The idea came to me while I was at a conference given by Steve Ballmer, two years before he became Microsoft’s president.

Steve was predicting that within 3 years, 60% of Microsoft’s turnover would come from software subscriptions.

This was back in 1996, and I don’t think anyone at the conference really believed him. That was because nobody at the time could have imagined that we could subscribe to software without selling a box.

This was fifteen years before SaaS, fifteen years before cloud computing!

It came as a shock, a revelation that grew into a business model, which was going to allow me to be a major player on the outside, and remain small on the inside.

Thierry Aboukrat
Founding President of Externis Group

Externis Group

Externis Group overview

Founded in November 2001 by Thierry Aboukrat, Externis has evolved in its market, to become the publisher of the eCOS® solution, the application software suite, marketed in SaaS mode, tailored to the needs of FMCG and retail manufacturers sales divisions, featuring 3 business application solutions: eCOS® Sales, eCOS® Assort and eCOS® Doc.

Externis Group companies:

Organisation Externis Group

Management team:

Thierry Aboukrat, Président Fondateur de Externis Group

Thierry Aboukrat : Founder and President of Externis Group
Experience in IT consulting and entrepreneurship

Julien Chesneau, VP Sales de Externis Group

Julien Chesneau : Deputy General Manager
Experience in marketing, Sales Management and Key Accounts Management at several FMCG manufacturers.
Ensures the Commercial Direction of the Externis company.

Thierry Aboukrat et Julien Chesneau

Group organization:

Organizational work has allowed us to rationalize the sales, consulting and development cycles to significantly lower costs and maximize profitability. For instance, in 3 years, the sales cycle was reduced from 18 / 24 to just 3 months, and the consulting cycle from 6 to 3 weeks. The development cycle was reduced from several weeks to several days for the early versions of eCOS®.

Organisation Externis Group

Sales Engineers

Externis sales engineers are in charge of customer sales, contracts and support, both in France and around the world.

eCOS® Consultants

Our consultants are industry experts in BPO TPM Execution and in implementing eCOS® at the premises of the customers. They help customers to install, configure, operate and master one or more eCOS® solutions.

eCOS® Editor

Our development lab has an in-house team dedicated to developing tomorrow’s generations of eCOS® products.  It is supported by a fully outsourced lab in Bulgaria tasked with corrective and light upgrade maintenance on previous eCOS® generations.



From the beginnings of Externis to the release of eCOS®

Externis was founded in 2001 by Thierry Aboukrat, its current CEO, as a project to create an e-store for one of France’s biggest energy suppliers. A few months later, Thierry Aboukrat teamed up with a former Unilever executive to help him integrate the management of FMCG assortment within his BPO solution. They started targeting the FMCG manufacturers market, where the two partners identified a business process that was still at the cottage industry stage: distributing point-of-sale advertising material to the sales force.
At the time, sales people ordered their POS advertising media on their desktops PCs at home in the evenings. Everything was administrated by calls, faxes, spreadsheets or even paper sheets. The approximate management of the POS materials’ inventory generated multiple orders, excess inventory and massive destruction of unused POS materials.

eCOS®, the 100% SaaS software suite

In 2002, eCOS® (the “sales force’s Amazon”) was adopted by the Ferrero Group, which remains today one of Externis’ major customers.
As a pioneering customer using the solution, Ferrero brought its hands-on business expertise to Externis for three years. The functional scope of eCOS® relentlessly grew from 3 to 10 modules to include in-store event and merchandising box management, and even marketing furniture rental services, to suppliers in charge of winners per store.
From 2006 to 2010, the eCOS® solution was selected and deployed by 10 of the biggest FMCG manufacturers, such as Beiersdorf, Ferrero, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, Pepsico, P&G, SC Johnson and Unilever.
Its success is partly based on market’s maturity where companies are no longer afraid to adopt outsourced software solutions to manage the entire business chain; but also due to the subprime crisis which drives companies to look for potential savings. eCOS® is a solution that truly enables companies to make significant savings while optimizing their inventory and human resources.
In 2010, under the guidance of its President, Externis initiated a complete overhaul of its solution to transform it into a true commercial product, a 100% SaaS software suite that’s fully configurable by the customer, and flexible enough to seamlessly adapt to the major breakthroughs emerging on an almost daily basis (tablets, connected objects, wearable objects, etc.).

Our market: TPM Execution

TPM Execution

A market dominated by the ERP heavyweights…

The Trade Promotion Management market is dominated by the major ERP publishers.

…which are not active in the Execution phase

The software solutions from these publishers do not support Trade Promotion Management execution processes.
From the outset, Externis designed its software solution to span the entire POS media management process from the salesperson all the way to the sales department management at HQ.
This unique positioning enables Externis to offer the only software solution that prepares, coordinates, executes and follows up a Trade Promotion campaign.

International deployment

Externis’ core business is publishing SaaS solutions. Its track record, the opportunities it has successfully identified, forecast and even created, has allowed Externis to invent a software solution that responds to a unique market: POS materials and services distribution for FMCG and retail manufacturers’ sales people.
Externis has successfully capitalized on its unique knowledge of this business process to develop strong skills (sales, consulting, development) that have allowed it to come to market with a solution capable of fully outsourcing this business process, for all FMCG manufacturers, with a ROI in under 6 months thanks to the impressive savings the solution delivers... and it only took 13 years to do it.
Externis is the only software solution of its kind on the European market and is the de facto leader of the TPM Execution sector as a result of years of research and cooperation with its pioneering customers.
These competitive assets allow Externis to set its sights on international development in response to demands already received from major FMCG and retail groups.
Externis is present in 5 countries and is now targeting Poland, Switzerland, Spain and many more…