A sea change is happening in the way we work. Like no other year, 2020 has shown us the importance of clarity in communication, the fundamental need for better ways to collaborate, and the team-building value of a united company culture. Client service expert John Harmon joins us to look back at JMARK’s recent symposium that focused on those three areas, charting the takeaways, revelations, and big moments that distinguished this one-of-a-kind event.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the [inaudible] Business, Innovation, Technology Experience.
Todd: Okay, welcome everybody that is joining us. If you are joining us live then you may know that last week we held the Communication and Collaboration Symposium. Our first virtual event, which was very, very successful and well received and today we have one of our Customer Relationship Managers, John Harmond, with us and we are going to talk about just the highlights and recaps from the event for those that were not able to attend because there were, obviously, some really important things that we talked about and that in this time and age with everything going on with COVID and chaos and craziness in the world is important and relevant to business. So to start us off, John from an observer in this, someone that didn’t take part in all of the planning and preparation like we did, can you give us kind of the outsider perspective of what your experience was and kind of some of the highlights that were pressed upon you?
John: Certainly. So some of the highlights I took away from it were around the telecommunications piece that Jeremy spoke about and he shared a story of a client that he worked with and worked with them on [inaudible] and upgrading their internet, also saving them some money. He talked a lot about the importance of internet with people moving to web-based applications or either Cloud hosted environments, the need for reliable [inaudible] we talked about workplace application. I feel like that’s kind of been our little kept secret at Jay Mark, and so [inaudible] shared for the first time to a wider audience. So that was pretty cool to see all the reactions there.
Todd: That’s great to hear. When you’re planning these things and you’re trying to figure out what exactly is it that people want to learn about, we kind of looked at ourselves and looked at what are the struggles that we’ve had? What are the struggles that we’ve been dealing with during this change and this time of changing? And Just that it rang true with so many people. And for me, it’s a little bit harder for me to talk about takeaways just because I was so close everything and same with Dax and Christina, but it was great to see the reaction to people to the tools and some of the strategies that we talked about because these are things that have helped us to quickly, I mean rapidly, adapt to changes in the marketplace and to see people’s reaction to this and see that, “Oh, wow. I didn’t even know that was out there.”
It was pretty cool and the little pieces from Jeremy about the cost savings in internet circuits and things that people don’t even think about very often to the [inaudible], which is a new product that we’ve put together, a bundle of products that we’ve put together which fills an exact need of something that’s needed in the marketplace. And then on to workplace. I think it was really cool just to see everything kind of come out and be able to share these things with everybody else who’s also struggling with these things.
Speaker 5: Yeah. I think one of my big takeaways, Todd, is you said you were close to your presentation and your presentation the title was Increasing Velocity and Creating Success and one of my big takeaways was hearing Jeremy tell those stories about people who had done that through telecom, hearing the individual stories of we had a Q&A with some other companies that are using Workplace from Facebook to really bring their culture together and how it’s helped them, specifically this year with their workforce distributed, but how it’s also helped them the companies that are using it in the past to bring their culture together in ways. And that was a big takeaway for me is these individual pieces that we’ve talked about at the different points in the symposium how each of them is maybe a small thing and may be something that people sort of overlook, the way that having a better communication system really does help you create success. That you go out and you get these pieces to bring your pieces together and you can actively make that happen. You don’t just have to sort of be resigned to “Oh, our workforce is distributed. It’s going to be hard to get things done now.” And instead you can go out and look and there are solutions that create success and I love that phrase, “Increase velocity.”
Christina: Yeah, I wanted to point out some stats that Todd had in his presentation. Pretty crazy. 99% of remote workers would like to continue doing so at least to some extent and then 25-30% of the workforce will be working remotely from home by the end of 2021. So this stuff is very relevant and very important.
Todd: Yeah, and I think a lot of people hear that and may hear that 99% and just it’s like, “No way. That’s full of it. My people aren’t like that.” And whether you accept that number or not, it doesn’t matter. The truth though is that in all these reports since the beginning of COVID they have in every independent study, they have all gone up independently from February to now and it’s a big adaptation that companies are going to have to make. It’s just reality. People, for the most part, are enjoying working from home. They’re enjoying the productivity that they can gain. They’re enjoying not having to spend time in commutes and dressing down and not having to iron shirts and I don’t know what else. But yeah, definitely big changes.
