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ChimpChat S1:E8 – Interview with Cesare Ramos

Transcript:

Welcome everybody to the next episode of Chimp Chat. We are joined by Cesare Ramos of IDF. It’s a technology company based in Miami helping clients with all their networking and Technology needs Cesare. Welcome to the show. Thank you, Jeff. Thank you for having me. All right, so let’s start with what’s on everybody’s mind which is covid-19 Coronavirus and I assume the bulk of what you’ve been doing over the last you know couple of weeks is really helping your clients deal with the ramifications of that to their business specifically remote access and remote employees talk to us about what you’ve been doing and kind how if you’ve been helping people. Yeah sure the we’re very big believer in form and function. That’s how we structure our solution. So not every solution fit for every client. We have a handful of clients that have built out. User info structure with laptops and mobile devices. So, in all honesty, they were ready to go as the different parts of the county and some of our clients are spread across the nation different parts of the states and whatnot started putting in sheltered homeowners or staying home orders. They were ready and a lot of people are also used to working from home. So that hasn’t been a big change really what required some ramp up as some additional peripherals monitors keyboards this and that to make it. The home office and then just talking through them how to kind of get their environment to be more a workable home environment because now you have additional guests at home that normally aren’t there when you’re working from home. You’ve got the kids. You’ve got your spouse so getting that set up, but we’ve got some users that are using VPN. Some users are using remote Technology Solutions connecting to a desktop in the office and we did have to scramble the first couple of weeks because some the other side of them did not have any laptops. So, it was a kind of a frenzy of ordering equipment getting Thing set up and just working through it and trying to get people to continue functioning as close to normal as possible. Right? So, you obviously talk about a few different solutions and how people can work remotely talk through what those Solutions mean and why you might choose one person of color. Okay. Again, the thought of the following function is important without geeking out on the tech answers here some clients some environments have existing servers in place so you can grab a laptop and go home. Go to a Starbucks go wherever it is that you’re allowed to go in these times and connect via VPN to your office. And you can think of that as a long cable along network cable. So, you’re connected back to the office. Now within that sometimes people have applications that require you to be in the same facility because the application is very heavy to use. Those would be where we set up some sort of like remote desktop solution so that you’re using a mobile device normally a laptop, but it Even be an iPad or some sort of tablet to connect to a computer that is physically at the location and you know, if you could use like a lot of me and go to my PC, there’s a handful of them out there excited. You have a preference on one versus another. Do you have a preference on what it is are no, I mean we have our own support tool? It’s called the name of the company’s connect wise its control and we’ve offered that at no cost to some clients to be able to connect to their machines because we are we use it for support purposes, but We ate were able to manipulate and tweak the settings in a positive way to allow people to use it to connect to their machine. But we have some users that are used to using go to bed PC because that’s what they like. So, we use that and deployed it out in their environment. Another popular one is remote to my PC. That one has become a popular one awful and my team is very versed in all the different ones. So again, it’s up to the client that we’re working with what they want to use and what they need to use. So, getting back to the VPN Style. things which is like you described it’s a good way of describing just like a long cord that connects you to your office. see if somebody has an internal server in their office. I mean, how does the cloud or cloud based service sort of work into that solutes that that situation more and more to your point more and more clients are using some sort of cloud based solution whether it be your G sweet whether it be Office 365 and they’re using a combination of Google drive or one drive Dropbox those eliminate the need for a VPN. But the VPN is more in the traditional server with a file server and you have your you know, quote-unquote F Drive mapped and that’s how Your data structure is and those are the people still need the but more and more we’ve migrated class of some sort of cloud hosting or cloud storage and that facilitates it but again in this quick ramp up, we just got done we have to get done right? Obviously, a lot of people talk now about teams that that seems to be every conversation never heard of it. I’m sure you have it. No, it’s completely totally random right? Well, let me tell you about Obviously, it seems like I have a lot of conversations where people are kind of coming to the realization that teams are actually a decent platformer or using one of the GU sweet Solutions talk to us about teens and how businesses are your specific clients have started to in to integrate that into their business. We bad a handful of clients have been using teens at I guess the scratching of the surface just for point-to-point chatter or one-on-one messaging In some of the clients that we work closer with and are more we are more their true it Department. We’ve actually leverage some of the functionality within teams over this period of time to help them with some file sharing and kind of educate them on the actual, you know, using the word teams creating the channels and how they can create, you know, add more people to the channels and exchange files do not have to depend on that file server or to not have to depend on you know, you’re not in the same office now and Mary forgot Connect to the VPN. So, Bill can’t see the update she made and so forth and so on. Well, you drag a file in the teens and the files shared everybody has access to it and kind of like the Google Doc scenario. You can live share you can live update