Migrating your localization technology is a step that is as daunting as it is necessary. Migration can be a difficult process that requires a lot of time, effort, and key decisions, although its end benefits massively outweigh the pain points. Being able to leverage the latest localization technology can be the difference between meeting and not meeting your goals. For this reason, regularly assessing if your technology stack is enabling you to meet your goals is key.
This was a process that Jerome Selinger, Globalization Manager at Precisely, went through and successfully navigated. During XTM Live 2023, he presented Turning Challenges Into Opportunities, a look into what a TMS-migration journey looks like and how to use this process for smart growth. We wanted to find out more about the process so we had a chat with Jerome to find out more.
Migrating your localization-technology solution is a laborious, tedious yet necessary step for many companies today, especially when you see how fast technology is evolving. Companies want to be able to deploy the latest technology but want to avoid any lengthy migration process unless strictly necessary. At Precisely, what were the key points and criteria that made you take the plunge and adopt a new solution?
On the one hand, we realized that we were at a dead end with our previous TMS, as the product was progressively being phased out. On the other hand, its features could no longer meet our requirements. We were acquired by a software company, and deploying an agile methodology was the only way to go. We couldn’t continue to do things the way we used to, and the TMS we had at the time was part of the problem. More importantly, product development was looking to go in a different direction as well, so it was a no-brainer — we had to switch TMS because we couldn’t deliver what was expected of us. It gave us agility, flexibility and scalability, which is exactly what’s required these days.
What were the main pain points that you went through during your migration process? And how did you overcome them?
Well, I would say the main pain points were in people’s minds. When we started using the new TMS, people were confused by how to do things, as they were trying to do them in the same way as they did in the old TMS. This is why in my presentation Turning Challenges Into Opportunities in this year’s XTM Live I talked about the clean-slate approach. We had to “erase” in everyone’s minds what they knew about the previous system so that they could have a fresh approach using the new one. For team members who had never used a TMS before, it was easy, and they got up to speed very quickly. For those who had used a TMS, the transition was not as quick, as they were still used to their old habits. To answer the question, I don’t think the pain points were technical but rather related to the mindset.
Since you migrated your TMS to XTM Cloud, what have been the main benefits aside from the ones you already mentioned (agility, scalability, etc.)? And what have the results of these benefits meant for your program?
The main benefit has been excellent connectivity with other platforms. Lack of connectivity was the biggest issue we had with our previous TMS. Now, with XTM Cloud, our system is compatible with APIs that we build. We have built a connector to our CMS using XTM’s out-of-the-box Git connector, and we’re now looking into developing much more connectivity with other platforms. We’ve started building dashboards outside of XTM to monitor things the way we like, and we’re looking at expanding that.
What other features does this expansion involve?
We’ve added our own machine-translation engine, which initially was not part of the plan. At first, we wanted to use an out-of-the-box MT engine, but we found that we could build our own and being able to connect to it is a big deal for us.The main benefit of this seamless connectivity is that we’re now completely integrated with many different departments within the company: the documentation team, the marketing team, the software-development teams… Everything now leads to the TMS in one way or another, through us or not. Our TMS is no longer a tool used exclusively by our team but rather by the whole company.
What made you realize that you could build your own MT engine?
It started out of pure curiosity. One of my team members did some research on it and realized we could build our own MT engine. We looked into it together and he started working on it. In all honesty, at the start I was quite hesitant to integrate it as our production tool but in the end, when we saw the initial results and the quality samples, it was mind blowing — it was even better than what we were getting from out-of-the-box MT engines such as Google or Amazon. So yes, this tool is now in production.
What has changed that has given people in your team the time to develop these kinds of tools?
Thanks to using a TMS, we now have more time-efficient processes in place which result in having more time for other valuable activities. My team is not a big one, but we receive many requests from what is a growing company, so we have to find ways of doing more with less. To be able to do all these requests, we need to leverage automation. For some of our releases, the connection between our CMS and XTM allows us to save weeks’ worth of working time, and this gives us the time to do tasks which add a lot more value to our program.
Lastly, for someone who is undecided about migrating their technology, what would your advice be to them?
I would say look at your current needs, but more importantly what you want to be in five years’ time. No more than five, five years is a good target. Read content that you can find on the web about new technologies, especially around AI now, such as GPT which we’ve talked about a lot. This is the path you have to be taking and deploying. If you don’t adopt the latest trends, you’ll be left behind.