Brian Dunleavy, Commercial Director, Viadex
The new norm in global deployments
By the middle of 2020, the world had been shaken to its core. The future was looking bleak as businesses closed, workers furloughed and economies faltered in the face of restrictions and lockdowns.
For midmarket businesses, reassessing and recalibrating plans they may have had — for moving into new markets, exploiting new opportunities, and combining growth strategies with pragmatic survival strategies — one overall focus was perhaps more essential than it had ever been: Time.
The race was on to keep well ahead of the detrimental business impact that COVID-19 may have had on business, while expanding faster to secure its base for a new future. Everything had to move faster. Midmarket businesses harnessing appropriate and skilled external resources were able to seize the moment; some rolling out hybrid cloud, remote work and digital commerce platforms in weeks, rather than the months that such projects had traditionally taken.
Therein lies the key to success: selecting partners, both for the technology required (the hardware), as well as the means to get it wherever in the world it was needed (the global logistics).
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
I think we’ve all felt a sense of collective pride in the power and optimism of the human spirit we have seen almost everywhere. Although it has been hard at times, we had confidence that we would conquer the challenges, adapt to new norms, and continue to innovate. We may have been knocked down, but we got up again, as a McKinsey & Company survey reported by the end of 2020:
“Executives (say) their companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. And the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by a shocking seven years.”
Where there’s a way, all you have to do is find it
Innovation has been instrumental in powering the global working-from-home trend. This seemed at first an imposition but it has quickly demonstrated that it not only increases productivity and creativity but inspires people; bringing the essential requirement for healthy work/life balance to realisation in a way that may not have been possible without the pandemic. It would have come, but it would have come much slower. Necessity has mothered invention yet again.
The theory is robust: the world is looking for recovery and opportunity, and any business correctly poised to serve customers in new markets, with new technologies, can help provide the former while benefiting from the latter.
The practice is more complex: supply chains have been disrupted, and restrictions and layers of bureaucracy abound — especially where cross-frontier shipments of hardware are concerned — in varying, and sometimes intensifying, degrees of complexity and even incomprehensibility, depending on the country you plan to deploy in.
The root of the problem can be tracked back to procurement; getting the right kit to the right place seamlessly, and cost-effectively. At the same time, ensuring that all potential stumbling blocks — across technical specifications, commercial requirements, and operational issues — are not only eliminated, but are replaced with clear, measurable, competitively advantageous benefits with an improved ROI.
Three top tips for geo-dispersed deployments
Here are the most common factors you need to evaluate in any IT deployment to another country…
TechnicalReplying on a patchwork of vendors simply won’t cut it. There are too many variables. Meanwhile, skills within your own organisation may be insufficiently wide-ranging to architect the optimised, standardised infrastructure that will drive the capabilities and the success required.There’s a high likelihood that by using numerous suppliers and service providers, even though the approach may seem to make sense by spreading risk, the result is an unwieldy IT environment.The best-practice approach is to focus on integrated solutions from the same vendor stack, while supporting the hardware you need with a boutique global IT service provider with a specialist focus on midmarket businesses, and with global operations — a team that is on your side rather than their own.
CommercialPerhaps ‘shopping around’ would seem to be common sense; play one vendor off against another; negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. After all, if one vendor can’t meet your budget targets, you’re bound to find another that will.This is a common misconception. Often in customer conversations, I find that people are unaware of the cost benefits that can accrue by dealing with a global logistics and procurement partner who can apply the commercial benefits of their own federated buying power to the costs that can be passed on to a customer.Viadex, for example, has a long-standing relationship with HPE — a global relationship. We source HPE solutions for multiple clients, year-in year-out, which raises our profile with HPE whilst favourably impacting our terms.Due to the global nature of our aggregated business with HPE, we invariably source on better terms than any individual customer ever could. So, the economies of scale we present can be passed down to our customers. Once again, it’s about getting experts on your side who offer the benefit of familiarity with key vendors, and represent longer term value to a vendor than any individual midsize organisation is ever likely to.
OperationalMoving into new geographies, or even expanding in those where you already operate, can come with a complexity of logistics, and legal, issues. The first question to ask is, do you have a legal entity in the country in question? If you don’t, you’ll be hit with such a barrage of import/export/licensing/regulatory issues that any deployment will be long delayed simply by dint of location.Our partnership with HPE enables us to buy locally. This means we can usually deploy in a 3-5 working-day window. For an organisation that lacks this sort of on-the-ground, in-market presence, the timeframe is weeks, possibly months. We are also established partners with component manufacturers where configuration is required.
Pack up your troubles
The final question you may be asking is: given that Viadex is an independent service provider, why would I extol the virtues of working with HPE? For starters, this is a recognised tier-1 global technology leader. The market tells us that here is technology of choice for many customers.
Our experience bears this out; a proven technology stack that consistently meets end-user needs. Most important of all, the way we work together gives us the confidence to make accelerated deployment-time promises to our customers. Both organisations have a can-do, will-do commitment to helping drive success for midmarket geo-dispersed customers.
Through the Viadex network of hubs, we have a local presence with on-the-ground international logistics experts, in South Africa, the UAE, the USA, Singapore, and the UK.
Viadex has a long-standing global deployment partnership with HPE. Today we rapidly deploy to some 190 countries with a level of agility that correspond to market opportunities for midsized businesses no matter where they arise and how fast deployments need to be to exploit them.
As much as the pandemic has restricted some businesses, for those who appreciate the value of a trustworthy, globally experienced team on their side, we’re entering a period of new ‘new normals’ and of new opportunities. All you have to do is know how to seize them, fast.
If you would like to chat further about getting to market faster and easier, with an improved ROI, get in touch at: Brian.Dunleavy@viadex.com