Benefits of Developing World-Ready Software
Business Decision Maker
In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive software marketplace, individuals and companies need all the advantages possible. One great way to deliver products more quickly and at lower cost for international markets is to develop software that is world-ready.
The benefits of developing world-ready software are many, including lower development costs and lower customer support costs. When your software is world-ready, it is much easier (and faster) to create new product versions in additional languages. In addition, the ease of updating world-ready software increases customer satisfaction.
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What is World-Ready Software?
At the core of world-ready software is a culturally neutral code base that supports users worldwide. Characteristics and requirements include the following:
For a complete technical discussion of the world-ready development process, see Designing a World-Ready Program.
Why Develop World-Ready Software?
As a business decision-maker in the IT industry, you face intense competition and rapid obsolescence of products. Sales in mature markets such as the United States and European countries are no longer growing by double digits.
An obvious next step is to develop software solutions for emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil. If you develop software that is world-ready, you can leverage existing products and development resources for potentially higher revenues and profits.
The following section demonstrates some of the dramatic opportunities available for those software providers who can meet user needs and demands in these important emerging markets.
Highlights of Emerging Markets – China, India, Brazil
Obviously each of these emerging markets requires different business logic and sales models, but developing world-ready software means you do not have to customize the coding process for each separate language or build a completely new version of your product for each market.
Business Reasons for Adopting a World-Ready Model
Developing world-ready software supports the input and output of many languages, allows you to customize product features for each market, and reduces the development effort needed to produce a new language version of the product. This means you can get your product to your customers in less time with higher quality. The end result is satisfied customers.
Enter into new markets more easily
Once you have adopted the world-ready development process, the technical underpinnings of your product are ready to be quickly and economically adapted for any market you choose. The product source code is culturally neutral. This means it can support a variety of linguistic and culture needs but is not tied to a particular culture, such as English-US. Any elements that require translation are separated from the code for easy access and translation. These two steps reduce time to market, which can potentially increase sales and revenue.
Lower Cost and Time for Development and Translation
Incorporating the world-ready development process into your company’s product development cycle saves you time. You do not have to re-establish the same processes and procedures every time you need to ship a new language version of the product or when you develop future versions of the same product.
As a result, the cost of developing and localizing a product declines because you can leverage existing development and test processes to control costs. The product should not require major re-design or development because it is based on the Unicode encoding standard and is culturally neutral.
Localization (translating and adapting the product for a specific market) is streamlined because all the files you need to hand off to your localization team or vendor are separated from the code. The teams only have to deal with one set of files, not a different set for each language. You can re-use translation memories and recycle text, depending on the amount of terminology changes required for the new version of the product.
As for testing, you can test the core code using data sets containing characters from the new language(s). You can test the market-specific features against the core product features to make sure interoperation is smooth.
Increase Your Customer Satisfaction
In many parts of the world, language and culture are a matter of national pride and identity. For example, the majority of new users in emerging markets such as India, China, Russia, and Brazil do not want to learn foreign languages to use your product. As a result, not localizing or customizing your product can result in lost sale opportunities.
To build loyal customers, your product needs to communicate with users in their native languages. The user interface and system messages need to display in their language. You also need to adapt or customize your product to suit customer needs and preferences. You do this by supporting their date, time, and currency formats, by featuring their favorite colors and themes in the user interface, and by incorporating features they want in your product (within the parameters of your product, of course).
By adopting world-ready development principles, it is much easier to deliver a customized version of your software for new language markets. The positive feedback and word-of-mouth from your customers has great potential for building brand-awareness and loyalty and, in turn, your market share.
How to Build World-Ready Software
For complete information on how to build world-ready software, see the following references: