How can you set up your IT infrastructure to run in China?

A cosmetics company wanted to expand into China, with no presence before. Everything needed to be set up—their cloud system, brick-and-mortar stores, and eCommerce sites. But they needed help managing the project, moving their cloud infrastructure across, and complying with China’s laws. While their supplier could build the systems, they needed someone to oversee everything—to ask the right questions and make sure their best interests were at heart. They didn’t know what they didn’t know. So they needed us to fill the gaps.

On top of that, they had multiple workstreams at very different stages. We needed to set up contracts for China, run proof of concepts in Singapore to deal with language differences, design the architecture of the systems themselves, and more. There was a vast web of dependencies that we had to make sure all came off without a hitch.

A central team to manage it all

We started by speaking with the stakeholders and finding out which people were essential to each project. We then worked with the IT team to plan out the projects and make sure they had capacity. Once we’d formed a core team of subject-matter experts, we could then govern the project.

There were two sides to the coin. On one side, we had to make sure the back-end systems would function. For example, it needed to be able to process payments and integrate with a variety of programs. On the other side, we needed to deal with more detailed changes. For example, how would the systems display specific languages? All this, while making sure we also complied with the security and data protection laws in China.

It’s noteworthy that they had already chosen a particular cloud service, as that was what they were familiar with. But that service has a very different flavour in China. A lot of the functionality that they were familiar with wasn’t available with the Chinese version. In some cases, the firm needed to make very specific decisions between options they didn’t fully understand. We helped the firm to decide between these options, making sure that they were future-proof and met their longer-term goals.

Data also needed to travel across the great firewall of China. This meant that we needed to get yet another supplier, a Chinese telco. We then needed to make sure all the vendors were coordinated, made even more challenging due to time zone differences.

Ready to operate across the country

The firm now has the infrastructure in place for their employees to work, as well as the connections between their Chinese stores and their systems back home. Their new office in China is now fully functional, and they can begin opening stores in 2023.

"We operate in a complex, global environment and Baringa added real value very quickly by getting hands-on with our teams and partners and unpicking and resolving some complex issues and quickly became an integral part of our team."

Head of Global Infrastructure

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