The new era of globalization allows any business to become international. By accessing this new platform of technologies, Castells’s vision of working as a unit in real time on a planetary scale can be a reality. Some of the advantages of this include the following:
• The ability to locate expertise and labor around the world. Instead of drawing employees from their local area, organizations can now hire people from the global labor pool. This also allows organizations to pay a lower labor cost for the same work based on the prevailing wage in different countries.
• The ability to operate 24 hours a day. With employees in different time zones all around the world, an organization can literally operate around the clock, handing off work on projects from one part of the world to another. Businesses can also keep their digital storefront (their website) open all the time.
• A larger market for their products. Once a product is being sold online, it is available for purchase from a worldwide consumer base. Even if a company’s products do not appeal beyond its own country’s borders, being online has also made the product more visible to consumers within that country.
In order to fully take advantage of these new capabilities, companies need to understand that there are also challenges in dealing with employees and customers from different cultures. Some of these challenges include:
• Infrastructure differences. Each country has its own infrastructure, many of which are not of the same quality as the US infrastructure (average 4.60 MBps). For every South Korea (16 MBps average speed) there is an Egypt (0.83 MBps) or an India (0.82 MBps). A business cannot depend on every country it deals with having the same Internet speeds. See the sidebar called “How Does My Internet Speed Compare?”