Establishing Solid Foundation for International Growth

By James Carroll, Executive VP, Global Platform Development, GoDaddy

James Carroll, Executive VP, Global Platform Development, GoDaddy

Build Global to Deliver Local

The internet’s ability to reach people, resources and business opportunities in markets across the globe has presented an entirely new set of questions and challenges for organizations. How does a business in today’s global marketplace provide consistent, but customized and localized experiences to its end users spread across different continents, cultures, and languages? How do you ensure you are creating locally relevant experiences, without creating a complex, disparate web of systems and infrastructure to go along with it?

"Delivering the right product and developed as if it was created in each market, helps to demonstrate a higher level of professionalism, quality and builds trust"

High-growth companies like Uber and Airbnb have built their success on their ability to expand quickly, across international markets, while remaining streamlined operationally. Here at GoDaddy, we’ve recently gone through a similar phase of market expansion. For the first 16 years, GoDaddy had been focused primarily on the U.S. market. Over the past three years, our business has expanded from one market to 56 markets around the globe, supporting 29 languages and 43 currencies-all with their own unique needs and preferences.

Unsurprisingly, that rapid pace of international expansion comes with unique challenges, particularly in the technology and infrastructure we’ve implemented, and specifically our use of the cloud that’s been so integral to our success.

While there are a million factors involved with global expansion, they all boil down to three basic elements that were critical to our international growth:

Building a Global Platform

As a global company delivering products and services to more than 14 million people worldwide, everything we do— from launching entirely new services and features, down to the continuous delivery of an existing product—has to be done with international scale in mind.

The first challenge was to build, and maintain, a single, unified platform capable of supporting our international business needs. We assembled a team of experts with the required skills and experience to develop globally scalable offerings. The team not only had an in-depth understanding of international markets but also knew how to deliver a locally relevant offering in markets around the world.

According to the research firm IDC, 85 percent of new software being built today is for the cloud, and at GoDaddy we’re no different—all our offerings are built with the cloud, for the cloud. We have built a localization platform that gives us the flexibility to create and distribute GoDaddy offerings simultaneously across all markets.

Delivering GoDaddy internationally not only means that GoDaddy is now present in new markets around the world with a fully localized offering, it also means enabling our customers to create local digital identities delivering an in-market immersive experience for their own customers. We are dedicated to helping small, independent ventures manage and grow their businesses online. This commitment requires attention to development of the global platform, as well as the local product suite, in a way for these ventures to succeed online with ease, efficiency and with protection in place.

Providing a Local Experience

The next challenge was to ensure that we could deliver locally relevant information and experiences in our target markets around the world. Another fundamental decision we took was to design and develop all platforms and services with internationalization as a tenet.

The idea of taking what was created for the U.S. market and simply translating it for the world does not work. Local market requirements have to be considered in all facets of the platform and offerings. Every interaction a customer has with your website reflects your brand. If a company is attempting to project a local experience, but forgets the small things, for example having a required zip code field for customers where zip codes aren’t used, shows customers you really don’t understand their needs.

All features, functionality, user experience, and software design need to be configured to be offered on a local market level. A positive customer experience has the right images, right address formats, currencies, appropriate language for the market, etcetera. In addition, consideration of the local infrastructure and network performance levels should also be taken into account as they can impact last mile delivery. Consideration of how products are being used/consumed in the market, can help guide the product offerings and delivery methods for greater success of usability. If more people use mobile devices than desktops, then optimization for mobile will be an important feature for the offering. Delivering the right product for each market and developed as if it was created in each market, helps to demonstrate a higher level of professionalism, quality and builds trust in both the products and the company.

With international as a tenet, building on a scalable, extendable platform and enabling offerings to be configured, adapted, and customized on a per-market basis is key. This approach has allowed us to present a localized offering specific to any market, with locally relevant features and information with ease. Building configurability, extensibility and localizability into our offerings is not new. Where we succeeded, is in enabling this on a global scale and in a quick-to-market timeframe, thus creating localized experiences in a simple and streamlined way whether it is for 5 or 50 markets, ultimately resulting in higher customer engagement and revenue across markets.

Measuring and Monitoring Everything

Finally, incorporating systems that continuously monitor the health of our services, offerings and customer lifecycle became integral to providing a positive experience for end users worldwide. Developing the right, locally relevant customer experience is not a one-off project, but needs to be an ongoing initiative with continuous improvement and the capability to roll out software updates with agility.

In addition, services must always be available, reliable and fast. At GoDaddy, with ongoing service and application performance monitoring and testing, we help ensure the very best possible customer experiences. A recent Internet Society report indicates that 3 billion people already use the internet—and that number is only expected to grow as more of the world’s population gains internet access and becomes the next wave of consumers online.

The basic elements we have experienced as being key success factors in our international expansion, have centered on providing a consistent, relevant and localized experience for end users by: building for global consumption; delivering a local experience; and, measuring and monitoring that experience on an ongoing basis. Executing on these three basic elements can help deliver a solid foundation for international growth.