T&E Globalisation : a real headache ?
Where companies are expanding and developing internationally, and many are acquiring subsidiaries in order to invest in new markets, it is often necessary to also obtain new business solutions.
T&E remains something of a conundrum within this globalisation process, as each region of the world, and perhaps even each country, has its own specific characteristics.
However, there are many companies that have undertaken this challenge and are now in a position to review their success. So, let’s share some of their experiences:
Choosing your T&E solution
The first challenge is to choose the right tool. It needs to be able to meet the organisation’s requirements from a travel agency perspective as well as providing the data necessary for management. In addition, the opportunity for integrated third-party applications needs to be explored to allow for automated exchange of analytical data, traveler profiles, and accounting entries to the ERP.
However, as we begin to extend the geographical range, we start to notice more and more differences due to different local tax regulations, as well as the different content providers (GDS, content supplied by hotels, providers of corporate cards/accounts, etc.). It therefore becomes essential to ensure that the solution takes into account all the specific characteristics of the regions in which the company operates.
The involvement of the global team and its sponsors
The success of the project is dependent on the support of a well-organized and structured team. This global team should include a project manager to coordinate the project’s various issues and activities with local managers. The project manager in turn needs to be supported by a leader in order to be able to adjudicate and make decisions. Likewise, the deployment of the solution within the different regions requires the involvement of a local sponsor. The sponsor’s main role is to prepare the change management in partnership with the global team. The project manager of the global team must have complete legitimacy to coordinate the various sites, as well as their partners and suppliers.
Developing a master site
This has proved to be the most important part of the project, where the teams are encouraged to reflect on three guiding principles: Optimisation, standardisation, simplification.
Optimisation, with the aim of implementing fast, effective processes that apply to the entire organisation. Standardisation, in order to apply global rules to all the local sites. Simplification, to allow efficient maintenance and administration of the site. The master site therefore incorporates all possible global configurations, and forms the basis of the solution. Individual markets can then undergo a gap analysis to identify specific local characteristics before implementing and integrating them into the solution in the form of an additional template.
A project time frame of 5 to 6 months should be allocated for implementation of the master site, with additional 2 to 3 months per deployment wave. Each wave can comprise of 4 to 8 countries, grouped together on the basis of their shared issues, which will have been identified beforehand, as well as their time zones, which are an important element in managing the deployment project.
The success of this kind of project is also highly appreciated by the users, who will see it as a big step forward in the modernisation of their company. And some clients then take advantage of this project’s successful outcome to follow up with additional technological advancements.