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Case Novoterm

Case

A journey to modern worklife with Strategic Operational Development

The translation company Novoterm manages information from around the world in a number of different languages on a daily basis. In order to efficiently manage an enormous and global operation, Novoterm needed to develop methods for communication and information, establish secure file management routines and, certainly not least, create better collaboration and a sense of community with modern and flexible processes.

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“We will become more efficient and attractive as an employer by evolving how we communicate, collaborate and work together in our global network of translators.” This was Novoterm Translation AB’s vision when they turned to Enfo for help to increase the company’s performance capabilities through more efficient and secure processes as well as more committed and productive employees. But to create value, it’s not enough to simply focus on technology. The company must also develop its processes, culture and behaviors.

Novoterm Translation AB created a digital office for a global project involving translators from around the world daily collaborating and delivering translations. As the project grew, Novoterm saw the need to find a more efficient and more secure way to work. It was also important to strengthen the translators’ commitment and loyalty.

“We don’t speak every language so we have to rely on the commitment of our translators to maintain our high quality. We also need their loyalty to ensure they prioritize us when urgent changes are needed,” says Novoterm Project Leader Miriam Jonker.

Said and done, they decided to undertake the venture in the fall of 2014. The first step was to identify their needs and simultaneously envision the possibilities that modern technology offered. They agreed on the following development areas:

1. Improving how we communicate and send information
2. Creating a greater sense of community
3. Managing files more securely and efficiently
4. Increasing collaboration and the exchange of knowledge
5. Enabling a mobile and flexible digital office

1. Improving how we communicate and send information

Previously, almost all communication took place via email. As the project grew, so did the number of emails. Project leaders could receive between 100-200 emails from translators every day, making work both inefficient and less secure as it was difficult to keep track of the deliveries.

“It became increasingly difficult and time-consuming to keep up with the growing flood of emails. We needed a faster, more transparent and more efficient way to communicate,” says Miriam Jonker.

Today, they receive around 2-3 emails per day. All other communication takes place openly and transparently in other channels, where they have both greater control and where everyone within the project can help each other.

“Each day, there are new texts and updates we send to the translators. Everybody can see when the translations need to be ready. As project leaders, we have good control to ensure everyone delivers on time,” says Novoterm Project Leader Eugenie van Exter.

2. Creating a greater sense of community

It’s critical for Novoterm to deliver both efficiently and with high quality. To guarantee deliveries, it’s important that all translators are committed and loyal. Tight deadlines and occasional urgent changes must be delivered without compromising the quality of the translations. By communicating and collaborating in a social network, Novoterm has created an “office feeling,” where they can openly interact with each other. Both project leaders and translators have already seen the value of working as a network.

“Now when we collaborate with our freelancers, we use Yammer to a large degree. Thanks to Yammer, we can get a real team spirit through the increased social interaction, even though we’re sitting in different places around the world,” says Miriam Jonker.
“It now feels like I’m part of a family, where we’re all fighting against the same deadlines,” says Frédérique, a translator in Belgium.

3. Managing files more securely and efficiently 

File management also functioned poorly. Novoterm used a Sosius solution that was neither user-friendly nor smooth to operate. They also emailed documents back and forth, often saving them locally. The work became inefficient and lacked security. They were uncertain whether the information they had was accurate, and sometimes they didn’t have access to the information at all. Today, all files are stored in a shared space through a Cloud service, where they’re accessible for the right individuals. And there’s just one version of each file – the most recently updated. Plus, each needed document is accessible regardless of the device a person is using or where he or she is working.

4. Increasing collaboration and the exchange of knowledge

Collaboration used to be a challenge. Especially between the different language teams. Questions and answers were emailed back and forth to the project leaders, who devoted a great deal of time to forwarding on the information. By working as a network, they now communicate and collaborate openly, both within their respective language teams and with everyone else in the network. This has made both the work more efficient and the exchange of knowledge between translators more natural.

5. Enabling a mobile and flexible digital office 

Novoterm’s challenge was that the technological solution needed to support freelancers using their own equipment and working in different places around the world. Building their own IT infrastructure was not economically viable. The solution was an integrated Cloud service that enabled mobility and flexibility regardless of whether a person used a Mac or PC, smartphone or tablet. The Cloud service even made it possible for Novoterm to quickly launch and begin using the new platform. Enfo could therefore spend more time developing their processes based on the possibilities the technology offered.

We can optimize our processes and guarantee that we carry out our growing mission with high quality into the future. At the same time, the users are incredibly satisfied with how much simpler and more enjoyable collaboration has become.

Per Kjellgren, CEO, Novoterm

Effective communications tools for Novoterm 

Novoterm chose Microsoft Office 365, an integrated Cloud service, with a focus on the following tools:

  • Yammer  – social networking for business
  • SharePoint Online – intranet and project sites
  • Skype for business – web conferencing and chat
  • OneDrive for business – personal file management
  • Exchange Online – email and calendar “on the go”

Novoterm always has access to the latest technology

The advantage of Office 365 is that it’s constantly under development and improvement. As a result, Novoterm isn’t locked into a version that will need upgrading, meaning they always have the absolute latest technology. It’s also simple to use for the translators, who require only a username and password to access all services.

Improved processes make technology more meaningful

An important part of creating value is developing processes based on the technology’s possibilities. This makes the technology more meaningful, which leads to more people using it, which in turn creates value. One example in Novoterm’s case is how they communicate and ensure daily changes are carried out within each language team. They previously communicated via email, which was inefficient and complicated. By using a combination of Yammer, SharePoint Online and Excel Online Survey, staying updated today is much smoother for both translators and project leaders.

Continuous development to create more value

Even as Novoterm has now launched their improved work processes and their new digital office is becoming a standard feature of the workday, development continues. Partly because Office 365 is constantly being upgraded with new functions, which must be communicated and integrated into their processes. And partly because Novoterm must also continue educating their translators in how to use the technology in the best way. Getting new and improved processes to “settle in” by changing culture and behavior takes time and requires active effort.

Together, we continuously evaluate both the user experience as well as how the technology and processes function in order to find the next step in their development. However, Novoterm already sees great value from the new way they work.

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About Novoterm
Novoterm provides translation, proofreading and project leadership for translation productions. Novoterm works globally with numerous freelancers and conducts translations in over 30 languages. Their headquarters is in Stockholm.