Emerging Markets, Part 3: Don’t Export your IT strategy
Speed, precision and local adaption are very important when entering emerging markets. If you missed these blogs of this series be sure to check them out here:
But what about your IT Strategy?
Simply exporting your IT strategy and setting it up in a foreign market can threaten both the speed and success of your market entry. Many times in remote locations of emerging markets internet speed and infrastructure is weak. This could mean IT systems are slow and even unusable in some circumstances. The best way to figure this out is to do market research on the IT infrastructure or personally visit the location to get a feel of what your getting into.
Some options for reducing IT needs include simplifying apps and investing in cloud apps. You must remember that workers in emerging markets might not have the same technical skills as back home. Therefore, complex IT systems and data systems can be complicated for employees to use. Companies can circumvent this problem by creating simple apps with easy user interfaces. For example, a chemical company in Chile knew they needed
analytics but lacked the time and money to set-up a data warehouse. By using simple apps, which were accessible via Smartphone’s by all store managers, they were able to create an easy to use manager interface, which received its data from the database. Another option is to invest in cloud technology. This can save a company both time and money. However, companies must determine ahead of time if the IT infrastructure of the foreign markets is reliable and supports this strategy. If the area does not support this strategy, companies might also consider going to nearby areas that do.
Another way of minimizing this problem is by scaling down. Many companies who enter into a foreign market typically only sell a sub-segment of their products their. Therefore, only a slice of corporate IT is needed. This requires less power and will allow weak Internet or 3G signals to handle your needs. Figure out which IT structures are essential for these sub-segments to work and leave everything else at home. Additionally, companies should look at the laws that govern the internet. For example, in China Facebook and Twitter are blocked by the government. This could be big trouble for a company that focuses heavily on social media sites for CRM.
The last point may come to a surprise for many people. Know what technology your employees have at home. In many Southeast Asian countries for example employees don’t have internet at home. This means many employees use the computers at work to check social media sites, download music, and do online shopping. This slows internet speeds and could have effects on company performance. Before entering into a foreign market check for this social factor and make sure to provide clear rules for internet usage at the office.
Check back in January for the last blog in this series where we will explore partner opportunities to speed up success and acceptance.
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