As many of those inside and outside of our organization know, Viewpoint has been going through a rapid growth spurt over the last few years. Part of that growth has been into other geographies, including Australia and Canada. As International Product Manager at Viewpoint, it is my job to know and understand the construction lingo of each geography we work in, and to have the software updated to reflect the differences. What is retention in the US and Australia is holdback in Canada; phases in the US are cost codes in Australia, and change orders in Canada and the US is a variation in Australia. There are words that are pronounced the same way, but spelled differently, like checks and cheques; labor or labour; and words spelled the same way but pronounced differently, like progress; it’s pro-gress in Canada, and Praw-gress in the US. All of these, mixed in with dozens of other differences ensures my job security. I also can’t forget that just about every other country in the world uses the metric system, while the US has to be difficult and use imperial.
At the end of the day, my goal is to make sure Viewpoint is understandable by and speaks the language of the users based on their region. If I’m a user in Australia, I shouldn’t see American terms when using the software. Just like learning any new language, there will be mispronunciations and spelling errors along the way, but it is something we are constantly monitoring. I have found that even though all of our customers speak English, it’s not always the same English. Even here in the US I find that many of the Northeastern companies I work with use a few more 4-letter words than I find in the Southeast.
The last couple of years have been a great learning experience for me. I have started to become multi-lingual even while still speaking English. Our customers outside of the US will continue to see additional localization (even there I spelled with a Z) efforts with each release of Viewpoint. Those US customers who expand globally can be assured of a product that can expand along with them.
I will be presenting a topic on global expansion within the construction market at our user conference this October. I would love to talk to anyone in the Viewpoint world who is planning on moving into any new geographies over the next couple of years. You can find me on our User Conference community site or follow me on twitter – @jpm_viewpointcs.