Globalization and Globality
I headlined yesterday's post about Infosys buying Axon "Real Globalization," the idea being that globalization means more than companies from industrialized countries moving into new markets in search of cheap labor. The purchase of a big British consultancy by an Indian tech giant illustrates something larger than a move up the value chain for Infosys; it's a harbinger of a cross-border business culture where the drivers are as likely to reside in India or China as in the US or Europe or Japan.
This is what Harold Sirkin of the Boston Consulting Group calls "globality." Sirkin is the co-author, with BCG partners James W. Hemerling and Arindam K. Bhattacharya, of a book by that title, Globality: Competing With Everyone From Everywhere for Everything.
Sirkin likens this trend to Japan's performance after World War II, when that country's manufacturing sector output went from being the butt of jokes to a world-spanning export engine. Now, he says, India and China are going to make the same transition, even as "a lot of [Western] companies are in denial about this."
More from Sirkin's conversation with Brian Watson:
This shift is going to be more IT-enabled than other shifts. All of a sudden, businesses are going to have to grow into truly global operations, not just country-specific operations. The only thing that will bring that together--and one of the things you absolutely have to have--is IT. This becomes a much more important challenge for CIOs.
The traditional way of solving IT issues is to go to a very standardized system of operations. However, to be successful in each of these countries, there's a need for massive customization.
It's the concept of "manyness." Manyness is going to be a challenge for CIOs, because it basically means they will have to deal with more varieties of ways to do things and will need more flexibility, especially with management information systems.