Article

Going Global: Data Considerations for Growth in An International Market

November 4, 2022

Expanding business in markets beyond the United States presents significant opportunity for middle-market organizations. With 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power and more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, global expansion is a growth strategy worth considering.

In our May 19, 2022 article, Going Global: Laying the Foundation for Growth in International Market, we talked about the many paths a middle-market organization can take to go global, including the various market-entry approaches. Additionally, we explored the benefits and risks of global expansion and the importance of proper due diligence, planning and research across critical performance areas.

Data is one of these critical areas of operations that has far-reaching impacts for your business. Below we discuss key data areas to focus on and roadblocks that can stand in the way of global success.

Devise a Strong Data Strategy

A firmly established and well-rooted data strategy will be your competitive advantage when globally expanding operations. This consists of an organization’s long-term plan that outlines the technology, process, people, and rules required to manage its information assets while defining how to collect, store, share, and use its data. A thorough data strategy ensures your data management, business strategy and data governance are cohesive. Once this is accomplished, organizations can improve their data decisions, manage their data and work towards developing a global market-entry strategy.

Leverage Your Data Wisely

Data can be a true commodity and how your organization uses its data can expand your opportunities globally. There are multiple approaches to monetizing your data. By using data to automate and improve business processes, employees have access to data-based insights and clear decision rules. Subsequently, they can deliver more meaningful services, enhance the customer experience, and optimize production. By adding analytics-based features and experiences to your products and offerings, also known as data-wrapping, your organization can drive customer value, increase sales, and penetrate new markets. Lastly, selling information offerings to new and existing markets can also expand your global reach.

Engineer Efficient Data Management

Ensuring data management frameworks are operationally and technically sound is paramount when looking to globally expand. A healthy strategy includes both defensive and offensive data measures. Data defense minimizes risk and incudes activities such as compliance and regulations, using analytics to detect fraud and prevent theft. Data offense supports your business objectives and includes activities such as analysis and data modeling to increase revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction. While it is important to emphasize both, expansion may require your organization to favor one over the other. Understanding the primary purpose of your data will assist you in designing data-management activities that support your organization’s overall strategy.

Research and Identify the Target Market

Thoughtfully identifying which countries you plan to extend your operations is a critical step. Narrowing your exact markets and segmenting them into individual targeted territories will ensure you conduct the appropriate research to determine their unique laws, culture, currency, and business practices. Thorough research coupled with analyzing internal and external data sources will help understand market size, customer challenges and existing solutions while identifying opportunities and entry barriers of the market.

Understand Data Regulations and Compliance

Perhaps the most complex topic around data is understanding how to navigate compliance and regulation around data laws. Data law refers to how an organization can use and share customer data and includes regulations pertaining to data privacy, security, and ownership. The international data privacy laws are extensive, as they are enacted in over 120 countries. Even more challenging, these data laws vary by country, region, and jurisdiction. In addition, the Schrems II ruling from July 2020 creates a significant roadblock from carrying out basic data transfers to non-EU countries.

Your organization must be well-versed in the distinct data laws and their applications. In our September 22, 2022 article, Going Global: Navigating Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Risks Across Borders, we discuss considerations and focus areas, such as hiring a data expert or team of experts to manage long-term risk. Prior to expansion, carefully evaluate your organization’s compliance posture and address any gaps. Ensure your employees know and understand the importance of data security and privacy and create a culture of accountability. Lastly, implement data privacy and CRM platforms so you can automate and scale your privacy program while remaining compliant with all market regulations.

About Cherry Bekaert

In a rapidly evolving, complex, and uncertain marketplace, businesses look for innovative ways to continue to meet changing customer needs and manage profitable revenue growth.

Cherry Bekaert’s Digital Advisory practice is comprised of strategists, technologists and analysts who have broad industry experience and keen business acumen. We drive important change management and ignite growth in productive and cost-effective ways by helping companies predict outcomes with data while adopting and applying relevant technologies to optimize performance.

This is the fourth article in the ‘Going Global’ series of articles around the opportunities and risks around Going Global. Read more on the Going Global initiatives:

Contact Our Digital Advisory Team