This article was originally published on the GALA website.

Why is the localization industry’s role so diluted when it comes to clients’ globalization programs? Why are clients working unilaterally on their globalization programs? Are localization providers ready to support clients’ globalization programs? Is there a common understanding of what role localization providers should play in globalization? Do we have open communication channels between supply and demand?

There are many answers for all the previous questions, and many ways to describe the current disconnect between supply and demand. This article is meant to describe a future state but let’s segue into this future by listing few characteristics of the current unsatisfactory state:

  1. Fragmented market, especially the supply side
  2. Lack of awareness, visibility, and knowledge
  3. Individual rather than collective efforts
  4. Insufficient academic education
  5. Micro-level quality standards
  6. Rigid business and pricing models
  7. Improper positioning of relationship between supply and demand

By studying the current status of the globalization & localization market and trying to evaluate the market readiness to jump into the near future of big data and internet of things, I believe we need to re-evaluate the way we are approaching this “current” future. We actually need to re-conceptualize some of the industry concepts, redefine roles, and come up with different integrated solution offerings that fit for the future.

The globalization and localization market has many stakeholders but let’s try to group them into three different groups and try to define the role of each group as follows:

GROUP ONE: THE DEMAND

These are the clients planning to globalize their products and services. Clients need to:

  1. Consider globalization and localization as integral parts of their products and/or services design, development, and marketing
  2. Design products/services with localization in mind
  3. Integrate a localization supplier into their ecosystem
  4. Establish market feedback channels involving a localization supplier
  5. Integrate localization technology into content development
  6. Perform cultural assessment and adaptation through a localization supplier
  7. Re-allocate the dependencies throughout their supply chain and consolidate all local (cultural) aspects into localization supply

GROUP TWO: THE SUPPLY

These are the localization and technology suppliers willing to provide solutions for clients’ needs. Suppliers need to:

  1. Consider providing integrated customizable total solutions rather than productized standalone services
  2. Provide supplementary cultural assessment, user behavior analysis, and support to market research
  3. Develop, adopt, or adapt technologies that fit for target verticals
  4. Establish transparent communication channels with clients allowing for more integration and mutual learning
  5. Position yourself as a real partner rather than a vendor or provider
  6. Come up with different pricing models based on different solutions, levels of integration, and quality grades
  7. Create alliances or partnerships providing a wider range of solutions

GROUP THREE: THE INDUSTRY SUPPORTERS

These are the industry organizations, research groups, regional and global organizations, and funding bodies. Supporters need to:

  1. Encourage collaboration between all stakeholders and market sides
  2. Provide and/or organize learning platforms for all stakeholders to create common language and common understanding
  3. Develop applicable “macro” level quality standards that not only fit for supply and demand needs, but also encourage integration between them
  4. Provide comprehensive services covering various regions’ and verticals’ needs to avoid market fragmentation
  5. Design collaborative dynamic business models and/or framework templates that supply and demand can adopt, as well as providing best practices on customization of these models or frameworks
  6. Create awareness and visibility of the industry
  7. Set higher level predefined expectations for various supply-demand relationships and outputs for different processes

This is a futuristic approach aiming to shape a more collaborative market that allows for mutual learning among all stakeholders, and creating balanced relationships between supply and demand. It is important for supply to run at the same speed of demand, and for both to exceed the end users’ needs & expectations. Besides all defined roles for the three stakeholder groups, it becomes important to define ideal future characteristics:

  1. Multi-directional communication channels
  2. Mutual learning on all levels
  3. Collective efforts
  4. Multilateral decision making process
  5. Macro-level quality standards

In a future where a major part of content is created by users and products/services developed to give users total control of usage, it is essential that the globalization and localization market becomes more value driven rather than service provision oriented.

Wish to learn more? Check out Mohamed Hassan’s GALA webinar, Globalization—The Better the Ingredients, the Better the Cake.