I am not going into the business of analyzing trends, but Forrester’s forthcoming report ‘The Age of The Customer’ does nicely dovetail with my latest presentation on ‘Collaboration – The Next Evolution in the Translation Business’:
- Power of End Clients: The voice of the customer becomes an engine for change. Organizations will increasingly try to harness the voice of the customer to help translators and internal reviewers better understand customer expectations. They will define clear and actionable strategies to incorporate customer feedback into their globalization processes., and thus, direct employee activities and project prioritization. Shengquan Chen, Director of Translation Center at Huawei gave vivid examples of how the company improves client satisfaction by implementing client feedback on the translation of its mobile phones’ user interface at the 2011 Localization Forum in Shenzhen, China. More firms will move to break free from siloing their localization efforts from their customers. Customer experience management will be thought as a discipline.
- Process Automation: Organizations will strive to domesticate untamed processes. More organizations will focus on poorly managed localization processes which are some of the last frontiers to further reduce globalization cost through translation process automation. Processes that touch customers and suffer from inefficiency and disconnects include vendor onboarding, order administration, file management, data exchange between content management systems and translation technology as well as subject matter reviews and client feedback.
- Access over Ownership: The move to the cloud will continue. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendor agreements now matter more than ever. To improve the quality of translation and reduce the total cost for translation, it now matters less what translation technology an organization uses. What matters most is who has access to the technology and the linguistic assets in order to be able to re-use translation, reduce translation cost, improve translation quality, and shorten time to market. Access over Ownership is a concept that I have introduced to the Localization Industry a few weeks ago – not without controversy.
- Mix of Translation Approaches: As more stakeholders in the globalization process have access to more linguistic assets, the better, faster and cheaper translation efforts will become. Sharing sites like the TAUS Data Exchange will gain momentum. Organizations increasingly favor technologies that allow for their integration, in addition to integrating machine translation and crowd sourcing.
- Vendor Collaboration: The management and optimization of cross-touchpoint customer experiences requires a more diverse set of solution categories — from eCommerce platforms to content management, translation management, search engine optimization, etc. Translation vendors will increasingly need to work with their competitors’ technologies and even share the same linguistic resources. It will become a crucial element for translation vendors to develop collaboration agreements which each other in the best interest of their customers’ customers. At the end of the day, the primary purpose of any business is to have satisfied end-clients. Dig-IT facilitated a vendor collaboration panel at the last GALA Annual Meeting in Lisbon and I am looking forward to seeing discussions translating into action in 2012.
The Forrester report states that ‘Business leaders will need to refresh their change management skills. Business change management — which we have seen defined as “the process, tools, and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve a required business outcome” — is still the single hardest part of customer-centric business transformation. We see a resurgence of interest in understanding the best practices for helping employees adapt to new ways of working and building a company culture that puts customers first.’