How Teams Can Prepare for Post-COVID-19: Enterprise Survey Data
No one can predict when the ripple effects of COVID-19 will end. However, the results of our survey of 63 global enterprises in 19 countries indicate strongly that now is the time for organizations to plan for the scenarios that they will have to handle, whether under conditions of a prolonged recession or a cautious rebound. The effects on regional and local economies are already playing out in different ways at different speeds. Teams should prepare for the competitive landscape to look substantially altered due to the effect of COVID-19 on market trends, workforces, supply chains, and government actions.
Here are six steps that enterprise localization teams can take to keep making progress as the pandemic wears on:
- Access the right data to make ROI decisions.Products, programs, and services at all commercial enterprises will undergo further changes, including outright cancellation. The impact on local markets – especially if in-country offices or partners have scaled back or closed altogether – must be taken into account as firms reallocate people and budgets. Don’t take unnecessary risk – use the Global Revenue Forecaster™ from CSA Research to ensure that you and your executive team make decisions based on ROI calculations backed up by hard data.
- Negotiate budget reallocations. Enable senior management to view your funds as an investment they should review twice before cutting. Prepare budget scenarios based on various global expansion or pullback possibilities – before anyone requests them. Present the anticipated consequences of reductions in comparison to the investment required for future customers. If the company cuts US$100,000 now, what will be the impact to the brand, revenue potential, competitive positioning, and market share over the medium term? If there are opportunities to expand language support, make sure that you’re adding the right ones and localizing the right content.
- Prepare to produce “remote-friendly” content.This may take the form of overhauling support offerings to be self-serve or beefing up e-commerce options, as well as building infrastructure for multilingual virtual events.Enlist colleagues from the affected business functions, along with your language partners, to develop plans to address the gaps. Providing the data that other teams require to make successful international investment decisions as they reallocate funding is a big piece of this.
- Gear up to meet the rising demand for multilingual virtual events.Requests for these events – and the multimedia content required to support them – will continue to rise as face-to-face opportunities, both big and small, are reinvented as online offerings. They require extensive collaboration with an expanded group of players, new content types, reengineered workflows, tighter timelines, and possibly a different set of expertise from your language partners. Be ready to work with everyone to manage these new service requests and content types. Your management will soon discover that they can reach a much wider audience globally than any in-person conference ever did.
- Expect COVID-19 to increase automation opportunities.As some organizations scramble to meet incoming demand (healthcare facilities, headset manufacturers, videoconferencing tools), others are pulling back for the short term (physical venues, luxury goods). However, all are bracing for a marked slowdown as the pandemic lingers. Belt-tightening and budget cutting will be generalized and across the board with companies telling us that they do not anticipate translation costs to be targeted per se. In the meantime, they expect to implement (more) machine translation and small AI projects coming out of the economic downturn – especially with hiring freezes in place for the foreseeable future.
- Leverage customer loyalty programs. Loyalty will rise to the fore after the COVID-19 outbreak runs its course. People will remember the brands that reached out in meaningful ways during the crisis, so don’t allow internal issues such as potential budget cuts defocus you from what prospects and customers continue to expect. Start planning now to take advantage of loyalty to retain premium customers through the crisis and beyond as you strive to support them during the ensuing ramp-up or recession.
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