Cycle TimeCrawl, Walk or Run?WHITE PAPER© 2011 LionbridgeWhy cycle time matters in globaldigital marketing and how to impr...
© 2011 Lionbridge 2BACKGROUNDWe’ve spent the last three years working closely with leading global companiessuch as Microso...
© 2011 Lionbridge 3DEFINITION: GLOBAL WEB OPERATIONSThere are a number of different terms companies use to describe the op...
© 2011 Lionbridge 4The distribution is broken roughly into thirds, with one group crawling along at atwo-month cycle time,...
© 2011 Lionbridge 5WHAT CAUSES LONG CYCLE TIMES?We’ve seen the large variance in cycle-time performance by company and the...
© 2011 Lionbridge 6OPERATION MODEL & DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENTSo what does cause longer cycle times? Through our client wor...
© 2011 Lionbridge 7Most long cycle time companies artificially separate content execution into twoparts (localization and ...
© 2011 Lionbridge 8This artificially separates a highly iterative process and spreads it across twovendors with separate a...
© 2011 Lionbridge 9GLOBAL DIGITAL BENCHMARKMany companies we speak with are interested in benchmarking their performancein...
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Lionbridge Cycle Time

  1. 1. Cycle TimeCrawl, Walk or Run?WHITE PAPER© 2011 LionbridgeWhy cycle time matters in globaldigital marketing and how to improve it
  2. 2. © 2011 Lionbridge 2BACKGROUNDWe’ve spent the last three years working closely with leading global companiessuch as Microsoft and Cisco to develop best practices for global web operations.We also recently partnered with Gatepoint Research on a survey of 973 selectedexecutives, with responsibility for global web operations, to identify key trendsin operational practices. Respondents were heavily weighted toward largeorganizations, with 82% coming from the Fortune 1000. Sixty-three percent of therespondents were Director-level and above, and 36% were VP-level or higher.One of the main findings of the survey was the large variance in cycle timeperformance across companies. We will examine why cycle times matter, thecauses of long cycle times, and what to focus on to improve them.Why You Should Read This++ VPs of Global Web Operations++ Marketing VPs responsible for global digital product or corporate campaigns++ CMOs, CIOsWho Should Read This++ Understand the importance of cycle time in global digital marketing++ Compare your company’s cycle time to survey results++ Understand the key levers to pull to improve cycle time performance++ Learn how to apply benchmarking to truly assess your current operationsWhite paperTABLE OF CONTENTSDefinition: Global Web Operations Survey Results Why Does Cycle Time Matter? What Causes Long Cycle Times?Operation Model & Digital Asset ManagementGlobal Digital Benchmark334569
  3. 3. © 2011 Lionbridge 3DEFINITION: GLOBAL WEB OPERATIONSThere are a number of different terms companies use to describe the operationalactivities involved in localizing, instrumenting, publishing and tracking the findabilityand use of digital content. We define Global Web Operations to be the following: Allthe activities involved in localizing, instrumenting, optimizing and globally publishingcontent (pages and other content assets) on various digital platforms. We includeall of these elements in the definition because, in an operational context, they allbecome highly intertwined and iterative. They are all components of an inherentlycommon process. If you are not familiar with all of the terms used, here is a quickdescription:++ Localizing – translating or transcreating text and audio, selecting differentimages that are appropriate for each market, and all the related technical work todeconstruct source content from various formats++ Instrumenting – applying appropriate tracking tags and codes to ads andlanding pages to be able to track a campaign’s performance++ Optimizing – understanding search engine marketing to optimize content fortargeted keywords and track rankings and engagement so people can find andengage with your content++ Digital platforms – not just company-controlled websites but partner sites,social networks, mobile apps, email providers, display ad platforms, searchplatforms, etc.SURVEY RESULTSThe histogram below shows the cycle-time distribution of survey respondentsthat publish in more than five languages. As you can see, there is a wide variance,with top performers “running” along at two weeks and laggards “crawling” at eightweeks.The cycle time we are referring to is as follows:Begins – Source content and assets received from Marketing or Agency to beginlocalization and production processEnds – All localized content and assets fully quality checked and live in productionWhite paper
  4. 4. © 2011 Lionbridge 4The distribution is broken roughly into thirds, with one group crawling along at atwo-month cycle time, another sprinting ahead in two-week cycle times, and thelast group walking along in the middle, around one month.WHY DOES CYCLE TIME MATTER?Most Web Operations groups are constantly being pushed by Marketing to movefaster. Here are some reasons why:++ SEO - New, highly trafficked keywords are emerging every week. The firstcredible websites to have strong SEO content for those keywords will rank higheston search results, yielding the most traffic and potential customers++ News - To capture greater visibility, marketing campaigns must align with toptrending news and topics, which requires a much shorter cycle time to execute++ Conversation – Marketing is no longer about just broadcasting the company’smessage; it must engage in a dialogue with customers online – requiring muchshorter cycle times++ Localized – Prospective customers expect communication to be in their ownlanguage and culture on a regular basisIn short, those companies that are able to “run” with short cycle times willoutperform those that are “crawling” when it comes to global digital marketing.#ofCompaniesAvg. Cycle Time in WeeksCycle Time DistributionWhite paper
