into new markets in weeks instead of months. They can use online services to expand across borders, faster than ever and at lower cost.
The cloud also mitigates financial and technical risks by allowing brands to scale IT capabilities as needed. And organizations have the flexibility to deploy cloud in different ways, from public clouds that are largely hands-off and managed by cloud service providers, freeing their people to focus on business innovation, to private clouds where a company’s tech team can be more hands-on, depending on requirements.
Integrated, streamlined, accessible
As cloud computing supports operations across borders and time zones, mobile access becomes the key to opening up those services, enabling business users and consumers to tap into them from any device at any time. The new generation of social messaging applications allow you to not only chat with friends around the world, but also to pay bills and buy directly from brands. And the new level of elegance of the applications on today’s digital screens makes those cloud experiences even more compelling.
Whether a business is competing across the city or across the ocean, having integrated systems and applications in the cloud brings the benefit of seamless business processes, making it possible to get a centralised view of the entire business for better decision making and competitive action. Organizations also gain an integral view of their customers across digital channels, for a better understanding of their needs and what motivates them. With these insights, businesses can make more informed decisions along each step of the customer journey, creating more meaningful engagement and ultimately improving business results.
The best people think globally, act locally
Of course, technology alone is not the answer. I’m convinced that the businesses most likely to achieve their global ambitions will be those with both the best technologies and the most talented people. Establishing synergy between these two vital elements is essential in enabling businesses to expand into new areas, adjust to market changes quickly, and interact with customers more directly and meaningfully.
People with broad vision coupled with local insights are optimally positioned to bring the latest innovations and international best practices to their customers. They understand the latest technology, while at the same time they know the local business landscape and connections between companies, the opportunities and constraints, and above all what makes people tick in the local culture and language.
As they expand their international horizons, great businesses rely on great people, and in today’s dynamic markets, it’s hardly surprising that competition to attract and retain the very best employees has never been more important and more intense.
By way of example, we ourselves have recently embarked on a major campaign to recruit talented cloud specialists who can work effectively in a multinational environment.
In common with other far-seeing businesses, we’re looking for people who can help our customers succeed in reaching their business objectives, while at the same time contributing to our vision for the future. The talented people joining us will add unrivalled breadth to the services and technologies we provide. They will also represent a diverse set of skills, experiences, and backgrounds that deepen our appreciation for the local challenges and opportunities our customers face.
It’s through this combination of innovative technology platforms and talented, uncompromising people that businesses of all sizes can become competitive, multinational organizations that think globally and act locally.