After setting up offices in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney, we've expanded our international footprint to include an office in Singapore. This development has been a long time in the making. Now that we’ve joined projekt202, it makes even more sense for Roam Digital to expand across the APAC region. The first seeds were planted in 2016, when an engagement with a client led us to conduct a week-long design sprint in Singapore. The sprint was a success and we were asked whether we would ever consider setting up shop in the city.
The short answer was yes. The longer answer was yes, but not quite yet. At the time, our only office was in Auckland, and we were planning to make Sydney our first expansion site. But it was clear that we would need additional offices in the APAC region to keep up with the growth of our business. As a hub for finance and innovation, Singapore holds obvious appeal for an innovation-focused digital consultancy with broad financial service expertise.
We were lucky enough to partner with a highly capable relocation firm. They helped us with the initial incorporation and setup of the business, deftly handling the intricacies of getting established in the region. But even with their support, we faced all the usual logistical challenges of setting up a new office overseas, along with the additional challenges of attempting to do it during a global pandemic.
Setting up a local bank account can be done in a matter of days, if you’re able to do it in person. When border restrictions force you into doing it all remotely, it can take upwards of three months. But with any enterprise worth undertaking, patience is key. And if there’s one thing that we’ve learned in the years we’ve spent building this company from a two-man operation to an international consultancy, it’s that the adventure is in the journey, not the destination.
Landing with an initial small team, we plan to expand the Singapore office to encompass a team of ten to fifteen people by the end of the first year. The city offers an incredible talent pool and most of our hires will be Singaporeans or Singapore-based expats. Although we’re hoping these new team members will help us take the Singapore office from strength to strength, we’ve always encouraged mobility within the company — both in terms of job titles and functions, and in terms of location.
Many of the employees in our Sydney office initially joined us in the Auckland office before choosing to move. Similarly, we’re anticipating movement from the Singapore office to our offices in Australia or New Zealand.
We encourage employees to think of themselves as part of a global team, especially now that we’re all part of the projekt202 network. It’s an approach we adopted early, and it’s becoming increasingly common.
In their 2020 Global Assignment Policies and Practices survey report, KPMG predicted that there will be a 46% increase in short-term global assignments and a 52% increase in permanent cross-border transfers over the next five years. The same report states that companies “need to consider turning work anywhere into a strategic opportunity to support growth and focus on how the work gets done, rather than where."
We couldn’t agree more.