There is an old saying that a broken clock is right twice a day. As organizations are formed and expected to deliver results, early on it may seem as though results are obtained by happenstance. They get lucky and deliver—occasionally. But more often than not, organizations experience some level of failure, in the form of cost-overruns, late deliveries or low-quality. When it comes to going global, you could not make a better case for more mature localization processes.
In order to achieve any semblance of success, localization organizations must evolve to a level of maturity that promotes a pattern of sustainable, repeatable results. In other words, the ability to consistently deliver on-time, high quality, low-cost solutions is tied directly to the organization’ s level of maturity; the greater the maturity, the more it can deliver. This maturity journey—or maturity model—is a structured methodology that has been optimized to maximize results. It allows organizations to see the road ahead, predict new challenges and prepare solutions.
All maturity models are grounded in four key elements (see box). Each of these elements plays a critical role in an organization’s level of success and maturation, and they need to be identified, understood and applied to all organizational processes.
These key practices form the basis to the five levels of maturity. This maturation doesn’t happen overnight, and there isn’t a set time-limit to advance to the next level. It’s a progression that advances over time influenced by the corporate culture and open-mindedness of the resources charged with advancing the maturity level.
The more mature an organization is, the more positive qualities it will possess. It will learn how to work smarter, not harder. Similarly, it will focus on the creation of value above all else and standardize processes to create an elegant, sustainable solution without adding crippling complexity. Mature organizations know how to respect individuals by developing learning, strength and capability, which, at the end of the day, helps remove infrastructural stress.
Companies embarking on localization journeys will find that the more mature an organization is, the easier it will be to achieve a balance between low cost, high quality and shortened lead times. While the goal is to mature a localization model over time, companies have to start somewhere. Progressing through the 5 levels takes time, but there are a few good places to start.
First, partnering with a qualified language service provider (LSP) is paramount. This LSP needs to be mature in its own processes in order to provide solid guidance. At the same time, the LSP needs to be willing to engage in a collaborative patient manner, without posturing or being overly pushy. It must take a client-based view—to provide the unvarnished truth—as opposed to a customer-based view—where the customer is always right.
It is equally important to establish a mindset of “managing by fact,” as opposed to managing by gut-feeling. Data is important and every data point tells a story of success and opportunity. With the right mindset, we can also create an environment that promotes constant improvement, where the status quo is constantly challenged. Out of change comes growth. Don’t be afraid of change; it can only enhance an organization.
Ultimately, as an organization matures, productivity and quality improve. Costs will decrease and more can be pushed through the pipeline with minimal defects and reworks, thus increasing the ROI and bottom line.
It’s only at this point that your broken clock becomes an accurate time piece.