Ethan Kazi

SECURING PARTNERSHIPS IN IT

Ethan Kazi
CEO
The Canton Group

A dedication to serving clients in the best and most thoughtful ways possible helped propel The Canton Group out of CEO Ethan Kazi’s Baltimore living room, and into national success. Today, the company works as a partner to major clients across the country to help them overcome the challenges of an evolving technological world.

Q: How does your long tenure in the industry set you apart from your competitors?

A: The Canton Group has been designing and developing websites and building custom software for almost 20 years. While the technologies have changed, and continue to do so, the types of challenges our customers face remain relatively constant. We are able to draw upon our vast technology and customer experiences, and apply those lessons to every new project we work on. This ability to leverage our organizational knowledge and experiences is a huge differentiator for The Canton Group, as we are always the lowest-risk option for our clients. When an organization has a business-critical technology project and needs an experienced team that has “been there and done that,” they know they can count on The Canton Group to deliver.

Q: What is unique about The Canton Group’s approach to IT and its processes?

A: The Canton Group is unique in a variety of ways. The three major differentiators are:

  1. When we work with our clients, we focus on their goals and objectives. What is best for our clients is best for us. Sometimes that means talking clients out of a project that doesn’t provide them with enough value. This may mean less revenue for us in the short term, and we’re OK with that. If the project doesn’t add value, what’s the point in wasting our client’s money and our time? We are in the business of being a long-term partner with our clients. Our clients really appreciate our honesty, sound recommendations and candor.
  2. The Canton Group is exceptionally strong at designing, developing and maintaining software (web, mobile, embedded, etc.). That technical competency is extremely important for any business-critical system that needs to be secured, has lots of data and needs to work all the time.
  3. The Canton Group has established proven processes to successfully manage the work we do for our clients. This applies to both project-based work, and maintenance and operations programs. The systems that we have developed to manage our work are completely transparent to our customers. This allows our clients to see exactly what we are doing and holds everyone accountable, which allows us to ensure successful outcomes.

Q: With security becoming such a growing field in IT, how can The Canton Group help improve security for clients?

A: Security is such a growing field in IT due to several converging factors. There is an ever-increasing demand for an enhanced user experience. This applies to both internal and external customers. When you enhance the user experience for someone, you give them the ability to do something they didn’t do before, or you make something they already do easier. This improved user experience almost always involves increased access to an organization’s data though web or mobile devices. I cannot tell you how many marketing, branding, advertising and IT vendors lack the expertise to properly secure applications they build for their clients. Unfortunately, their clients pay the price for their vendor’s ignorance and inexperience.

Technology is rapidly changing and organizations are not able to keep pace, resulting in legacy applications that need to be modernized to make them secure. They recognize that their software is old and that securing it will require a financial investment, but are hesitant to spend that money, because they’d rather invest those funds in an entirely new system. Unfortunately, many of these companies have difficulty pulling the trigger and moving forward. We see this all the time. Helping our clients overcome this type of situation gave rise to The Canton Group’s maintenance, operation and continuous modernization service. Our team can take over the maintenance and operations of IT systems, take steps to make the current system secure and begin the process of continuous modernization. Not only does this help with ensuring IT security, but it also improves operational effectiveness within the business.

Q: The Canton Group is looking to make strategic partnerships and acquisitions. How will this improve its service offerings to clients?

A: The Canton Group is in the process of making targeted acquisitions to expand our access to customers that need our technology services. In addition, our acquisitions will augment and enhance the technology service offerings that we currently provide, allowing us to serve our clients even better. The Canton Group is headquartered in Baltimore and already serves a national market. To further grow our national customer base, we are looking at expanding our geographic footprint through acquisition.

Q: How important is finding the right talent for The Canton Group, and what do you look for in perspective team members?

A: Finding the right talent is extremely important to us. Because of the high bar we have already established within the organization, it is very difficult to obtain a position with our company. I sometimes think it would be easier to become an astronaut than one of The Canton Group’s core team members. We believe it is very important to only bring in smart creatives that match The Canton Group’s values and culture. Technical skills, experience and intellect will get you to the interview, but values and cultural alignment will ultimately get you the job offer. We are always recruiting, so if you are an A player and want to work with an amazing team that does incredible work, reach out to us.

Q: How did The Canton Group grow to have a national presence, and how do you maintain your standard of quality?

A: The Canton Group started with very humble roots in my living room in Baltimore almost 20 years ago. When we started, we just focused on doing great work and keeping our clients happy. It didn’t take long before clients were contacting us from all over the country to help them with large and complex web design and development projects. I remember in the early 2000s spending a fair amount of time in Texas doing work for British Petroleum, and flying out to Seattle to help companies with large web portals. Now we are doing work for Kaiser Permanente in California, the University of Southern California, Audi of America, the University of Minnesota, New York state government, and clients all over the country. All of our design and development work is performed and managed out of our Baltimore offices. This allows us to manage and control the quality of everything we do with relative ease.

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