5 Ways to Facilitate Global IT Collaboration
Technology is an increasingly global business. Because it involves great minds and innovative technology from all over the world, it can also be complicated. Cultural and language differences, time zone differences and varying work styles can also complicate matters.
Mike DeVries is the chief marketing officer of GlobalLogic, a product and services innovations company delivering research and development (R&D) services to leading technology companies, thinks the effort to collaborate globally is worth it. He offers five tips on making global collaboration work for you.
Embrace diversity – "Getting people to work together globally, first requires that you understand and embrace the diversity that comes in the global setting.," DeVries said. "Conducting business on all major continents with R&D labs in India, Ukraine and Argentina, GlobalLogic sees firsthand each culture’s working styles and unique behaviors. We have learned that forcing these differences into a single norm tends to highlight the negative aspects of each culture. However, just like working locally, the best results come from focusing on the positive and adjusting how you work accordingly."
Get connected – "The Earth is not flat," DeVries added. "It is round with at least 24 time zones. If you want global collaboration, you need to be able to connect from anywhere, to anywhere, at any time. Here, the explosion of mobility and smart devices is a game-changer. Without the ability to reach people when you need them, and equally important, enabling people to reach you when they need you, our interactions become governed by small windows of 'overlapping work hours.' This limited time to collaborate can grind things to a halt."
Enable on-the-go collaboration – "Working globally means more than just connecting people by voice," he said. "It's critical that you equip your teams with tools to access information and solve problems regardless of location. We’ve found that smart devices (phones and tablets) and cloud computing — in our case, Google Applications — creates a powerful combination for on-the-go collaboration. Working digitally without the constraint of corporate firewalls or a physical office presence are not just matters of convenience, they are matters of survival in the global context."
Understand what you don't understand – "If you are dealing with a global environment, it is important to recognize that you are not an expert in all the situations," DeVries said. "Knowing what you don't know is a critical step to avoid the major blunders that cause many companies to shy away from global markets. For almost any business situation you face, help is out there. Knowing that you need it is the first major step to ensuring that your global competencies are effectively translated into a local context."
Empower people to make decisions at a local and a global level – "More than ever before, technology enables global business," he said. "However, every global company needs to create an environment that encourages local decision-making. Equip your team to make the best local decisions by putting them on the ground, in the market, in front of the customer. At the same time, be aware that it is easy to let long hours and great technology become a crutch supporting a model of centralized authority. Pick your people carefully, equip them with the right tools and most importantly, empower them to make the decision that accelerates your business via global collaboration."