The question is not why, but how to go global?
The answer, or rather, solution, to this question can be found within a company’s content management system. To go global, it is necessary to recognize and accommodate the differences from country to country and culture to culture. In other words, it is necessary to consider the different factors that allow for localization. From translations to customer awareness, localized contact information and support, payment options and localized sales campaigns, expanding to international markets isn’t a simple process (multichannelmerchant.com). Which brings us back to the content management system.
What is the basis for a good global strategy?
To achieve these changes, what is needed is a CMS platform to run multiple eCommerce websites. As stated by Forbes, “ideally, you want one platform that manages the service on a global basis, enabling you to focus on tailoring content to the different needs of different nations.” The goal here is to make the process streamlined for all countries you want to approach and streamlined on both ends: on the back end where you run things, editing, and changing what you put out onto the web, as well as the front end, where the content is personalized for the viewers’ nationality and culture. The right content management system can achieve both of these goals. “With the world becoming more connected every day, it’s vital that your content experience hub simplifies localization processes and supports your globalization goals and business objectives” (e-spirit.com).
What goals should brands have when building a global strategy?
Our friends over at Acquia sum this up well, explaining that “the goal for any brand seeking to go global is to be able to deliver a consistent message and shopping experience across every market, and to be able to maintain operational efficiencies- all while contributing to the bottom line: getting your customers to convert… Being able to integrate new systems, custom modules, APIs, and more on top of your existing e-commerce platform provides the freedom to expand and unite, wherever the market may take you.”
It is important to note that taking your operations international isn’t as simple as tweaking your website. Because of the complexities of healthcare and the medical device industry, there are standards and regulations that must be complied with. And to achieve that, experts not just in your CMS platform are needed; they must also be experts in the industry.
Where can we look to see global success within the healthcare industry?
The good news is that while this may seem like an impossible task, there are experts who can make it happen. The good folks at local San Diego medical device company Dexcom learned this first hand when they received help making their operations go global. Dexcom previously paired with Achieve in 2011 to create an eCommerce store that allowed their U.S. customers to purchase Dexcom’s Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices, which give diabetes patients the right tools and data to adequately manage their glucose levels. They later returned to Achieve to create the next phase of the project- creating international stores that complied with the many international eCommerce regulations.
How did Dexcom & Achieve reach their global strategy goals?
Dexcom’s goal was to expand their online presence by creating international eCommerce stores for the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. The first challenge was making sure that each site met the eCommerce regulations for each country. Achieve needed an innovative way to repurpose as much of the valuable functionality and theming that had already been built into the U.S. site on the additional sites. They also needed a series of workflows created to authenticate user information and product availability per country. All the while, continuing to adhere to the strict guidelines of numerous regulatory agencies including HIPAA, the FDA, and the CAPA.
To streamline the process of building international eCommerce sites, Achieve abstracted out the workflows and authentication hooks that were specific to the existing U.S. store. The remaining modules created a foundation for each new store. From there, specific modules were built according to each country’s requirements and hooked onto the baseline modules and theming.
This entire process was thoroughly documented with usage instructions, configuration settings, and workflows related to the new international stores in order to minimize the time and cost of creating future international stores.
Automated workflows were also put in place to determine login and patient eligibility. A series of API integrations were utilized to validate unique user email, shipping addresses, product availability per country, and patient eligibility against the data stored in Dexcom’s secure Oracle database.
Finally, Acheive revised the workflow for retrieving Oracle account numbers. The Oracle account numbers, originally stored in a Drupal database, were removed and web service calls were put in place to retrieve them directly from Oracle. This tweak in functionality enhanced the UX by eliminating errors due to "missing" account numbers in Drupal.
Ultimately, by leveraging Drupal’s modular framework, Achieve created a system that will allow Dexcom to continue to build future international sites under a single CMS. Achieve set Dexcom up with a scalable system meant to minimize future growing pains and save valuable resources.
All of this was accomplished by adapting to the current client data in Dexcom’s Oracle system through a series of API integrations and web services. Now Dexcom’s up and running with international sites that give patients access to the diabetes devices they need while complying to international eCommerce regulations.
Want to learn more?
In case you missed the previous part of our Internationalization blog series, find out "Why Medical Device Companies Are Going Global."