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Oliver Wight Blog

Part 1: What is Global Business Transformation?

By Rod Hozack, Partner at Oliver Wight Asia Pacific

12 August 2019


We live in an increasingly interconnected world, with blurred cultural borders and fading economic boundaries as the advancements in technology have shaped – and continue to shape – our planet’s business policies and practices. Over the last several decades, with the advent of globalisation, many organisations have established subsidiaries, sites, offices and branches across the globe in a bid to establish themselves in the worldwide marketplace. Some have done this successfully, but many have not, with profitable growth hampered by hasty expansion, a lack of cohesive strategy, disjointed practices and inadequate cross-organisational communication. The solution – global transformation. Although easy to say it is not quite so easy to do. 

In this blog we reveal what global transformation is before we look at the four key steps to achieving business transformation - covered in part two of our global business transformation blog series.  

Global challenges
Successful business transformation even in a single-site organisation brings many challenges, but successful business transformation at a global level presents additional complexities, owing to sheer size and scale. Not forgetting the number of people and personalities that can often hinder agreement and progression when embarking on an improvement programme. Even defining what transformation looks like is a struggle for many organisations; they may have impressive aspirations, but when asked about the specifics, they often can’t articulate what the end is going to look like.

So, what is global transformation?
A global transformation programme can be described as an improvement programme or project, which crosses country and cultural boundaries to deliver a specific and strategic global business outcome. It requires a breadth of activities that initially focus on one area and subsequently expand across the entire organisation.

Although any singular transformation programme has its intricacies, global transformation programmes are especially complex, not least because to design a global process, organisations must have a strategy on how to design it. Essentially, it’s a delicate balance between a roll-out of the global transformation mandatories, and the subsequent regional fine-tuning to enable transformational success.

How to achieve global business transformation
Having worked with and helped scores of organisations implement successful global programmes, we recommended a four-step process for businesses to follow on their global transformation journey. These include:

1.     Defining intent

2.     Gathering background information

3.      Mapping out the organisation

4.     Deployment & implementation

These steps to success should be applied to any business, whether a start-up or global conglomerate – the steps to success are much the same; organisations just have to have the opportunity to implement them.

In part two of our global business transformation blog series we go into more detail on what is involved in each of the four steps.

For more information on global business transformation read our white paper here.