The concept of ‘glocal’ (being both global and local) has been both an aspiration and a cliché at once in enterprise ICT (Information & Communications Technology). The aspiration is perfectly laudable – to leverage scale and presence whilst also tailoring to customers’ particular needs at a regional, national, or even more closely defined geography.
Before the recent trend towards deglobalization, this was a key element in many end customer enterprises’ strategies, but things have been changing as a result of externalities such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine – accelerating previous trends towards geopolitical, social, and economic introspection and protection.
But politicians, manufacturers, and service providers alike are reacting – Intel recently announced plans for a €30 billion investment in chip manufacturing in Europe (in Germany and Ireland) as a way of both spreading geopolitical and commercial risk, and delivering closer to their customers.
ICT goes glocal
ICT service providers too are adopting the global/local approach, with hyperscale cloud services offering a common global suite of products delivered in local zones and using local/regional infrastructure.
Equally, whereas historically global communications services providers pursued global domination through end-to-end physical reach, this has now become more virtual through software-defined platforms and often using local third-party infrastructure. Glocalism still exists but it is no longer about global domination. It has evolved to balance global platforms with local delivery.