it. And I mean it’s been on a ha moment for some of these clients. We historically internally were using pins again at a very testing purpose. We were slack guys in the past but because of this and the explosion that teams as had I made the decision to migrate over to team Seems we’ve been using pins now heavily as part of our workflow for about the last three and half weeks. And when things go back to normal, whatever that becomes I am curious see how we’re going to stop using it as we’re using it now because it’s from the video perspective the silly stuff of the gifts the Emojis. This is not even my team and said it’s really great the way we can communicate better now even in this disconnected scenario, which by the way, we’ve been working fully remote entire office for the last Weeks sure. So, let’s talk about your office that you started integrating teams into yours. Has one of them change that you personally implemented or seen from as a tech company it how you’re managing what’s going on? Well specifically to teams some of the things that we’ve changed is the file sharing aspect. We were we still are heavy Dropbox users. I did away with a file server. I can’t even remember when it was but again trying to live and exist in the same environment and make things smooth is very important to me. So, we took a couple of our client folders specific clients and we move them into teams into the whole SharePoint environment. And they’re living and breathing there and as the day passes and as the days pass, I’m sorry. I keep looking back going or why am I still going to Dropbox? Let me move this one and my team knows how I am that I’m a little bit, you know kind of aggressive on things sometimes. Um, I’ll send them at the messages say hey by the way such and such client was just moved into teams. And then I go okay fine. So I think it’s like any tool and like any solution in technology is if you do some initial testing and validate that it works, there’s going to be gotchas, but you need to kind of embrace it because if not, you can’t coexist into environments. It’s not going to work now. Obviously having kind of a technology partner walk you through it is always helpful, but the end of the day it’s kind of a mentality or a philosophy correct? This has to have because you were using Dropbox, which is a cloud-based storage solution. But it’s not integrated the way a team or a g-suite sort of integrate everything. It’s kind of is just a separate just like a mile in the cloud. It’s just like here’s you know different like having a as system in your office. That’s really how you were using it. So, it’s good see how it’s kind of forced our hands to kind of make change that we did otherwise expect so I find that kind of fascinated whatever. So, what are the conversations are you having? think now with your clients with regard to their questions their concerns regarding, you know, covid or coronavirus a lot of the clients. I mean declines that I’ve spoken to a lot of them are just trying to keep the gears turning in this, you know, as I’ve started calling it this weekday 99 of be the island trying to survive the apocalypse. Shut down my office or this and that again. It’s time frame wise. It could be June July whenever these conversations start occurring, but I can see that the heavy topics are going to be virtualization of some sort. Whether it be for the desktop for the user for the office as a whole and the aspects of managing the telephony communication side of it not only internally but also with their clients and with their partners, except I guess kind of fascinating how this became the Catalyst that people wanted to have and see for long-term change in their business that you’ve been talking to them for. I’m guessing gears about setting these sorts of things up. But until the reality of something like, you know, what we were talking about was what happening in society where things really are shut down and people really can’t go into their office because of governments or Of mandates and safety is kind of fascinating to see how it’s evolved people’s mentality shipped on how they’re perceiving and how they’re going to use technology in their business. I mean, I mean, well, I agree but I think it’s human nature. Okay, because you know one that probably comes to mind to all of us as we all say we got to watch what we eat and until you go put on that shirt or those pair of pants and they’re a little bit snug you don’t say, you know what I really need to watch what I need to eat. So, there’s until it slaps us in the face. Sometimes. I think that’s when we learned. And some of us need the multiple slap. Some of us learn from seeing somebody else gets lap, but I think now what we’ve got is everybody’s been slapped and it’s yeah, it’s forcing our hand to release that back and look at it and look at just how things are operating who is also fascinating to me is that people are saying as soon as things are back to number then we’re going to do it and I find that to be kind of an interesting sort of Psychology 101 sort of analysis because well, you’re experiencing it now. Why not address it now, I guess people are just scrambling but it’s I think what the thought of when things get back to normal. I think the point of hesitation now is, you know referencing here in South Florida, you know, three weeks ago is when things started shaking out then they started putting in the statement home orders and then it started becoming reality that okay we had to operate Sway, I would say the later part of last week and this week is when it’s the reality. So now people are realizing how businesses have changed their as an owner. You’re able to project and see okay. This is what I am going to have coming in what I’m not What expenses I’m going have they’ve had to make tough decisions about employment and Staffing. So, I think that the thought of when he gives back to loans based on the concern of the financial aspect of it. But not so much the psychological aspect of it of I need to change. I think everybody needs to change they realized that everybody, but a large percentage of businesses realize they need to change like all of ours like your business my business. We all need to adjust certain things. It’s just a matter of is now the time to invest, you know, $10,000 in a virtual solution whether it be VMware or whatever when I need to look at that $10,000 to keep payroll going for the next cycle. I mean ultimately a lot of businesses