Thursday, April 9, 2009

Is your SaaS app ready for the global market?


I can think of a few things to consider here. Number one on my list would be, what percentage of sales or inquiries do your currently get internationally? Are they from a specific region? I know these seem like basic requirements for thinking about international expansion, but there always seems to be one yahoo in power within medium sized start-ups that has a brain fart and decides to go after Latin America because it would be fun to travel to Brazil. Send that person on vacation to Rio, but don’t change your business.

If you have a business that is organically selling into a region by the tune of 5% or more of your sales then you should start to consider things. In my experience you have great potential to double or triple your sales in that region by focusing your efforts. The beauty of SaaS is that you can move relatively quickly and you don’t necessarily require additional resources in the region.

OK – so your thinking: Can we support the time zone, tax implications, currency rates, contracts, cultural differences, ahhhhh! Run for the hills!

So let’s come back to the premise that you CURRRENTLY are getting 5% or more of your business in that region. I have one simple question: Will international expansion take your focus off where the real money is?

Now let’s ask a different question. Is the global market ready for your SaaS application?

Depends on many factors including your app of course, but SaaS seems to be growing in much of the world. A recent Gartner survey showed that 77 percent of North American companies plan to increase their SaaS deployments and 64 percent of European companies plan to do so as well. Another interesting takeaway was that 37 percent of global respondents are interested in eliminating traditional enterprise applications from their IT environments in favor of SaaS.

In the past, the road to international expansion has been daunting. In this new age of crackberries, iPhones, SaaS and ice cream snickers anything is possible. Well – it’s still tough, but somebody’s gotta do it, so why not you?

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