Speaker 5: Yeah, it’s interesting. I was actually looking at some stats yesterday and I should have thought about it quicker and pulled it up, but it was talking about someone had done a survey this year and it was earlier this year where people were frustrated with communicating and most especially [inaudible] about collaborating in a remote environment and that I think that’s a huge takeaway for me is that I have never felt that since we… I’m remote. Regular listeners of this podcast will know I am remote. I live in Utah, Jay Mark is in Missouri. So I am remote all the time, but even more so I think other people from Jay Mark, Christina and maybe John, you guys can speak to this, but I haven’t felt that frustration with collaboration because we’ve had these tools in place the entire time that we have all been at home. And so it was a much smoother transition.
We already had placed a premium on making sure that people who worked together, no matter where they’re at, and I think that’s so important that this communication and collaboration can happen almost seamlessly if you find the right tools and take the time. And I think that’s what’s important is take the time to look at the tools that are available, look at your needs, and talk with an MSP, talk with your technology provider and figure out what you need and how to put those in place because they really do make a difference. And if you get the right one in place it’s a game changer.
Todd: Yeah, we’ve talked about this a little bit in the past, but just the rapidness at which we as a company changed to being so disparate and working apart was… It was essentially an E-mail. It was like, “Okay, tomorrow go home.” And in everything, maybe a few hiccups here and there, but overall it was pretty successful. But then again, we are a technology company and we use technology as a forward thinking strategy to solve a lot of our problems. And so we’ve made those changes. And so, John, you work with clients a lot. Have you seen some of these changes and adapting to digital transformation and working from home? What’s the word that you hear with companies you’re working with.
John: Yeah, absolutely I’ve seen a shift. Even the clients that I work with that are back in the office or have been for some time are still using more of the tools they have available for virtual meetings, less travel time. They’re more efficient with these tools and I think that we’re going to see that continue even as everything that’s going on right now as it normalizes, we hope, and you can have more in person meetings I think that everyone realizes there’s a more efficient way to do things with the tools that are available.
Todd: The other thing that I think is it important to mention because it goes into everything else that happened in the symposium is how much companies are adapting in terms of digital transformation to everything that’s happening in the world. Banks are making changes to automated teller machines, schools and education are going, for the most part, online, distance learning, you have the shipping industry that has just exploded, online shopping has just exploded. One of the things I share in the presentation was that we’ve gone through six months or what was it? Six years of digital transformation in… Or a decade of digital transformation in the last six months. And so it’s that change that companies are having to adapt not just for their internal workforce, but adapt to the changes in customer behaviors. And what are some those? Are you seeing some of those kind of product changes, service changes, and customers actually changing to meet the changing needs of their customers?
John: [inaudible] and I work with healthcare who work with law firms and CPAs. There’s not one industry that this shift is for. It’s across the board. And so each industry might have unique things to them that they need to shift with, but a lot of the… Not challenges, but necessary changes apply to everyone.
Speaker 5: Yeah, one of the things that, and John you already touched on this a little bit, but I think it was eye opening to me to listen to Jeremy talk and talk about internet and internet circuits and phone systems and those things that you’ve touched on, John, is that people sort of dismiss those things a little bit because they’re so common. Jeremy talked about the fact that the people don’t necessarily want to think about it because it’s not exciting, but that is such an important fundamental thing to the foundation of this technology’s success. That it helps you adapt to these things whether you’re bringing people back into the office, like you mentioned, John, that the other people are doing or they’re distributed. This is how you communicate. This is how you set the foundation so that you can start adapting these other tools that companies are starting to release. And it’s easy to overlook, but it’s such an important change for people to look at and such an easy thing to do. That’s one thing Jeremy pointed out that you talk to your technology proprietor, a telecom provider, somebody like Jay Mark, that can go out and we can help you find the answers, help you find the best telecom situation for your company based on your needs, based on what you’re trying to achieve.
