3 Steps to Finding the Right Global Infrastructure Partner
Southeast Asia is experiencing a boom in foreign direct investments. The fast-growing region is quickly solidifying its position as an attractive location for multinationals.
As the largest single country investor, investing more than all other Asian companies combined, American companies invested more than US$244 billion in Singapore in 2017 alone . Led by increased investments in the manufacturing sector, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam also experienced capital inflows .
Asia is indeed a lucrative market. Home to more than 600 million people, Southeast Asia is the world’s sixth largest economy today. By the end of the next decade, the region is expected to become the world’s fourth largest after US, China and Europe. As more multinationals look to serve a growing consumer middle class across the region with a consistent customer experience, they will need to ensure that their operations are supported by a robust and connected digital infrastructure across international borders.
Here are three easy steps for international businesses to find the right infrastructure partner for their international expansion needs.
Step 1: Know thyself
“What will your infrastructure need to support?” is the most important question that businesses will need to ask themselves before beginning their search for a partner.
The most important applications or system will determine, to a large degree, how elaborate the infrastructure requirements will be. For example, stock exchanges, forex trading houses or financial institutions will need to ensure their partners’ infrastructure allows for low latency and high availability, where a difference of milliseconds may result in huge financial losses for the end-user.
Such enterprises will also need to factor the location of facilities when choosing the right partner. Location is not just about where the end users are located, but also if there needs to be a connection to specific networks. In the case of hybrid deployments, an increasingly common phenomena across businesses and geographies, having scalable connectivity to cloud resources is essential, allowing for resources to be deployed and scaled in real time.
Business must also keep their customers’ expectations and experience in mind when detailing how their IT infrastructure can help achieve the optimum customer experience. Any application that is unable to deliver a quick and seamless user experience in today’s ultra-competitive digital economy will very likely lose out to their competitors in no time.
Finally, businesses must keep in mind legal and regulatory requirements. Multi-market deployments are a complex affair, and this is not just because of IT infrastructure. For example, many countries have differing legal requirements for data sovereignty – that is the storing of sensitive personal or financial data. In Indonesia, Government Regulation 82 requires that all sensitive data be stored domestically.
Step 2: Making it work
Now that the requirements have been mapped out, the next step is to think through how the infrastructure will be deployed.
Businesses will need to determine the expected timeline for delivery and if there is operational and commercial flexibility to deploy infrastructure on short notice. For example, e-commerce businesses can experience a swift uptick in products or goods and services orders, and infrastructure will need to keep pace with demand.
Also, definitions of services are not consistent from provider to provider, so enterprises will need to have a firm understanding of how services will be delivered. A key element to successful expansion overseas is working with partners that are transparent with their service offerings and delivery practices. When working with existing partners, having a unified platform can be helpful to manage digital infrastructure across multiple markets and locations.
With new partners, due diligence needs to be undertaken before committing to the relationship. Senior management must speak with industry players and understand the landscape in each of the new markets.
Step 3: Aligning understanding
After having chosen the right infrastructure partner, organisations must take note of the following technical and logistical details to avoid misunderstandings and delays:
- Technical differences such as imperial vs. metric systems are common sources of misunderstanding for basic items like racks and cabinets.
- Power circuit delivery such as voltage, amperage, CEE forms etc. need to be checked for accuracy.
- Local logistical details such as equipment delivery timeline or import rules for IT kits are integral to the success of the deployment.
Finally, clear metrics need to be outlined in the service level agreement (SLA) to ensure the deployment is serving the needs of the organisation.
As the world becomes increasingly connected, as well as having more devices and people coming online, business will need to provide a consistent customer experience across geographies. This means that their global infrastructure partners must be able to support an equally connected digital infrastructure. Finding the right infrastructure partner for international expansion is as easy as a three-step process.