Cross-border technology transfer

Steinbeis helps companies identify potential partners outside Germany

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum offers a consulting service called TechAlert to help identify partners beyond German borders and tap into innovative technology across Europe. Thanks to its support, HCM Customer Management GmbH found a new partner in Sweden, adding a powerful and highly successful project management tool to its portfolio. The name of the tool: ProjectCoordinator®.

Since 1999, HCM, a medium-sized company from Kornwestheim in Baden-Württemberg, has been providing specialist software systems and consulting services to the automotive sector, machine engineering companies and the service industry. Apart from software development and process management consulting services, the company also provides access to specialists, creates workflow systems and sets ups process and document management software.

To expand its product portfolio in the “Software as a Service” area, HCM had already entered into a number of partnerships with companies from the region and elsewhere in Germany, but the software licensing agreements it made with German companies usually fell short of the territorial exclusivity it was looking for. To establish a strong position across the whole of Germany, HCM wanted license protection. One way to achieve this was to enter into a partnership with a software provider from outside Germany. It was therefore crucial to the company strategy – and its efforts to safeguard its competitive edge at home – to identify a suitable partner overseas.

HCM first contacted Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) in 2005 after deciding to call on its expertise in this area and pinpoint a suitable partner outside Germany. There followed a series of meetings in which SEZ evaluated HCM’s precise technology requirements. The center also helped the company analyze technology throughout the European market. Drawing on its TechAlert service, a thorough evaluation of European databases was carried out. Over the course of several months, HCM received details of technology offers and requests in the specific areas of technology defined by the medium-size company. This saved the company the task of going back to the drawing board (yet again), saved it time and money, and gave it access to rapidly changing international technology trends.

The targeted TechAlert search pointed HCM in the direction of a Swedish company called Designtech, which offers a variety of solutions including a web-based project management tool marketed in Sweden called ProjectCoordinator®. The tool is sold in other European countries via partnership agreements and at the time it was looking for a general representative for the whole of Germany. After a few phone calls between HCM and Designtech the two companies agreed that HCM would take over sales for Germany.

Thanks to the professional support of the staff at SEZ, HCM has now entered a successful partnership with the Swedish company allowing it to add effective project management to its product portfolio. Expanding its software portfolio not only allows HCM to provide its existing customers with new and efficient tools, it can now acquire new customers throughout Germany.  


Prof. Dr. Norbert Höptner
Heike Fischer
Katrin Heckmann

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (Stuttgart)

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