Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our experience with the localization maturity model

Our Global Communication Maturity Model - like the Localization Maturity Model (LMM) - shows a natural evolution of maturity of a buyer. We know that this growth will only happen if translation services become of an increasingly important strategic factor for growth.

Global Communications Maturity Model
Our research was predicated on the industry assessment that many organizations tend to overspend on translations as they grow. There is a clear opportunity for LSPs to provide additional customer service by focusing on 80% of translation buyers that are at the beginning 4 stages of maturity in the maturity model.

Why buyers fail to move up the maturity level
In our experience, these are some of the leading factors within the buying organization:
  • Lack of organizational support (translation is not deemed important enough)
  • Lack of time (inadequate job responsibility; no dedicated localization manager in house; unrealistic deadlines)
  • Lack of understanding (no insight into the cause/effect of their own processes on the translation process)
  • Lack of information sharing (buyer/vendor relationship structure; lack of proper follow-up
Without any intervention in this growth process, a buyer can lose its control over the costs of translation. (Tweet this!)

How LSPs fail to help buyers move up the maturity level
Barriers for LSPs to help buyers:
  • Lack of process (documented process to identify, analyze and implement process improvements on the buyer's side)
  • Lack of understanding of client process, goals and objectives (relationship)
  • Lack of vision (too much focus on the translation process)
These barriers are not easy to overcome, but they are necessary to maintain a relationship with their client as they grow into the next stage of maturity.

How LSPs can help buyers move up the maturity level
A collaborative effort between buyer and LSP, especially at the early stages of maturity, is essential to meaningful improvements (Tweet this!). This is where the balanced scorecard approach is an excellent tool to establish goals and objectives that not only address our responsibilities, but also looks at the buyer's responsibility to protect their goals and objectives in their own processes.

An LSP can help a buyer by reminding them of the impact of changing requirements and at the same time providing them with insight into improvements that are meaningful to the goals and objectives that the client has.

The ideal approach:
  1. Assessment of Maturity - We have developed an assessment tool (Global Communication Readiness Assessment) for buyers to get an understanding of their level of maturity. This tool is a great way to introduce buyers into thinking about their own processes and how it affects their outcomes
  2. Understanding Need - SWOT analysis - A documented approach to understand the goals and objectives of the buyer and find the gaps through a SWOT analysis.
  3. Discovery and Findings - In a collaborative effort, turn findings into priorities that you agree to work on.  
  4. Balanced Scorecard approach - An outcomes based agreement between the buyer and us establishes meaningful goals and objectives that are aligned with the findings of the SWOT analysis. Metrics are defined to measure the progress of each of these goals.
  5. Reporting on progress and continuous improvement - A quarterly report keeps track of progress and forms the basis of continuous improvement (see the Balanced Scorecard example).
But even when there is no time for this ideal approach, an LSP should be able to adapt and work on process improvements. The GCMM or Localization Maturity Model is an important asset to any LSP to continuously look for opportunities to extend their knowledge to the buyer in order to help them move.

We'll look more into that assessment tool for LSPs in following posts.

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