  5. 5. © 2011 Lionbridge 5WHAT CAUSES LONG CYCLE TIMES?We’ve seen the large variance in cycle-time performance by company and theimportance of shorter cycle times for the success of the business. So why doesn’tevery company have short cycle times? What causes some companies to havelonger cycle times than others?Hypothesis #1: The more languages published, the longer the cycle timesThis seems like an intuitive hypothesis. Certainly the level of work goes up aslanguages increase, so it is reasonable to assume that the cycle time does aswell. To assess the validity of this hypothesis, we looked at our survey data for allrespondents. The chart below plots company clusters by number of languagesand cycle time in days. As you can see, the data points are not correlated. Ifmore languages led to higher cycle time, we would see a nice set of plots movingfrom the lower left to the upper right. Instead, we see many companies with fewlanguages and long cycle times, and companies with a lot of languages and shortcycle times.As the Myth Busters would say, “This hypothesis is busted.”# of LanguagesCycleTimeinDaysMore Languages Do Not Lead to Higher Cycle TimesHypothesis #2: The bigger the company, the longer the cycle timeAnother highly intuitive hypothesis is that larger companies have more complexprocesses, signoffs, and approvals that lead to longer cycle times. Again, we lookedto our survey data, and the chart below shows the plots of company clusters byrevenue and cycle times. If larger companies had longer cycle times, we would seeplots moving from the lower left to the upper right. Instead, we see a distributionthat shows no correlation between company size and cycle time. Companies of allsizes have short and long cycle times. Another hypothesis busted.R2=0.076White paper
  6. 6. © 2011 Lionbridge 6OPERATION MODEL & DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENTSo what does cause longer cycle times? Through our client work, we have foundtwo factors to be the main causes of long cycle times: the operational model andan effectively deployed Digital Asset Management system.Company Revenue ($MMs)CycleTimeinDaysCompany Size Does Not Explain Cycle TimesR2=0.001MarketingManagementContentExecutionContentDevelopmentFactor #1:The operational modelThe most common problemwe find with long cycle timecompanies is that their operationalmodel artificially separates asingle process into two, whichresults in more handoffs, delays,errors, and longer cycle times.The graphic here shows thethree core processes involvedin the execution of globaldigital marketing content:marketing management, contentdevelopment and contentexecution. The table lists coreactivities of each core process.White paper
  7. 7. © 2011 Lionbridge 7Most long cycle time companies artificially separate content execution into twoparts (localization and web production) and partner with separate providers foreach.Core ProcessMarketingManagementContentDevelopmentContentExecutionActivities– Go to market strategy– Campaign planning, creative briefs and budgeting– Campaign performance tracking and improvement– Campaign concept and message– Campaign creative elements– Localization (copy translation, appropriate image selection)– Web production (deploying web assets and pages)– Instrumentation (applying analytic tags to all assets, pages)– Content marketing (organic search/social driven traffic tocompelling content)MarketingManagementContentExecutionContentDevelopmentCorporate MarketingIT OutsourcerLocalizationAgencyDigital AgenciesWhite paper
  8. 8. © 2011 Lionbridge 8This artificially separates a highly iterative process and spreads it across twovendors with separate and uncoordinated policies, procedures, and incentives.In addition, the other two components of content execution (instrumentation andcontent marketing) often fall through the cracks.Short cycle time companies have found a way to “run” by managing contentexecution as a single, coherent process that is optimized through a relationship witha single vendor.Factor #2: An effectively deployed Digital Asset Management systemOnce a streamlined process is in place for content execution, short cycle timecompanies enable it through a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. Themain activity in content execution is centered on content assets of various digitalforms that explode in number as they are translated, localized, revised and qualitychecked. On a global marketing campaign, all versions of these assets and pagescan easily number into the thousands. Trying to manage this process throughemail and file servers becomes a time-consuming and error-prone activity. Everytime an asset is emailed, copies are created for each of the recipients; when onecopy is edited, all of the others become outdated and review time is wasted. Tomake matters worse, all of the assets, ads and landing pages must be correctlyinstrumented and the correct version must end up in production.Digital Asset Management systems are designed specifically to fully enable,streamline and error-reduce this process. Fast cycle time companies employ DAMsto enable their processes.White paper
  9. 9. © 2011 Lionbridge 9GLOBAL DIGITAL BENCHMARKMany companies we speak with are interested in benchmarking their performancein global web operations against others to find areas for improvement. We dooffer a benchmarking service that combines both an external, customer-orientedbenchmark and an internal, process-oriented one.++ External customer benchmark – reviews digital marketing platforms (web,mobile, social) from the perspective of in-country potential customers andbenchmarks against competitors++ Internal operational benchmark – compares operational models andprocesses to other organizationsTogether, the external and internal elements form a Global Digital Benchmark thatprovides a clear assessment of current strengths and areas for improvement. If youare interested in discussing a Global Digital Benchmarking study in more depth,please reach out to us at globalmarketingops.com/contact.White paperABOUT LIONBRIDGELionbridge is a market leader in the globalization services industry. Through officesin 26 countries and more than 90,000 in-market experts, we help companiesmanage and improve their digital presence around the world with our suite of globalmarketing solutions.To learn more, visit globalmarketingops.com/contact

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