International rollouts involve the implementation of websites and applications across multiple distribution levels and national boundaries – and they are a key business area for NOLTE&LAUTH. That is why we have developed a process that allows us to define, plan and carry out any rollout project. Our project description Around the world in 700 days: the global rollout for smart discusses our method for the successful global rollout of the platform for smart, both on the company’s market and dealer levels: the NOLTE&LAUTH 4+12 step approach.

But what exactly is behind it? The approach can be divided into two major stages: the development of standards and the operational rollout. The number of steps in both of the two stages depends on the type and complexity of the rollout project. The first and second stages do not necessarily entail four and twelve steps, respectively. If a website or application is only rolled out on the national level, the translation step can be omitted, for example. In other words, the 16 steps are part of a general multi-phase plan that makes it possible to define and plan the individual project stages for any rollout project.

Many processes can be sped up with rules and standards

If concepts are devised only for certain sales levels or are only applicable to Europe, we have to adapt them and make it possible to roll them out internationally. The following example illustrates this dynamic: a dealer search is an important part of the brand’s master website – but it has no place on the website of a specific dealer. If the user has already landed at the dealer’s website, the dealer certainly will not be eager to refer them to their competitors through a dealer search.

During the concept and development stages, we therefore have to make sure that the features can be adapted to the respective market without cumbersome change requests and separate deployments for each country or each sales level. We call this a multi-client capable, localisable setup. The processes and standards should also be clearly defined. This ensures that we always have standards at our disposal during rollouts in the individual countries and instances and can quickly conduct a large variety of rollouts. Our past rollout projects are proof of how this approach can speed up many processes during the early phase.

Organisation and preparation of standards

During the first four steps of the process, we work together with the customer to define the business and technical requirements for the rollout. Using these definitions, we can then develop the website architecture and the operative rollout model before the team of developers then gets started with the programming. Absolutely essential: never forget to test first! The operative rollout model always includes optimally coordinated multi-site management. For us, this means the inheritance structure and the corresponding content management processes between the different entities.

For instance, take a global platform that includes 40 country-specific websites. Each country has between five and one hundred sales partners whose websites are also found on the platform. Without multi-site management, the content items would have to be maintained or imported individually for each website, which is why the content team develops a series of templates for multiple languages (reference master and language master) during the fourth step, in accordance with the multi-site management structures that have been developed. At the same time, we also prepare all the necessary rollout documents. And there you have it: ready for rollout!

Operative rollout

Now it is time to really get started with the operative rollout! In steps 5 to 12, the global rollout and localisations are completed across multiple countries and sales levels. In kick-off meetings, our rollout team works with the various partners to lay down the project scope and discuss the specific legal and local requirements. The master therefore represents the maximum set of content and modules from which our partners can make their selections.

This not only demands solid project management and coordination skills – intercultural competence is also imperative. For this reason, during the global rollout we also put together an internal team possessing the necessary international skill set. In the case of the rollout for smart, our staff in India coordinated the activities for the countries in Asia, while our Polish colleagues were in charge of the eastern European countries. For some projects, we travel around the globe after the kick-off meetings to conduct training sessions for the customers. Of course, some customers also come to us here in Germany. In other cases, the rollout is handled fully remotely via web meetings.

Going one step further, let us take a look at how training might be handled for the country organisation and its sales partners. The partners in some countries do not always have good English skills, and our rollout team cannot offer every possible language. This of course makes communication difficult, so training is only possible to a very limited extent. This is where we employ our “train the trainer” approach. Depending on the complexity of the rollout project, we conduct multi-day training for the customers and their local agencies so that they can become trainers themselves. In turn, they become the communications interface with us, and they can then handle the training of their own sales partners.

Once the training sessions are complete, the websites have gone up and the translations have been integrated, the editors can begin localising the content in accordance with regional specificities. Naturally we offer consulting and support to all parties involved and hold regular status meetings. Once the localisation of the rollout object is complete, the next step is the go-live and handover to everyday operations: