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1.2 COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCE
From meagre beginnings in the 1970s, the Irish software industry has emerged as one of the most interesting, exciting and successful Irish internationally traded service industries. Some thirty years later, the industry is still characterised by high levels of international trade activity, through niche market orientation and innovative and flexible management. Through an exploration of the internationalisation process in the context of Irish indigenous software firms, this thesis seeks to understand how this process of international expansion occurs, the barriers encountered throughout the process, future challenges for the industry and the use of strategic partnership activities as a facilitator in seeking international markets. Through a qualitative research approach, future challenges for the industry and the use of strategic partnership activities as a facilitator in seeking international markets. Through a qualitative research approach, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with key industry informants and Irish indigenous software firms engaged in internationalisation activities. The research findings revealed that the internationalisation process of Irish indigenous software firms do not, as a rule, conform to traditional internationalisation thought. However, support was found for alternative internationalisation theory, as the majority of firms sought from inception to engage in internationalisation activities, through an international mindset, as a consequence of limited domestic market size and opportunity. Intangible elements such as firm and manager credibility, reputation and experiential knowledge played a significant role throughout the internationalisation process, serving to enable and influence international market entry. Strategic partnering appeared a significant facilitator of the internationalisation process of Irish indigenous software firms, in terms of overseas entry and as a mechanism to leverage and enhance firm reputation and credibility. Finally, the impediments to past, present and future international expansion activities appeared as consequences of the nature of the Irish indigenous software industry, in terms of finance, size and scale and emergent foreign competition from low cost economies.
Keeney, K.: An Exploration of the Internationalisation Process of Irish Indigenous Software SMEs. Masters Thesis. Technological University Dublin, 2005.