John: Yeah, whether you have a blend of remote workers or mostly in office workers, a lot of your workforce is going to be accessing the same line of business applications via the web, and so it’s not just your work internet. It’s your home internet too. But the story that Jeremy shared I’m familiar with, it’s a client that I work with, and they were able to put in a new phone system, they were able to increase their internet and save each month and those savings they were able to reallocate to other projects specifically for IT. That’s just that company. Any company would sign up for that. That’s a home run. Boost your performance and save money? You can do a lot of things with those savings. So yeah, it’s a great piece from Jay Mark, the telecommunications team, and they can do a lot of cool stuff.
Todd: Yeah, I think it’s worth highlighting that case study that Jeremy mentioned for those that are listening what John was talking about is a case study where we had a client that had a 50 meg circuit. We upgraded them to a 100 meg circuit. They had an aging eight year old phone system that was needing to be replaced and we replaced with a hosted phone system [inaudible] provider and essentially gave them more features, more adaptability for their organization, increased their internet, and did it with a savings of over $400 a month and not having to put out a hefty $20,000 upgrade to their phone system. And a lot of people, like you said, phone systems just… It’s kind of the same with technology in some ways. It’s not sexy. It’s the phone. You just pick it up and you talk to people, but that’s not phones anymore. It’s not really phones. It’s communications. And with current communications platforms you can have meetings, you can do video calls, you can talk on your business telephone line on your cellphone, you can get messages on your cell phone from your business telephone line, you make calls on your cellphone to your business telephone line.
There’s just so many different capabilities and a lot of people I think are stuck in this mindset of it’s a phone, it works, why do I need to change it? But the reality is the world is changing and it’s those type of those tactics and strategies and tools that allow companies to quickly adapt because at the beginning of COVID I can’t even count the number of times I spoke with Robert, one of our account reps, and he was constantly calling people that they would have a message on their phone system that just said, “Sorry. We don’t have the ability to take phone calls. We’ll come in once a day to collect messages and blah, blah, blah.” Nothing’s being forwarded, nothing’s going… People aren’t being informed of people calling in. That’s chaotic. If you can’t get the communications from your customers, that’s crazy and so it’s a changing world and I think that’s what was so good about Jeremy’s presentation. Just to hear the savings that can actually happen when companies are truly trying to figure out how to be distributed and do it without increased expense. That is definitely one thing that is huge.
Speaker 5: Yeah, I wanted to share another quick anecdote, which so, Todd, you mentioned Rob who actually after the symposium was over was talking to a client and that client had… Or not a client, a prospector of someone who was talking to him about a better phone system and Jeremy had mentioned in his presentation about the ability to switch from having a conversation online on the phone and switching over just seamlessly to the cellphone app and continuing the conversation. And this person said, “That is amazing. That’s exactly what I need. If I had, had that yesterday, I could have continued a conversation I was having at the end of the day and driven to my kids football game and I wouldn’t have missed that.” And it’s small things like that, that you don’t even know what technology sometimes how it has changed and what’s possible until you talk to a technology provider and explore some of these options that you might not even be keeping track of that are changing the game.
Christina: Yeah, exactly. And I think that a lot of business owners might be hesitant because they just hear money, very expensive. Don’t have time for that or the resources, but again, this case study it’s incredible. They got this way better situation and saved money, so it’s worth at least looking into.
Todd: Yeah, and the other thing that Jeremy mentioned that he didn’t spend a lot of time on though is something that is even less sexy and that’s internet bandwidth. And for those that aren’t familiar with the telecom industry, there’s a gazillion internet providers that just piggyback on top of each other and it’s crazy and a lot of times you will buy a service from one provider and they’re just piggybacking on another provider and that’s piggybacking on another provider that’s piggybacking on another one. And what we do is we go in and take your bills and look at your providers and figure out what has changed because technology in all areas is changing at an astronomical pace and even with internet circuits in that case study we went from 50 to 100 meg and saved them a bunch of money. There’s things like that, that we can do that don’t take any energy, any time from you. It’s just us looking at the data and looking at our resources of all the different companies we work with and our understanding of how it all works to go, “This is a better solution for you and it’ll save you money or get your more bandwidth or both.”
John: Yeah, and in the end it all ties back to business continuity. And so it’s an investment into your business to create efficiencies and consistency to keep churning the revenue and the important line of business applications and the things that you work with everyday being able to utilize those. You can process orders, you can get billing out, all that important stuff to your business is all… it all comes back to this.
