At the airport the other day, I came upon a fairly long line of people, with lots of empty self-service kiosks in front of them. Why weren't they using them? Were they technophobes? Didn't look like it. Were the four machines out of order? Didn't appear to be.
I moved to the front as courteously as I could and questioned a few about whether they were waiting for a kiosk. "Well, I have a ticket on a United flight and those say 'Ted' above them," the line leader said. A few people behind him nodded, indicating that they, too, thought their United tickets wouldn't work at the kiosks designated for United's low-fare alternative airline. "Yes, but Ted is part of United (UniTED, get it?)," I said. "Yeah, but I'm notsure those machines will work if you aren't flying on a Ted flight," one passenger said. "Well, I'm guessing the systems are integrated, so I'll give it a try," I said, thankful that I was about to make my way to my flight and still have time to grab a cup of coffee. It worked, and suddenly the people started spreading out to all open kiosks.
All the while I'm thinking, if a single company couldn't figure out how to integrate its own systems, how in the world could it survive in an increasingly global economy?! The answer--it can't. Global standardization of IT systems and processes is a key component of leveraging business opportunities in international markets. This week, we debut our Global 50--a ranking of U.S. companies operating in multiple countries that have the greatest year-over-year growth. You'll find out what business-technology strategies are driving this global growth. For a deeper perspective on the growing outsourcing business in China, we tapped our colleagues at InformationWeek China for their insight.
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