1. Entering the Middle East market through Malaysia is the best alternative at this time. Malaysia has a market not dissimilar with that of the Middle East. Entering Middle East via this option gives the Company an opportunity to partner with a company which has insights on working in a Muslim country. This way, Elixir is not starting with zero knowledge since this entry strategy is a duplication of what it did in Japan.
2. Elixir develops and sells computer software which includes the stand-alone and the server-side versions of the Elixir Report. These two versions provide business an enterprise-class reporting solution. ER “was designed for high-performance operation, capable of handling large report generation” (O’Neil, 2004, p. 4). As such, Elixir Report is “able to accommodate multiple input data source types and provide reports in multiple output formats” (O’Neil, 2004, p. 4). Aside from these benefits, ER can support multilingual reporting and platform independence, and can support mobile devices.
The core competencies of Elixir for its ER are:
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Speed in adopting changes in the environment and technologies into ER’s programs and applications. As a matter of Elixir claims that flexibility is built in into the Company’s spirit (O’Neil, 2004, p. 8).
Network with technology vendors. This relationship enables Elixir to rapidly fit its ER into a client’s information system which was sourced from a particular vendor or several vendors.
Capacity and capability to localize the Elixir Report into specific customer requirements. This capacity and capability is a result of the unique design of ER which enables Elixir for “easy modification for accommodating local cultural needs” (O’Neil, 2004, p. 8).
3. As the Company recognized the positive relationship between its understanding of it’s customers’ technology vendors and the efficiency of the sales process, Elixir made developing partnerships with other technology vendors the basis of its “marketing, sales and distribution strategy” ((O’Neil, 2004, p. 6).
Another component of its marketing strategy is stressing that other technology companies translate their products instead of localizing them as what Elixir does (O’Neil, 2004, p. 8). Also, the Company provided for a free trial of the software which can be downloaded from the Company’s Web site (O’Neil, 2004, p. 9).
By scaling the software into different versions and selling licensing agreements, Elixir is able to sell ER at a price 50 percent lower than its competitors. This scalability, however, is not a liability in terms of software performance.
4. Elixir, as to its plan and strategy to expand outside Singapore, has been averagely successful. For example, in its entry into Japan, the Company’s initial marketing strategy – advertising in international magazines – generated low response from Japanese customers. However, this was remedied with the Company’s partnership with GrapeCity which enabled Elixir to bridge cultural gap and language barriers. This same strategy can be used in entering the Middle east market.
5. Yes, based on the facts presented, it is financially beneficial for Lau Shih Hor to take Elixir into the Middle East. I suggest that Lau pursues a distribution partnership with a Malaysian-based company. This company has a better understanding of the Middle East market than Lau which will allow the Company to better localize ER which is one of the product’s competitive advantages.
O’Neil, E. (2004). Elixir Technology – Entry into the Middle East. Ivey Management Services, pp. 1-24.
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