5 Things to Consider When Optimizing Your Software for Geographic Diversity

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Before investing valuable time and money selling to different geographic markets, you need to have a strong understanding of the various software modifications that are needed to globalize your product.

With the international market presenting significant growth opportunities, small to mid-sized software companies thinking about selling in other countries need to understand the technical issues that have to be resolved before offering their products and services to international customers, including:

1. Cultural barriers: Understanding the cultural differences between your business and foreign markets impacts every technical and business decision you will make. From software compatibility to the words you use to market your product, your success in selling to international markets comes down to how much you know about your chosen market’s native language, communication styles, cultural biases, etc.

2. Software optimization: Optimizing your software to effectively connect, communicate and collaborate with international markets requires a framework for software applications that provides interfaces for different languages and can meet technical requirements around a country’s standard programming languages, payment mechanisms, screen design, and other technical competencies.

3. Localization: Revising your product for a particular country requires localizing certain aspects of your software to meet local business standards and best practices. Adapting your software applications to ensure your user interface meets a specific country’s native language, local date, time, calendar, currency, numbers and units of measure are just a few of the things you will need modify to be in synch with international markets.

4. Business functions: Establishing business relationships and hiring trusted and competent local sales representatives, resellers and distributors who know the market is essential to building efficient and reliable business practices and processes around selling and distributing your products from suppliers to customers in new markets.

5. International implementation:
The ability to plan and implement software changes needed to effectively serve international customers will ultimately determine your geo-expansion success. Partnering with a company that has the experience and technical know-how in developing, testing and launching software products in international markets can play a critical role for any company looking to expand business beyond their domestic boarders.

Before offering its office productivity tool to new markets, Intel® Software Partner Program start-up InstaColl partnered with a company that offered the technology leadership and global influence to meet the software requirements and consumer demands in India and abroad. The collaboration gave InstaColl access to the tools and resources needed to optimize its software and move forward with its national and international go-to-market strategies.

To plan, implement and execute a geo-expansion program from start to finish, partnering with a company that has the experience and expertise can help ease the process of identifying and overcoming the technical challenges ahead. For smaller software companies looking to capitalize on new market opportunities, such a partnership can provide the guidance, management and support needed to meet international requirements and local standards to ensure your product is ready to sell to different geographic markets.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.


Kevin Murphy's picture

Hi Igor,

Thank you for your comment. The logistics of selling internationally can be challenging. I often find that different models need to be applied to each market. Though extremely time consuming, each market needs to be analyzed separately to figure out what channels work best. For smaller ISVs selling online, you probably won’t be able to create a local presence, so understanding online tax law is very important. You can also consider a local broker or channel partner, but do your diligence and make sure that they work with brands you know and trust.

Conferences like IDF and the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference are great places to learn more about international distribution. Anyone else have resources and learnings on selling to international markets?

Igor Levicki's picture

You missed one crucial point here -- if a company is promoting and selling goods or services on the Internet and through social networking, they can expect that people from all geographical regions might be interested, often regardless of the goods/services being localized or not.

Any company with that kind of presence should be prepared to sell internationally.

Few examples:

1. Electronic Arts and Bioware

They marketed internationally their products (games Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3), yet many people who were able to see the trailer videos, play demos or participate in beta testing were unable to purchase them because publisher failed to make sure their distribution system can accept payments from countries beyond the list of standard (read: "rich") western countries. Furthermore, they made an "exclusive" deal so those games are not available on competitive digital distribution system (Steam) which works for everyone.

2. HDTracks.com

They sell music in high-quality 24/96 format, but the purchase is possible only from United States and from countries where PayPal is working. Unfortunately, there are still countries where PayPal is not an option because their government and banking systems do not allow it.

Those are just a few examples where people from all geographical regions are literally teased with the goods/services (due to strong Internet and social network marketing), but they are effectivelly blocked from purchase.

For those companies, that is both a short term and a long term loss -- they have lost sales and the customers.

In my opinion, the ability to sell worldwide is more important than anything on your list.

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