Making aliya is a difficult process, as many of us know. Picking up and moving –
and functioning in a different language and culture (such as it is) – is a major
challenge. That’s why many people avail themselves of the assistance
offered by professional organizations that specialize in resettling Westerners
So what does a corporation do when it wants to make aliya?
Same thing – it goes to a professional organization that specializes in helping
companies move to Israel!
As it happens, one of the most important links between
businesses in “chul” (outside Israel) and businesses here is an organization
called ITCom (itcom.co.il
), which you may have never heard of, but which is the
first one that big international corporations like Groupon and Motorola call
when they want to set up shop in Israel, painlessly and quickly.
is a good example of what ITCom – via its subsidiary, Netcloud – can do, says
Eyal Greifner, cofounder, along with Amir Omri, of ITCom.
“We became a
partner with NetSuite several years ago, and we started building Net- Suite
systems specifically for the Israeli market, including ERP [enterprise resource
planning], CRM [customer relationship management], BI [business intelligence]
and much more,” he says. “As a result, we were able to get Groupon on-line in
Israel within just three months.”
Groupon’s experience is actually a good
example of why a company would want to use NetSuite’s services – and why it
would want to use ITCom’s NetCloud service.
NetSuite, of course, is the
Larry Ellison (of Oracle fame)-created online business platform that takes care
of all the “office backend” – accounting, inventory management, e-commerce
components and much more – over the Internet, eliminating the need for much of
that activity in-house, thus freeing up resources for other, more profitable
Many companies are coming to the realization that they can
save a great deal of money by outsourcing their business tasks; over the past
two years, NetSuite’s growth rate has mushroomed. “It’s very simple – you just
log in online and start working, without the need for infrastructure in the
office,” Greifner says .
While NetSuite is a great convenience and a
money-saver for any company, it’s a lifesaver for companies that want to move
into a new international market. The financials, bookkeeping, business
intelligence and so on is essential for business success, but setting up such an
infrastructure takes much time, effort and expense – and has to be done in a
foreign language, in a foreign country, with foreign laws, to boot!
kind of challenge, not many companies would bother setting up shop in foreign
lands, preferring to forgo possible profits; it’s just not worth the money.
Especially a company like Groupon, which faces significant competition in every
market. Groupon’s business model has been copied by everyone and his mother, and
local operators obviously have a leg up on any newcomer, no matter what the
brand name. And while it’s true that Groupon did acquire an Israeli company to
get into the market, the company it acquired (Grouper) was certainly not the
dominant player in the coupon space that Groupon planned on
Thus, if Groupon wanted to grow in Israel, it had to
concentrate all its resources on sales. So even though we’ll never know for
sure, it’s unlikely that Groupon would have set up shop in Israel – or in many
other countries, as a matter of fact – without Net- Suite. What goes for Groupon
goes for other multinationals, Greifner says, such as Kodak, Motorola, Ernst and
Young and others.
Israel presents a special challenge for foreign
companies, both because everything here is in Hebrew and because of some unique
aspects of Israeli law, Greifner says. “Translating NetSuite into Hebrew took
over a year,” he says, but even more complicated was “Israeliizing” some
standard business practices that have a special twist here. For example, it’s
almost unheard of elsewhere in the world for employees to have their income
taxes automatically withheld, at various rates depending on their credits,
family situation, etc.
“There are many unique laws here in Israel: the
methods used to withhold income taxes, the ability to pay taxes online, the
requirement for various government forms that do not exist elsewhere,” Greifner
says. “We had to create components and integrate them into the localized
As a result, he says, ITCom developed some novel methods to
integrate localized information – methods that will be shared with other
Netsuite reps in other countries.
And, of course, the right-to-left aspect
of the Hebrew translation, experience in which may come in handy for use in
other such countries (you know the ones I mean!).
“In a short time we’ve
proven that NetSuite can work in a market like Israel,” Greifner says. “We
expect to be signing up many more clients in the coming