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What is the best way to 'import' new technology in ERP industry to the US from another location?

ERP industry is old and very competitive. New players need a lot of time to get a credibility of customers. What if this technology is already successful in another location (Eastern Europe, Russia)?

Of course, different 'business-rules', government regulations, taxes model, and many another factors makes it almost impossible to bring in the US ready-to-go and proven solutions.

However, the platform for these solutions is universal and can be used as the basis for new ERP, CRM, BPM, ECM, and other projects in any country.

And the main advantage of this technology is a platform - in comparison with the main competitors (SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, Net suite...) total cost of ownership 5-10 times lower.

So my question is - what is the best way to reach customers with pain points and show them that these issues can be fixed with the new platform? Without success story in the US and without ready-to-use 'best-practice' solutions.

5 Replies

Jeremy Snyder
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Jeremy Snyder Advisor
Internationally focused startup biz dev guy
I've been running exactly this service for overseas companies for the past 2 years, helping them break into the US market. In short, here are some best practices that I've found, admittedly based on my experiences:
  • Partner with a local in the US market
  • Let that US partner handle their own HR, taxes, benefits, retirement payments, etc
  • Structure the partnership as moderate base plus budget to cover expenses plus success fee (think of that like commission). That aligns everyone to the same set of goals - success.
  • Work with the partner to define the set of materials and collaterals that are needed for the US market. Any sufficiently experienced sales or business development professional in the US market should know what's needed, such as website, case studies, presentation materials, demo platforms, and so on.
  • Set reasonable goals. The US is a great market, in terms of size and willingness of companies to use the best solution for a problem. However, it's also a very crowded market. Building reputation, pipeline and sales does take some time.

alexandr gubenko
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alexandr gubenko Entrepreneur
director at GTL
Aleksey, ERP is very sensitive data about entire operations of a company. If that informations falls into wrong hands who can influence leaders. So it is more about reputation then technology. If you think you have a good technology, build you reputation in US. Today, Nobody in the USA will take ERP solution from Russia. Bring you technology into US - organize a startup, get investors, build reputation - most probably that is the best way. Regards
Stephen Jay
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Stephen Jay Advisor
CEO at Top Priority Systems
Alexandr is right, you may struggle if you market the solution in the US as from Russia. You need to find local partners to assist with the process of localising the system, generating leads, making initial sales and providing ongoing implementation advice and support. You might consider even rebranding the solution in the US so it appears more "local" to that market. When localising, make sure that you have a complete English language demo data set as well as English screens, and try to make sure that there are no error messages in other languages that might pop up during demos.

Don't overlook the size of the Russian community in the US, and using a tool like LinkedIn (and of course Google) to find potential partners who may be Russian and therefore better able to understand your starting point.

Also you will need to be flexible on pricing to get the first few deals in place. It is key to provide local references.
Ben Sharir
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Ben Sharir Entrepreneur
Sr. eCommerce Consultant
Give it for free for businesses first and increase price gradually every year for new customers. This could be a much cheaper customer acquisition approach. Good luck, -Ben
Aleksey Bochkov
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Aleksey Bochkov Entrepreneur
Database Engineer
Thank you all for your answers!

I totally agree that information security is very important. But..
First, it doesn't matter who is the vendor such kind of software, but business software should be protected by core software (operation systems, firewalls, antivirus). There are plenty of methods that allow the company not only prevent data leakage through backdoors or undocumented features, but also monitor such attempts.
In my 10 years of practice in platform were not found any vulnerability that can be used to access to restricted information. For example, in SAP there were hundreds.
But, of course, data leakage are always happens. Usually due to incompetence of support staff (they store unencrypted backups in public access, grant users administrative right and many other), or attackers inside a company who have an access to information or hardware.

Secondly, vendor have impeccable reputation. Do you know other Russian companies like Kaspersky or ABBYY?
What makes customers trust them? Especially with Kaspersky antivirus.. who knows what they collect from users computers?
Vendor of this ERP platform older and bigger than Kaspersky. More than 1 million customers, $1B revenue in 2012 (it's only software licenses, without consulting).
Also this is a private company with plans for IPO in the next couple of years.
Vendor does not expand itself to any international market due to its strategy. Company works with customers only though partners.

I think customers should be more afraid of the US government. I'm sure that FBI have direct access to most of clouds (Azure, Amazon, IBM cloud) and private serversdesktops through backdoors.
Russian 'KGB' not so smart. Usually they just come into your office with guns and confiscate servers and workstations :).

About localization and rebranding.
Platform itself fully localized in 15 languages, include English, German, Chinese.
If you use it as a basis for a new solution, you may not notice that it is a Russian software.
Rebranding is impossible. For example, you cannot rebrand SAP platform, hide it name and sell as your own solution. Same situation here.
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