Todd: Very true. So let’s move on to recapping some of the insights from Gary’s presentation, Gary Adams. He talked about just this idea of making connections and kind of started out with the conference call bingo, which many of us have seen and kind of laughed at, and the mini Zoom calls and other remote calls we’ve all be a part of. And kind of went into what are some of your guys takeaways on Gary’s presentation and the [inaudible] product?
Speaker 5: I love it. So for those who, again, weren’t there, maybe don’t know, [inaudible] is a full product we’re offering for conference rooms. And it can be adapted to different size conference rooms and it’s the cameras, the monitors, the microphones, everything you need to do this video conferencing and the key component of it is to finally help solve this problem of having these hybrid meetings where you’ve got some people in the conference room, some people coming in through video and it just it’s such a hard problem to fix because there’s always somebody who can’t hear, somebody who can’t see. And, again, as somebody who works remote full-time, I’ve absolutely been on the bad end of those conference calls and it’s really frustrating.
And so when I first heard about this [inaudible] product, I was excited. I was excited because I thought finally I’m going to be able to hear and understand and see everything that’s happening when I’m remote and other people are in a conference room. And that’s amazing. We’re talking, again, any size. From a conference room, which it can be hard even if there’s only two people in the small conference room sometimes and it’s just so great to be able to be a part of where you’re actually a part of the conversation and a part of the meeting even if you’re not in the room with people and it makes such a huge difference in the tone of those meetings.
Todd: Yeah, and I don’t know. I just want to make sure that there is a very clear understanding of the frustration and how valid this is because I’m full-time remote also and when we went on the marketing team, we’ve almost other than Michelle and Christina sharing an office, we’re pretty much all in different states and our meetings have always been remote, but they’re essentially 100% remote. We’ve had great communication, we see each other’s faces, we know when someone else is talking. When you are in a conference room with 10 people and you’re one of a few people that’s remote, it is maddening to the nth degree. There is internet issues possibly where you’re talking and they haven’t finished talking or you think they finished talking and you start talking and then they think you’re interrupting them and you’re not interrupting them and there’s people will turn one way and then the remote people can’t hear them or they’ll look at somebody in the face and the remote people can’t hear them.
And these are all just human behaviors. It’s not that the people are intentionally doing anything wrong, but this system [inaudible] just kills all of that. It makes it all efficient, all organized where everybody can hear other. There’s multiple microphones, it’s agnostic so it works with Zoom or Webex or whatever your flavor of remote communications is nowadays and when we were using this on the exec team, it was like “Woo hoo!” It was awesome. Just when we were testing out because all of a sudden I could now hear everything that was happening in the room, wasn’t accidentally talking over people and as we move into this environment of a hybrid world where there are still going to be some people in the office and there’ll be some people at home, this kind of system is just it’s a god send.
John: Yeah, the piece about it being agnostic, that’s huge. We’ve all learned in moving to a work from home environment for an extended period of time there’s so many flavors of video conferencing solutions and whether it’s in our organization or different clients that we work with, everyone has a favorite it seems like. And so being able to work with all of those is so… That’s great. I’m really excited for this piece.
Speaker 5: I think the other aspect of this too is that it’s not going to be just for your own internal meetings because more and more we are moving into a world where your market is… The region for your market is as big as you want to make it. And you can have clients anywhere and this helps that problem because you can have these meetings with these clients and as frustrating as these meetings are where there’s… What’s that?
Todd: Or employees anywhere.
Speaker 5: Yeah, yeah. Very true. But as frustrating as these meetings are when it’s employees, when it’s one internal team, that frustration just sky rockets if it’s a client that’s on the video end of that. And you’re trying to have this meeting with somebody whether maybe it’s a presentation and you’re trying to that’s a prospect and you’re having communication issues, that can just deadline, flat line your chances of getting that account if there are meeting troubles and it might not be anything with what you’re presenting, it might just be the communication issues. And this helps solve that. But it’s the same thing even if it’s a longterm client. It’s so nice to just be able to speak to them and know that everybody can hear each other and be heard.
Christina: Yeah, that reminds me of one of the things Gary touched on which is back in the day people invested in the meeting space physically. The table and the chairs because at that time the clients and the prospects were coming in for the meeting. Well, we’re living in the future. Now is the time to switch that investment to the technology because these things are going to become more and more and more the hybrid.
