”Material stuff is not important; life is all about people. I focus a lot on the business, but I don‘t regret spending time with my family and friends.
”No-one‘s more special than anyone else. We all have something to offer.” That regard for others talent is reflected in his executive team at SDL – ”I‘m super-proud of them; best-of-breed experts in their fields.”
Entrepreneurs tend to learn quickly, react positively to misfortunes, and Lancaster rapidly set SDL back on its surfboard. ”We realised we needed to own the whole lifecycle of content creation.”
SDL‘s B2B growth and operational scope was accelerated through significant R&D – ”Always be innovating in the right areas” – and a long series of astute acquisitions – ”I‘ve always built relationships with the principals before agreeing deals.
”My strategy has been to buy companies that have high-quality IP, but haven‘t managed to market it successfully.” Too many businesses are ”siloed” by their national cultures and boundaries, Lancaster believes.
One such purchase in 2009, of Dutch e-commerce company Fredhopper, opened the door to Customer Experience Cloud, SDL‘s innovatory integrated technology solution for clients. ”We were doing CX three years before it became the buzz-word.”
Last year, SDL, which competes with global giants such as IBM, SAP and Adobe, achieved record results: software bookings 35% up, highest-ever new customer take-up, and 50% of new business involving Customer Experience Cloud (CXC).
CXC solves the complexity of managing a brand‘s digital footprint as it grows across multiple languages, cultures, websites, devices and channels, while also providing an integrated cloud solution for content management, analytics, language and documentation. SDL can now bring its clients‘ brands to the world, and the world to those brands.
”The Internet is far more powerful than we first envisaged, and actually, as consumers of it, we are now only just figuring out how to use it.”
Has Lancaster‘s leadership ability been important? Perhaps figures speak for themselves. SDL provides language translation software and CX solutions for companies worldwide, 79 of them top-100 global companies. It has operations in 40 countries and 3,350 employees (around 700 full-time translators, nearly 10,000 freelancers globally).