Building Iran's Software Industry: An Assessment of Plans and Prospects Using the Software Export Success Model

Brian Nicholson and Sundeep Sahay


Many developing and transitional economies have become involved in software exports, most notably India and Israel. A number of aspirant countries such as Jordan and Argentina are attempting to develop strategies to enter the global software marketplace adopting various strategies. This paper analyses the potential of Iran as a software export nation using a conceptual framework: the Software Export Success Model. Drawing on empirical data from interviews and secondary literature, the paper contributes in two main areas. Firstly, a preliminary assessment of the strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for Iran as a software export nation is presented. Secondly, the paper provides an assessment of the Software Export Success Model in relation to the Iranian context.

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Educator's guide

Synopsis questions

  1. Describe the research approach used in this study. [parts A-B]
  2. What is the 'Software Export Success Model' (SESM)? [part C]
  3. How well does Iran match up to the Software Export Success Model? [parts D & E]
  4. What must Iran do in order to become a successful software-exporting nation? [part F]
  5. Were there elements of the Software Export Success Model that were not applicable to Iran and/or were there elements missing from the Model that were found in Iran? [part F]

Development questions

  1. Is it appropriate for Iran to dedicate significant resources to development of its software sector?
  2. What impact might a software sector - particularly software exports - have on Iranian development?
  3. How does Iran's history and its regional location affect the prospects for software exports?
  4. Consider the suggestion that China could be a good exemplar for Iran to follow: how similar and how different are those two countries?
  5. What is your overall conclusion about Iran - is it likely to be a successful software exporter or not?
  6. What are the implications of the Iranian case for other developing/transitional economies?