A recipe for exports

Although information technologies are not immediately associated with the phrase ''made in Poland'', Polish IT companies effectively operate on many foreign markets.

Although information technologies are not immediately associated with the phrase ''made in Poland'', Polish IT companies effectively operate on many foreign markets.

Is there a universal recipe for international success? Almost every company has a slightly different export strategy adjusted to the conditions on a given market or to the nature of a product. However, companies' representatives underline the importance of cooperation with local partners, opening of branches, collecting references, and participation in trade fairs, conferences and contests, since prizes and honorable mentions awarded at them are excellent marketing tools. Lower prices of Polish solutions are not a key factor. "The prices of our products and services on Western markets are frequently higher than those of many Western companies, but we still manage to obtain a full portfolio of orders" - say representatives of Logotec Engineering.

A partner is the key

From the beginning of its operation, Logotec has planned exports of its solutions. Currently, the Mysłowice-based company and a group of affiliated companies generate almost 50% of their revenues from exports. The company has been offering the document flow management system for many years now. Its foreign customers include, among others, Electrolux ZANUSSI, Uniroyal Continental and ABB.

Logotec operates on foreign markets mainly through partnerships established with local partners. LTE Consulting GmbH, with Logotec as the majority shareholder, has operated in Germany since 1998. The procedure is similar in Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, the USA and Russia. Logotec intends to enter the Scandinavian and the Chinese markets in a similar way. The company fully relies on its partners on smaller or more difficult markets, e.g. in South Korea or Colombia.

The recent hit on the foreign markets is the Mobile@Connector Professional solution for mobile application development. The application won the title of the best tool for mobile application development in the Mobile Solutions Challenge 2003 competition organized by Microsoft. It enabled to participate in the Microsoft Mobility Conference in Japan. The visit to Japan resulted in signing a distribution agreement with Japan-based Aicon. This small company cooperates with the market's largest carriers, system integrators and hardware manufacturers, including Casio, DoCoMo, Fujitsu, NEC and Toshiba.

No gain without references

One of the largest Polish IT integrators, Cracow-based also focuses on exports. The company offers Business & Operations Support Systems abroad. Last year's export sales increased by 35%. ComArch is also optimistic about this year. As compared with the previous year, the portfolio of export orders has increased fourfold. ComArch customers gained in recent years include: Nokia from Finland, Terra Telecommunications from the USA, Enitel from Nikaragua and Kertel from France. The company attaches increasing importance to Eastern markets. In 2003 it signed two contracts with Ukrainian Mobile Communications, Carcade Leasing Russia and Raiffeisen Leasing in Russia. "The Russian market is becoming a strategic area of our business activities. Good references that we have collected in this region from companies in the telecommunications, financial and banking industries create good prospects for the year to come" - says Janusz Filipiak, President of Management Board, ComArch SA.

Collecting a number of references is of key importance in the expansion to foreign markets, both Western and Eastern ones. Additionally, ComArch does not underestimate participation in international trade shows. Since 1999 it has regularly participated in CeBIT, always having the biggest stand among Polish companies.

Awards are helpful

Participation in such events in the USA is effective also for Cracow-based AdRem Software. Two years ago, one of AdRem Software products won the title of Comdex Fall 2002 Innovator. The company develops solutions for managing corporate networks based on Novell and Microsoft technologies. Its products are present in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Austria, Russia, the Republic of South Africa and Spain. AdRem Software representatives pride themselves on the fact that their software is currently used on over 400,000 servers all over the world.

An honorable mention won in the European Information Technology competition organized by the European Commision DG-III Industry and the European Council of Applied Science and Engineering in 1998 was very helpful to QWED from Warsaw.

The QuickWave-3D software developed by the company is a software package for analysis and industrial design of high-frequency devices. The application is used by NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (USA), which coordinates the Mars Pathfinder mission.

Flexibility is priceless

The granted awards have obviously been useful also to Young Digital Poland (YDP). One of the most important prizes is EuroPrix, an award for the best European multimedia products presented by the Austrian Ministry of Economy and the European Commission.

This Gdańsk-based company offers teaching aids, programs for foreign language self-study and educational applications for students. According to its representatives, the recipe for success differs from country to country. In the Netherlands, YDP closely cooperates with a well-known publisher of school books that precisely determines the contents of applications. In Malaysia the company cooperates with the Ministry of Education and one of the local companies.

In the Czech Republic, its products are sold by its competitors.

Government assistance

Rodan System attaches a lot of importance to its participation in international programs. It is involved in ICONS, INFOMIX and COMPONENT+, projects of the European Union, initiated as a part of the Information Society Technologies Program within the 5th Program of the EU. Following its involvement in one of offset programs implemented by Lockheed Martin, Rodan has established a partnership with the US-based Accelerated Computer Professionals, to develop security systems.

Participation in such programs was possible thanks to investments in R&D. So far, the company has allocated EUR 3 million of its own resources to R&D. "We have never developed financial or accounting programs, but focused on programming tools for building information management systems" - explains Witold Staniszkis, President of Management Board, Rodan Systems.