Frank Chin, Elastic Path, Vancouver, talks to GEM & SFU students about the history of the company during Innovation Business Week

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On February 12th, 30 students from Grenoble Ecole de Management in the Transcontinental Vancouver Program visited Elastic Path with their fellow SFU classmates. You might wonder what this company does, so here is a brief summary of their past.

IMG_6285It was created back in 2000 under the name of Ekkon technologies by Harry Chemko and Mark Williams. At the beginning, they developed basic E-commerce software. Their activity really took off in 2005 with their project with Aeroplane, when they started using open source technologies which enabled them to offer differentiated products on the market. Indeed, this consistsIMG_6248 in recycling innovation and adding new content to it which results in fewer efforts, less costs and more flexibility for the company. Since the Olympic Winter Games of 2010 in Vancouver, Elastic Path (called EP by employees) had its first experience in physical goods selling. This event raised some issues about the traditional Ecommerce (investment structure, complexity of the supply chain…), leading them to focus their activity on digital side of things. According to Elastic Path, digitalization is the future of Ecommerce. We are moving towards a 100% digital world and ElasticPath aims to be the first mover in this field.

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The success of the company is based on its high level of differentiation compared to its competitors. Indeed, the company does not try to propose the same product to the whole market. Instead it offers products that fulfil their customer’s specific needs. Elastic Path does not have the same brand recognition as IBM. However, once they have established a relationship with a customer, they try to maintain customers satisfied as long as they can by proposing high-customized products.

Their main strength is in innovation. They want to meet with their customer’s needs by using Agile methodology instead of the traditional Waterfall methodology. On the one hand, Waterfall methodology is very static and tends to plan everything in advance without taking into account the potential evolution of events in the time. On the other IMG_6287hand, with Agile methodology, each step of the process is tested through a cycle: analyze the solution, evaluate if the solution matches, and then implement it. Therefore, Elastic Path created the “Room for Innovation” where up to 6 people can work on project development using this method.

EP 6The future development of Elastic Path – which was the fastest growing company in British Columbia for 2013 – is going through their last innovation: The Cortex. This application is built with the E-sectors well-known partners (e.g. Adobe), creates core system which is able to synthetize data and is compatible with any devices. Because as Frank Chin said: “Ecommerce is not only about computer”.

In 2013, Ecommerce had a huge influence on total sales as it raised 1.2 trillion dollars. Elastic Path is looking to go beyond Ecommerce and anticipate people’s lifestyle by creating a unique online purchasing experience to capture this value.

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Written by Anne-Claude Bedry, Cyril Carre and Louis Vagogne

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Filed under Canada, Conference, Customer service, Ecommerce, Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, Innovation

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