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A dashboard – in a vehicle – is familiar to every one of us. So familiar that we don’t even think about it. You never just sit and stare at it. You don’t spend hours reading it and figuring out what all the numbers mean. Instead, you see and understand it, and your body and brain adjust and take action based on what the display shows – from speeding up or slowing down to pulling into the next service station for fuel or to add air to your tires. 

Your vehicle’s dashboard is visually simple, yet the information is vital to reaching your travel goal without being stopped for speeding and for the safety of you and the environment through which you’re travelling. Behind your vehicle’s dashboard there is a lot of sophisticated data. You can’t read a report while you are driving – you’d never get anywhere. This is the concept to apply to your business analytics. 

Many localization teams struggle to make their value visible to upper levels in their organization, or across different functions. As part of our research for the report, Dashboards for Globalization Success, we interviewed localization leaders from companies at various stages of localization maturity – and our findings were quite surprising. Some of the most mature – and experienced – localization teams still rely only on key performance indicators (KPIs) that are only related to operations, while other enterprises, relatively new to global business and at much lower levels of localization maturity, are relatively more advanced in Localization Analytics Maturity. Why does this matter? Because to thrive, the enterprise needs data that not only reflects the past but drives the future. Just as your car’s analytics tell you how fast you are going, how efficiently you are driving, and when you must take immediate action, so should your business dashboards.

There’s a whole lot of data that you can use for your localization and global business dashboards – it’s not just operational KPIs such as word counts, reuse rates, turnaround time, or quality scores. What else does your company count and measure regarding language, country, region, or locale: web and mobile activity metrics, CSAT, support calls or tickets, revenue, profit margins, finance, supply chain data, metrics from development teams, marketing, and content creators? To go with all that data, you have company goals that are likely cascaded down to become division, business unit, and team objectives. That’s a wealth of information. So, what do you do with it to turn it into meaningful, actionable, and valuable analytics?

Start with the “who” and the “what”. Who are you sharing your data with? Just as race car driver or someone trucking heavy goods or commuting in an electric-powered vehicle needs guidance specific to them, so the audiences for business dashboards and analytics have varied requirements. Who will see your business dashboards? What is important to them? What actions should the data trigger for each audience?

A good way to approach dashboard design is to first define personas and journeys – in the same way that the marketing team creates definitions of your company’s customer experiences. Identify the different audience characteristics for your localization dashboards. Executives think about revenue, opportunity, business; support and customer care managers understand self-solve rates and customer retention; marketing runs on CSAT and SEO analytics. These teams don’t much care about cost-per-word; it’s meaningless in terms of their own goals other than keeping to their annual budget. But combined with other company measurements – or external data such as that generated by the Global Revenue Forecaster – the localization team can create and contribute to dashboards that guide and shape the future of the enterprise. For example:

  • Executives: Show them how language plays a role in global revenue.
     
  • Support: Help demonstrate how translation means faster and easier resolution to customers’ post-sales needs.
     
  • Marketing: Aid in identifying success – and gaps – in campaigns, websites, and inbound marketing.
     
  • Development: Produce metrics that help them to deliver world-ready code – and collaborate on data that helps the localization team and language service providers plan resources for timely distribution.
     
  • Procurement: Demonstrate how LSPs perform and adhere – or not – to global pricing agreements and SLAs.


When you design your dashboards, remember your car and what it tells you at a glance – just what you need at that moment, no more and no less. Status: speed and fuel economy. Predictions: remaining fuel and how far you can drive before refilling the tank. Warnings: low oil, low air pressure, exceeding the speed limit. Apply the same concepts to your business dashboards and you’ll be well on the road to success.

And if you want more ideas, struggle to demonstrate the value of localization to your executives, or are looking for ways to base more of your global business decisions on data, our latest reports on dashboards and analytics can set you on the road to success.
 

About the Author

Alison Toon

Alison Toon

Senior Analyst

Focuses on translation management systems, plus helping CSA Research’s clients gain insights into the technologies, pricing, and business processes key to executive buy-in

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