There are three core strategies that need to be integrated to keep your business in sync with customers:
A corporate strategy determines the products or services you offer, the audiences you target, and what makes your enterprise unique in its space.
A globalization strategy addresses how each function within your organization can globalize its processes to support prospects and customers outside of its home market.
A global digital content strategy focuses on how you decide which content and code to adapt and localize, to enable audiences in international markets to experience the same quality of customer journey as your home locale.
It is up to your globalization manager to align employees and processes across the company in order to make these strategies work together as a unified whole. For example, localizing a large volume of social media content won’t benefit your company unless there is someone to interact with the followers it attracts, to analyze the responses it generates, or to meet the requests and resolve the issues that it raises.
In practice, governance means establishing goals and metrics for investment in external areas like international customer satisfaction and ROI, as well as internal areas such as staffing, automation, and integration with corporate systems of record. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Governance trumps strategy
Without a governance model in place, you won’t know how to measure the success or failure of your organization’s globalization strategy. When businesses do not develop this discipline, they often suffer from misalignment of corporate business goals, branding, and messaging with local market requirements. It’s difficult to integrate globalization and corporate strategies without enterprise-wide consensus on the criteria to measure the outcomes.
Globalization governance extends throughout the enterprise
It shouldn’t apply only to localization teams, but to all functions within an organization. Even the most efficient and passionate localization team cannot ensure a winning global customer journey if, for example, local language search is inadequate, or customer care is only available in one or two languages.
Benchmarking globalization under a governance model validates it as a business process
Benchmarking based on globalization governance refutes the claims that it’s impossible to measure the impact of a globalization strategy, or that it doesn’t require formal monitoring.
Without processes, governance is impossible
No matter how innovative and forward-looking your strategy, without processes to form the basis and boundaries for metrics, you won’t know whether you’re headed in the right direction. For example, without clearly documented quality requirements, linguists and reviewers may spend too much time attempting to produce perfect translation when that isn’t what you’re paying them for.
A localization team can’t support other groups until its own house is in order
Until its own processes and governance are established, a dedicated team won’t be able to help others in the organization globalize business processes. Even if serving as a center of excellence for globalization and translation is not officially mandated in your charter, most executives expect the localization team to spread the best practices required to help the rest of the organization do a better job internationally.
There are five steps to achieve well-managed Global Content throughout an organization.
These strategies are distinct and should be integrated with your company’s overall corporate strategy.
Staff it with people capable of supporting all functions across the company to globalize their respective business processes. The initial CoE will be limited by staffing and budget, so focus the first efforts on high-impact areas.
Concentrate first on product design, content creation and adaptation, and marketing program development. Our research shows that most localization teams aren’t involved until partway through these processes, or until after most decisions have been taken.
Whether or not your organization requires this discipline, take on the responsibility to measure your staff’s performance at both group and corporate levels.
Working with your executive sponsor, establish a sustainable funding model for globalization that works within your corporate culture.
Consider the full range of language-related technology
Language-related operations employ several tools that are either specifically designed for the field or customized to meet its needs. CSA Research groups these tools into five categories: digital content creation and adaptation, translation and localization, workflow management, engineering and testing, and additional language services.
Integrate translation automation with other business processes
Content and code creators produce structured and user-generated streams of words, images, and audio that arrive via content management systems (CMSs), databases, social media feeds, source code repositories, and even courier packages. Mature enterprises are able to integrate the relevant content-related technologies with their entire stack, enabling them to leverage benefits that come only when the various pieces work together seamlessly.