Digital Globalization Leadership and Global Product Leadership Go Together Well

Oct 30, 2015

Article Image"Where should it sit?" is probably one of most frequent questions I hear when it comes to determining where digital globalization makes the largest contribution to the overall business. But this question really goes way beyond finding a place within a global organization. It is actually about positioning digital globalization in the best possible way to create value, generate benefits, drive experiences, and accelerate growth around the world. There are also a few equally important organizational pitfalls or assumptions that should be avoided to turn it into more than just a service and therefore to gain visibility and effectiveness.

There is no easy answer to that question as it depends on the size, shape, and objectives of the global organization. However, the product leadership - also known as product management - function or area has proved to be a sensible option to facilitate engagement and alignment that are definitely critical to digital globalization success. Products should be understood in a broad meaning here as it may be digital properties, applications, or social media.

Here are a few reasons why product leadership can lay a robust business partnership foundation for digital globalization:

  • Product leadership is greatly respected as it teams up with most functions and teams to deliver on customer experience globally. This natural and business critical collaboration makes engagement with digital globalization leaders easier and faster while establishing solid connections over time. For example it paves the way to instilling globalization awareness and increasing effectiveness for marketing content across markets by working closely with marketing leaders whether it is for campaign management, demand generation programs, or branding initiatives.
  • Product leadership often guides teams involved in design and development. Considering global products should be created with international audiences in mind to create a global experience upfront this guidance helps anticipate and avoid mistakes. Globalization processes and practices can also go deeper and further than a one-time effort by setting up a framework for agile product lifecycles and accelerated time-to-customer globally. Considering the level of internationalization and localization readiness makes or breaks localization efficiency and deployment performance.
  • Product leadership warrants a customer-centric point of view on enabling technology to ensure it powers business transformation and serve customers. In the digital age technologists and product leaders must join their forces, expertise, and experience to meet requirements from customers who become ever more demanding and diverse in fast-paced environments. They cannot be delighted at any point of their journey without digital globalization leadership taking up these challenges in a number of markets. Moreover technical teams can share valuable insights into how to automate content management, adapt business rules or shape workflows in the interest of content effectiveness, and users in light of customer aspirations
  • Product leadership keeps the global content value chain in mind at all times. Streamlining each step as much as possible while avoiding oversimplification is crucial in digital globalization. That fosters strategic and tactical convergence and operational synergy. For instance it helps include meaningful and value-adding localized training and learning programs as part of world-class deployment internationally by localizing and customizing deliverables according to standards and specifications for local customers.

In any case a couple of important guidelines drive digital globalization leadership, whether inclusion in the product leadership area is considered or not.

  • Another silo does not help. Organizational silos do not put anyone on safe ground to take a unified approach. Going beyond borders often means going beyond boundaries and bridging silos too. As central management and local execution make a difference in terms of digital globalization performance to a large extent it is essential to avoid another silo that may be seen as unnecessary or threatening at various levels of the organization. Leaning on an existing global function helps set up a globalization ecosystem through awareness and wins as well as develop new practices and assets.
  • A watchtower delivers more than an ivory tower. Once digital globalization is understood, positioned and embedded in the organization it has to keep guiding, mentoring, managing, and executing along the way. It is a transformational layer and accelerator of digital business practices and growth globally. From that perspective a multidirectional approach brings leaders together, incorporating local requirements in global programs from the outset and delivering on local experiences eventually.

Digital globalization leadership will be highlighted and discussed in an upcoming workshop at the Gilbane Conference on December 1, 2015.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)

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