The True Importance of the Localization Maturity Model

by Drew Evans
4 Minute Read

Global expansion is often one of the most impactful and effective ways to grow an organization. As a result, in recent years, many organizations are starting to rely more and more on localization to expand. After all, you can’t truly understand or excel in international markets without a localization strategy.

To do so, however, requires planning and consistency - both of which can be difficult in fast-paced working environments. That’s why the Localization Maturity Model (LMM) was developed. Created by CSA Research, the model shows a path to building and growing a localization strategy over time.


The Five Stages of Maturity

The LMM breaks down into five stages - Reactive, Repeatable, Managed, Optimized, and Transparent - along with five key areas of targeted improvement. 

Reactive Localization

This stage is generally where companies exist when localization isn’t a main priority quite yet. For the most part, projects are done on a one-off basis and there’s very little strategy set in place. CSA Research suggests that companies at this level focus on getting operations under control and figuring out realistic goals for next steps.

Repeatable Localization

Once the ad hoc projects start to evolve into actual processes, companies generally find themselves in the repeatable stage. While those processes aren’t necessarily used all of the time, they are the building blocks towards a more stable future. 

Managed Localization

This is where localization moves from an afterthought to a more focused effort internally. Vendors are in place, workflows are documented, and systems are more well established. Moving into the next phase can be difficult, though - something CSA Research calls the “Localization Maturity Shuffle”. Moving from an operational phase to a more strategic phase (as the next stage would be) can cause a shift where operations fail instead. Maintaining those while starting to think about growth strategy is key.

Optimized Localization

Once a company has entered this stage, localization is a priority. There’s an understanding of how it can help maintain and enable growth on a larger scale, and thus, the time and resources are devoted to the cause. Operations are fully optimized and systems are followed - all that’s left is scaling and growing to cover everything.

Transparent Localization

The final stage is where every piece of content is created with localization in mind. Products and releases incorporate localization from the beginning, and processes are smooth and integral. The goal at this point is to evangelize localization throughout the company so everyone can comply at an enterprise level.


Areas of Improvement

Moving up through the hierarchy requires focus and goal-setting, but also requires that companies think in areas where they can improve.

Luckily, the LMM offers those areas for companies to think about improvement specifically for localization. The key areas of improvement are governance, strategy, process, organizational structure, and automation.

Governance centers around monitoring and tracking success, which is a key part of reporting back and proving localization importance. Strategy is vital - creating an organization-wide strategy only increases the likelihood of top level buy-in. Process also needs to be defined and documented so future growth can build upon it. Organizational structure ties into the three previous areas as well - stakeholders and personnel need to be in place so communication, workflows, and key documentation can be passed around and shared with the right teams. Finally, automation is a key element that can help improve efficiency and save time and money so the focus can shift back to the other areas of improvement.

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Ultimately, the LMM is a great way to focus an upward growth trajectory for localization. Without it, things can easily turn to disarray. With focus and planning, however, there’s a clearly defined path to success and an expectation that process and strategy will be implemented correctly. 

Learn more about the Localization Maturity Model by visiting CSA Research's website here.