Today, we will be talking about how technology can help you increase your velocity, be more productive, be more profitable, reduce risks, to ultimately help you be more successful.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the JMARK Business Innovation Technology Experience.
Todd: Okay. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. I’m so glad I have a great team around me that tells me and reminds me after a minute after I’m speaking that I had been silent and on mute. I love you all. Now we’re excited to have another conversation today, making a wave in the technology world, inspiring people and probably upsetting some people to, but that’s all good. What we’re going to talk about today is, I don’t know what I kind of call the secret to technology success of sorts. I’m a marketer. I can say that. But the gist of it is that, we’re always talking about technology. We’re talking about how technology can help you increase your velocity, can help you be more successful, can help you be more productive, can help you be more profitable, can help you reduce risks, ultimately help you be more successful.
But the truth is that it’s not just technology. It’s a lot more complex than that. Essentially it’s about the partnerships, the knowledge and the way we implement things. So Jeremy you’ve worked with a lot of companies over the 20 plus years. You’ve been at JMARK, what are the dangers you’ve seen in businesses that have taken technology seriously, but not a partnership? How has that affected the outcome?
Jeremy: That’s a good question. This is just proves to everybody that we don’t rehearse these conversations because that hit me out of left field. I think what it comes down to is the… we talk about this internally at JMARK a lot, but it’s important for people to realize that technology is a tool. It’s not the end all, it’s not the be all. It’s not the answer to everything. It’s a tool to get there. If you’re the example I would use would be, if you’re an accountant, having a really cool calculator, doesn’t make you the best accountant. You still have to go to school. You still have to stay up with continuing education. You have to do all the things that make you a great accountant, having a great tool, a great technology. Doesn’t make you the best.
It helps you, and it makes you more successful, but it’s not the end all. And I would equate that over to technology. If you have great technology, you’ve got a great tool in your tool belt, but if you don’t utilize that for achieving your end goal, which is whatever your business mission is, then you’re not capitalizing on it. And partnerships are a key piece of that. Whether it’s a vendor relationship, a peer relationship, a employee relationship, or even a relationship with your competition. In the 20 some years that I’ve been doing this, there’ve been many times I’ve teamed up with JMARK competition to deliver a great product because, there’s something that we needed help with or they needed help with. So, it’s less about what you know, it’s a lot about who you know, and it’s about how you leverage what you know, to help people and to further your mission.[inaudible]
Todd: I think that a classic example of what I’ve seen on this is, we had a lot of prospects that we’d gone into where the proportion of technology resources to the proportion of employees is totally wacky. There might be 20 servers for 25 employees or something weird where the previous two key company came in and implemented this crazy redundant system that was overkill, that didn’t deliver, wasn’t configured properly. And now they were frustrated because they spent all this money on technology and it wasn’t delivering. And I think that’s the classic example where we go in often times and we shake our heads going, why do people do this?
Because it’s, I won’t say insulting, but it’s painful because there are companies out there that are selling all of this technology to companies. And while oftentimes, even though it’s good technology, it’s just not implemented right. It’s not a fit to their situations. It’s not fit to their goals. No considerations have been taken into the future of the organization, where the organizations are going. It’s just use much servers. You should be good after that, or a bunch of resources. And I think that’s a classic example where technology by itself is awesome. But if you don’t have the knowledge and expertise and the right partnership to strategically take you to that next direction or to that next level, it’s just going to be a bunch of blinking lights.
Pat:[inaudible] I think an example of that as I sit here on this wonderful podcast, Facebook live discussion, and we’re all, maybe how our favorite drink myself, I’ve got some coffee and that goes, we’re putting this together in the morning, but whether you drink coffee in the morning, or before you go to bed, the fact that if you need a coffee cup and I got a coffee cup here, and it’s from NASA. NASA is one of those organizations that has a lot of partnerships. And you might have a lot of engineers that do a lot of tasks, but you still got to partner with other companies. And they’ve got a ton of companies that they partner with or success, and they’re able to do some really awesome things. And so that’s what we as JMARK do is we partner with those companies that are excellent at what they do, so that we can be excellent in what we do. And so our clients can be excellent at what they do. So it’s all about working together. And it’s so true with what Jeremy is talking about with, it’s not still a what all you know, it’s who you know, and how can you leverage that so that it’s a win win for all the parties involved.
Speaker 4: Yeah. That’s something that I admire about JMARK is we take it so seriously that we don’t just take on every potential client. We talk with them, we make sure that our values align. We have the same end goals. And then if it’s mutually beneficial, we go through with it.
