International Expansion for Services Companies Requires Careful Planning

Martin Hildebrand, Principal Services Solution Consultant, NetSuite

July 13, 2016

For many service organizations international expansion presents great opportunity -- and unique challenges.

Whether through organic growth or acquisition, international expansion invariably exposes cultural, operational and organizational differences. When properly supported, these differences can help drive efficiencies and success; when not, they will often lead to lost productivity and negatively impact overall performance.  This is especially true of services organizations with inter-dependent operations and resources. 

In my role as a principal solution consultant at NetSuite, I work with prospective clients in the services industry sector that are facing these same challenges. Part of my role includes identifying which of these items will have the greatest impact on the success of a new ERP software platform(opens in new tab), and additionally allows me the chance to recommend the best solutions to these challenges based on my experiences in the industry. Having worked with hundreds of clients in my past on selecting an ERP system to fit their needs, I find that the following challenges are most prevalent.

Multi-national organizations significantly benefit from ERP and Professional Services Automation (PSA)(opens in new tab) solutions that support:

  • A rich, multi-entity structure with the flexibility to support an evolving and expanding organizational structure. The solution must provide command and control at an entity level for local operational leadership, while supporting complete and efficient visibility at a consolidated level(s).
  • The end user experience must account for language differences and other local preferences that will undoubtedly enhance or detract from user adoption.
  • The solution must provide support for workstreams that can be uniquely configured based on local operations or jurisdictional requirements. Unique workflow automation, reporting (operational or statutory) and user interface options must support regional requirements.
  • Invariably, support of multiple currencies will be a requirement for which an efficient and automated solution for maintaining current rates must be available. Additionally, the ability to report on and account for FX conversion impact must be inherent and easy to manage on a transaction and periodic basis.
  • Accounting for and managing local tax is a significant and daunting challenge. Too often organizations are forced to use external, local partners and have little visibility or control. A solution must also provide support for localized statutory reporting and in many instances automated or online tax filing, as required by government authorities. 
  • Lastly a strong multi-national solution(opens in new tab) will provide a platform that allows for global collaboration across service and supply chains, while providing a controlled and local experience.

If you are a multi-national entity or planning for expansion or M&A activities, NetSuite’s OneWorld solution is a great option as you look to adopt a new ERP platform. NetSuite OneWorld addresses the complex multinational and multicompany needs of services organizations by enabling businesses to adjust for currency, taxation and legal compliance differences at the local level, with regional and global business consolidation and roll-up.

Customers like MiPro Enterprises(opens in new tab), ICD Security Solutions, Optiv, and Brillio(opens in new tab) are using NetSuite OneWorld to support their international needs.   

 For more, watch this product demo(opens in new tab) of NetSuite’s OpenAir PSA software.

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.

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