Around 2018, the localization team’s growth rate tripled as they started building connectors to link XTM to other Gap systems. This covered many different areas of the business, from online sales through to standard office software, for instance giving any Gap employee the ability to create a project in XTM using only a spreadsheet. Today, XTM has become an integral part of their global business systems architecture.
To tackle the problem of Gap Inc.’s four distinct brands, the localization team began by assessing the needs of each brand and content type. This enabled them to standardize certain processes which they could do in XTM Cloud’s backend, while providing the nuances and customizations needed for each brand.
Another key step was introducing a self-serve model where other teams in the organization could send in translation requests without needing to interact directly with the localization team. To take this one step further, the localization team then implemented even more automation and efficiency in the system backend, focusing in particular on workflow templates. Now anyone in Gap Inc. can request a translation or language service, select the relevant job type – for instance, internal or customer-facing; US market or Japanese market; Gap or Athleta; DTP required or not – and a TMS workflow will automatically be selected that’s specific to the team requesting the job, and has all the relevant people and stages pre-populated. Gap Inc. now has over 200 templates within XTM, giving all current global teams pre-built workflows for all of their content translation needs. This has meant teams get translations done faster and to a higher standard, and has meant staff spend less time on repetitive tasks as many of the setup and workflow progressing steps have been automated.
By bringing other teams on board and introducing this self-serve approach, they were able to demystify localization. This gave others in the organization a deeper understanding of what the localization team did, helping to improve their visibility and demonstrate the value they bring. At this point there are over 500 XTM users at Gap Inc.
Conscious of the need to make sure they met customer expectations not only today, but also tomorrow, Gap Inc. took the first steps on their digital transformation journey. As early adopters of cutting-edge technology that enabled the faster delivery of content for customers around the globe, the localization team were seen as trailblazers. And as their expertise in language technology and processes started to be recognized, other internal teams sought their help with organizing, automating and transforming their systems and processes, not just within XTM, but upstream and downstream too. This saw the localization team become involved earlier on in the process development cycle, and saw their knowledge called on more and more. In response, the team grew and expanded into other areas of work, creating new roles and taking on new responsibilities.
Now, the localization team doesn’t just respond to translation requests, but offers many more services and is able to bring much greater value to the company. They’ve re-positioned themselves as a “language operations” team and receive requests for a wider variety of projects, including interpreting and captions for English-only content. And thanks to the right technology stack, they’re able to meet the increased demand for their services. In 2021, they translated 99 million words, compared to 9 million in 2015, a tenfold increase achieved for the same spend and with only one additional team member. They now have a seat at the table and are known as agents of change, playing a key role in furthering the enterprise’s digital transformation.