What Features does a TMS need to be called an “Enterprise Solution”?

by | Apr 9, 2018

Welcome to the first Wordbee Experts chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

Tanja Falkner – Growth Marketing Manager at Wordbee: Welcome everyone to the first Wordbee experts chat!

Tanja Falkner – Today we want to discuss “What features does a Translation Management System (TMS) need to be called an “Enterprise solution”? But first, let’s define what an Enterprise is. And GO!

Brahim Aïoun - Account Manager at Wordbee: Well, if you look up some Wikipedia definition of an Enterprise software or solution, it says, “computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization,” and I think that’s really what it is. People we talk to are searching for implementing solutions or processes for their own organizations. And what’s funny is that they many times consider their peers as actual customers.

Robert Rogge - Senior Marketing Manager at Wordbee: Totally makes sense, Brahim! I’m wondering if we want to distinguish between end-customers as Enterprises, or if we’re including Language Service Providers? I think we may be referring also to companies of a certain size… but what size? 50+ employees? 200? 1000?

Brahim Aïoun: “Typically, implementing a software for a whole organization means choosing a tool and features that will meet the requirements of many different departments. And this requires collecting a lot of information in order to propose different sorts of solutions and workflow for these teams.”

Brahim Aïoun: In this sense, that’s indeed what Language Service Providers will tend to do. Although, for them, it might mean proposing different solutions. We at Wordbee tend to propose several workflows, or “canals”  to meet all requirements from that end client.

Tanja Falkner: So you’re saying an Enterprise solution does not include Language Service Providers? They have different needs, etc.?

Brahim Aïoun: I would say yes! Especially because they rarely use the same type of solutions. To give you a precise example. Both Enterprises and LSPs have integration needs.

Anita Sempels - Chief Sales Officer: LSPs use our software to serve their external clients. Enterprises use WBT to serve internal clients.

Brahim Aïoun: Enterprises need to integrate their TMS with Active Directories, email system, CMSs … LSPs integrate with CRMs, invoicing tools, project management tools.

Robert Rogge:  So, an Enterprise is an organization, not an LSP, that serves internal clients and needs, workflows and systems to support various departments and workflows, because they are large organizations.

Brahim Aïoun: Exactly!

Tanja Falkner: Totally makes sense. Before jumping to the actual question, I’d just like to know what size must a company be to be considered an Enterprise, as Robert mentioned?

Anita Sempels: Size doesn’t matter.

Tanja Falkner: Isn’t it important for companies to know whether they are big enough for a so-called Enterprise solution?

Robert Rogge: I feel like we’re entering some strange territory here.

Brahim Aïoun: Actually, I think it’s a good question. Just tricky to answer.  In fact, you could be a small or mid-size family Enterprise, but produce tons of content. In this case, you probably wouldn’t implement a solution across all company departments. You’ll probably have one or two people in charge.

Robert Rogge: Super interesting point, Brahim! But you still need a powerful solution to manage all that content. So size doesn’t matter, but the size of your translation needs is an important factor.

Brahim Aïoun: I’d even say a TMS starts to makes sense when there’s the need to centralize all translation-related requests and offer one way of logging such requests, via a portal for instance, or pushing it from a CMS.

Anita Sempels: “When you feel translation costs get out of hand, it may be the right time to put a process in place.”

Tanja Falkner: Good point! And also, it sounds like the first answer to our actual question: What features does a TMS need to be called an “Enterprise solution”? So what are your thoughts on that?

Brahim Aïoun: A customer portal, that’s for sure! Combined with robust workflow capabilities and financial reports.

Robert Rogge: I’m going to take a different take here. I would say that what an Enterprise needs is a mature solution with two characteristics: it’s cloud-based, and it’s mature enough to have developed all the intricate features that work 100% of the time.

Tanja Falkner: Why cloud-based? Can’t you have a great server-based Enterprise solution?

Brahim Aïoun: You could, Tanja, but adapting the tool to end-users’ (here, translation requesters) ever-changing needs might take longer. Cloud solutions will give them that flexibility.

Tanja Falkner: How come not every company has a cloud-based system then? I mean, everyone wants flexibility, right?

Robert Rogge: I think Brahim and Anita can answer this question better than I can. I know that cloud solutions can have Enterprise-grade security measures, but I’m guessing security is a concern. Although I think with the recent SONY hacks and several others, we can say that server-based systems are no guarantee.

Anita Sempels: Server-based solutions have their limitations when it comes to collaborative work, that what makes cloud-based solutions so interesting. But we have plenty of examples of companies preferring sever-based softwares, like banks, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, etc.

Brahim Aïoun: Also, large Enterprises have to cope with longer security review processes prior to switching to a cloud solution.

