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Three CIO strategies for going global

CIO Executive Council | May 28, 2013
When these companies went global, they leveraged IT to unify, localize and lay the foundation for future growth.

Standardize and Localize

John Collins, CIO, Digi-Key: We do business in 170 countries worldwide through e-commerce sites supported 24/7 by our Minnesota IT team. One of the things Digi-Key prides itself on is being reliable and easy to work with, no matter where our customers are located.

This is why many of our e-commerce sites are in the native language of the customer or, in the case of countries like Germany and Switzerland, are multilingual. We support multiple currencies as well, which necessitates significant involvement from IT because it requires coordinated activity across many of our systems, such as pricing, ERP, shipping and our corporate financial systems.

We have strategically placed a few local call centers around the world that provide localized customer support. Each of these centers uses our central ERP for order processing, which we rolled out worldwide through Citrix. This results in a very consistent sales cycle for customers--they know exactly what's happening at exactly what time, no matter where they are ordering from. For our multinational customers, the ordering process is the same, no matter where their employees are located. Our consistent customer experience is one reason engineers rate Digi-Key websites highly.


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