Jeremy: Yeah. It’s funny. Over my tenure here, I’ve visited with hundreds of prospects and I walk in and you shake hands. Well, we used to shake hands we don’t anymore. I guess now way elbow bump or whatever, but we start the conversation. I like to start a conversation by asking. So what do you do here? What makes you successful? What gage do you view in your business to show that you’re doing a good job and has nothing to do with technology? If they’re a nonprofit, it may be how many people they serve. It may be how many new accounts they open up their bank, is how many patients they see, it’s how many people they can cure of cancer through the process of treatment. I mean, there’s so many different businesses and so many different vertical markets that we deal with.
Everybody’s definition of success is different. Technology molds to fit that into, to help them meet those goals. But it’s something different for everybody. And like Todd said, I get the servers at anything. You give me a problem I can throw servers at and probably fix it. You don’t give me a problem how I could still throw server with that and fix it. But if I don’t know what the goal is, what success looks like, then you’re just throwing technology at a problem. And ultimately that’s not the answer. The answer is trying to use it as an effective tool to get there. You don’t want to… if you’re sick and you’ve got a cold, you don’t go to the urologist or you don’t go to an oncologist necessarily. You go to a specialist that, and your general practitioner will point you to the right doctor, the right specialist.
And I’ve used technology a lot the same way. There’s a specialist, there’s a special technology. There’s a special, piece of technology that will fit most needs. And if it’s finding that, over the years I’ve come to terms with and become comfortable with the fact that I don’t want to be the specialist necessarily. I enjoy being the general practitioner, the one who can say, I’m not the guy to pick up for you, but I know somebody who does, and it may be one of my peers at JMARK, or it may be a vendor, or it may be my competition if that’s what’s best for the client. So that at least we’re helping them solve the problem by bringing the right people to the table. And that’s really what is fulfilling, is helping them meet their business or their organization’s mission or goal.
Speaker 5: Yeah. One of the things I’ve had for a long time was a mantra in businesses that, we want to be excellent at a few things instead of just okay and a lot. So we know what we are good at, what we focus on, and we’re not afraid to say, hey, that’s just not our expertise. However, I know a guy, I know a girl, I know somebody that we can work with and help us, help you solve that problem. And I think that’s really refreshing for people to know that we’re not going to just come in and say, yeah, we can do that. No problem. And at the end of the day, we really couldn’t do that. And we were not effective in what we were doing. And we ended up wasting time and resources of a company that could have been better sharp if we would just, would’ve stepped up and said, we can’t do that. We can do this. And that’s what the value of partnerships helps us to be able to bring to the table.
Todd: [crosstalk] One thing I think that’s important to understand here is, I want to make sure that someone listening, doesn’t see JMARK example, as the spoke. The spoke that’s coordinating and, others are doing the work. The nice thing about what we’ve done over the years is that JMARK has specialized in so many different areas. So there are, there’s a team for audit compliance at banks. There’s a team that takes care of hospitality clients. There’s a team that takes care of business intelligence. There’s a team that takes care of the tech plans and the strategy and the five-year budgets that we do for our clients, and there’s teams for all of the reporting and stuff like that. And then one of the critical things that [Pat] is involved in is when there are those times that we need additional technical resources, just many different things.
We have this bench of deep relationships with partners. Partners being companies like HP, HPE, Cisco, and we can go to them and we’ve developed these partnerships in a way that isn’t just a vendor relationship, but it’s truly a partner relationship. So when we say, hey, we need someone that can jump 10 feet high. They’ll send us someone that can jump 10 feet high, because we’ve developed this partnership. And that’s not a good example. That’s when we really had to tell. The idea is that it’s through the constant development over many years, that we’ve been able to develop these partnerships that come in behind us and support us, and allow us to have greater flexibility and speed at delivering services and products to our clients.
Pat: Well, I think it’s important that it happens on both ends with actual partnership in mind. That the partnerships that Pat works with are the partnerships between JMARK and our clients. It’s a process of actually seeking out and setting up a process so that you can have a true partnership. So that there’s, that those levels of communication, those levels of understanding, and so that you are looking to raise each other up versus simply solve a problem, and then leave it at that.
Speaker 4: Yeah. I’m glad that we’re talking about this, because I feel like a lot of people don’t view their technology vendor this way. And not only should you, I mean you have to, technology is never going away. It’s only going to become more important to your business. And I just see this from going to trade shows, I talk to people and I say, how’s your technology? And they see it as a necessary evil, not as a partnership for success for their business.
