This is the final post in a series from our COO about the role localization plays in the success of a company, especially that of a startup. The first post explores the 5 elements affecting the state of the software industry. The second post covers 4 Customer Expectations Shaping the Future of Software.
What does a successful software company look like in this newly matured (highly mobile, mostly virtual and absolutely global) marketplace? We observe 4 common traits in all of the frontrunners.
Design is central to their IP
Intellectual property (IP) has fallen victim to a phenomenon called semantic stretch. Over time it has been used to reference an ever broadening range of things. Originally, IP was used in reference to only the hidden elements of software. The architecture and mechanisms that make it work. Today IP means much more than that. The scope of a company’s brand extends beyond the widget’s they built to cover the highly subjective world of design choices and style.
It is hard to get good design, and even harder to protect it, but design has become an equally important component of your company’s IP arsenal. Software companies must treat now value design on an equal footing with content and product development.
Analytics are also part of the IP
Also included in the IP of a successful software company is the data collection and analysis mechanisms included in your software. Users, especially enterprise clients are expecting measurables in real-time to inform decision making at every level. These things are no longer a tack-on or an after thought, analytics has become a core competency of a successful software company.
They respect the 8th layer
Think way back to your first college course that covered Open Systems Interconnection (OSI). We’re going way back, but think hard. You were probably exposed to a chart called the OSI model… it had seven layers… ringing any bells?
If you learned anything tech related in college, it probably grew from this model of understanding how systems interact with one another. The OSI model is the technology bible. Your software probably lives at the zenith of this model, at the 7th layer. Since you were in school, a new 8th layer has emerged. The 8th layer is a feedback loop most notably known as the social network.
Successful companies engineer themselves with respect to this, the new 8th layer on the OSI stack. They are highly responsive to the community’s opinion of their products reflected in posts on an ever changing list of social networks.
They operate globally
Successful software companies think their native language is too small for their ambitions, and they are launching their product into a global marketplace. 72.4 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. Whatever you make, you should be making it in every language.
This raises an interesting question.
How can a global company remain agile?
Translation is not a one-and-done affair. With every update or new feature there is new content that demands to be translated. And with respect to the 8th layer, content like blog posts, white papers, lifecycle/marketing emails and the like will also require localization treatment.
How, then, in the flurry of competing priorities, does a software company extend its reach around the world, while remaining agile, responsive to customer expectations, and changing market conditions?
Enter Continuous Localization.
The idea of continuous localization is to integrate your localization platform with your Continuous Integration (CI) tool, such as Jenkins or Bamboo, so that as soon as new strings are committed, they are pushed to the localization platform and translators can begin translating. When the strings are translated and reviewed, they can be pulled and committed to the code repository, ready for deployment.
The end result is a process that does not become a hassle for developers but helps them work smarter and launch products to new markets faster.