John: Yeah, and the ability to reduce the amount of travel time too is huge. Even a client that’s just a couple of hours away that I’m going to meet with and that’s four hours roundtrip, and hour to two for the meeting. Wipes out most of your day. So being able to condense that to just an hour and a half of a virtual meeting and then you’ve still got all that time back to work on your other stuff and that’s really big.
Todd: A little bit of an offshoot, but what’s kind of beautiful about all of this is that we didn’t think like this back a year ago. It was like, “Oh, yeah. I’m just going to go drive out to so and so and meet with them and talk to them. We’re going to be face-to-face, [inaudible] conversation and yeah, it’s going to suck up my day, but that’s what we’ve got to do.” And you just did it and now before there was this idea like, “Man, if we’re not face-to-face this could go different directions. We really need to be face-to-face.” Now it’s just everybody’s like, “I can get four hours of my day back? I’m going to make this work.” We’ll use technology and what we have to do ,to do video and everything and it’s just amazing that the mentality that’s changing in customers and employees to really see the productivity and time savings and realize that any shortcomings in a virtual meeting, a remote meeting aren’t worth the massive savings and time that can be gained by doing it if you would just say “Screw it. Let’s do it face-to-face.” So anyway-
John: It’s funny too because now virtual meetings are so normal, the handful of in person meetings I’ve had over the last five or six months you walk in you’re like, “Oh, this feels a little strange now” just being in front of them and not having your home in your background and all those things. So there’s been kind of a pretty big shift.
Speaker 5: Yeah, if you had told me a year ago that I would be this excited about a conference room technology I would have been like, “What?” But I’m literally excited about it because it’s such a big part of everyday life now. And it really does make a difference.
Todd: Okay. So let’s move into the next topic, which was a Workplace by Facebook Q&A that we had with a couple clients that use Workplace. I don’t know, John, I don’t think you work with Callaway Bank much, but was there anything that you heard from them that was kind of surprising?
John: Yeah, it was two things really. It was the impact it’s had on their culture and then the way it’s been able to connect their leadership team, their executives, all of their employees throughout the organization. And that’s awesome. That’s so, so valuable for them to be able to interact with everyone inside their organization so easily, whereas before it’d be like, “Okay, if we have a whole full company wide meeting, yeah, we’re all together but we’re not really speaking one-on-one. We don’t have that kind of connection.” So the ability to bring everyone together is great. The culture impact was really cool to hear about as well because I definitely feel like we have that same kind of value piece with Workplace within Jay Mark as well. Being able to work within groups and then also with people in other departments that you might not work with very often, but now you’re having kind of daily conversations with them.
Todd: Yeah, what I thought was pretty interesting at least with The Callaway Bank is that on the panel we had two individuals that had a very large generational gap between the two and the passion between both of them from an executive and someone on the floor was just palpable. To see the excitement that a communications and collaborations can cause in an organization and I’ve been to their office and they have multiple offices, but the people in the office that I went to they’re all fairly close, but it’s amazing how a tool, and we implemented Workplace long, long, long before we went remote, but it’s amazing how a tool can have such a huge impact whether you are seeing your employees face-to-face or whether you’re seeing your employees over a screen. It’s just helped in so many areas in our organization and, obviously, in theirs and in SpyGlass also to bring their people together and that was the biggest takeaway for me.
Speaker 5: Yeah, it really does. I think it’s something that people write off a little bit as being important, but I can tell you one, as a remote employee that it has brought me closer to the people I work with at Jay Mark in a way that would definitely have never happened without Workplace. And not just because of the actual collaboration and working, but studies have shown that team building happens in those small conversations. Team building happens when people have chats over coffee for 10 minutes in the morning or pass each other in the hall and Workplace has allowed that to happen for me in a lot of ways with people that I don’t interact with regularly, even when we’re not working. And it makes a difference, so when I actually do go to Springfield and I walk into the office, it’s not a bunch of strangers.
It’s people that I have already had other conversations and other interactions with, so it’s just when I run into John it’s like, “Oh, hey!” We can carry on a conversation we might have been having on Workplace just a few days before rather than, “So, how’s it been?” There’s no awkwardness. And that carries across. I have also worked in the past in places with multiple locations, multiple offices and there can be a difference between those offices because you’re not seeing those people every day, but Workplace also can help bridge that gap. So even if you might just be on different sides of town, you’re still coming together virtually every day.
