When it comes to conducting business, borders are on the way out. In a globalized world, enterprises are more frequently harnessing the power of the global workforce to serve a global customer base. But managing business operations and workforces across a number of diverse regions, each with their own rules and regulations, is not without its pitfalls, and global enterprises are turning to technology to help them navigate the landscape.
For the majority of the 20th century, enterprise-scale businesses were fairly content to operate, for the most part, within their own borders. But with the advent of the internet, the rise of globalization, and the mobilization of the modern workforce, the borders that had historically contained enterprises to specific nations began to erode. Now, enterprises aim to take advantage of both a geographically diverse workforce and a geographically diverse customer base to grow their business substantially.
But to effectively manage global business operations, there are a number of different challenges that must be addressed: namely, global connectivity, global workforce collaboration, employee mobility, and, not least of all, the risks and challenges presented by maintaining compliance with different governments and regulatory bodies across international borders.
Luckily, in tandem with the rise of the global enterprise, several technological solutions have developed to empower these organizations to navigate these challenges and more effectively manage their global workforces in pursuit of business goals. Let’s look at how.
Collaboration and Communication
Enabling employees to collaborate on projects effectively can be complex enough when you have a handful of staff under one roof. When you factor in thousands of employees, multiple locations, different time zones, and international borders, it can add additional complexities that can derail even the best–conceived projects and initiatives. Communication not only helps contribute to the advancement or completion of projects, but it also plays a critical role in building workplace culture, driving motivation, and keeping employees engaged.
Using tools that enable employees to communicate effectively, both in real-time and asynchronously, can help. Chat platforms, intranet software, project management tools, scheduling tools, video chat, and teleconferencing software, and even venerable email can all empower workforces to work better together, whether they span cubicles, offices, countries or continents.
Regardless of the tools being used, organizations need to have guidelines in place that determine which types of conversations should take place, and when and where they should happen—the tools can then help to facilitate the most meaningful interactions that yield the greatest results for the business.
Managing resources, both financial, physical, digital, and human, is a complex and multi-faceted endeavor. And while the nuances may vary across national borders, running a successful global business means having a birds-eye view of resourcing at any given moment. Without real–time visibility into an enterprise businesses’ resources, costs can balloon, budgets can explode, deadlines can be missed, and projects can fail.
By utilizing an integrated global Resource Management platform across your enterprise, business leaders will have full visibility into operations, inventory, financial planning and resource allocation, and be able to shift resources responsively around the enterprise on an as-needed basis, better serving customers and staff alike.
When selecting a global resource planning tool, it’s important to consider one that offers localizations—that is, displaying information according to local time, currency, and language, ensuring that no matter where your employees are, they’re always on the same page.
At the heart of all informed business decisions are data. Whether considering when to bring a product to market, how to market a product, how to improve customer experience, or how to manage internal processes better, data helps drive how to decide not only what matters most, but how to execute on the initiatives that will propel the business forward.
To run a truly global business, enterprises must serve a global audience—both in terms of customers and the workforce. If data is siloed between geographical locations, or if the data sources are not made available to all employees regardless of location, data analysis can suffer, painting an incomplete picture and leading to bad decision making. For example, if your business launched a new product in North America and it flopped, it would be beneficial to the overseas arms of your business to understand the root causes, to avoid repeating the same mistakes, or hold off on launching the product entirely until the problems had been addressed.
While the tools that geographically disparate offices might use may vary, the data collected from them must not. By using a unified data store serving your entire global operation, you’ll ensure that the best business decisions are being made, wherever they might be located.
The global mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.87 billion employees by 2022. In order to capitalize on this growing trend and take advantage of the productivity and employee engagement boons provided, enterprise businesses must embrace fully mobile tools that empower employees to work wherever they are—whether that be at home, in the field, or on the road.
By building cloud-first technology stacks, employees will have essential access to the tools, data, and processes that they need to effectively do their jobs, contributing to greater productivity gains, greater organizational responsiveness, and an overall more satisfied and engaged workforce.
Selecting the right mobile tools means ensuring they adhere to data protection standards based on the regions you’re operating in—so partnering with a vendor with experience serving global markets is paramount.
To unlock massive growth potential and scale businesses at previously unheard-of levels, more businesses are considering taking their operations global every day. By partnering with an experienced technology vendor with experience serving global enterprises, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your global tool deployment is in the right hands. At OnActuate, we’ve built our business on global rollouts and integrations, and we know exactly how to help you build yours to compete on a global scale. Ready to go global? We’re ready to help!