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Research Sneak Peak: The Role of the Operational Champion

As Mary noted previously, globetrotting has been just one reason for our blogging hiatus. The more interesting interrupter has been the development of “the report,” aka our research and analysis for Multilingual Communications as a Business Imperative: Why Organizations Need to Optimize the Global Content Value Chain.

It has been an intense period to say the least, as the result comprises the stories of 40 content and localization/translation management professionals as told to myself and colleague Karl Kadie over 60+ hours. We are indebted to this community of experts for their knowledge sharing and deeply impressed by their dedication to improving processes in their areas of expertise.

It feels right then, to dedicate this first blog on our research results to these passionate and meticulous professionals, trained to understand the power of the word and its effect on content consumers. Way back in 2005, I coined an informal term for folks such as these: the glue people — a rare breed who manage to bridge gaps between various organizational units through education, facilitation, and coordination focused on “the bigger picture.”

In this case, painting that picture requires color mixing that supports corporate global expansion goals without compromising the needs and expectations of multinational customers for multilingual content. Thus the demise of the informal term in favor of one that more aptly describes the efforts of today’s content and localization/translation management professional — enter the operational champion.

Focused squarely on the inherent relationship between successful globalization and multilingual communications, our study’s operational champions are savvy customer advocates and marketeers. They have designed internal educational campaigns with titles such as “Content Matters,” “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Not Just for Energy,” and “Do You Know Who’s Not Reading Your Content?” They have titles such as “Content Management Practice Leader,” “Director, Global Language Services,” and “International Marketing Manager.” They have produced inspiring results:

    • “We’ve raised the level of awareness of content value in our organization.”
    • “We can build one web template and replicate it 25 times for various regions within in six months.”
    • “We can show savings of over $900 per document and reduction of translation time by five days.”
    • “We have achieved a 68% reuse rate for our content.”

Impressive indeed — and just a sample of what’s inside the report to help speed results for those working toward similar goals. More to come!

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1 Comment

  1. LangSol

    Your report is very interesting and is certainly hitting the industry at the right time.
    You noted that other operational champions have developed educational campaigns. As an LSP in the Midwest, we undertook this challenge at the beginning of the year as well and developed a program around this called The Client Mentor Program. Because our main vertical is HR and we follow Baldrige criteria internally, we set out to build a balanced scorecard for our clients. We developed a model showing that the path of an organization’s maturation when implementing multilingual communications. Furthermore, we divided up our model to show that 80% of organizations are in the first 4 stages of maturation while only 20% of organizations are the final 3 stages – those with well managed processes, integrated strategies for communications, deployed technology solutions etc. These last 3 stages are further validated by a Watson Wyatt Report that showed only 18% of organizations have a documented global communication strategy.
    Our focus is on the 80% of organizations on this path of maturation. Where an organization ends up on this path is a lagging indicator. There is nothing they can do to change how they got there and most don’t know how they did get there. Our business innovation this year was to set out to identify the right leading indicators to help organizations in this 80th percentile be able to priortize their strategies, their objectives and have measures of those objectives – all with a balanced scorecard approach.
    The development of our program was overseen by Missouri Quality Examiners who administer the Missouri Quality Award, recognized as one of the strongest state-level quality award programs in the country. We have invested over 700 cumulative hours into this program with a SWOT analysis, Global Readiness Assessment and well defined Metrics – all for the client’s success. In addition, we have been able to identify our own KPI’s and measures of success in moving a client through this model – all tied in with our own balanced scorecard.
    We have just begun rolling this program out and in particularly in partnership with Global HR consultants. It seems to have found its niche and its value with communications in HR and we have a variety of multinational organizations relooking at their overall strategy with great interest. This fits particularly well with those organizations and people within those organizations that are focused on process efficiences. You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it. Our vision for this is to standardize it within the industry so that all LSPs (focused on the 80th percentile) can have an opportunity to add this additional value. What an exciting year and your report comes at the right time to validate what we have been seeing and focusing on as well.

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