Visionary Japanese B2B Marketplace InfoMart Realizes Ambitions with the Help of CenturyLink
Markets are digitizing at astounding rates around the world, and companies across all industries are embracing B2B ecommerce. The Japanese B2B marketplace, in particular, is seeing accelerating growth. In 2018, it was estimated to be worth more than JP¥344 trillion (U.S. $3.14 trillion), up from JP¥265 trillion (U.S. $2.42 trillion) just five years previously.
But, supporting this juggernaut can be challenging.
In today’s digital economy, every organization must function 24/7/365. Interruptions—even the slightest hiccup that lasts only seconds—can hurt businesses and disrupt valued relationships. Companies participating in the B2B marketplace require reliable IT management to deliver a seamless and secure experience to their customers.
This is where InfoMart Corporation comes in. Founded in 1998, Tokyo-based InfoMart provides Japanese companies with a reliable and secure B2B technology platform. By offering services such as platform matching between trading partners, an ordering system, a standards database, and easy-to-use quoting, contracting, and invoicing applications, InfoMart makes it simple and cost-effective for Japanese companies to do everything digitally—from basic transactions to complex negotiations—with their trading partners.
All of these offerings resulted in exponential growth. Since 2015, InfoMart saw its customer base grow from 40,000 to more than 300,000. It now handles more than JP¥8.4 trillion, or U.S. $75.6 billion, in sales transactions for its customers annually. In 2018 alone, InfoMart’s customer base grew by 59%, which in turn, boosted company revenue an impressive 71%.
This might sound like good news, but InfoMart had a challenge with its underlying IT infrastructure. It wasn’t reliable, scalable, or secure enough to satisfy InfoMart’s high-quality standards and expansive growth expectations.
“IT systems act as bridges between companies to increase efficiencies,” says Osamu Nagahama, executive vice president of InfoMart. “We needed to work with a technology company capable of securing the heart of our business operations.”
Although it’s a truism that every business in the digital age must be “always on,” the food and beverage industry is unique in that restaurants work on tight timelines and at different hours than most businesses. After closing and checking their inventories, they often place orders for the next day late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Wholesalers or producers must confirm the orders before loading and dispatching products later that day. This hidden process takes place as most of Asia Pacific is asleep.
Realizing it couldn’t do this on its own, InfoMart went looking for a technology partner. It found one in CenturyLink.
“Technology advancements are so rapid these days, if we had tried to build our own solution, it would have been impossible,” observes Nagahama.
“Without CenturyLink, we would have been hard-pressed to bring our B2B platform to market and manage the scale of operations we handle today,” adds Nagahama.
The InfoMart B2B Platform now provides uninterrupted service every hour, every day of the year.
Nagahama also wanted to build in new redundancies for disaster recovery into its platform, to ensure that it never went down. With the help of CenturyLink, any system fault will now automatically trigger a switch to the backup, ensuring that InfoMart’s customers can run their businesses with greater peace of mind.
By moving to the CenturyLink private cloud, InfoMart continues to see record growth.
“Blockchain is our next focal point. Our ambition is to deliver the same level of B2B platform services to all countries,” says Nagahama, who adds that today, the IT infrastructure and the services that CenturyLink provide are a critical part of InfoMart’s business model. “We look forward to working together as a collaborative team.”
Learn more about CenturyLink’s unique Private Cloud solution for InfoMart.
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