Todd: I think that’s interesting that you say that because over the last three to four months, we’ve had a dramatic change, previously three to four months ago, I think there was a lot of people saying technology is a necessary evil. We know we heard them say that now there’s this massive push towards digital transformation. There’s this massive push people going. I need security. I need better security because there’s everything in the world is pointing at. There’s more danger in terms of security. The remote distributed remote workforce that has had been thrust upon everybody to work from home and, using cloud and fast applications and remote access into data and phone systems that a lot more flexibility, all of this has been accelerated in the last, three to four months and has created a massive push towards digital transformation. People don’t realize that they’re doing it, but even little things like paper, it’s hard to move paper around when you’re hundreds of miles from your colleague or even a few blocks. And so things like, how do I sign documents now? Where do we store processes? How do we access processes? How do we forward phone calls? These are questions that weren’t on top of people’s minds, and what’s frustrating is that many IT companies before all this, took the approach of, we can implement technology for less.
We can implement technology and help you be successful. But the thing is, all they were doing was implementing technology. They weren’t going in like we’re doing and going, where do you want to be in five years? Here’s the trends that are happening. What are you doing to understand these trends? Let us work through this. Here’s a weakness in your network that we found, and if this isn’t solved by this date, you’re potentially going to have some issues. And so that’s the difference in that JMARK goes in, and I don’t want people listening to this going, this is just a big sales pitch, but I find it really frustrating. But I find it inspiring a little bit too, because we go in and we are a true partner.
We actually look at their budgets. We sit at the table. We talk to them, frankly and forthright about the problems about the future. So that when something like this happens, it’s not, crap what do I do now? It’s they’re ready. We had so many clients that were just absolutely ready and it was just like, okay, if I go home. Whereas at the same time, we had many clients who in the first week of the lockdown, I think, I don’t know if you remember Jeremy. I think it was something like 300 tickets in the first day were related to remote access. Most IT companies would have collapsed at a massive influx of tickets. And JMARK is just like hold my beer. It was just another day. Because we have gone through the process, figuring out where do we need to go? What partnerships do we need? What strategies do we need? And that is why it is so important now to have partnerships, because as we’re coming out of this situation, it’s not going to be a, just go back to normal. [inaudible] entirely new strategy that has to go in place. You need partners to do that. Sorry, go ahead Jeremy.
Jeremy: No, It’s fine.
Todd: [inaudible] get up my soap box.
Jeremy: I’m going to take over the same soap box, I think because that’s one of the things that’s always, I don’t want to say it frustrates me because I mean, it just is, it is what it is, but I’ll go ahead and say, it frustrates me because the people that [Tivity] drive the market. And the market has become where clients or prospects to JMARK are trained to think, okay, how can you handle my IT cheaper? How can you do this but do it the same, but cheaper.
Todd: [crosstalk] was talking about.
Jeremy: Exactly. And it’s kind of what people are conditioned towards because I think most, not just IT companies, but even an IT person, that’s stuck in an organization and insulated, not exposed to other networks, not exposed to other businesses other than their own, you become… what’s the old saying, when you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail or something like that. There’s some saying like that. I think that’s the mindset people are into, like technology, where’s my hammer? Who’s got a cheaper hammer? Who’s got a bigger hammer? Nobody takes a step back and says, do I need a screwdriver? It’s just, I need more hammers. I need cheaper hammers. And so, instead of actually going in to try to solve problems a lot of times what we have to do is talk about, well, here’s what a hammer is for. And you don’t need a hammer. You need a screwdriver, you need a petty knife and you need a widget.
Todd: And [inaudible]
Jeremy: Yeah. Or possibly non-construction related items. But that’s really what people have become accustomed to. Because whenever you’ve been told as a nontechnical person, that you need a different hammer for all these years, every problem starts to look like a problem that needs to be solved with the hammer, and not even a problem just in enhancement. And then that becomes hindering.
Todd: And that’s the problem right now. That’s the problem right now is that business owners and executives are looking at the situation and going, okay, things are changing businesses down. I got to find someone that will implement the right technology for the cheapest price possible and will get me to the next level. But that’s the wrong attitude to have because it’s the same attitude as before. Now is the time when you have to have a partnership with somebody that has taken companies through this already, that has taken companies through disasters, through multiple themes like this. And it’s a shame because I think what’s going to happen is due to the market conditions, we’re going to have a massive influx of Johnny ponytails that are going out into the market, working out of their trunk, going, I know everything, I’m an expert. I can do it all.
