Chief Digital Technology Officer & SVP
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The Flattened Globe of Globalization
The buzz Thomas L. Friedman created over the last year and a half with his book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century is more than just buzz, in my opinion.
Every day I get to enjoy the benefits of a flattened marketplace and work world. While Friedman speaks of numerous factors that have led to today's flattened globe (or a leveling global playing field), it is the collaboration tools and technologies that I feel have really changed my professional life.
Today my colleagues span three continents and 20 time zones. While our native tongues are varied (English, Dutch, French, Spanish, German, Vietnamese), we collaborate by phone, e-email and Web in English, working together to meet client objectives. As a global technology team, we are rich in knowledge and more valuable because of our diverse backgrounds. Our diversity of experience and culture makes us stronger, smarter and more innovative.
I have worked in technology my whole life and in outsourcing solutions for the better part of a long career. Nevertheless, if someone had told me 15 years ago that I would be managing development teams that included Vietnamese programmers, British project managers and U.S. test teams, I would have said, "Yeah right! What would be the benefit of that?"
The benefits, as we know, are many. Lower costs, faster delivery, and the ability to rapidly put the right skills on a project. In addition, the experience of our diverse and seasoned team has brought a tremendous amount of creativity and efficiency to our operations. Who would have thought decades ago that a team broken by borders and distanced by hours could be more effective than one group in the same office?
Globalization has redefined efficiency just as it has redefined the boundaries of the modern workplace (there are none). With apologies to Galileo Galilei, I find myself agreeing that a flattened globe is a better one.