While enterprises in general have been using business intelligence (BI) for years, the localization industry at large has not had the privilege of having access to the level of business insights other businesses are enjoying. The major challenge that the localization industry faces is that most companies use multiple systems as part of their workflow such as an ERP system and often multiple TMS systems, all with disparate data structures, often legacy API’s, and limited analytics.
At the same time, we have all started to accept that enterprise BI systems are expensive and require complex integration. Yet there are ample Opensource solutions in the market that are being used and co-developed by some of the largest data processing companies globally. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Airbnb, and many others are active contributors to the Opensource community and have open-sourced many of the solutions they have developed to solve some of their business problems at scale. These solutions are more than sufficient to address some of the most complex analytics challenges in the localization industry.
A second challenge is the “all or nothing” approach that is often taken. Implementing a Business Intelligence solution is an incremental process and BI solutions will evolve over time – as your business does. The consequence and at the same time opportunity is to take a pragmatic and incremental approach, trying to address the most burning questions early on, learning throughout the process and incrementally improving throughout the process. Not only does this approach make the development process more manageable for the business as well as the development partner, but it also spreads the required investments to better coincide with the rewards gained through the improved insights.
In the localization industry the challenge is to tie together the different components in the workflow, often the customer facing system, the ERP system and the TMS while at the same time extracting commercial, productivity and data insights to provide end-to-end insights. Achieving this goal requires a partner who understands the localization industry and can advise you on how to interpret your data and extract business insights. It also requires representation of your key business stakeholders to help guide the data team in understanding the key business questions. And finally, it requires an incremental approach; as the business gains more insights, it will inform the development process as the team provides answers to key business questions.
The key takeaway is that you should not hold back on starting your BI implementation. The benefits by far outweigh the risks of not acting and working with the right partner, using powerful but cost-effective platforms you can gain insights quickly without breaking the bank. The second takeaway is to see business intelligence as a program, rather than a project with a being and an end. Continuous evolution of insights translates to continuous improvement of your business and who would not want to ensure you continue to evolve and stay ahead of the competition!