Financial Benchmarks to Move Business Process Globalization Forward
One of the most frequent questions that CSA Research analysts are asked is how a translation team can help the rest of the company do a better job marketing to, selling to, and caring for local markets around the globe as well as multicultural ones in their home country. After all, it's usually not their mandated responsibility to support enterprise-wide business process globalization. However, if they don't take it on, they often find that they can't meet their own objectives for delivering locally relevant content, code, and programs.
For those who already struggle with this challenge, we provide three pieces of advice to help you stay on track. If you have yet to face this problem, read on because we find that it happens even in the early stages of localization maturity.
- Choose the same financial benchmarks that your CFO and CEO track relentlessly. These include metrics such as total and international revenue and related costs such as language services spend. You can apply the metrics to your own team's localization maturity, as well as to the income and expenditures associated with enterprise-wide business process globalization. For example, tie your global content strategy to the ability of your in-country staff or partners to take advantage of all localized material that your team provides. Otherwise, they may be overwhelmed by what they're expected to implement.
- Focus everyone on "ROI," not "ROC." The secret to establishing appropriate criteria for measuring ROI is to emphasize what the acronym stands for. It's not "ROC," as in "return on cost," but rather "return on investment" - whether you're discussing language services or improvements related to business process globalization. Adopting this stance also shifts the perspective of your executives and the entire organization from a fixation on cost to the remarkable investment opportunity that both areas represent. Our research shows that companies spend anywhere from 0.03% to 1% of their total revenue on activities related to multilingual content and code - that's a minuscule outlay when compared to the amount of revenue and profit that it drives. Your organization should spend at least this much - if not more - to ensure that it meets international growth and market share targets.
- View data - and its graphic representations - as a hook to catch and sustain people's attention. Track, monitor, and report three to five key business performance metrics to communicate quarterly - or at whatever cadence makes sense for your organization - the contribution of localization and enterprise-wide business process globalization to global growth. Make the takeaways simple so that managers can communicate them up the chain and so that executives can easily remember them. Ensure that everyone on your team knows these metrics by heart so that they can cite them during chance meetings in the hallways and spur-of-the-moment presentations to managers and executives.
Use data related to international revenue, language services spend, and organizational maturity to combat the stigma of translation as a cost with modest benefits. Build confidence in others that a savvy investment in language services is a prime driver for global and domestic multicultural growth. At the same time, leverage the information to support your organization to move faster to globalize its business processes enterprise-wide. Language services providers can use this data to fine-tune their segmentation strategies and to better support their clients to build business cases for sustainable funding of language-related services.
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