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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.

On This Page

What is World-Ready Software?What is World-Ready Software?

Why Develop World-Ready Software?Why Develop World-Ready Software?

Business Reasons for Adopting a World-Ready ModelBusiness Reasons for Adopting a World-Ready Model


How to Build World-Ready SoftwareHow to Build World-Ready Software

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:

  • Building a code base that is identical across all languages.

  • Supporting Unicode as the encoding standard for storing and representing characters, culture, and market-specific features.

  • Make localization easier by separating the code from any user interface text that must be translated.

  • Designing the software so it supports linguistic and cultural needs required by users (such as keyboards, input methods, and fonts).

  • Building in the ability to extend and customize your product so it looks and feels as if it was designed just for a specific customer.

For a complete technical discussion of the world-ready development process, see Designing a World-Ready Program.

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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


  • Most populous country in the world with 1.2 billion people.

  • Second largest market in the world for number of PCs sold in 2003.

  • PC penetration rate is still small - 55 million PCs in 2004.

  • Internet users have more than quadrupled from 22.5 million to 94 million (2000 - early 2005).

  • Internet penetration rate is only 7.3%.

  • IT spending was US $30 billion in 2004.
    (Source: IDC)


  • Second most populous country in the world with 1.07 billion people.

  • Middle class is growing -- per capita income grew 42% from 1992 - 2002.

  • PC penetration rate is extremely low – about 1% of all households.

  • Internet penetration rate is only 3.6%.


  • First in worldwide ranking for Internet banking.

  • Second in worldwide ranking for growth of Internet use.

  • First country in the world to use electronic voting (1989). Votes are counted within six hours after the polls close.

  • Value of e-commerce transactions in 2003-2004 was US $443.6 million.

  • PC penetration in households is only 17%.

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.

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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).

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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.

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How to Build World-Ready Software

For complete information on how to build world-ready software, see the following references:

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