Discussion of globalisation in the IT press seldom rises above the level of the merits and demerits of outsourcing. There is a tendency to isolate particular elements of globalisation, without relating them to each other to produce a coherent understanding and to succumb to emotional responses in the face of objective economic processes that are hard to grasp. And yet it would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of globalisation's influence on corporate IT.
Computer Weekly's feature, "The shrinking world of business", inaugurates a series that will render a more cohesive account of IT and globalisation as a guide to action for IT and business leaders.
The series will address issues such as standardising business processes; managing global suppliers; international division of labour; business transformation to globalise more effectively; and managing the changes wrought in organisations by globalisation.
Global management of skills, suppliers and standards can reduce costs, but IT can also make a significant contribution to international business by standardising business processes to support a global view. Doing things in the same way, no matter where you are in the world, can help you better understand and enhance performance.
Embedding such global standards is not trivial. Local circumstances have to be negotiated; local managers have to be inspired and led to attain the same goals. But the benefits are demonstrable.
We report in this issue that Rolls-Royce has completed the standardisation of SAP systems across the business to support its global IT model. Traditionally, the company has operated factories independently, but the standardisation of systems and processes means they can operate more effectively on a global scale. Standardisation across 29 international sites enables the company to run manufacturing operations, project management, financial systems, human resources, and material requirements planning off a single SAP implementation.
Globalisation: it's not just about outsourcing the helpdesk to India.
This was first published in August 2007