Jeremy: Yeah. I was just having a fun thought and this is not possible, but it would be really cool to hang a microphone within JMARK and within other IT companies in IT departments, and do a frequency count on the words that are used throughout the day. Can you think of a day in the last ever at JMARK where the word innovation isn’t used 20 times or a hundred times, or where, people aren’t thinking [crosstalk] transformation, how to make things better, constant improvement and Kaizen. These are all words that are ingrained in our culture and we take it for granted.
Todd: Better normal. We’ve made up that term. Nobody’s talking about it.
Speaker 4: [inaudible] I hear every day too for sure.
Jeremy: Yeah. And versus a company or an IT department who is stuck, who is in the unenviable position of trying to keep the wheels on the bus. They’re trying to, using words like duct tape and, work late and, patch this and things like that. It would be a really cool infographic to see the frequency count of all these words giving years, because it’s an intangible, but that’s why I was [crosstalk].
Speaker 5: I have never once sat in a meeting with the bigger brain trust and not have the conversation, it inevitably always turns to how is this making the business of our clients better? That’s where any conversation it might start out about technology and that’s where it ends. That’s always the focal point that it gets followed too, because that’s that’s the mindset is, where we started. I can’t remember if Todd or Jeremy who was the one that was talking about technology simply being a tool, and the purpose of that tool, the hammer screwdriver, whatever in our minds is to make the business of the clients better. Accelerate their success.
Todd: The interesting thing about that to [inaudible] is that, I’ve been in this industry for over 25 years and IT is kind of boring in some aspects, just talking about it. But the amazing thing I’ve seen at JMARK is in those conversations that you’re talking about, there have been [inaudible], there have been many instances where I’ve been totally surprised and that’s awesome. I mean, last month we were talking about the new reporting that’s going out to our clients. It is freaking amazing. I have never seen anything like it in the industry. We have a new strategy on productization going out, we talk about, but it is no one’s doing it and it’s not to better us. It actually costs us more money it’s to better our clients. And that’s what [inaudible] partnering in this.
Jeremy: Yeah. That goes back to the thought of innovation and how do we do more with technology that other people aren’t it’s, so one of the things that’s hard to harden diversity localized because it’s so ingrained in the culture and it’s ingrained in what we do every day. But other places I’m trying not to use specific examples because I don’t want to cross a line there, but I’ve walked into businesses before who are, as a consumer, as a customer of that business and see them. I can just tell by the way they’re utilizing their technology, that it’s a necessary evil, it’s a tool that they hate and they’re using a hammer to do a screwdriver’s job and they don’t even realize it. And I’m also realizing that I’m apparently obsessed with tools and I need to get better analogies.
Speaker 5: So, I will take this analogy [crosstalk]
Jeremy: And I’ve got a screwdriver on my desk it’s probably [inaudible] problem. I need to hide my tool.
Speaker 5: I will take this analogy and expand upon it from the partner side. And when I speak about partners right now, I’m talking about the technology partners that I’ve worked with, such as the Microsoft, which I’m wearing a Microsoft shirt right now. And HP, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Cisco, [inaudible] Barracuda, others that we work with. And a lot of times I was pleased. They’re going to come to us and say, hey, we’ve got all these tools and this is our hammer. This is our saw, this is our screwdriver and so forth. And what we try to do is, in fact not what we try to do, what we do is when we engage with our clients and maybe it’s a new prospect, somebody we’re discussing with, we don’t show up with all, but a big tool set and say, well, this is what we have the fix you.
It’s just like Jeremy is talking about, it’s about finding out what are your business outcomes you’re looking for? What is it your goals for this year, three years, five years down the road, and even our clients that we now have an agreement with that we are taking care of their IT, or we develop a technology plan, but that plan is not developed where we come in with products and try to fit a plan around products. Instead, we say what are your goals? What are the things you need to achieve? And then when we go to our toolbox and say, okay, what do we have that we can use to assist us in you reaching those goals? So I think that’s really good because we’re not trying to take that round thing to spit it into a square hole. Going back to the NASA analogy when we’re talking about the movie Apollo 13, and I’m a big movie buff. So I usually bring a movie reference in, but it’s so critical that people understand that we are trying to find the best solution, but it’s more about what are your outcomes you’re looking for. And then let’s see what we have through our partnerships to reach those objectives.
Speaker 4: Yeah. I feel like a big part of what allows JMARK to operate in this way. And in this mindset of a partnership with our clients and adding to the success of their business is how established we are. And the fact that we’ve been around for 32 years. I’m sure in the beginning years we learned how not to do it, which unfortunately there’s a lot of new technology companies popping up every day who don’t have that under their belt yet.