Christina: Yeah, I would say that my biggest takeaway from the Workplace Q&A was that there were representatives from three different companies in it, all different sizes, all different industries. They are different positions, they use it differently, so this is not something built specifically for one small niche group of people. You can really take it and cater it exactly to your business.
Todd: I think we can talk all day about how Workplace has helped our culture and connectedness and morale and communications and ideation and innovation and adaptation and all these things, but one of the things that Kristen mentioned and Samir talked a little bit about too is philosophy. It’s hard to put into words and to describe to somebody the speed at which Jay Mark has ramped up over the last three years the speed at which we’re operating because of Workplace. You take just the only way I can really quantify it is for Jay Mark we’re taking roughly 10,000 E-mails a day that have been removed from the system. We’re not having these massive amounts of E-mails going around the organization. These are happening in chats and in groups within Workplace and that has just… It’s hard to describe the velocity at which we can get things done. It’s so amazing and when it comes to a disaster, like we had a flood come through our office a number of years ago, when it comes to an economic recession or whatever, everything that’s going on now with COVID and everything, it has allowed us to just massively adapt without many headaches.
John: Yeah, it’s just so versatile too. Like Christina was saying, in that round table everyone talked about how they use it differently. And was it Ryan from the real estate group? Yeah, he talked a lot about how it’s improved their training and just being able to have a central place for all those training aids and materials for new hires to go to. And we use that at Jay Mark too. We have training material in there. If we went down a list for things we use Workplace for it’d be the seventh or eighth thing I thought of. So it’s just versatile. It’s so user friendly. It’s instantly familiar to anyone who’s used Facebook on the social media side. And with some other communication tools I think there’s a difference there in the training or the familiarization phase.
Speaker 5: Yeah, and Todd, you mentioned velocity and it made me think of this idea that’s always intrigued me of Pixar, the animation studio, 20 years ago or whenever, at some point when they built their new workplace, their new building, they specifically designed it so that there were open areas where people would run into each other with the knowledge and the understanding that decisions would get made, collaboration would happen and creativity would happen during those times when people would pass each other and so with the idea that these are sort of the hub where people work together and solve things quickly. And in my mind, that’s what Workplace is for us. Its sort of the hub. It’s the first thing that I open every morning and whereas, to speak to your velocity thing, Todd, whereas in the past if I had a question for you and just a quick thing like, “Oh, what do you think about this sentence I’m putting in an ad that we’re writing versus this?” I might double check my thought and think is this a big enough question to write an E-mail, send it Todd, wait for his answer? But in Workplace, I shoot you that question in a chat and you respond and the end result becomes so much better because somehow we’ve collaborated and solved the problem together, versus all of that effort that goes into the old days of sending an E-mail.
Todd: It’s almost like there’s a mutual understanding on the differences and the modes. For example, with chats or with E-mail, you can’t just reply real quick without it sounding terse with a just few words. You have to think, “Okay, and let me write out a sentence. Let me add a few words.” With Workplace, there’s almost this understanding almost like text where you just want an answer and bam. And sometimes the answer can be in a gif. Sometimes it can be in a smiley face or something like that and we’ve had conversations between Dax, Christina and I where it was like we had a conversation using gifs. It was the weirdest thing ever and we made decisions. But I don’t want people to hear what people often consider things with Facebook and stuff, but just to give an example, we had a snafu, not really a snafu, but a hiccup during the event with Samir’s presentation and we solved the problem using Workplace.
Monday, I was in a meeting with sales and there was an idea that came out of that meeting out of something that is going on with a prospect. In the meeting I sent it to Christina, Christina added it to a board for us to talk about. Later in the day, we had a meeting and we added it to a podcast for today that we’re recording this afternoon. And that’s what I mean by the speed and velocity because previously it would be, “Oh, I have an idea. I’m going to throw it over on this Trello board. We’ll talk about it in a few weeks when we get to our planning.” Now we can just adapt so quickly and make big changes and communication is just amazingly rapid and those are just a couple examples where things have gone from one department to another department to another department in seconds and decisions have been made.
