Last week we looked at a hypothetical case of two telecommunications companies deploying overseas. Each came away with drastically different results.
While 5G and fiber optic technology are the same whether you’re in Cambodia or California, the rules, governmental structure, geopolitical environment, and cultural considerations that surround it are often vastly different from place to place. If you are going to go global – and you can download our whitepaper on the topic here – there are plenty of challenges to doing so, but also plenty of opportunities. We’ll outline some of the challenges, and solutions, here:
Challenge: Putting aside governmental institutions, there are cultural considerations that you need to be familiar with. Understanding basic etiquette like removing your shoes if you’re installing an integrated camera system in a mosque in Dubai to realizing that National Heroes Day is the Fourth Monday in August in the Philippines (probably not the best day to do a massive IT upgrade of government buildings) are crucial for your project success. The world has thousands upon thousands of local laws, holidays, cultural norms, and political considerations. Expecting one person at your company to know them all is not realistic.
Solution: Partner with an entity that uses local talent who knows and understands the cultural considerations of the environment. They’ll be able to avoid the cultural minefields that can stand in the way of success.
Challenge: Whether you’re working in a long-established democracy like France or a country with a shaky central government like Somalia, you’ll need to navigate the warren of local laws that apply. In some cases, the regulations requiring something as seemingly innocuous as setting up a payment processing system are quite extensive. In some countries, you’ll have government minders following your techs. In most cases, you’re better off partnering with a company that uses local workers who understand the local political environment.
Solution: You’ll want to work with an entity that understands the local laws that govern everything from banking to liability.
Challenge: This is obvious, but it trips up tech companies. You don’t want to send your best tech who speaks Arabic to a land where Farsi is the rule. A few misunderstood words here and there can lead to disaster or, at the very least, a lot of wasted billable hours.
Solution: Partner with a firm that uses local on-the-ground field-level techs who know the land and language.
Challenge: There can be huge differences in what is available to work with between, say, New Zealand and Macedonia. If existing infrastructure supports platform and project management, then there are significant savings in using what’s there. In some cases, you may have to “bring your own,” scalable solutions tailored to the infrastructure on hand.
Solution: Partnering with an entity that understands what the local infrastructure offers. In business, time is indistinguishable from money, so you want techs that understand the situation on the ground immediately without on-the-job learning.
Challenge: Overseas deployments are costly, although the costs vary greatly depending on the country, the project, and scope.
Solution: Partner with an entity that procures local talent, local infrastructure, and has vetted and will manage the process and assure the outcome.
Go global, think local.
The book International Business: Opportunities and Challenges in a Flattening World lays out the challenges clearly:
“Until recently, governments were able to directly enforce the rules and regulations based on their political and legal philosophies. The Internet has started to change this, as sellers and buyers have easier access to each other. Nevertheless, countries still have the ability to regulate or strong-arm companies into abiding by their rules and regulations. As a result, global businesses monitor and evaluate the political and legal climate in countries in which they currently operate or hope to operate in the future.”
So we advise you to embrace the global opportunities that are increasingly ripe for your choosing. Just make sure you choose the right people to partner with on your global journey.