Todd: Pat you’ve, in terms of partnership, I want to make sure some people understand this because from the standpoint of an MSP like JMARK and the bench that I was talking about, that we have behind us in that partnership, there have been times when that outcome from the client has been, I need this, and that could be a certain budget that they have. And we often go back and work with the partner over and over until we get to the right solution, the right margins. And that’s not something that many vendor partners are willing to do with just anybody, because we’ve taken the time to show them we’re the right partner that is going to get this implemented and we’re going to get implemented it right. You probably have some examples Pat, I don’t know, off the top of your mind, but examples of where an outcome was requested and we delivered it basically through our partnership. That would be interesting.
Speaker 5: Yeah. We, I mean, obviously there’s the budget outcomes, that’s always a big thing. We can only stand [crosstalk]
Todd: Important [inaudible] especially.
Speaker 5: Yeah, exactly. And so we’ve tried to be very creative. I mean if the, maybe there’s an opportunity, where [leasing] might work. I mean some of our partners like Cisco and the Hewlett-Packard Enterprise have initiatives that are specific to the COVID-19, with the economic situations where you can have a deferred payment. Where you can have a less payment for the first eight month or something creative, 0% interest, whatever it is. So there’s those options that we look at, but we also say aside from that, what else can be done? I mean, yeah, maybe it would be great to have this much storage, or this capability on the connectivity side of the network, but do we really need that at this point? And can we phase it, can we put it in process for maybe next year or later on and just add that functionality, what would that look like?
We work with our retinol partners and take a look at the options that are available. I mean, even so where I’ve had situation where we couldn’t actually meet it on maybe a brand new, but there is an option for refurbished. And that happens once in a while that comes with the same warranty. And so we’ll say, well, is this an option? Can we do that instead? And that sometimes has worked as well. Obviously go back to the table and say, Hey, listen, I know we’re getting, what to say, we’re going to have about $50,000 worth of a product that’s going to be purchased here, but a year down the road, they’ve got a really big a project that needs to happen. And so it’s much larger. This is just to get started. So we’re trying to give the whole picture to the partner so we can work on maybe getting reduced pricing to help meet the budget, or maybe it’s the case of, where we’ve got a situation of, needing to install something. And how can we produce the cost there and so forth. I’ll think of some good examples for you.
Jeremy: I’ve actually got a fun story. This is from a few years ago. I see Dax grin because, I feel like grandpa on the rocking chair at the time, coming up with an old story of, something that happened but [crosstalk]
Pat: Jeremy’s like, I’ve got a story about that. It’s usually worth hearing.
Todd: Usually involves a donkey or a chicken or [crosstalk].
Jeremy: No, nothing like that. But this was years ago. This was back when I was still being a tech. I was still techning. I got a call from a client and they weren’t a client that we managed. And so it was just a customer that we did [inaudible] work for. And they’d done a project a while back where we’re talking 10 years ago. So, some of the things I’m going to say are going to sound dated, they are. We did a project where we redirected all of their documents to the server, and that was a big push 10, 15 years ago, because by default windows stores all your documents in the, my documents folder on your computer, the problem with that is if you make a document, save it to your computer, you don’t save it to the server. Your computer dies. You lose your work. That sucks.
So we did a project where we redirected all the my documents on people’s computers up to the server. We did an inventory of everybody’s documents. We calculated that against the server capacity. There was enough room. We did the project, everything was super duper. About six months later, I got a call from the client and they said, I need to find more aggressive rates for my server. We’re out of space. And I thought, wow, that escalated quickly. Well, I wonder what changed and I don’t know, but give me more space. I need a quote right now. We’re going to run out of space and I need a quote. I said, well, let me ask a question did some big project happened. Did you do something differently that made you use this space? And the customer had that mentality of, I need another hammer.
I got a problem. Give me a hammer. And I pushed back a little bit and did a quick analysis by looking. And I found that one particular user, their usage had just spiked in the last few weeks and went in and look. And it turns out that apparently for their birthday, they got a gift card. And again, this is back when people use CDs. If you don’t know what a CD is, look it up on Wikipedia. It’s how music used to come after cassettes, before MP3s and, iTunes, they went and bought the complete works of Alan Jackson and they ripped all the CDs to their computer. So they had them they’re listened to, and they saved in my documents. So we had tons of data that was in a music folder in their my documents that had synced up to the server. And by tweaking how their thinking was set up, we were able to remove all of our Alan Jackson’s greatest hits from the server.
