This strategy-learning case traces the growth of AlphaTech, a publicly traded company in Brazil that is a management software company. The purpose of this paper is to debate whether or not the firm should give more emphasis to internationalization, given its high market share in Brazil, where further gains may be very expensive and difficult. The case is intended to serve as a vehicle to discuss the internationalization process of a software firm from an emerging economy.
The case was built using several sources of information, including interviews with two executives in charge of the firm's internationalization process, articles in business newspapers and magazines, a book written by the firm co-founders, reports, and information gathered in the internet.
The main issues posed by this case study are: first, the difficulties faced by an emerging market firm to get a sustainable position in international markets; second, the challenges of competing with powerful global multinational corporations (such as SAP and Oracle) in the international marketplace; and third, the need to adapt the firm's international strategy to new threats and opportunities.
The Brazilian context differs from other BRICS, since Brazilian software firms do not have access to low-cost labor and therefore cannot adopt a low price strategy to compete effectively in international markets, but rather need to build unique capabilities to overcome liabilities of foreignness.
The authors acknowledge the financial support of Pronex/CNPq/Faperj and the insightful contributions of the anonymous reviewers and the editor of the special issue.
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