We spent the better part of 2009 deploying our service internationally. In fact, a quick scan of Google Analytics shows that our client’s customers transacted business with them through our SAP Integrated b2b websites from over 50 countries around the world. Blount really led the charge this year by deploying language specific microsites to France, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Sweden, the UK and Canada.
Here is a presentation that Jean-Marie Genicot, the Blount European IS Manager that supervised our rollout, recently put together describing his experience and results.
b2b2dot0 is now deploying microsites in Japan and Hong Kong and there is even talk about moving to Latin America as well in 2010. In what now seems to be a trend, we’re getting a lot of inquiries from prospective clients about wanting to support their European subsidiaries, distribution channels and customers with their own SAP Integrated B2B eCommerce websites.
While most of these SAP systems are housed in the US, our friends Eddie Mogilevsky and Warren Eiserman are exploring opportunities where corporate headquarters (and SAP systems) are in Israel and Sub-Saharan Africa as well.
Throughout this process, it has been fascinating to see how varying companies view Europe differently. For one of our clients, the UK is turning out to be a very strong user of our internet based B2B eCommerce solution. Within two months of deploying our solution, they are registering 25% of their revenue through our website. For another of our clients, it turns out to be just the opposite, they are saying that “they don’t need no stinkin’ website“.
So what is going on here? How can the same country be viewed as a hotbed for internet commerce by one company and as unnecessary by another? Could it be possible that one industry just doesn’t need transparency of information or convenience of processing while another does? Or could it be that change (adopting new technologies) is more difficult for some companies than it is for others? I think one German national summed it up best during one of our recent briefings:
“If you had asked me five years ago if we needed to spend the money on a B2B website, I would have said no way! But today, with everyone using the internet at home, it is a must”.
Here is a link to an outstanding European Commission resource page that provides the data that substantiates our German colleague’s feelings. I would especially call your attention to the document entitled “Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report”. However, be forewarned that without a high speed internet connection (of which the report says that “Half of European households and more than 80% of European businesses have a fixed broadband connection”) it may take you awhile to download this 8M file :-).
The telecom infrastructure is now in place and is in widespread use in our personal lives. When we come to work in the morning, the contrast of our digital personal lives and our office equivalents of “typewriters and rotary phones” is too stark to ignore.
Bienvenue, Willkommen, Welkom, Välkommen, ברוך הבא