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Veni Veni Vici

Veni Veni Vici

It wasn't so much 'I' as 'we' when marketing and IT combined forces at Veritas to not only sell a global Web site but conquer business inertia.

Read this article to learn

  • How marketing can successfully partner with IT
  • How to sell the system at the executive level
  • How to think globally, but act locally

No matter how hard the IT organisation within data storage supplier Veritas Software had been pushing for certain projects, in a tough economic climate it took a new business owner to come on board, convince other business executives of the value of a project, and make it happen. In Veritas's case the business owner was Jeremy Burton, who joined the company in May 2002 as (global) chief marketing officer, and the project was its Global Web Project.

The benefits to a global company of a unified Web presence, such as being able to launch a new product simultaneously around the world in the local language as opposed to having to do different launches in every country, may seem obvious. However, according to Burton, nothing is obvious any more when you have to obtain budget approval from the CEO, the CFO and the board of directors and compete for limited funds against many other business units.

In addition, while corporate initiatives and global rollouts bring about consistency and standardisation, and can make good business sense, they are not always popular at the local level, especially when it means having to throw out something people are comfortable with and the replacement fails to take into account local requirements. That said, there was at least one obvious benefit for the various business units worldwide that would hopefully translate to buy-in at the local level. In the past, Veritas's marketing people outside the US had to take product descriptions manually from its US Web site and, in non-English speaking countries, either translate them in-house or outsource the translation to an agency, and then post the text onto their local Web site. According to Burton, this exercise could take anything from one week to three weeks, or in some smaller countries might never happen at all.

Now, he says his marketing people in the US post product descriptions to the one global Web site. Translation agencies (external or in-house) in different countries around the world are then automatically notified, they undertake the translation and post it straight back onto the site. So when people access the site they can choose to view the content by country and in one of (currently) 15 languages. The new site also uses a translation engine that is effectively "learning over time" by capturing and reusing translated content on an ongoing basis. Translated content is matched with English content and stored in a translation memory database. When the English content is edited, the system searches the database for the original translation.

Any copy that has not been changed in the English version will not need to be translated again as the translator is asked to work only on the new content. As a result, the amount of translation required will reduce over time, thus reducing costs and helping manage and keep track of changes. Whereas at the launch of the new system all content had to be translated for non-English speaking countries, by the end of its first year of operation, Burton predicts most translation will be held in the system's memory.

"Because of the translation engine, the more you translate, the less you need to translate," he says.

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