By Simon Shida
Now that IT has become such an integral part of business activity, it is important to find the right IT solutions for your business. We talk to Ecotech Japan—a company that can offer just that.
Foreign businesses in Japan have long known this country as a powerhouse for advanced technology and IT infrastructure. Internet speeds here are among the world’s fastest and cheapest. Readers from the West are painfully aware of the growing digital divide when comparing their own countries and Japan. In fact recent reports mention Japan’s Internet speeds as fast as thirty times that of those of the US.
High speeds and inexpensive access mean increased connectivity. As of March this year, 73.8 percent of Japanese were active Internet users, making it the third largest market for Web users. So, how are businesses adjusting to this evolving market?
For many companies in Japan, adopting a new Web solution is complicated, expensive and risky. Who can blame them? Japanese Web users are demanding, fickle and easily-bored. Getting the right solution can be overwhelming for Japanese businesses. Compounding the problem is a resistance by Japanese IT engineers to take on new challenges—assuming a new solution means more work. Thus many companies remain unaware of the benefits and capabilities that an up-to-date Web solution could provide.
An easy option for many companies is to purchase an off-the-shelf Web solution pitched to them by a vendor. This makes the vendor’s job easier and the in-house IT engineer is comfortable with a solution he has seen before. In the West, customized solutions have become the norm. Japan, with all its high-tech Infrastructure, has yet to see a widespread adoption of fully customized Web solutions.
Communication key to successful customization
Addressing this urgent need for tailor-made Web solutions is an innovative company called Ecotech, headed by well-known Tokyo entrepreneur Vincenzo Lufino.
“Communicating with the client and understanding their business is essential to the success of any Web solution. IT solutions created from a technical perspective alone, not from a business standpoint, do not help the company reach its full potential,” says Lufino.
Customizing IT solutions specifically to fit the client’s business needs, not just their technological needs, is a fundamental point to consider when selecting a Web solution partner. A customized IT solution requires the vendor to be very flexible and sympathetic of the clients’ needs—without continuously charging for small changes made along the way. This means on-going consultations to confirm expectations and understand the business requirements of the client. The reality is that in the current market there are very few IT companies that can offer this kind of flexibility. This poses a challenge for many businesses that do not really know what they should do to maximize their Web solution and internal systems.
“At Ecotech, we try to understand the overall business purpose of the project, not just create IT solutions. We research the client’s business thoroughly, including looking into what their competitors are doing to make sure we can do something better,” says Lufino. “We consult with the client, not in tech-jargon, but in a language that the client understands—business.” The ability to be flexible, as well as understanding and utilizing technology to fit within the client’s business needs leads to true client satisfaction.
In the Web solutions market, flexibility is a necessity, not an option. As is evident from Ecotech’s diverse client portfolio, the services offered are dynamic and tailored to each client’s needs. The new American Chamber of Commerce in Japan Website is one example. From multilingual Web design to database solutions, Ecotech takes a holistic approach to projects to encompass strategies, marketing and organization.
Part of Lufino’s job is keeping up with new technological developments and understanding how they can be effectively deployed in business applications. “The Web environment is very interesting at the moment with many new and exciting solutions and features. Two specific services that our clients are requesting recently are mobile and 3D solutions,” says Lufino. These two sectors are growing in importance, with more than 100 million mobile subscribers. Lufino believes that 3D solutions will become imperative in the next generation of online shopping, where visitors will have the ability to have a much stronger and realistic experience of the product. Ecotech creates multilingual Websites, helping foreign businesses improve their offering to Japanese clients. As well as effective mobile solutions/ applications, other projects in the pipeline include SNS for internal company use.
As the current global economic turmoil puts pressure on companies to cut costs, Ecotech is finding a gap in the market by offering cost-effective and business-focused Web solutions. A reputation for high quality, customized Web solutions is attracting interest from major business institutions.
The company, based next to Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills district, has a small staff of four in its Japan office, but is backed by a large team of highly skilled and advanced IT programmers, designers and engineers in India. Ecotech’s partnership with this unique and innovative company in India enables the company to deliver flexible Web solutions to meet high-end requirements: “We have 100 people in India—having 100 people in Roppongi would make our approach to the client much more rigid and expensive.”
Ecotech have facilitated database integration to boost business effectiveness and functionality—from developing e-commerce solutions to advanced systems to upload content online quickly and easily, which allow less technical staff to update the Website removing their reliance on IT engineers.
For Lufino, creating IT solutions communication and business understanding is as important as the technological part of the project. He looks at the needs of his clients and works to ensure that those needs are met.
“Our mission is to customize the best technology for the business needs of each of our clients and boost their profitability,” says Lufino.