#Power of Businesses l 2020-02-17
Today, we’ll introduce a company that stands out in the domestic market for corporate communication and collaboration software. Let’s hear from Park In-goo(박인구), CEO and founder of UC Ware.
UC Ware was established in November 2007. It’s a company that aims to provide professional solutions for the B2B (Business to Business) corporate messenger market. I started UC Ware with two colleagues in 2007. At the time, we read a McKinsey report that said “communication is forever” which really moved us. One colleague was creating a small messenger program at the time and we thought that if we applied it to the B2B field, it could have business value. There was a time when instant messengers like Microsoft’s MSN messenger and SK Telecom’s NateOn, which are similar to Kakao Talk, were really popular. We thought that these messengers could be applied to B2B corporations and become economically viable, which is how we established UC Ware.
UC Ware’s CEO Park In-goo is a software programmer. He began working for Dacom’s System Integration subsidiary, Dacom System Technologies, in 1997. Ten years later, he established UC Ware with his colleagues.
Believing in the power of communication, he pledged his future on the corporate messenger market.
Before 2010 in Korea, it was generally accepted that online messengers was a free service. So, it was the common perception that there was no need to pay money to use a corporate messenger service. However, these thoughts began to change after 2010. That is why nowadays, corporate messengers are actively being used to solve problems related to business productivity, especially at financial firms, large corporations and public institutions. Corporate messengers are not just about chatting or file transfers, but they connect employees with the inner organizational system providing alarms for electronic clearance and mails with a click. They also connect users with a switchboard allowing them to perform complicated phone functions such as video conferences with a click.
Smart Work, which allows employees to work anywhere at any time using information and communication devices, is changing the corporate environment. Flexible working hours have become possible thanks to technological advancements that have come to the fore as being part of the 4th industrial revolution such as cloud and remote technology. The corporate messenger market is growing against this backdrop. In the past, companies would use personal social networking services or SNS to handle tasks rather than spend money on installing a corporate messenger system. However, the limitations to personal messengers were clear.
As personal messengers only had the function of chats, it was difficult to use them as a tool for team work in corporations. Also, files and data that were shared on SNS expired after a certain time, requiring employees to ask for the files again. Most importantly, personal SNS is more susceptible to information leaks.
As businesses faced these issues, they started using corporate messengers and UC Ware is standing out in this area with their specialized competitive edge.
Our clients are mostly large corporations. One characteristic of these firms is that they work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a core task system, our product must provide stability and security around the clock. Also, a recent trend is that we have a wide variety of electronic devices that use different operating systems. As such, another key focus for us is to provide multi-device support. Finally, the third focus for us is that we self-develop our core technology. Without it, we cannot respond to continuously and quickly changing markets such as the internet messenger market.
UC Ware provides services to over 800 businesses both at home and abroad. Their clients range from financial firms such as Korea Development Bank, conglomerates such as Aekyung Group and over 100 public companies. A wide variety of businesses use UC Ware’s solutions because they provide specialized services tailored to each client.
For example, at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, UC Ware’s services are used not only for communication among employees but also for internal briefing messages, chats, and file transfers. They provide a secure system that is organically integrated with various certificate-based systems for public institutions and e-government solutions.
As there are many companies that are active abroad, UC Ware has established a system that can connect to systems in other countries and provide global messaging with security that meets international standards. One of the biggest advantages of UC Ware’s program is that it is easy to use. Their self-developed corporate messenger is similar to personal messengers already in use, so even a person who is new at the job may learn to use it quickly.
Recently, the company developed a cloud based corporate messenger service for mobile workers and those who work from home to save, download and transfer files easily. Through these efforts, UC Ware has the highest market share for a domestic corporate messenger solution firm.
The Korean market is dominated by the global firm Microsoft, which takes up 40% of the market. UC Ware’s market share is around 25%. The competition is fierce with global competitors. Although we rank first among domestic solution providers, we are continuing to develop market-specialized services. We began direct exports in 2018. Until 2017, we exported indirectly through a domestic partner in the form of OEM. We’re exporting mostly to China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan. In 2018, the export volume to the Philippines and China reached around $55,625. In 2019, we exported over $50,000 worth of cloud messaging service solutions, our main focus product, to Thailand and Laos.
UC Ware ranks 2nd behind the world’s largest software firm, Microsoft, in Korea.
The company is spending over 30% of its profits each year on research and development. Through continuous research and product upgrades, UC Ware has been growing the fastest among domestic corporate messaging firms in Korea in the past three years.
The company has been venturing out to international markets in the last few years. In particular, the company will be showcasing a service that it has been developing since planning its foreign market entry in Japan this year.
We’ve been preparing to enter the Japanese market for the past two years. It took us longer than expected. Japanese corporate culture is similar to Korea’s. So, we are taking that into account and preparing services that are tailored to the Japanese market such as creating an organizational chart based system and task message function. The task message basically functions like an email, so we expect it to have a considerable effect if we include specialized work instruction functions like cc (carbon copy) or bcc (blind carbon copy) etc. We plan to attend “Japan IT Week” to check the local response. This year, we’re focusing on increasing our market share in the cloud services market. Our biggest goal is to launch internationalized and localized services in areas that we are most actively reaching out to such as ASEAN members and Singapore.
UC Ware will be taking part in Japan IT Week Spring 2020, which will be held in Tokyo in April. We look forward to the company spreading out its wings and displaying its potential in global markets.