The Localization Maturity Model: Accelerating Global Growth

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For countless organizations, “going global” is the most effective path to growth – and that makes localization a business-critical process. There are no two ways about it – to succeed in a global marketplace, you need to speak directly to your customers in a language that they understand. Continue reading to learn about the Localization Maturity Model.
Implementing a consistent localization strategy can be a daunting prospect, especially for businesses that are new to the global arena, and for large organizations that are held back by silos. And to further compound the challenge, disruptive trends such as digital transformation, customer empowerment, and increased competition mean that even companies in the earliest stages of global growth need highly advanced localization processes to stand out from the crowd.
This is where the Localization Maturity Model (LMM) comes in. Developed by CSA Research (formerly known as Common Sense Advisory), the LMM provides practical guidance for rapidly advancing localization maturity to deliver the best possible global customer experience. Not sure if the LMM would be right for your company? Then take a look at what incorporating it could mean for you.

What is the Localization Maturity Model?

The latest iteration of the LMM, Localization Maturity Model 3.0, is based on data collected from 90 global businesses in 15 countries. The model identifies four levels of localization immaturity (Discouraging, Scornful, Obstructive and Negligent), followed by five levels of localization maturity:
  • 1 – Reactive– At this phase, workflows are kept relatively ad hoc, things are done as they need to be done, and there is a lot of uncertainty around roles and responsibility. There aren’t proper plans or strategies in place.
  • 2 – Repeatable– There are a few processes in place and some of them are updated and used regularly.
  • 3 – Managed– There are signs of things being much more formal and documented. Localization is actively being managed and various vendors are used.
  • 4 – Optimized– In this phase, there is an optimized and managed system of localization. It’s a priority for the company, standards and processes are adhered to, and tools are shared internally.
  • 5 – Transparent – There are well-implemented systems, processes, and tools in place. They are constantly being improved upon and scaled. Localization is an integral part of the company and all products and release planning are based on it.
For each level, the LMM offers comprehensive guidelines on how to progress to the next, more optimized stage – enabling rapid, step-by-step improvement until your business has reached full localization maturity.

The core areas of improvement

The Localization Maturity Model offers targeted advice for improvement in five key areas. Here’s a brief look at the ways the LMM will help you develop your approach:
  • Governance: Governance is the process of ensuring that everything that is done is tracked and is in accordance with agreed-upon policies. This can be done by looking at KPIs that can be monitored and tracked.
  • Strategy: It’s vital to create a solid, business-wide localization strategy that focuses all stakeholders on common objectives. This is where companies will set long-term goals and budgets for expansion and growth. Involving all departments in the conversation will ensure that localization becomes a part of the overall business strategy, and it will enable decision-makers to see the value of localization.
  • Process: For localization to be successful, there needs to be a set and defined process, or set of processes, in place. It’s crucial that this process is documented so that employees across departments can all be on the same page. This document can be agile and can be added to as the processes evolve. You can kick this off by listing any processes you might already have in place.
  • Organizational structure: This links to the point above. Once you have implemented localization processes, ensure that they are clearly communicated to the rest of the team. Make sure that the concept of localization, best practices, style guides, and glossaries are shared, explained and discussed. Ensure that your upper management understands the importance implementing a Center of Excellence – a centralized hub with business-wide oversight of your localization program.
  • Automation: Many elements of the localization process can be automated. This won’t necessarily impact every department, but it can be one of the greatest sources of time and cost savings.

The benefits of the Localization Maturity Model

With the LMM implemented, you are empowered to select the best vendors, create solid and successful strategies, implement streamlined processes, utilize optimal tools, and set up the most important KPIs.
In the long-term, this will deliver immense cost savings by eliminating duplicated effort and driving content reuse. Additionally, improved content consistency will enhance the customer experience – which, in turn, will lead to business growth as you become better positioned to reach a wider global audience.

Take the first step: benchmark your globalization maturity

Instigating an organizational transformation is never an easy task, and that’s why we recommend benchmarking the status of your localization strategy. CSA Research has found that many executives don’t see globalization as a true business process. In fact, given the lack of ROI data available, upper managers often view localization as a cost rather than an investment. By benchmarking, identifying the gaps in your current approach, and using the LMM to put forward realistic solutions, you can demonstrate that localization has the potential to deliver real value with the right resources.
To streamline the adoption of the LMM, consider working with your global content partner. At Rubric, we have 25 years of experience helping businesses optimize their localization processes. Our experts are on hand to help you develop an organization-wide globalization strategy tailored to the specific needs of your business.

Do you want to discover how your global content strategy could transform your localization?

In our book Global Content Quest you will learn about the 3 major problems in the translation services industry that you can overcome by implementing a good global content strategy.

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