Speaker 5: Yeah, I think one other thing that I think is important to bring up at this point, which was mentioned in the Q&A is we have also put together at Jay Mark a Communication Code of Conduct, which has helped us just know as a company, “Okay, this is what you use E-mail for. This is if someone sends you an E-mail here’s the expected amount of time you have to respond. Use E-mail for these things, use chat for these types of decision making. Use phone calls for this” and all of this we’ve laid out and you mentioned, Todd, sort of the unwritten understanding that we had, but we simply put those things into writing. And so every body in the company is on the same page about those things and that’s been a huge help for us too, to clear out any of those misunderstandings and make sure that we’re all communicating at each other in the same way and on the same level with the same expectations.
John: Yeah, and it allows you that kind of real time feedback. For me, it’s important for me to have a good understanding of all of my client base, which can be challenging with a larger client base. And so if I’m going to a meeting with a client and I need a quick update from our projects team on something they had been working on implementing or something that’s still [inaudible], I can send a quick chat message to one of the people in projects and then I can see if they’ve read it. If they haven’t, I can go to someone else on the team or I can just realize I’m not going to have that information for my meeting. But it’s kind of that instant information that is so valuable when you’re trying to prepare for so many different things.
Todd: And it’s not just about chat. We’ve been throwing that out for the last few minutes, but Workplace is if you think of… It’s not Facebook, but if you think of a function of a group in Facebook. You have these multiple groups within a company. You may have a marketing group in Facebook, you may have a sales group in Facebook, and the beauty of these things is that communication can be proliferated throughout. We have times when everyday something is posted in an all company group about somebody’s birthday that we can all celebrate and recognize. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known about it or it would have been another E-mail sitting in our inbox. On the marketing, we throw out the campaigns that are going out to clients or prospects and that informs the CRMs.
It informs sales so they know what things are going out. There’s just things happening with security, there’s things happening with productization and all these things are just all in play in all of these different groups throughout the company and it’s not just the notification or the broadcast part of it, but it’s the knowledge sharing and it’s the collaboration that happens because of that. And the increased just understanding and knowledge in the organization. And that’s why it’s so hard to describe it in terms of velocity because it’s all of these things swirling around making you go fast. So why don’t we talk about the final presentation of the day when Tom kind of brought it home. What were some of the thoughts that each of you had on Tom’s presentation? Some of the insights?
Speaker 5: So I think I actually happened to open up his presentation here and I had it ready and one of the things that really jumped out at me, it jumped out at me the other day, but it jumped out at me again here, is just a simple statement that he made, that he has in his presentation. We’ve already touched on this, but I think it’s so important to underline this. Once things shift, they don’t unshift. These changes that we have gone through this year, they’re not going away. We’re not going to back peddle and at this point we’re moving forward and I think it’s exciting. I think, Todd, you mentioned the making 10 years worth of changes in just a few months and to me I love it because a lot of these things have been sort of floating around, video conferencing and that sort of stuff, but suddenly we’re using it and it’s happening and I think it’s so great. And to me, I just see so many possibilities for organizations to take advantage of these things and do such cool things with their workforce, with their employees, but also with how they work and communicate with their customers as well.
Todd: Yeah, I love that too. If everything would have been a few weeks long and everything had gone back to normal in April, there may have been a little bit change, but we’re dealing with just the fundamental, behavioral change of people. And you don’t change that quickly. That’s why digital transformation has taken so long. I mentioned I think in the presentation, I talked about digital transformation back in 2018 at [inaudible] and then I almost didn’t do it because it’s like, “Wow, this is kind of an old topic.” But the reason why it has taken so long is that people’s behavior wasn’t changing. They wanted to have the face-to-face meetings, they wanted to do things the traditional way. And now we’re in a situation where people have been forced to make a change and they’ve kind of liked it in some respects. Not all of it, but in some respects and that is so true. Things will change and go back to a different kind of normal, but they’re not going to shift back to just the exact way it was. And that’s kind of the point of the entire symposium, that’s why all these solutions and strategies and tools and tactics were brought out because change has happened.
