Understanding the Difference Between Globalization and Localization in Cloud HCM

Understanding the Difference Between Globalization and Localization in Cloud HCM

in , Feb 07, 2017

Localization of regulations and best practices along with on-going maintenance of legal changes is required to keep HR compliant.

As more and more companies adopt cloud HCM solutions like Employee Central, we are seeing the word “localization” being used as a benefit of these systems. Often, the word localization is used to describe features that are really just globalization. Sounds confusing, right? Let’s explain the difference between localization and globalization in cloud HCM and then discuss how SAP SuccessFactors addresses localization.

What is Globalization?

In order to work across multiple countries and regions, HCM systems like SAP have offered globalization features since the early days of SAP R/3. Globalization refers to the ability to use a particular solution in multiple countries and is usually broken down into translation and internationalization aspects.

Translation refers to language and terminology changes made to the application so users in different countries can access the system in their native languages.

Internationalization refers to fields and configuration – typically static in nature – that enable the software to be adapted for multiple countries without requiring engineering changes to the software itself. Examples of internationalization elements and fields tailored to individual countries include, but are not limited to:

  • Time zones
  • Printing
  • Currencies
  • Address formats
  • ZIP and Postal Code formats
  • Social Security/Social Insurance formats
  • Telephone formats

These features are built into the delivered application and do not usually require much manual intervention or updating to work properly once they are configured. They are also not items that are typically tied to frequent legislative changes in each country.

What is Localization?

Localization – while it sounds similar and is often incorrectly used interchangeably with globalization – is considerably different. Where globalization provides country-specific fields and static content, localization refers to dynamic services offered by the software provider that proactively cover the creation and maintenance of local legal requirements on behalf of the customer as well as the delivery of updates to the solution on a regular basis.

For customers of SAP SuccessFactors, localization is a very distinct benefit and one that differs from competitors. Through SAP SuccessFactors Localization Solutions, local business and legal requirements are researched and analyzed across more than 80 countries (including 40 countries for Employee Central Payroll). This includes:

  • In-country statutory and legal reporting
  • In-country legal changes updates and support
  • In-country specific benefit types and translation in 42 languages with multiple dialects

Through SAP SuccessFactors Localization Solutions, legal changes are monitored and legislation is interpreted using a network of legal advisors and government authorities. As regulations change due to local legislative updates, SAP SuccessFactors proactively offers maintenance and updates with the relevant changes and notifies the customer organizations.

As you can see, there is a clear difference between globalization and localization in cloud HCM and having a proactively monitored and maintained set of features helps keep business processes like recruiting, payroll, on-boarding and more current and reduces risk to HR organizations.

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Written AJ Whalen

AJ Whalen has more than 25 years of experience in HR and Payroll systems, including 20 years as an SAP HCM consultant, project manager and marketer.

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