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Paper info: The Usage Of The First Customer Reference For Starting A Complex Software Business - Lessons Learned In The Thai Software Industry

Title


The Usage Of The First Customer Reference For Starting A Complex Software Business - Lessons Learned In The Thai Software Industry

Authors


Jari Ruokolainen
Helsinki University of Technology
Finland
Jari Ruokolainen

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 19th IMP-conference in Lugano, Switzerland in 2003.

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Abstract


The first customer is the first reference for a start-up company. The first reference customer is especially important for the companies, which produce complex software products for the business-to-business market. Without real world tests, it is hard to convince the next customer. The first reference is important not only for testing the product technology, but also for verifying the business concept: the business logic behind the product, sales arguments, support functions and the readiness to solve the customer problems. It appears that those companies, which make an effort to develop the business concept, grow faster than those which use the first reference for verifying the technology. Actually, only a few companies, according the survey, use the first reference to find sales arguments. Instead, 40 % of the companies use the first reference for checking the technology. The practices, that is, how the first reference customers are used, vary from case to case. Therefore, the purpose of the studies was to identify the best practices. The location, Thailand, a lately industrialised country, might highlight some observations, which perhaps cannot be detected as easily in Western society as in the Far East, for example, the usage of social capital. This paper concludes three different studies (multiple case study, survey, longitudinal case study) done by the author with the help of Helsinki University of Technology and Asian Institute of Technology.Keywords: First reference customer; Start-up software company; High technology market.