Robert Rogge: So it’s a trade-off between agility and collaboration v.s. security concerns that Enterprises may have.

Tanja Falkner: These examples you mentioned, Anita, sound like typical “traditional” institutions. Maybe it’s just the usual doubt people have towards new things, although it’s totally secure.

Robert Rogge: What are some of the security features offered by Wordbee as a cloud solution that Enterprises look for to allay their concerns about new technologies?

Brahim Aïoun: Single Sign On integrations are often required. The advantage being that you can fully make your own internal system security rules prevail (strong password policies, and so on). Of course, user management remains key and you’ll want to use the right Wordbee access page to restrict the users’ view of what they really need to see or do based on their role in the company, or their location, etc. Actually, a properly configured SSO integration with Wordbee would allow you to control access remotely. If someone leaves the company, or gets a different position, you want your TMS to update that information immediately.

Tanja Falkner: “That’s a great point — user right restrictions. Probably something that is also an important feature for Enterprise solutions since they tend to have multiple users with different roles.”

Robert Rogge: Indeed, Tanja, and Wordbee does all that. I must admit, I’m not seeing why an Enterprise can’t have solid security in a cloud solution like Wordbee. I’m asking myself if security on server-based systems isn’t somewhat of an illusion.

Tanja Falkner: To me, it just seems like when you have an external drive. Nowadays, I choose a cloud storage 10,000 times over an external drive. They break and everything is lost. Might not be completely the same but that’s what I picture.

Robert Rogge: I think it’s totally the same, Tanja. Organizations with server-based systems need to be prepared to maintain those systems.

Tanja Falkner: Cloud solution it is!!! 🙂 Any other features that are a MUST for enterprise translation management systems? So we had cloud-based, customer portal, strong workflows, and financial reports.

Anita Sempels: Flexibility: Change your configurations, users’ rights, other settings on the fly. A company lives and the tool should grow/change with the company. This brings us to Scalability.

Tanja Falkner: What’s your take on scalability, Robert?

Robert Rogge: Well, we have Brahim and Anita here and they know the needs of Enterprises quite well. What I’m wondering is how do Enterprises’ needs change over time, and do we have any specific examples of what they needed in terms of scalability? And how does agile development tie into that?

Anita Sempels: We have a client who over the last 5 years changed three times: their owner, new people, new policies, new brand name. That’s not a problem at all for Wordbee Translator (WBT) to apply these changes.

Tanja Falkner: Have you seen any companies that scaled massively in growth, leading to huge changes in their processes?

Anita Sempels: What’s massively … the Belgian public institutions started with 24 users and they are now 130.

Tanja Falkner: That’s pretty massive! Before wrapping up, one last question. What do you think about customer support features?

Brahim Aïoun: Can you elaborate on this?

Tanja Falkner: Sure. What I mean is, which ones do you see necessary for an Enterprise TMS? Is 24/7 support needed? Automated chats? What do you think is really necessary in order to provide good customer service?

Robert Rogge: I think it’s an important question, because we’re talking about scalability and a large feature-set, and you quickly find yourself with edge cases and support issues.

Brahim Aïoun: For large Enterprises, it’s important to keep regular communication with your point of contact. That’s the best way to keep up-to-date with any new needs that are escalated from end-users, review change requests, and propose solutions that will meet their requirements. Offering initial consulting will also help corporations better approach TMS acquisition and end-user onboarding. At least during the implementation phase.

Tanja Falkner: So it’s all about the personal one-on-one contact?

Robert Rogge: Sounds like a big job, Brahim!

Brahim Aïoun: Yes, but if it’s well-anticipated soon enough, it’s not a big deal.

Tanja Falkner: Sure sounds like a big deal, but I can imagine clients really appreciate this kind of support and personal touch.

Robert Rogge: I would mention that ongoing education is also a priority, both in terms of documentation and in terms of outreach, as in the form of webinars and other types of events. For anyone reading this, we do have our second user’s meeting coming up in May, in Brussels the day after LT Innovate finishes, which is open to customers and also those interested in Wordbee and trends in language technology!

Tanja Falkner: Alright, great way of wrapping up! So we now know about all the features a TMS needs to be called an Enterprise solution (and I have a feeling that Wordbee has them all)!

Anita Sempels: Right you are!

Robert Rogge: Thanks for hosting the chat, Tanja.

Tanja Falkner: Thanks guys, for joining the experts chat.

Brahim Aïoun: Our pleasure.


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Anita Sempels

Anita Sempels

Chief Sales Officer, Wordbee

Tanja Falkner

Tanja Falkner

Growth Marketing Manager, Wordbee

Brahim Aïoun

Brahim Aïoun

Account Manager, Wordbee

Robert Rogge

Robert Rogge

Senior Marketing Manager, Wordbee

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