Christina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
John: Yeah, we got this nudge from COVID to embrace change because change can be scary and uncomfortable
John: It was necessary because change can be difficult to kind of fully give into, but now that we’ve had to it’s like we just embrace it now. Even the purpose of technology is to make us more efficient and make things easier and so we have all these tools, we’ve gotten the nudge to make these changes, and now we just have to continue to embrace it and realize that more changes are down the road too.
Christina: I think my biggest takeaway from Tom’s presentation was it’s not surprising for anyone that knows Tom, but culture. He is very big on culture and he had a quote from Gary Vaynerchuck, which says “Company culture is the backbone of any successful organization.” And then Tom even went on to say, “To not have a culture strategy is like not having a sales strategy.” And all of these things that we’re talking about play into our company culture 100%.
Todd: Yeah, and what’s kind of interesting I think is our… We’ve implemented these tools at Jay Mark like Workplace and developed this [inaudible] product and done things with our telecom system to solve a problem and there were times when the problem was related to culture, but a lot of the time it was a different type of problem we were trying to solve, but culture was affected. And I think that’s the cool thing about it is we didn’t see a negative in our culture from the technology that was implemented. We saw a positive and a change, a positive change towards more connectedness, more communication, more fun, a better culture. And I think a lot of people, business leaders who have read a lot about culture in books and from experts and it’s drilled into you, it’s this soft kind of mushy thing that there are different ways to effect, but I’m not sure I had read any culture book, just thinking back, this is the first time I’ve thought about this and there’s a number of culture books up there on that bookshelf. I’m not sure I’ve read a single one that mentioned any piece of technology. And technology has played such a massive impact on our culture.
Speaker 5: Yeah, and I think companies need to understand that. That is where we’re at and I was looking at another slide of Tom’s and he talks about feedback from new hires and employee retention and these things are going to matter. The technology that you have at your company that allows your employees to get their work done that breaks down these barriers between other people, that increases their own velocity. Todd, you talked about the velocity of the company, but we all want to increase the velocity of our own work too because it brings us our own benefits. And people want this culture. People know and people hear about the companies and the culture that they have. I have bragged to my friends all the time when I hear them talking about their work situations and what it’s like there and I compare that to Jay Mark and the culture that we have and it makes a difference and I tell them. And I’m sure that you guys do the same thing and word gets out and the best people want to work for the companies that are giving them all of these things. And it really is, at the end of it, a competitive advantage because you are able to get the better people and you are able to retain those employees and that, again, adds to this velocity of the stuff that you can get done with your company.
John: Yeah, everyone’s going to be frustrated if they don’t have the tools or they’re not set up to be successful. When you provide all of that and everyone does have what they need to be successful, [inaudible] workplace.
Todd: Yeah, and I think that one of the things that I was thinking about this morning was this idea of coming up with strategies and coming up with tactics to solve business problems and one thing that kind of occurred to me and I hadn’t really thought about too much is that there is so much that influences… There is so much we don’t know in the world that can influence solutions to fix our problems and that is the entire reason we put on the symposium is because we have used technology to solve some very critical problems in our own organization and they have had massive impacts in our organization. And we wanted to share this information with other companies because if you’re a manufacturer or a bank you’re in your sphere of existence, your world. And a lot of times you try brainstorming on ideas to fix a problem, a communication’s problem or whatnot, and technology isn’t necessarily in that ballpark. If you don’t know that there’s an application that solves this problem or a piece of software that solves this problem or a way to use technology differently to solve a certain problem you can’t come up with that idea.
And that’s essentially why we put on the symposium is to share these ideas with others and why we’re inviting everybody to sit down with us to do a strategy session. If you head over to JayMark.com/startnow. JayMark.com/startnow. You can sign up to have just a quick strategy session where we can talk through what are some of the challenges that you’re dealing with because of all of the changes that are happening in the world and what are some solutions that we might be able to bring to the table? It’s not meant as a pushy sales presentation, it’s meant as a neighbor helping a neighbor. And we value being able to provide that assistance and being able to provide that knowledge that we’ve gained through this time. And so with that, we will say ado. Take care.
Speaker 1: Thank you for attending this podcast. We hope it has been informative and help convey that at Jay Mark we are people first and technology second. To learn more and discover additional content relevant to your business, please visit us online at JayMark.com or at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You may also call us at 844-44JAYMARK. Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you again.