The Internet world has had a tumultuous development over the past few years. A rapid and overwhelming flow that, like that of a river in flood, has upset the banks of the certainties of those who believed they could easily dominate a phenomenon that proved to be far more dynamic and difficult to manage than that in many, perhaps with a little 'of lightness, they had considered only as a very new and easier to develop a business with low costs and high returns.
Now, a few months after the "full" and while on the virtual horizon of the network there is some rubble more than the desired, it is clearer for everyone that nothing is improvised and that programming, serious in the approach of the problems and the the search for suitable tools and partners are an indispensable condition also in the world of the Internet.
Among the many entrepreneurial realities aimed at helping companies to make the most of the network founded in the days of the 'boom' and among the few that still stand out for having not only overcome the period of the crisis but also for having metabolized the causes by proposing to customers an approach that draws a lesson from what happened, there is a well known one for Mac users, the Milanese Espero.
As our readers will know, Espero was born in 1991 as a spin off of the dealer trading sector of Apple Computer Italia, of which it still officially takes care of professional courses and training on products such as Mac OS X, Final Cut Pro and many others.
Not everyone knows that, based on Apple's great experience in the field of networks, Espero has been working in the Internet field since 1994, arriving among the very first companies in Italy, in 1996, to offer solutions for the purchase of goods and services. on the Internet with payment by credit card.
Six years have passed since then, a real eternity when it comes to technology and the Internet, and Espero, strong in a perspective view that few other companies in Italy have, continues to deal with the Internet and the development of communication strategies and the online business proposing itself as webagency.
But what is meant by webagency and, above all, what Espero offers to its customers.
'In fact,' Espero CEO Luigi Danieli tells us' it may be useful to clarify what is meant by Espero by webagency.
Our company, in fact, goes beyond the meaning commonly assigned to the term, but has developed its own integrated approach to Internet technologies and oriented towards supporting the corporate customer with 'turnkey' services and projects. Espero's mission to "allow a gradual and scalable adoption of the Internet for companies that intend to adopt online technologies in their business strategy, allowing to measure the return on investment".
The basis of this project is a 'proprietary' method of analysis and design of solutions, consolidated since 1995, which allows the customer maximum visibility and control and very high reliability.
'For this' Danieli still tells us – Webagency therefore a definition that is narrow and can be misleading. The site is only the tip of the iceberg of our work ".
But what does Espero do more precisely and what is the process that leads to the design of the site?
'Our method based on a model that we have called 4D: Decision, Design, Development, Deployment (Strategy, Planning, Development, Publishing) which allows us to support the customer step by step from the strategic choice to the publication and subsequently to the monitoring and evaluation of the ROI. The work team composed of a dozen internal professionals with years of experience, as well as external collaborators. A dynamic structure that proposes itself as the ideal partner for the customer, directing it towards targeted solutions designed for its specific reality.
All the work phases applied by Espero are carried out and managed within the company that has experience and professionals who deal with creativity and web design, analysis and application development, network systems, hosting / housing and webmarketing services.
But, in practice, what are the solutions that Espero can offer its customers? 'Our offer' says Danieli again – in application terms it is wide and flexible; we design static and dynamic sites, we develop databases interfaced with the Internet and integrated with company information systems, we create content management systems and editorial systems. We also have experience in online competitions (such as Scratch and Win. But we also deal with the development of press and PR offices, we offer solutions for document and information management with employees, customers and suppliers for e-learning, CRM development and database marketing , eBusiness and eCommerce and we also create corporate Intranets / Extranets'
Those who turn to Espero for can count on a complete service that includes the basic technological services: hosting, housing, domain registration, mail and mailing list, webforum, indexing, data encryption and ends with all webmarketing services: engine subscription research, traffic analysis, ongoing Benchmarking (performance analysis, visibility and quality / quantity of access), online market research, banner campaigns, etc.
Espero, born as a company decidedly close to the Mac world, has not forgotten its origins even in its evolution in Webagency and the technological solutions are fully consistent with the origins.
