A Global Rollout of Software Solutions with a Local Touch

How local trip hazards can bring down a giant 

Imagine having to deploy timekeeping and scheduling across your stores or factories spread across the globe. Or probably more challenging, you already have this deployed domestically, but now it needs to be rolled out internationally. Challenging? You have a budget, global deployment team, clear scope … pretty straightforward. 

Most of our projects have a multinational scope. They all start with a global design to provide a framework that applies to all countries. Sounds fantastic, right? Well, almost… if it weren’t for local challenges that need to be taken into account. 

Why go global in the first place? 

Ultimately, you are rolling out a tool to support your business – not the other way around. As a company, it is vital to think about where you can streamline processes. Whether it’s related to user access, HR systems, or offering a default set of reports, you will want processes that are as easy to manage across the board as possible. You don’t want to keep reinventing the wheel, and you need to enable management to report on things on a global scale easily.  

How do you start? 

As a priority, global workshops should be held to gather the requirements that will help align processes. Country representatives are then able to share their feedback and make decisions with the global project team. This will provide you with a document that outlines what the local deployments need to adhere to. This document is then shared with the local markets, and you are ready to move ahead. So far, so good! 

So, where’s the problem? 

Each country needs to go through a local requirements gathering process. The project team is made aware of the global approach and outline before or during this session. However, the more we start discussing local requirements, the more it becomes clear that that global approach may not always work everywhere. For example, think of local HR or labour regulations that require the system to work in a specific way to meet the process.  

Firstly, certain EMEA countries have unique HR legalities that you must adapt to, no questions asked.  

Secondly, regions around the globe also tend to ‘work differently.’ In EMEA, for example, having employees on fixed contracts is completely different than how employees work in the United States. This has a significant impact on how scheduling and time management software needs to be designed and implemented.  

Thirdly, let’s not forget languages. Even though English is a common language globally, you will still have countries that require translations or custom system settings.  

And last but definitely not least, change management: every country has its own level of maturity of adapting to a new system, or sometimes new company policy and procedures. This will probably be the biggest challenge. 

How can we solve this? 

Having a global approach is an excellent starting point as you make the different markets aware of what’s coming. You can use this opportunity to get your team members on board on time so they can prepare themselves (and their local teams) for the change. You create a sense of ‘we-can-do-this-together.’  

However, we must keep in mind that localization is inevitable the moment you step into a country. Whether it’s for legalities, better end-user adoption, or because the global processes simply won’t work due to culture. You will be challenged internally to find a nice spot in that big gray area, so each rollout becomes a successful one.  

Allow yourselves some room for flexibility when it comes to global rollouts. The more openly you discuss this during each rollout, the more successful your rollout will be!  

 

At Simms & Associates, we have extensive experience with multinational deployments. We have an international team of senior consultants who know what it takes to work globally and understand local needs at country/regional levels. Get in touch with us for a free consultation at info@simms-associates.com or visit our website for more information on how we can help at www.simms-associates.com. 

By: Elias Boutzakhte 

Solutions Consultant