As Column5 continues to reach out to the global marketplace and engage clients with an international presence and user base, developing Business Planning & Consolidation (BPC) with multiple language capabilities has become all the more important. I recently came across a customer challenge that illustrates how getting it right often means keeping it simple.
Column5 was engaged to solve a multitude of problems based on a previous implementation by another BPC implementer. Out-of-the-box BPC supports multiple languages for its menus and navigation, and Excel takes care of its native menus and screens. But what about the company's dimensions, reports, input templates, and anything else customized within the solution?
The previous implementers had focused on customizing every template via macros. That may be acceptable for a handful of templates or a few one-off exceptions, but certainly isn't a viable solution for all templates developed. What happens when a word needs to be changed or a translation needs to be updated? As new terms are introduced and new templates are built, should every user have to build Visual Basic code into their templates? In some cases, the macros caused the templates to become unstable and crash regularly.
Column5 was able to resolve the issues using out-of-the box BPC functionality. Aside from eliminating the need for every single "translation" macro, Column5 was able to construct a centralized dictionary of words and phrases and their associated translation to another language. Flexible templates were constructed, so that with the click of an Excel radio button users could choose between English or an alternate language. If the admin wanted to tweak a translation or modify a message, they could do so one time, in one place, and update all the templates instantly.
This simple solution alleviated a major headache for the client and its users. Not only did we resolve the problem for the existing templates, but other business units -- who had avoided translations due the instability of the previous implementation -- were now adding translations to their requirements list. End users were now able to construct their own multi-language templates on their own.
Long gone are the days of unstable and inflexible templates that required the skill of admin with Visual Basic experience to build and maintain, replaced with robust reporting and planning, regardless of the users' native language. The experience reminded me why I entered consulting in the first place: solving a pervasive problem throughout an organization with a solution that is simple to implement and maintain. With the help of Column5, this multilingual company's answer was "found in translation."