Every CEO at some point in their career asks themselves “is now the right time to grow the business?”, a question usually followed by “but is the business ready to expand?”.
Navigating into new markets is surely no easy feat, and it’s no longer a job that relies solely on the CEO. In recent years, CIOs have taken an increasingly frequent seat at the table when it comes to growth strategies, and this isn’t to spread the workload.
Business connectivity, IT set-up, and security now play a critical role in ensuring business success, including expansion into new markets. CIOs and their IT teams are now relied upon to ensure the stability of an organization, including the seamless connection between its people, places and things anywhere in the world it operates.
Jean-Philippe Avelange has been chief information officer at Expereo since 2017, following an IT Telecoms career in Cloud Computing, Internet, Telecom or E-Commerce industries, which has included time within global consultancies and as a founder and Entrepreneur.
We recently surveyed over 650 CIOs from global enterprises to uncover the challenges and opportunities facing some of the leading CIOs of today. Our findings revealed that almost half (46%) of CIOs plan to expand into new markets in the next 12 months.
However, with growth comes new challenges, as 37% believe that establishing effective connectivity in new regions is a significant challenge within their role, while an equal percentage find it to be a substantial organizational hurdle.
From data security and compliance, unpredictable downtime, and unnecessary complexity, to disjointed communication and siloed teams, businesses must discover how technology solutions can mitigate the risks associated with global expansion to ensure a smoother journey.
The clever managed service provider (MSP), therefore, will be prepared to offer a solution that guarantees secure and reliable global connections.
De-risking global expansion
Every region has its own benefits and challenges when it comes to expansion. For instance, some markets may be highly regulated, leading to strict demands in compliance, while deregulated markets can be just as challenging from a security perspective.
For example, according to our research report, Enterprise Horizons, the Caribbean and Latin America are considered the most challenging markets to grow a business in, whereas North America and Europe are seen as having the most opportunity for growth.
For businesses looking to expand into new markets, it’s critical to value and develop local knowledge that can combat these risks, benefitting not only the internal processes of a business but also to offer invaluable insights to customers and stakeholders.
This is a strategy recognized widely by CIOs, with 42% of those we surveyed saying they were actively pushing for investments into local knowledge to address challenges brought about by growth.
Organizations looking to de-risk their global expansion will find further success with advanced connectivity solutions, such as SD-WAN. Interruptions to operations and delays in communication can disrupt a business’ expansion plans, and SD-WAN solutions can offer redundancy and failover capabilities to enable seamless real-time collaboration and connection, bringing teams and functions together despite geographical gaps.
Protect yourself against the loss of sensitive data
With the expansion process being as labor intensive as it can be, reducing the overloading of teams is also a huge focus for organizations looking to reduce risk around growth. By automating manual and repetitive tasks, businesses can reduce the pressure on employees, while often simplifying the process as well.
CIOs are increasingly preparing the existing workforce through upskilling as well, with 46% of those we talked to pushing for upskilling teams compared to only 36% prioritizing recruiting. By investing in the workforce, businesses can lay the groundwork for a smoother expansion experience, with employees motivated to do the work that matters the most.
Having confidence with the right technology
Technology solutions have a vital role to play in global expansion, as is shown by our research which highlights that half of global CIOs (51%) have secured increased technology budgets to deliver growth and overcome challenges this year.
Connectivity solutions are a priority among business needs, with 42% of respondents saying their board views global connectivity as a business asset critical to growth.
As organizations expand, infrastructure can become increasingly complex, often leading to multiple service providers, managed across a web of interconnected platforms. MSPs have an opportunity here to offer businesses a single management platform that keeps businesses connected across the world.
When choosing a solution, CIOs should make sure that network visibility is a focus, as this allows administrators to identify issues and assess them before they affect business operations.
When businesses establish effective connectivity across regions, they prepare themselves to optimize communication and collaboration, fostering a more cohesive global workforce empowered to perform. This not only improves operational efficiency, but also encourages a sense of unity across the business, breaking down barriers and developing a truly global identity.
Unlocking growth with the Cloud
As much as we can hope to completely understand the challenges and benefits of entering new markets, it can’t be forgotten that as technology develops, so too will business and market needs. To achieve growth goals, enterprises must be prepared to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.
By prioritizing cloud and data supported by appropriate network and connectivity solutions, organizations will gain the scalability and flexibility that legacy systems won’t be able to keep up with.
As enterprises begin operating in different geographical markets, as well as with increasingly hybrid workforces, the importance of having a solution prepared to manage bandwidth consumption and network performance will become more and more obvious.
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Jean-Philippe Avelange has been Chief Information Officer at Expereo since 2017, following an IT Telecoms career in Cloud Computing, Internet, Telecom or E-Commerce industries, which has included time within global consultancies and as a founder and Entrepreneur.