Integration is now almost an elusive term embracing the whole issue of interoperability among softwares. Switching into a new system is a turning point in the life circle of an LSP, and it is very much required. Each product comes with certain promises varying from timesaving to cost-saving, and indeed they are quite successful. But it is only natural that each product has certain limitations as it specializes in certain features and may lack others. A growing LSP inevitably ends up using multiple solutions. Each product do offer various effective functions, but how are you going to make a move, test a product, go through selection process, and successfully switch to a new system? Even if you are going to start using one single software in your office, it is still an integration. This time it is a question of interoperability between your staff and the prospective software you are looking into. In our experience in Dragoman, it is neither solely about how many features a product possesses, nor how affordable its cost is. It is about your “smart labour investment”, whether you are going to have the right resources who will use the software you will switch to.
1) Delegate one of your staff for the integration
At least one person in your office should be officially in charge of integration. This might require reassessment of certain job descriptions. In order to be able to assign someone to the integration process, certain tasks should probably be un-/re-assigned. If it is a techsavvy senior editor, outsource some of your editing processes for a while. If this person is a PM, try to reduce certain daily efforts by offering discount to clients if they opt for automated projects, online portals, or pre-processing files themselves and giving more detailed project brief: anything that would save time for PMs. The point is: do not expect someone to show keen interest in new software and put real efforts for integration without creating necessary space to move.
2) Test your prospective software, opt for fast support
Testing software in real projects is the key. Demos offer you perfect, problem-free scenarios with smooth processes; but you are well aware of the fact that it is not the case in your daily jobs. After delegating one of your staff to the integration, ask for a software demo from your technology provider. Remember that this is just a beginning. After receiving demos and reducing your shortlist of possible products to one or two options, test it. This test would probably require assigning one PM, one or two clients, and a few linguists to use and assess the software. Only this way you would be able to go through a healthy decision-making. It is not only about the number of available features, unless your team is able to use them. At this point you should also look for a technology provider with flexible training and support options. Put someone in charge, update job descriptions, be open to innovations.

It is neither solely about a product possesses, nor how affordable its cost is. It is about your “smart labour investment”, whether you are going to have the right resources who will use the software.

Once you have someone in the office responsible for the integration and make a move, it is not over. It is far from being over, that can only be a kick-off. Now you will be confronted with new and challenging needs including the following:
• following every new update of the software,
• training other employees for new features,
• testing a new software for your workflows (whether integration with existing solutions is possible)
• managing import&export and format conversions,
• managing support issues,
• hosting a growing knowledge base.
Mind the long term, re-assess job descriptions in the office, find someone who will keep track of software updates, staff performance, and manage everyday crises.

Author: Çağdaş Acar

Editor: Kübra Konakbay