Globalization in the Technology Sector Part Two: Four Tips to Setting Up a Geo-Alignment Program

By Anna N Schlegel

184831694–Anna N Schlegel heads up the globalization strategy at NetApp. She is the Director of NetApp’s Globalization Programs Strategy Office (GPSO) and is an industry expert and regular speaker on globalization, localization and entry into global markets. In Anna’s first blog, “Creating a Geo-Alignment Program to Boost NetApp’s Globalization Strategy”, Anna talked about how she championed and introduced “geo-alignment” to NetApp. Geo-Alignment means to bring together HQ and field office activities and communication to improve NetApp’s overall globalization impact. In this second blog, Anna shares some best practices on introducing geo-alignment. 

Geo-Alignment can come in many forms and under different variations of possible set-ups, but if done well, you have the true globalization cycle formed! Here are four tips to introducing geo-alignment to help your global business:

  1. Do not plan without understanding if what you’re building, will work or will be needed in the field. Do not even go to step 2. Don’t stop at “this will work well in one country then we will think about the rest.” Wrong approach!
  2. Over communicate back and forth on top company goals, and departmental goals, ideally in an organized cadence. This needs to happen at the executive level, at the country level, at the geo level, to the execution teams. Don’t stop at the executive or geo level. Bring it down!
  3. Do not just pitch programs at rapid speed. The field needs to be able to understand the goals. The field must understand their level of execution or involvement, if any, and what will be expected of them. Not all countries can take the same number of programs, and can respond equally. Bombarding is not good!
  4. Do build programs that will expand and cross borders, but still leave areas for localization and variation. Not all countries have the same exact needs. Allow for variance.

What we have learned at NetApp is that not only had we achieved much closer collaboration, the geo-alignment team educated headquarters on the importance of going global the right way, and eventually, all those smaller programs being designed in one country went away.

Today, embedding geo requirements and nailing launches is a given, and actually the most normal thing we do, it is in the departments’ DNA.

Anna N Schlegel

This is the second blog in a series. Read Globalization in the Technology Sector Part One: Creating a Geo-Alignment Program to Boost NetApp’s Globalization Strategy by Anna N Schlegel

Anna is also co-founder of the Women in Localization organization.