They no longer had to buy anything. And then that’s not really a partnership with a vendor per se, like Pat was talking about, but that’s an example of how using the right tool for the right resource, doing some analytical thinking, asking the question of what’s the underlying problem, rather than, I always think to myself many times in the past, if they called 10 IT companies and said, I need more storage space, sell me more hard drives for my server. How many of them would have said, I will sell you more hard drive to chain versus looking at it. It took 10 minutes to make that change to the sync settings and delete all those, music files and their problem was solved and they didn’t have to spend a penny. So sometimes it’s just a matter of asking the right questions.
And, Christina mentioned it, before I think about it being kind of in our culture, our core values, our number one core value. If you list them all out is honesty, do they honestly need more hard drives? Did you know what is honestly the best thing for the client? And that’s one of my favorite old stories, because it was, I mean, it was such a simple fix. And I always think, at a 10 IT companies, nine of them probably would have sold them more hard drives that they didn’t need.
Speaker 5: [crosstalk]
Jeremy: What was that?
Speaker 5: I’d country music.
Todd: [inaudible] Pat, you said something and Jeremy, you just reinforce it that I thought was pretty interesting in that you were talking about how the right solution for a client might be a creative finance solution or strategy that differs payments or differs installation and implementation. Well, how that relates to what Jeremy said is a typical IT company will go. That means I don’t get money till later that doesn’t serve me. That doesn’t help me. And there was a thing that we were watching the other day. Jeremy I think you saw this where they were saying that when the lockdown happened, 28% of IT companies could… not when the lockdown happened. I think it was like right now, 28% of IT companies can’t handle the influx of remote support requests.
And I may add that a little bit off, but the takeaway from that is that these companies are the ones that are stretched. They’re not the ones that will go, sure we can pay six months from now no worries. They are the ones that need the money now. And if your IT company is so stretched that they’re not willing to get creative with financing through partner services or creative with distillation, or even pull back from the strategy and say, you know what your strategy is sound. But we can probably wait four months to do this and six months to do this. And that will help kind of level things out. Your typical IT company and the trunk slammers that we’re talking about are going to be, I need money. I need money now I’ll give them now. Discount it even more so I can get money now. And that’s not a good partnership.
Jeremy: That’s exactly right. I know Todd can relate to this. Having been in this industry at a leadership level for a lot of years. I can speak to it from JMARK’s perspective. When I started at JMARK there were three of us. And for years your goal every week is to meet payroll, is to make sure that you can pay the bills. And a lot of IT companies work in that mindset and it’s unfortunate because it does cloud your judgment. It clouds that feeling of, yeah, I’ll sell you hard drives my kids need new shoes, versus a company that is successful that has money in the bank that runs without debt. It’s important to be able to be to make the right decision for the client and be able to look to the future and say, this is what you need irregardless, irregardless isn’t a word, regardless… the [inaudible] is about to hit me, regardless of what I need, because the right decisions is the right decision.
Speaker 5: [inaudible] Go ahead [inaudible]
Todd: I was going to say that the… a little bit of a different topic, but the other thing that we were listening to in the same video that was talking about the 28% metric is the speaker was talking about how every sales relationship, or client business relationship is a selfish relationship. In the sense that it’s selfish because the client, once we want to make the client not we, but companies want to make the client think that they’re getting more than they’re paying for. And by first or on the client side, we want to make them, or IT companies want to make them feel like they’re getting the value where we’re actually making more money. And I didn’t like that. I slightly agree with it, but I think that is a dangerous philosophy to, or [inaudible] road to go down, because a true partnership is right next to you, helping you get through the mud, getting dirty with you and to bring Jeremy the analogy, then they’re there with the hammer and the nails and the screwdrivers building whatever needs to be built.
And that’s what is so different about JMARK is, sure JMARK is a premium service. There’s no qualms about that. We’re not the lowest price person on the block, so to speak. We go in and we create the value though, so that our clients are successful. And I think that’s so important because we’re going essentially, like our motto says people first technology second, we’re going with honesty. We’re going with the integrity of how do we make them successful? How do we make the employee successful? And by doing so, that will make JMARK successful. And that’s a big difference in this selfish mindset.
Speaker 5: Yeah. You know, one of my favorite motivational speakers [inaudible] said, if you help enough people get what they want, then you will get what you want. That’s probably a paraphrase, but it’s very true.
Jeremy: Another story from my past that has always resonated with me about, Todd you just made me think of it is, our best clients, the ones who get the most value from JMARK and the ones who we really enjoy working with are the ones who understand that. And it’s a symbiotic relationship because whenever, and I’m sure everybody that’s on this call, you thought of a certain client and went, yeah, they get the value of JMARK and they don’t look at it as how do I get more out of JMARK?
