Inter­na­tio­na­liz­a­ti­on – Ser­vice without borders

Inter­na­tio­na­liz­a­ti­on – Ser­vice without borders

Mul­ti­na­tio­nal cor­po­ra­ti­ons are incre­a­singly moving to uni­fy their ser­vices and stan­dar­di­ze them across natio­nal bor­ders. And sin­ce today, cus­to­mer ser­vice is hard­ly ima­gin­ab­le without IT sup­port, this also means new chal­len­ges for soft­ware manu­fac­tu­rers and IT ser­vice providers.

The pro­ject mana­gers working for the Dort­mund soft­ware house Inno­soft GmbH, which spe­cia­li­zes in pro­ject and ser­vice manage­ment sys­tems, have always been on the road a lot. Even if the deve­lo­p­ment work is done at the company’s head­quar­ters and many things have long sin­ce been regu­la­ted via digi­tal remo­te trans­mis­si­on chan­nels, it is always necessa­ry to sup­port a soft­ware intro­duc­tion on site at the customer’s pre­mi­ses. But while just a few years ago it was most­ly only the bor­ders to neigh­bou­ring coun­tries such as Switz­er­land and Aus­tria that were cros­sed, today more and more long-distance flights and stays far away from home are beco­m­ing necessary.
Many of the Inno­soft pro­ject mana­gers tra­vel­led to Eng­land, Fran­ce and Spain several times in the past year or super­vi­sed inter­na­tio­nal roll­outs in the USA, Aus­tra­lia and Sin­g­a­po­re. A col­league, for examp­le, was hard­ly back from a four-week visit from Ban­ga­lo­re, India, in Decem­ber last year. After a short break on the holi­days at the begin­ning of Janu­a­ry, he went on a trip to Shang­hai, the Chi­ne­se head­quar­ters of the cus­to­mer. Here too, a stay of several weeks was necessa­ry for the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the soft­ware and trai­ning of its future users.

Inter­di­sci­pli­na­ry cooperation

When glo­bal­ly ope­ra­ting com­pa­nies adapt their pro­ces­ses to each other and inter­na­tio­nal­ly roll out the soft­ware used at their head­quar­ters, not only do several depart­ments have to work tog­e­ther on an inter­di­sci­pli­na­ry basis, but IT experts from dif­fe­rent pro­vi­ders must also be brought tog­e­ther. Final­ly, it must be ensu­red that the exchan­ge of data bet­ween the dif­fe­rent sys­tems takes place without pro­blems such as media dis­con­ti­nui­ties or per­for­mance losses.
When the go-live of the CRM from SAP and the Resour­ce Plan­ning (inclu­ding GeoMap) from Inno­soft was rea­li­zed in Ban­ga­lo­re, a dozen experts from Ger­ma­ny had tra­vel­led to Ban­ga­lo­re to moni­tor the smooth run­ning of the pro­ject on site and to con­duct trai­ning cour­ses. Some peop­le were even hired exclu­si­ve­ly to imple­ment this pro­ject, which invol­ves three lar­ge depart­ments. The aim of the pro­ject was to con­vert the ser­vice plan­ning, which had so far only been con­duc­ted regio­nal­ly, into a cen­tral dis­patching department.

For examp­le, one pro­ject had alrea­dy star­ted in August 2017, when Inno­soft pro­ject mana­ger Tho­mas Loeber flew to the USA for two weeks to initia­te the inter­na­tio­nal roll­out in Min­nea­po­lis. The con­nec­tion of smal­ler loca­ti­ons is also often done remo­te­ly from Dort­mund, but until June 2018, trips to Japan and South Korea are still plan­ned, pos­si­b­ly fol­lo­wed by visits to Sin­g­a­po­re, Bra­zil and various Euro­pean locations.

Over­co­m­ing lan­guage barriers

As the lowest com­mon deno­mi­na­tor, Eng­lish is of cour­se selec­ted most fre­quent­ly as the user lan­guage on the soft­ware inter­face, and also for the trai­ning of key users. Howe­ver, the fur­ther the usa­ge moves away from the metro­po­li­ses, the more lan­guage bar­ri­ers beco­me appa­rent, which is why we are cur­r­ent­ly working on adding Japa­ne­se to the pre­vious­ly imple­men­ted lan­guages Ger­man, Eng­lish, French, Dut­ch, Spa­nish, Ita­li­an and Chinese.
The effort is enor­mous, but will undoub­ted­ly pay off later. In addi­ti­on to the qua­si “bor­der­less” exchan­ge bet­ween the inter­na­tio­nal loca­ti­ons, licence fees can also be saved, for examp­le, becau­se thanks to the con­cur­rent user princip­le that app­lies to Innosoft’s Resour­ce Plan­ning, one licence can be used by several dis­patchers in dif­fe­rent time zones (“Fol­low The Sun” principle).
The­re is ano­t­her rea­son why the cos­ts incur­red by the nume­rous trips “pay off”, as Tho­mas Loeber exp­lains: “You can cer­tain­ly sort out a lot of things with the help of tele­pho­ne con­fe­ren­ces and team view­er ses­si­ons, but ulti­mate­ly not­hing can replace direct con­ta­ct and per­so­nal exchan­ge on site. After all, com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on also takes place on a non-ver­bal level, and the pecu­lia­ri­ties of the respec­ti­ve cul­tures must also be taken into account. “Some peop­le may not ask on the pho­ne out of poli­teness if they have not unders­tood some­thing. But at the trai­ning cour­se or in the mee­ting on site I can direct­ly react to it”.