Six Degrees of Separation: How Technology Drives Globalization

Date: October 15, 2014

The world is becoming smaller. It’s true that the physical nature of the landscape hasn’t changed, however in terms of global business and communication, the increased inter-connectivity of the globe frees us from the limitations of physical distance, and instead allows us to think about expansion where it may have been previously impossible. 

Information now travels in seconds from any one point on the globe to another and technology is the single most significant factor in reducing the effects of geographic boundaries and increasing our ability to standardize and provide consistency across disparate locations.  Technology facilitates efficiency gains and enables the creative use of resources to provide additional service offerings, revenue streams, and opportunities across nations and locations.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Thomas L. Friedman, in his book The World is Flat, describes ten specific areas that have increased globalization. There are two areas that he elaborates on that have very significant meaning and value to organizations in the fund industry that have implemented a global operating model or are attempting to transition to one through the use of technology–standardization and integration.

In today’s environment, where efficient, lean and low cost operations are a critical global strategic initiative within the organizations we partner with, standardization of processes, data models, output, and communication are key components toward a move to a sustainable global operating model. Combining those key components with the rapid transition to SaaS-based technologies, locations around the globe can more readily access technology and all of the infrastructure and efficiency benefits it provides.  As more work is transitioned to low cost centers, such as those in India and Poland, there is a critical need for standardized processes, data models, analysis, and controls to allow for successful and efficient offshore moves. Through the use of technology, resources in multiple locations around the globe can access the same data store, reporting capabilities, and communication channels simultaneously.   This, in turn, creates organizations where the location of work being performed is of less importance than the actual work and subsequent output.

As organizations move to a “Follow the Sun” model where processes are completed around the globe in continuous fashion, access to technology becomes vital to provide a standardized and consistent process across global organizations regardless of 6, 12 or even 18 hour time differences between locations. Technology permits geographically disperse locations to access the same data, at the same time, and to streamline processes to provide consistent output and services wherever needed.

The second component, integration, is really a by-product of standardization. Through the standardization of processes, data flow, technology, and other requirements across locations around the globe, more seamless integration of tasks, people and processes becomes realized. Integration, when combined with standardization, provides the ability to reduce execution timeframes and durations, as well as to reduce the overall costs to provide this increased level of service and efficiency.

Integration provides four key benefits for organizations employing a global operating model:

  • Efficient sharing of information:  Integration provides a single point of access to information and reduces the time resources spend searching for and mining information.
  • Automation:  Integration allows for the streamlining and removal of redundant processes being completed at multiple locations.
  • Reduction of IT involvement and overhead: Employment of one single global platform allows organizations to combine multiple stand-alone applications into one platform, reducing the effort of IT resources to manage multiple vendors, systems and technological configurations.
  • Increased flexibility and agility: Through more automated processes and efficient sharing of information, integration provides the ability for organizations to more quickly recognize and respond to new opportunities, requirements and services.

Technology has helped facilitate the expansion into low cost centers and the ability to offer increased services around the globe. A global approach, spearheaded by integrated and standardized technology, provides new opportunities for increased revenue growth, reduced costs, increased efficiencies, and the potential for new products and services.

Learn more about how Confluence can help organizations successfully integrate global operations through the use of the Unity Platform.