LocLeaders Forum 2013 Silicon Valley: Complexity, Speed and Measuring Impact

by Erin Wynn, SVP and General Manager

Erin Wynn Welocalize 2013One of my favorite events is our LocLeaders Forum.  For the last four years we have gathered together to dialogue about hot topics, best practices, challenges and driving change in the localization arena.  By complete design, we seek out the movers and shakers to participate in this forum to share insights, exchanges and thought-provoking revelations that drive innovation in the translation and localization industry.

This time around, we continued the discussion started in London regarding time, cost and quality. Why do we have to choose one or two? It is our belief, through a collaborative effort; we can find the “silver bullet” that Alison Toon from Hewlett Packard indicated is our collective mission.

We opened LocLeaders 2013 in Silicon Valley with an engaging presentation by Franz Aman, SVP Brand and Global Programs from Informatica.  He shared the company’s approach to globalization and market expansion through organic growth and acquisition.  He noted, all decisions at the company require a global mindset. It is core to Informatica’s corporate strategy. Brand decisions regarding localization weigh revenue impact in each language alongside short-term and long-term benefits.  Success is detailed through analysis of variables including content delivery type, quality of content and geography.  The metrics help align the investment with the expected outcomes. As a best practice, Informatica detailed how they benchmark every localized outreach from web to email communications and measures how it impacts sales.

Loy Searle from Google led a discussion regarding quality.  How important is quality in the everyday decision making regarding localization?  By a show of hands, it is very important.  Equally as important, most decision-makers do not measure quality the same way. As a value to attending the event, groups of business and localization leaders took on the challenge to identify a “best” tip for everyone to share on how to best manage quality.  One tip was to utilize content-type service level agreements to help manage expectations with the provider and buyer and assure consistent outcomes.  Another tip related to the value of content.  It was recommended to define quality expectations by translation method, media type and target audience instead of measuring all content the same way.

Alison Toon from HP, Wayne Bourland from Dell and Tim Young from Cisco opened up an exchange about the importance of time, cost and quality in localization decisions.  Alison noted that the process for different types of content can be hard to qualify, especially when you have 8,000 products.  She noted that complexity is a challenge and they are always looking for better approaches to increase speed and quality. Her recommendation is to continue to network and share ideas.  We need to help each other.

Tim Young stated that pricing without automation is no longer a valid discussion for anyone, as there is not any real price value with negotiating a tenth of penny.  He believes that quality also matters, but it is all about speed. He looks to engage with partners that understand Cisco’s business objectives related to new markets, new products, and new sales requirements.  Simply put, Tim stated they can’t wait for a process to navigate a global launch. They need speed and turn-around now.

Wayne Bourland from Dell reminded everyone that we should not be reactionary to quality decisions that are driven by speed.  Quality is most important, maybe not for UGC; however, he would prefer to spend the money to get quality than sacrifice sales.

All in all, each agreed that stakeholders in every organization have a vested interest in the success of the localization efforts.  Buyers and providers need to make sure they are engaging the “right people” to determine the value of content. Where does it impact the business?

How do we get return on content?  Every piece of content has a value.  Everyone agreed we need to work together to understand the impact.  We need to go through the steps to know what qualifies content and how to value it. We need to differentiate in time, quality, and cost to be able to measure return.

The LocLeaders think-tank helps us elevate daily decisions regarding language services to best practices and triggers for innovation. We know that translation is an event, a commodity. Partnering helps us to understand the real business goals. When we, as a provider and a buyer, tie our goals and tactics together, we can certainly achieve more!


You can read more insights from LocLeaders Forum Silicon Valley and Localization World 2013 by visiting http://www.welocalize.com/events/locleaders-silicon-valley-2013/.