Recently, I was privileged to talk with a customer that implemented Arbortext in 1999: Greg Johnson at Medtronic. Greg heads up what his executives have told him is “the most successful project Medtronic had ever done.”
Greg was responsible for bringing a dynamic information delivery system into Medtronic. When you talk to him, he’ll say that “you don’t want to do how/what we did. It’s 10 yrs later. But I want to encourage you. There are vast savings and vast reductions in cycle time and vast improvements to do in this field, if you do it smart, build your vision, and go be passionate about it.”
He says that believing the stories is hard, but he’s the first to tell you not to be faint of heart. “There are a lot of people finding their own way and finding their own wins.” He wants more companies to join the conversation. “Spend a day, tour, spend time with management teams. See the exotic things [that other people have done]. They will encourage you along the way. Keep slogging ahead, and you can get there.”
Greg knows that talking with others can really informed the decisions you make. He shared with me some of the amazing results they’ve seen the last 10 years.
Here are the trends they’re seeing:
- increasing product complexity
- increasing # languages
- increasing volume of documentation
- increasing product overlap
- shorter product life cycle
They’ve seen these trends the last 10 years and he doesn’t see these trends changing. In the face of these trends, his group has shown dramatic changes and savings in a very visible project.
All the divisions at Medtronic use the same internal translation center based in the Netherlands. About 7 years ago, the director there hit on a way to collect and track cost data across all the projects that come through. In the last 7 hears, he has done it the same way every time. The data is broken down by business unit, then by content translated within a business unit. He’s got inside and outside real world data on what it costs, per page, to generate these results.
Medtronic is now publishing this as a trend line internally. The data is so staggeringly better within the dynamic information delivery system when they compare it to other BUs that are using traditional publishing tools.
Here are the stats.
The average cost per page to translate a 200 word page (including QA and everything):
- Other BUs: $47
- Their BU, groups not using the system: $38
- Their BU, using the system: $5
Over the last 7 years all the trends are downward but the 10:1 cost reduction is monumental. $47 can trend down, but $5 will trend down, and it’s a lot harder for $47 to catch $5.
This is the kind of cost savings and time-to-market driver that cuts across industries and geographies. They’re global drivers.
- Dynamic information delivery systems reduce translation costs
- The Benefit Content Reuse Brings to Business