Monday, May 6, 2013

How your LSP can move you up the Localization Maturity Model (LMM)

We're very keen to learn that one of the industry's leading research organizations, Common Sense Advisory, has continued to support their Localization Maturity Model that they initiated in 2006, with further publications on this subject. The model is directed towards buyers of translation and localization services and LSPs (Language Service Providers) and provides an indication of the level of maturity an organization has in handling their localization efforts and how they can effectively move up the maturity ladder.

Most organizations will have to rely on a qualified LSP (Language Service Provider) to help in that process as the translation process is usually not handled internally.

Our history with the Maturity Model concept

The LMM was introduced in 2006 as an adaptation of the exiting Capability Maturity Model that was modeled after the software industry. The LSP world took notice of this evolution, but at the time it was more of a concept than a comprehensive approach towards localization maturity.

An example of an objective and metrics
In 2007, we took the challenge to create our own structure around the Maturity Model concept. Our eyes were on creating a Maturity Model for our clients (the buyer) along with objectives, metrics and leading KPI's to help our clients grow and mature as they move up the Maturity Ladder. As our clients' translation needs grew , we witnessed greater risk to overspend due to process inefficiencies on the buyer's side and we wanted to mitigate that risk.
Our organization spent over 400 man-hours since 2007 developing this model. We took into account industry standards, industry research and our own experience in managing translation projects for clients at various stages of the maturity model to come up with a comprehensive process management system for our clients. It has helped us greatly in understanding how we can contribute to our client's processes.

Example of our scorecard
In 2008, we were quite ahead of the curve in having a comprehensive process management system for our clients in identifying gaps in their processes at their stage of maturation (based on the buyer's growth and risk/reward analysis) on the Maturity Model that we coined the Global Communications Maturity Model (GCMM).  The model became a great tool for us to communicate with the client on individual goals.

We developed an assessment tool, the Global Communication Readiness Audit, based on 4 dimensions. Strategic Readiness,  Organizational Readiness, Content Readiness and Design Readiness. This provided buyers with a scorecard of where they could find themselves on the GCMM and clear objectives and metrics to find improvements

A new platform for a strategic Buyer/Vendor relationship

Balanced Scorecard with actual client
In 2009, we took the model a step further by creating an outcomes based Balanced Scorecard approach for our clients. We had a good model to identify gaps in the process, but we needed a platform of collaboration in order to commit to the process improvement process that aligned with the objectives of our client, the buyer. The Balanced Scorecard approach was highlighted in the HBR as a method to move a client/vendor relationship (strategic or non-strategic) to a collaborative strategic partnership with objectives and outcomes and provisions for responsibility and accountability on both sides. Our model already address the objectives, outcomes and responsibilities, but the Balanced Scorecard approach became a framework to the benefit of our clients.

Now, our GCMM in combination with our Balanced Scorecard approach is the unique process that we bring to the table as an LSP. When a buyer is seeking a more comprehensive approach to managing their localization process, our approach provides a committed relationship that looks at their corporate objectives and we tie those in with our objectives and metrics that we have in place to move them up the maturity model.

We'll post more about the Maturity Model in subsequent blog posts that addresses the pitfalls of implementing a Maturity Model and advice on how buyers and LSPs can collaborate to mitigate risk, manage expectations and strive for continuous improvement.

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