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Product localization – Winning the global Race !

We all understand what a software product means. But, what is localization for a software product or application?

According to w3c “Localization refers to the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market (a locale).” 

Let’s understand this with a simple case of McDonald’s launch in India. Even though with its raving success world over, McDonald had to bite the dust in the Indian Market. Reason – It didn’t meet the needs of Indian eating habits. Thus, a wholly new innovation took place – “Chicken Burger” and the adaptation in the Indian eating habits is history.

Similarly, take any product. It needs to have the flavor of the local market needs. Example – if an insurance product developed in India, it has to sell in US, Europe, Middle East, etc. The product needs to have features which support the local markets rules & regulations.

So, let’s say a Company X has a product which is developed for India. So, how do they become global, should they develop each version for each market..??? L L What about the costs.

Building a solid foundation with Baseline Version!

As Company x has developed a product for India, now he needs to come up with a base line version. Baseline version is the version of the product which primarily has the basic features which are common across the globe, like as in Customer Master, User master, Transaction masters, etc. can be finalized by the product owner. Wait. It’s not final baseline version yet!

Next, look at the local market. What is it all about? What is the geographic condition very much required in terms of  internet bandwidth & network availability. You can’t have heavy loaded page to end user from remote place in Africa / Asia to access it and make best use of it…next, Identify the non-functional requirements for your baseline version and optimize it minimum customization for deployment. I am not talking about full implementation yet as we haven’t discussed about other areas of the product which is still not baselined.

Next, look at the statutory rules & regulations of the local market & identify the key features that are required as a base line product like taxation & provide option in the system so that it’s easily customizable for the local need. Your design should ensure that there is minimum work required to do this part of the work for catering to local market. You take any company product in this regard, no company in the global market is as rampant in customizing the main features & implementing. I would like to share some facts which have severe financial consequences. There are products which have taken years to complete the implementation process. The margins have been almost nullified. Many customers have filed petitions in court and product vendor had to pay hefty amount of the penalty clause. This is alarming in the industry and that’s the reason why the product owners today look for faster implementation strategy. Though, these are scary parts, the one who challenges this & work towards a common baseline product which has the capability for configuring the localization features would be the winner in the global race. More to come…keep reading will talk about configuring the local features in my next episode….

Lingesh S

Lingesh S

Project manager in Trigent with 11+ years of experience. He has done his B.E from M.S.Ramaiah Institute of Technology. He manages the design and development of .NET projects from Trigent's offshore software development center in Bangalore.