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Technology 08.15.18 BLOG 

Managing Enterprise Globalization Programs through Reporting: When Stone Knives and Bearskins Won't Do

By The TransPerfect ESG Team

star-trek crew members use super high tech equipment

Managing Enterprise Globalization Programs through Reporting: When Stone Knives and Bearskins Won't Do

In a well-known episode of the original Star Trek television series, The City on the Edge of Forever, Mr. Spock builds what is essentially a report server in order to determine how a timeline was altered. If not corrected, it would erase the current reality of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. In the episode, we get two of Mr. Spock’s most beloved quotes:

[To Captain Kirk] "Captain, you're asking me to work with equipment which is hardly very far ahead of stone knives and bearskins."

[To Edith Keeler] "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins."

With the correct information—which Spock obtains through his makeshift device—they are able to repair the timeline and their reality is restored. The sub-lesson here is that you can't improve (or correct) what you can't measure, and you can't measure what you can't identify. If constant improvement is the key to success, you are probably only going to measure what is solving (or intended to solve) the business requirements as currently known and understood.

Quite often one of the biggest pain points in managing enterprise globalization programs is reporting. Yet not all enterprise globalization management systems come with even out-of-the-box support for basic enterprise reporting functions, or make reporting easy to customize. GlobalLink® Report Portal enables both. You can start out with the basics, which are already way beyond stone knives and bearskins, and scale out to meet additional business needs. These needs can be discovered as part of a continuous improvement program, which is essential to sustaining a global, multilingual content management strategy. This is because reporting can help bring out into the open the questions, 'What are you doing?', 'Why are you doing it?', and 'How are you doing at it?'. Therefore, the technology must be built to support the process that is constantly being measured in order to meet requirements and improve the results. There are many different types of reports, but these are a few of the most common ones used in managing global content programs: financial, quality, projects, operations, CSat, KPIs, SLAs, and regulatory compliance.

The first question to ask is where is the pain/need/challenge/opportunity? That is the basis of the system you will build, including the reporting requirements. Should the TMs and glossaries be configured and managed globally, siloed, or mixed for the same resources that are required to use them? The TM/glossary sequencing and penalties, workflows, etc. will need to be defined to support a global content strategy. The rules, roles, and tribal knowledge must be captured into that secret sauce that defines whether any assets are islanded, federated, or universally applied. Reporting will then most likely need to show how cost-effective the different TM/glossary configurations are.

Since reporting is a critical system component, how well it is implemented not only reflects how well reporting requirements are met, but how well the business solution is implemented. This presumes, of course, that you are constantly working to improve your understanding of business requirements and discover new ones. A well-implemented technology solution that includes reporting will greatly help in this regard, as it will reveal things not apparent in the daily flow of multilingual content publishing. It works well to always have in front of you the current state, desired state, and how you plan to get there. The reporting implementation and results require a separate iteration of this process mapping, so that you can drive your business results where you want them to your greatest benefit.


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