About guest author Liesbeth Matthieu: Liesbeth is the manager of the Linguistic Quality Program at the Globalization Programs Strategy Office at NetApp.
The in-country review process occurs at the tail end of the localization process and is often a bottleneck to a timely and high-quality multilingual launch. Even at a larger company staffed with localization veterans, linguistic review is a time-consuming task that distracts internal employees from doing their regular jobs, leading to reviewer frustration and unintentionally delaying localized marketing campaigns. This was happening at my company, NetApp.
NetApp, a four billion dollar Silicon Valley powerhouse, designs and manufactures storage systems and provides operating systems, data management, and content delivery software. The company sells these products in more than a hundred countries around the globe; in fact, 50% of NetApp revenue comes from countries outside of the United States.
Yet, before 2010, NetApp rarely released all of their localized product marketing and support material at the time of the actual product launch. Some markets did not receive localized marketing materials months or even years after launch. Potential profits were being lost because overseas markets could not promote and sell the product in the local language.
To address this challenge, the NetApp Localization Team reviewed our localization structure and quickly learned that one of the major bottlenecks was the in-country review process. We decided to look at alternative models to improve in-country review, allowing us to have input into the review but at the same time freeing up local staff from time-consuming review tasks.
The NetApp Language Team assembled a dedicated review team in each country, each with a team Lead who reports into the Language Quality Manager. These Leads work in the NetApp offices with the internal in-country personnel, allowing for the reviewers to be trained so they understand the local, company-sanctioned styles and terms.
“Having the reviewers stationed in the local offices has greatly improved and increased the communication between the field marketing teams and the central NetApp office.”
– Liesbeth Matthieu
NetApp didn’t want to add head count, knowing there would be lulls between launches. Therefore, we engaged Acclaro Global Workforce, which identified and hired the in-country review teams for NetApp, offering a flexible, scalable and cost-effective solution.
The result? A dream for most companies, large and small, became a reality: simultaneous shipment of localized marketing material in all languages with the actual product launch. NetApp accomplished this shortly after implementing the new review process with Acclaro.
We gained incredible efficiencies as well due to this new process implemented with Acclaro, including:
- Reduction of review turnaround by 25%
- Removal of the backlog of reviews within four months of program implementation
- In-country field (sales and marketing groups) received 30% of their time back, since they didn’t have to do the reviews themselves in addition to their full-time job, ultimately freeing them to concentrate on sales and marketing
- A scalable program; reviewers are engaged as needed, addressing the peaks and valleys of launch periods throughout the year
- Quicker decision making; having the reviewers stationed in the local offices has greatly improved and increased the communication between the Field Marketing teams and the central NetApp office.
Recommendations for in-country review programs
For the NetApp program and for all in-country review programs, we recommend the following:
- Identify early on when the in-country review becomes a hindrance to timely releases
- Think about in-country review well before your project starts, don’t wait until you’re about to work on a launch
- Ramp up in steps – select a few countries to start the program then expand by adding countries and/or languages
- At program kick off, meet face-to-face, gathering all reviewers in one place; this assembly supports better communication of goals and priorities, increases productivity, plus builds camaraderie.
Learn more about some useful tips for in-country review from Acclaro.
And join NetApp and Acclaro at Localization World Silicon Valley in October 2011 when we’ll present an in-depth presentation on this innovative in-country review program.