"Chief among our gains must be reckoned this possibility of choice, the recognition of many possible ways of life, where other civilizations give a satisfactory outlet to only one temperamental type, be he mystic or soldier, businessman or artist, a civilization in which there are many standards offers a possibility of satisfactory adjustment to individuals of many different temperamental types, of diverse gifts, and varying interests."
Famed American anthropologist Margaret Mead celebrated the cultural differences between the countries and regions of the world and encouraged all of us to observe and appreciate them.
Nowhere is this more important than when connecting communication technologies between them, and nowhere is it more challenging.
Viva la Différence!
When thinking about connecting communications between countries, most think first of the technology involved. The technologies used to build the required infrastructure of copper, fiber-optic, and wireless networks varies widely and connections between them challenging, but not the concern of those procuring and managing corporate telecom and datacom. They are already in place, provide varying levels of performance, and will periodically be improved by the local and/or global carriers who own them.
Beyond the technology there are multiple layers of complexity to contend with.
Your Own Company
The first layer of complexity lies within your own multi-national organization. It is unlikely that operations are identical in every region or country you operate in, owing in part to the rest of this list of differences.
Each country is rich in its own unique culture. Unique ways of greeting each other, conducting business. Differing standards of etiquette. Different legal standards, taxation standards, governing regulations, and more. Companies operating in multiple countries must not only be adept at understanding and respecting multiple cultures, but also in managing issues between countries.
The way people perceive things is often specific to their locale. In his seminal book “Oh What a Blow That Phantom Gave Me” author Edmund Carpenter points out that Alaskan Eskimos have 34 different terms for what mainland Americans would call “white.” They see fresh snow as one kind of white, days old snow yet a different kind of white. It’s a major part of what people experience every day. Many companies must operate different human resource systems in different countries.
Time and Motion
Even within the United States, telling a customer on the West Coast that an installation will take several weeks may be standard and readily acceptable, whereas on the East Coast that news would be met with horror.
Uppermost in the minds of many is risk, and available mitigation strategies. The more regions, the more countries a company has presence in, the more sets of risk mitigation strategies they must be familiar with and put in place. Carriers in some countries provide excellent network security and information privacy. Others provide less. It falls to the customer to compensate for these varying levels of protection.
Taxation, tariffs, and other regional costs must also be considered in order to effectively manage expense. Different carriers may be subject to different treatment even within the same country.
Laws in each country governing the access to and handling of personal and commercial data, executing contracts, managing disputes, and insuring against damages vary widely. It is likely that the selection of insurance carriers will be at least as complex as selecting carriers in each country and arbitrating between them just as challenging.
The Need for Corporate Centralization and Visibility
Even as we discuss adapting to many different standards in many different places, its also important to remember that most multi-national corporations need global visibility of their spend. This requires normalizing data from each country, collecting and collating it within one central system so dashboards and reports can be furnished to uppermost executive management.
Choosing the Most Effective Technology Expense Management (TEM) Strategy
Fewer and fewer companies are continuing to attempt to manage their technology expenses internally. With all the complexity described above it becomes beyond difficult to maintain a staff with all the familiarity, knowledge, and skills required to properly and effectively manage this large expense category globally.
This has driven the growth of expert TEM providers who can immediately drive down overall spend by managing all this complexity most effectively, identifying errors, weaknesses, and other shortfalls created by current strategy. TEM experts regularly audit and evaluate all incoming technology invoices for accuracy, completeness, and contractual compliance. They painstakingly maintain an accurate inventory of all carrier circuits, cloud services, other technology services as well as all the premises and individual user equipment currently in use. This facilitates timely payment of bills as well as optimizing cost through properly timed rotation of equipment at end-of-life and changes in services to take best advantage of new offerings and upgrades.
There’s Nothing Like Being There
Some TEM providers are not structured to handle multi-national customers, though they may attempt to. Those who process invoices for their customers manually often source labor where it is least expensive. Other than that, however, their entire operation is often managed from one location. Their knowledge and experience with the many different environments they’re trying to manage is completely remote. They are often challenged by time zone differences, language barriers, and other consequences of not having personnel located in the countries and regions they are managing.
When selecting a TEM provider, multi-national companies are best served to begin by seeking those who have automated as much of their operation as possible. The high volume of documentation generated by monthly incoming billing for the tremendous number of circuits and services involved can most quickly be consumed, collated, and evaluated digitally. The inventory of all these circuits, services, and equipment cannot be relegated to spreadsheets as local TEM providers often attempt to do. A properly developed technology inventory management system provides far more than just quantities. Decisions can more readily be made. Idle assets can most quickly be returned to useful service.
For a multi-national, a TEM provider with personnel stationed throughout the world is mandatory. It is unlikely that any TEM provider will have presence everywhere, in every country, but those with significant global deployment have very likely established strong partnerships in those countries they do not cover themselves.
Talk with Calero
A conversation with global TEM provider Calero will introduce you to an unparalleled team of experienced TEM experts located in an impressive variety of countries and regions around the world. You’ll gain insight into the most advanced automation systems available to manage your entire technology estate as rapidly and accurately as possible. Share your map of global deployments and let us show you the most effective TEM solution to manage this key budget category.