28 June 2013 | BlueBridge One

As companies seek new markets the lure of international expansion often becomes a major consideration in driving sales growth. Until recently, however, the costs and risks of establishing and managing such an environment have created a barrier to entry for small and mid-size companies. Typically you would have to look no further than the following to understand the uphill battle faced by smaller organisations:

  • The cost of the additional IT infrastructure
  • Country specific taxation reporting requirements
  • Staff recruitments
  •  Logistics around product distribution
  • Consolidated reporting
  • General administration
  • Potential cost of a failed venture

This situation has turned around somewhat with the advent of Cloud-based systems, which together with the emergence of business process outsourcing, have helped reduce the barriers. The relative low cost of using and maintaining a cloud-based infrastructure makes it an ideal tool to drive international expansion. Lower initial setup costs, lower maintenance costs, lower support costs and more agility to be able to quickly scale up or down and remote office access, all add to the mix. It is entirely understandable why many large corporations today deploy cloud-based platforms alongside their corporate ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, specifically for this reason.

While a cloud-based infrastructure provides the ideal environment for organisations that intend expanding internationally there are local compliance requirements that also need consideration. Here the role of the cloud-based ERP vendor is important. Take for example NetSuite where you have a cloud-based ERP application that as standard provides for localised taxation reporting in 51 countries and support for 21 languages. Having the ERP vendor manage this area significantly reduces the onerous task of managing compliance in any foreign country.

The final piece in the jigsaw is the use of a business process outsourcing partner to help scale the international business by providing resources and specialised skills. To be effective in providing these services it is important that the outsource partner has international reach and can provide assistance and advice across various countries. Take for example RSM Tenon, they can help establish and manage the operations in the foreign country without you establishing a costly local infrastructure. Find out more about the outsource services RSM Tenon provide.

So in summary, by deploying a cloud-based business management tool together with the services of a reputable business process outsource partner, smaller mid-size companies now have an easier form of access to compete on an equal footing with larger corporations for their share of the international market, all of this with relatively low levels of risk.