'Of course' confirms Danieli 'we have always been and we are an' Apple oriented company. We use Mac OS X and WebObjects intensively in our development platform. We make extensive and in-depth use of it and we can testify that these are fantastic products in all respects. From our point of view we can testify that thanks to Apple tools we are able to create sites faster, in particular thanks to the reuse of the code in WebObjects. Thanks to this tool we have created applications now published both on Mac OS X and on Windows NT / 2000, and even in SUN Solaris. We are among other things Apple's certified WebObjects Training Center
Espero then among the very few in Italy to offer Filemaker Pro database development and hosting services both with webcompanion technology and with Blueworld Lasso and on both Macintosh and Windows NT / 2000.
But network technologies are also among the most advanced. The Expert webfarm equipped with a line up to 10 Mbit and makes use of the most advanced security technologies, both physical and for the protection of data and intrusion through firewalls.
An advanced technological system and the ability to always keep up with the times have earned Espero credit and consideration at all levels. Among the main references of the Milanese company are, for example, Apple, which manages the Italian site and Banca Popolare di Sondrio, customers since 1995.
But in the industrial field there are numerous 'known faces' among Espero's customers: 3M, the associations Assiot and Assofluid (Association), Brionvega and Seleco TV, the Consortium for the development and protection of the ESE standard, H&C (production and distribution of appliances electromedical), Menphis, UNIDI (association. Agencies and service such as 1 & 1 (casting agency), ARP (Associate Office and Association) Booz Allen & Hamilton (strategic consultancy), Euroweb, Extra $ alary, G&A Martinengo (marketing agency), IFOA ( Ormazione Institute), Impress (communication agency), Ministry of Ultimate Goods, Milan Bar Association, Promoplan (incentives agency), lissetecno (tax sw development and distribution), realities that deal with publishing and cultural heritage such as SEAT Pagine Gialle, Condenet (Nast waves group), CTFR (Compagnia Teatrale Dario Fo and Franca Rame), Disney hannel, Elettroclick, La Tribuna ditrice, Medinform- Hippocrates (Medical Portal), Committee for the Millennial of S. P rospero. Finally there are banks, finance companies and insurance companies. In addition to the aforementioned Banca Popolare di Sondrio, B & A Broker, Elvia Italia Spa, Mondial Assistance, GE Capital, Esprifinance (Esprinet group, Sellaconsult (Banca Sella group.
So far the past and present of Espero. But what does the future hold for the Milanese company in the field of Internet technologies and projects?
“We recently created a new business unit called eLearning. Its task is to put all the experiences we have already gained in using web-based systems at the service of training.
ELearning represents a market that is certainly not yet mature but with very interesting potential. The dynamics of the work in progress in our society – in fact – leave less and less space for the opportunity of 'traditional' courses completely in the classroom. The 'continuous training' model is emerging, aimed at the continuous updating of people who already work. Espero has developed a "mixed" training model (classroom and eLearning) that allows you to reap the benefits of the presence of the teacher (when necessary) and to continue your distance learning "
Since 1996 Espero has collaborated with IFOA of Reggio Emilia for the design of a methodology for the development of distance courses and a software platform for the virtual classroom (today defined as LMS, Learning Management System)
The IFOA platform (see www.ifoa.it) is now used by thousands of users for both post-diploma and post-graduate courses in various areas: marketing and foreign trade, IeBusiness, Information technology, Health, Labor Law.
Since 1998 Espero has also worked on eLearning projects with ISVOR Fiat, Sfera (ENEL group), Lombardy Region -Ass. training and work, CFP Vigorelli, ENAIP, etc.
'We are also experimenting with some technologies, including Lotus / IBM Learning Space, to complete the range of eLearning services offered.
We mainly propose to medium-large companies (banks, insurance companies, corporate companies) but also – with scalable solutions also in prices – to SMEs that intend to make innovative training. We also offer ourselves to companies specialized in training, institutions and training agencies, as outsourcing partners.
Espero's eLearning services include consultancy for the design of the training model, content design, design of the learning verification model, development and customization of the software platform and online tutoring services.