A great number of translation agencies nowadays have problems with keeping their project margins. Some studies show that even 80% of such businesses may struggle with it. That cannot be a surprise as agencies handle a lot of smaller projects, they offer more language combinations in various file formats. But at the same time, their budget per unit is lower and deadlines are really tight. As things stand, the question whether translation agencies can still generate profits is very important. So we should consider what can be done to make them more effective.
Benefits of using XTRF
The basic change as it comes to the translation agencies today should be process automation. Project managers need to focus on what is really important, and these are the things that are crucial for customers. That is exactly why, all repeatable assignments which are related to management should be automated. However, even though we know the solution to agencies’ problem of efficiency, the implementation is not that simple.
Process Automation – How Do We Do It Now?
The process of automation is more complex than we may expect, but most companies decide to follow one pattern. First of all, the area of automation must be determined, then there are consultations with people involved, automations are defined and stakeholders are persuaded. After these steps, comes three more: implement, run and maintain it. Of course, each company decides which areas are automated first, but the scheme is the same for all of them.
What is the main goal of such automation implementation process? As you may guess, it all comes down to savings, as every company wants to safe as much as possible. Of course, it is the right thinking and as a matter of fact a lot of businesses achieve that goal. However, we should consider if there is something more that we can do, for example to successfully automate those areas, which today seems to not be worth it.
Automation of Project Manager’s Tasks
Most project managers repeat some of their tasks, but they often do not even realize it. But let’s show it on some examples.
Imagine that you have an employee named John. When you work with this specific translator you regularly change the deadline from Friday to Monday. If it happens most of the times, you are actually repeating yourself! So shouldn’t you use this information for present and future projects?
Another example is when you always select the same group of translators for the verification step when working for one particular client. Wouldn’t it be great if the job availability request be send automatically to that group of employees every time there is a new project for that client?
And what about surcharges that are added to projects with short deadlines? If you do it every time such project is accepted, the surcharge should be added automatically to save you some work.
We usually do not even realize that automation may be implemented also when it comes to such tasks. But what if there was a system, that would point that out to you and automate such tasks? That is exactly how artificial intelligence can help us with handling the projects. It analyses our behavior patterns, considering previous projects we have been working on, as they are all a sequence of events. Artificial intelligence can analyze what happens in every phase of the project, but also when and who did it. Thanks to the algorithms, it may identify any similarities in project manager behavior, and on that basis it can suggest any automation.
Why it can be good for your company? AI in translation project management means:
• you don’t need to configurate automatization,
• shorter learning cycle for new project managers and users,
• employees’ operational knowledge will be digitalized,
• there will be more automation implemented,
• the implementation will be faster and savings more significant,
• the whole organization will be committed to automation definition from the very beginning,
• not much of the resistance from the organization,
• automations may be statically defined,
• adjusted to the needs of user, which in most cases change after some time.
Just Go For It!
Such vision is extremely appealing, but is it even possible? Well, to make it possible we would need events, which can trace every single one of project executions. And as you may already know, traditional TMS systems do not give us such opportunity.
Traditional Systems in Translation Management
Data processing is the main target of the systems which has been used by project managers for a very long time. They conveniently collect all the data in databases, but are not able to understand or even interpret what they are processing. And the basic operations they may execute come down to those hidden in the acronym CRUD: create, read, update, delete.
If project manager in some translation agency uses more advanced system, it is usually able to collect historical data, which is used for audit purposes.
Modern innovative systems do not limit to CRUD operations, but they are capable of processing the events and performing semantically rich actions in place. They analyze all of these actions and thanks to that, they can determine the state of system or project and moreover analyze the events and operations which took place up till that moment. So the benefit of such solution is that we may restore the system to chosen state from the past, but also the fact that the system collects information about the behavior of users.
Choose Smart Technology
The creation of autonomous management systems is possible, but we need to combine two things: artificial intelligence algorithms and a lot of events and actions. If we will be able to do that, the implementation of the idea of Machine Project Management can be a success. At the beginning MPM will have to learn about the organization’s processes and operations, but after some time it will become more and more autonomous. It will suggest us to take some actions and later on just notify us about them, which means that project managers will work more efficient.