How do I twist just a little more out of them? Now they want us to succeed as much as we want them to succeed, and it’s not to sound hokey, but it’s like love the more you give, the more you get. It’s really a thing. And the first time that ever really hit me, where I understood that value was with a certain client. This is when I was in a role of an account manager. They were buying a handful of computers, 10 or 12 computers to cycle out that year’s technology cycle. And at that point, computers were kind of allocated there were, we were in a cycle where they were kind of hard to come by and I just couldn’t get them for as good of a price if they could find them elsewhere.
Because I looked at some of the online retailers and the same computer was way cheaper than I could get them for. So in the core value of honesty, I contacted this client. I said, this is the computer you need. This is the one we’ve specked out. This is the one that meets your technology needs. Here’s how much I can get it for. I’m going to send you a link so that you can go buy it online because I can’t compete with it. Their prices are just stupid good. And in the value of honesty, I would not want you to buy that from us because I can’t get it as cheap. And she didn’t hesitate, she looked at me and we were on a phone call.
She said, Jeremy, that’s not what we’re doing here. I want to get them from you. There’s value to getting that through you. I want JMARK to succeed. To me, it’s 30 or $40 on a computer. I don’t care. You got me the value. You picked it out for me. And that’s going to help JMARK. That company on the internet won’t be there for me whenever I call at 10 o’clock at night with a problem, you will be. That company doesn’t care about the success of my business you do. I’ll buy it from you regardless. And that’s where I understood, for the first time. This isn’t just the vendor client relationship. This is a true partnership where there’s a trust involved and we all want what’s best for each other. And it was such a liberating, awesome feeling to know that that value was reciprocated both ways.
Todd: That’s an awesome story. And that clearly shows what we’re trying to talk about in a simple story. Nowadays the partnerships that we’ve been able to develop, that’s usually not the case. Just because things have changed so dramatically over the years with technology, and what’s different to is that we haven’t touched upon, a little bit of a different topic is in my career, I’ve seen a lot of IT companies, and I’ve worked with a lot of IT companies, whether in just friends and colleagues out there that are in IT companies and nobody vets partners, nobody I’ve seen the vets partners like we do. They have a geek. Usually the business owner that is looking at a solution as a problem, they find this solution and go, let’s do that, pushes it down to their technicians.
They implement this and bam. We, on the other hand, I mean, it’s not easy to become a JMARK partner on the bench side. There is essentially not called interviews, but it’s basically interviews where we’re qualifying them. If they’re going to be the right fit for our client base, if the terms are right. We check everything with the agreements from a security and compliance standpoint. And if their partner agreement is a boilerplate agreement that doesn’t protect JMARK or our clients we push back. And there are times, I mean I remember a conversation really recently with a vendor company that a partner that said we’ve never had anybody ask this of us, and they are working with companies much larger than we are in rolling out this specific compliance solution.
And we’re like, sorry, but that’s what we do. That’s our rule. I mean, in the landscape that is in right now, that’s what has to happen. And we’ve had situations where we’ve gone through all of the, if ands or buts of a partnership, started the implementation and then we’ve gone back and fired them and said, you’re not the right fit for our clients based on your actions, essentially in this situation. And I’ve seen that just recently in the last month, and I think that’s so important to understand because it’s not going back to this whole conversation though, what’s best for the client. I mean, that’s where it all comes down to.
If we have a vendor partners that, their system, their software, their hardware is not protecting the data of our clients that holds them liable and holds us liable, and that’s not good for their longterm success. And I haven’t seen any other companies that have somebody like [Pat] that is specifically responsible for partnerships. And then behind Pat, there are security personnel, there’s productization. And if we want a partner to come in, it has to go through productization. It has to go through security view. It has to go through legal review. It is complicated and that is all done to benefit our clients. That’s what it’s for.
Jeremy: [crosstalk] It’s very true. And the other side of that coin is being on the new client acquisition side of things for as many years as I’ve been on it. It’s interesting watching the process of clients go through interviewing JMARK. Financial institutions are required to do a due diligence process to include gathering financials, to determine financial stability, verifying insurance policies, security policies and procedures, and we’re ready for all that. And we have it all ready to go when somebody asks for it. But it’s interesting that in a financial institution, they ask for that information and that oftentimes makes the decision of a vendor they go with versus a client that doesn’t have to go through those processes. And doesn’t go through that process. They end up making a decision based on price or based on some other criteria.
