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Navigating Global Challenges

by Otto Schell | SAPinsider

October 1, 2012

To help international companies get the information they need to navigate the global market, DSAG recently held its 5th DSAG/SAP Globalization Symposium. Read this article to see what Otto Schell, Head of the Globalization Working Group at DSAG, has to say about the symposium and why globalization is so crucial to companies today.
 

For international companies to thrive, they need to be able to act quickly, nimbly, and competitively in a global environment. But globalization remains a fairly complicated and challenging topic. Companies are eager to hear from peers that have faced similar challenges so they can learn best practices to emulate and pitfalls to avoid. To help bring these companies together, the German-Speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) organized its fifth DSAG/SAP Globalization Symposium, held in Cologne, Germany this past June.

In this interview, Otto Schell, host of the event and DSAG’s Head of the Globalization Working Group and Global Steering Committee Representative, shares his observations on globalization and the importance of sharing knowledge and learning from each other.

Q: Why is globalization such a key topic, especially now?

A: Globalization will always be important. Globalization is about the ability to keep up with moving markets and the need to make your company available in different parts of the world. To do all  this, companies need to be proactive; they should address globalization issues at the beginning of a solution rollout or a business process design project. If you start thinking about globalization at the end of the project, it’s simply too late.

Q: What are some of the globalization challenges that companies are facing?

A: There is a wide range of challenges associated with globalization, from those as basic as dealing with different time zones, to those as complex as having to manage a governance infrastructure that encompasses the requirements of various regions.

One challenge that received a lot of attention at the symposium was how to address change management within a company. Being able to rapidly deploy a global solution rollout is one thing, ensuring that your employees can effectively leverage that solution is another. Change management, user education, and onboarding need to be upfront considerations when dealing with a global rollout.

It’s also extremely important for companies to keep an eye on the future. What global markets might open up next? Would your business be able to take advantage of those markets with your current globalization strategy? We always have to move forward.

Q: What is the value of this symposium?

A: One valuable aspect of the event is that it gives companies a chance to hear directly from SAP, which provides sessions around its globalization services. Surprisingly, we found that, before these sessions, many people didn’t realize the breadth of globalization offerings that SAP has.

It’s also important to remember that the symposium doesn’t distinguish between a large enterprise and a small or midsize company. All companies that go global have similar challenges and you can learn from a smaller company just as easily as from a Fortune 500 business.

In addition, bringing together people who are facing the same obstacles is enormously valuable. This community is brimming with knowledge, and if people can leverage this knowledge, they won’t make the same mistakes twice. That is the real goal of the symposium — it’s a place where people can speak openly about their experience so others can learn from them. 

           
       

Otto Schell
Head of the Globalization Working Group and Global Steering Committee Representative
DSAG 

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