Best professional services web site of 2011: Deloitte.com

We included nine professional services websites in the 2011 Web Globalization Report Card.

The Web Globalization Report Card is an annual benchmark of how effectively companies internationalize and localize their websites and applications for the world.

Out of those nine companies, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu emerged on top. Deloitte was the best professional services firm last year as well and, though its lead has narrowed over the past year, it still emerged on top.

Deloitte’s support for 34 languages is impressive — equaled only by KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Deloitte is a decentralized company, which benefits local content creation. The days of exclusively creating content centrally and then localizing it for the world are coming to an end; Deloitte is already well positioned in this regard.

I also want to highlight KPMG, which was the big gainer in this category overall. It has done an above-average job of supporting local-market Twitter feeds, such as @KPMG_DE and @KPMG_Talento, In 2010, KPMG ranked 111th overall; this year, it ranks 45th. Deloitte comes in at 20th overall (out of 250 sites). Perhaps next year we’ll see a closer race between these two web sites.

Here are the nine professional services web sites included in the 2011 Web Globalization Report Card:

  • Bearing Point
  • Capgemini
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
  • Ernst & Young
  • Jones Day
  • KPMG
  • Manpower
  • McKinsey & Co
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers

How did the law firms do overall? Not well, I’m afraid. Law firms may be increasingly global, but their web sites have a long ways to go yet.

The Top 25 Global Web Sites of 2011

I’m pleased to announce the publication of the 2011 Web Globalization Report Card. This year, we reviewed 250 web sites across 25 industries. The web sites represent nearly half of the Fortune 100 and nearly all of the Interbrand Global 100.

Out of these 250 sites, here are the top 25 overall:

Google, which has held the number one spot for years, was unseated by Facebook this year. Facebook’s recent innovations (multilingual social plugins, improved global gateway, multilingual user profiles) gave it the edge. (I’ve devoted a separate report to Facebook’s innovations.)

Companies like 3MCiscoPhilips, and NIVEA have become regular faces in the top 25. But there are some new faces as well. There are five companies new this year to the top 25: Volkswagen, Adobe, Shell, Skype, and DHL.

Although these 25 web sites represent a wide range of industries, they all share a high degree of global consistency and impressive support for languages. They average 58 languages — which is more than twice the average for all 250 sites reviewed.

The average number of languages supported by  all 250 web sites is 23, up from 22 last year. As the visual below illustrates, language growth over the years has been amazing. Seven years ago, I was thrilled to find a web site with more than 20 languages. Today, 20 languages is below average.

Language is just one element of web globalization, but it is the most visible element. When a company adds a language, it is making its global expansion plans known. If you want to know where your competitors are betting on growth, spend some time looking at their local web sites. More than twenty companies added four or more languages over the past 12 months.

Fast-growing languages on the Internet include Hungarian, Turkish, Indonesian, and Russian. Here is where Russian stands today — now found on nearly 8 of 10 web sites:

In the Report Card, languages account for 25% of a web site’s score. We also evaluate a web site’s depth and breadth of local content, the effectiveness of the global gateway, and overall global consistency. Beginning in 2010, we have also begun tracking how companies promote local social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter around the world. Our goal was not only to highlight the leaders in language but to identify those web sites and services that were globally “well rounded” as well as innovative.

The top 25 web sites are not perfect. The Report Card details many ways these sites could be improved (including Facebook and Google). That said, the executives who manage these web sites and services deserve a great deal of credit. As someone who has worked as both a consultant and an employee at companies such as these, I know how challenging it can be to get the funding to add languages and staff and to educate various teams on the many complexities of web globalization. While it may be the company names that appear on the top 25 list, it is the hundreds of passionate and bright people who got them there.

Congratulations!

Previewing the 2011 Web Globalization Report Card

I’ve begun work on the 7th edition of the Report Card. To produce this report I individually review more than 200 global web sites across more than 20 industries. Needless to say, I’ve got a busy month ahead!

I’ve already done a first pass on a number of web sites and have some initial thoughts to share:

  • As regular readers know, Google and Facebook finished in a dead heat for first place last year, with Google having a slight advantage. Both companies made significant changes over the past twelve months, changes that promise to make this another photo finish.
  • I’ve noticed an increase in the number of sites using geolocation for navigation. Unfortunately, some of these sites are not using geolocation as well as they should. As I’ve noted in my book, geolocation should never be used without a visual global gateway in place. Geolocation is an excellent tool, but it presents a number of edge cases that only a global gateway can solve.
  • I’ve seen some amazing global gateways so far, and, in some cases, demonstrating vast improvements over previous global gateways. I’ll be documenting a number of these gateways in the report.
  • Companies continue to add languages. After initial analysis, Indonesian is hot, as is Russian and Turkish. Last year, the average number of languages was 20. I suspect we’ll see increase again this year. Keep in mind that this is just the average. Companies like Cisco, Apple, and DHL are well above 20 languages.
  • For last year’s report, I began measuring “community localization” — the integration of social networking platforms into local web sites. I wasn’t just looking at Twitter and Facebook use around the world, but at how companies are fostering communities. I’ve noticed quite a lot of Facebook integration around the world. Below is a home page visual from Samsung Italy:
  • Samsung also promotes its Twitter feed on the home page of its Brazil site. And Samsung is far from alone.
  • Finally, I’m noticing lots and lots of web site surveys.They’re popping up everywhere and in many languages. Somebody please make them stop!

Here is the link to the 2010 Report Card. All companies included in this report will be included in 2011. We’ll have a page for the 2011 report up shortly.