You can see the ramifications of that within the relationship sometimes for years to come because they go into it without the due diligence and without the right mindset of a partnership of what’s best for them, if it’s about price. And if it’s about what feels good right at the moment, it’s not always the best thing. What you just said, Todd actually goes both directions. We love it when clients do due diligence on us, because it just helps set us apart because I’ve asked clients that don’t have to do it, do due diligence, ask for this information from us, from other providers, you’ll see the difference.
Speaker 5: [inaudible]
Pat: I was just going to add one thing about, well, thoughts on that is that, we go to these trade shows. Okay. Every youth who are watching, haven’t been to a trade show, a conference where they’ve got the vendors out there, the booze and, notice some of them are on the IT side. And even, let’s say non IT, they might have a banner up. And it talks about all the different vendors that they represent or partnerships or what. And I’ve seen sometimes where our competition will have listed so many different logos. They’ll have HP and Lenovo and bill and a lot of times there are competing partnerships. And I think to myself, how do you develop a strong strategic partnership with all these different competing companies? And I don’t think you can do that very well.
And that’s why we have strategically chosen our partners, through the process that Todd was mentioning, because we see it as, hey, this is a partnership. This is not just another partner on our line card that we can say, we offer them. That’s not what we’re about. We are about, partnering with these companies and being able to have that strong relationship where [inaudible] concern there’s needs, there was pricing that needs to happen. The [inaudible] we can do that if there’s [inaudible] resources, we need training, whatever it is, then we have that strong partnership that, with a singular company that meets the needs that we have for our clients.
Todd: I think to add to that, one of the things Jeremy, that you made me think about is a lot of companies that we go into, it’ll be proposals against proposal, and they’ll be looking at these proposals and going, well, they do this and you do this. And it’s pretty much the same. But the problem is that there is so much misleading, and proposals in the IT industry, because companies are going in saying they do 24/7 monitoring and 24/7 monitoring doesn’t just mean you have a system that is collecting some data, 24/7, they have supposedly incident response. Incident response doesn’t mean you pick up the phone and say, what’s your incident? There is a process to follow.
There are companies out there saying they have in point security and they have log protection, all these things. And they’re just not providing those services, but they’re using the terms as these overarching umbrella terms, not purposely to mislead people because they think they’re right. And they think they’re doing it. They think they’re doing change control. They think they’re doing incident management. They think they’re doing security. But they’re really not. And that’s still frustrating because we go in and we have these a proposal that’s, put the foot and ours is more expensive, but we are offering all of those services. We’re offering the strategic support. Nobody goes in like we do on the quarterly reviews and it has the strategic conversation like we do. I’m okay saying there’s nobody out there in our market in any of our markets that doesn’t even close to what we do.
They will say they are doing a QBR quarterly business review. They’ll say they’re doing a strategy review. You haven’t seen a strategy review until you’ve sat down with JMARK on how we do them. And that’s the thing that people need to be aware of, talking about and closing up here this, the secret to implementing technology that helps you innovate that then improves your velocity, that increases your profits, that increases your productivity, that increases morale in the organization, that mitigates risks. It’s not just about the technology. It’s about the partnership because there is not a lot of eye to eye competition out there at our level in our markets, because what we’re doing is actually the truth of what we’re doing. And we have actually a new methodology that we’re going to be rolling out to all of our clients soon, that is going to go into our proposal processes, that is going to totally diffuse that problem. Because it will totally show why and what we’re doing compared to what our competition is doing.
And so, just to close this up, I think this has been one of my favorite conversations that we’ve had. The secret is partnerships. It’s partnerships on the MSP side, it’s partnerships that your MSP is having on the back and to support you. And that ecosystem that of partnerships is so important to create an environment where our clients can be successful, can walk their shoulders high through situations like we’re going through now instead of, just surviving, instead of just making it or maybe not making it.
And its been a little bit of a different episode today where we’re talking a lot about, comparing a lot of JMARK versus competition. We don’t usually do that, but it’s hard to not do that in this conversation because so many people fail at partnership.And so many people define it in a way that isn’t really a partnership. So if you’d like to learn more about how JMARK can partner with you to help you strategically move forward into a better normal, please reach out to us on our website JMARK.com or send us a chat through Facebook Messenger, and we’ll get back to you. Thanks for an awesome conversation and have a wonderful week.
Speaker 4: Yes.
Speaker 1: Thank you for attending this podcast. We hope it has been informative and helps convey that at JMARK we are people first and technology second. To learn more and discover additional content relevant to your business. Please visit us online at jmark.com or at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You may also call us at 844-44-JMARK. Thank you for your time. And we look forward to seeing you again.