are Hurt and there’s not we don’t know how this will ultimately flush out. So, I think you know that makes a bit of sense. So, in talking your clients and obviously this is a little bit outside of the IT world. What are you hearing and what are people’s fears? What are their concerns outside of the technology? Obviously, you’ve got a great relationship with bulk of your clients. What talks what are their fears? What are their concerns? How are they feeling this? It’s I mean, it’s the same thought at least that I know. No, I’m going through our know that you’re going through is you know, when our things and I hate to say the word but when are things going get back to normal? When can we go back to the businesses that we’re going? When can we visit clients? Like we used to that’s the thought is everybody’s just trying to figure it out as to what’s the next step and whether it’s because of as you said of government mandates or whether it’s because of their some sort of curve that’s going to turn that this thing going slow down or something going to be fun. But whatever it is I did. That’s the what I’m getting across as everybody’s just doing the day-to-day what I have taken away from all the different conversations and all the different levels of person that I’ve spoken to is that aside from work because we all have to work how we can people are taking the time to enjoy with your family. All to do some sort of Zoom party with their friends and some sort of social distance event. They’re kind of going back to certain basics of the individual connection, even though it’s not really a connection. Because we can’t see touch each other but some sort of connection and that’s interesting. I find that interesting. Well sure. I think best that’s what I’ve noticed the most is I’m going to answer my own questions because good keep it going then. So yeah. I don’t think people realize how much the normal day-to-day routine and the social interactions we got from that routine really impacted our psychic but on networking meetings where especially in the beginning where people were sort of on the verge of tears because they were so their lives worth so up ended because of what was going on and they just didn’t adapt as well as others and seeing people even virtually sort of mattered. So I think that that’s kind of interesting to see how as you kind of mention, you know, the kind of the virtual happy hour kind of thing sort of happening where you know, we’re everybody got their cigars and their sconces other wine or whatever it is. They wanted and you know, they went other patio and they hung out with their friends. It’s in a weird sort of you know, so yeah, we kind I of way we had a we had a virtual Club on the weekend with some friends of ours and we had the music playing and stuff like that because that’s the new Norm. I guess. What I think is kind of fascinating is You mentioned when things get back to normal. I don’t think they’re ever going to get back to exactly the way they were. I don’t think that will ever be. The same naive, you know, since they have the same naivete that we did a month ago or six weeks ago or whatever from a timing perspective. We won’t have time this certainly two months ago. I don’t think that it’s ever going to be that again. I think that a lot of people are always going to have measure of distancing. I think that there’s going to be fewer handshakes. I think you’re going to see a lot more fist bumps or elbow kind of touching elbows kind of thing in when people are meeting face-to-face because there’s going to be that in the back of our minds, we learn a lot. about the spread of virus even though we knew It was never we don’t know. I’ll partially agree with you. I agree. It won’t be as it was, but I honestly believe people have short memories and it may not be a week but six months from now and it may be a cultural thing. I can see certain cultures are not going to do the oval bump. I mean I can tell you I’m not going to do the oval bump. I’ll be shaking hands and hugging just like I always have so maybe I’m just speaking on my behalf. Kiss your wife that I’m going to try to leave that leave that off. This call will leave it on because all right, but no, I really, I do think we are going to see that a more of a cultural shift though. I think obviously specific cultures Latin cultures are going be a little bit more still going to a little more effusive with their physical affection, but I do think that you’re going to see in business settings. It’s going to be a little bit more reserved, but this is going to scare. They’re bunch people, you know about what that means because they don’t want it because we don’t know what the next one’s be. And going to I think that’s kind of an interesting sort of Paradigm of what we’re going to say. So, talk to me about IDF and on a day to day when you’re not scrambling to help clients deal with the zombie apocalypse. Yeah. What do you guys help your clients with on a day-to-day? I know that it’s kind of varies but give me a couple. Examples of what you doing people end up Yeah, I mean, we’ve got clients of all shapes and sizes and I’ll be I’ll be semi correct during this conversation. We are not selected on the vertical we work with we have clients in wholesale, retail, medical, financial insurance all types and depending on the shape and the size that kind of drives what we’re doing with that client. So, on the smaller side the smaller clients we are there and whatever that we are their IT department means to you and means to whoever is watching this that’s exactly what we are in some cases. We’re running cable in some cases. We’re looking at their phone bills and see how we can help them save some money or change because they’re opening up a second office or whatever it may be, and Cases is to help desk. We’re here there to deploy computer sell computers and install applications and keep them running to the other side of the scale is the larger clients that have more compliance requirements. We are more of if they do not have a formal like the environment. We are their quote unquote corporate type CIO its environment where you have, you’re running into compliance requirements setting up policies and procedures and things that nature. And then we also work with clients that have departments in specific projects and needs depending on what those needs are could be business continuity. We have a handful of clients that we’re that’s our primary focus with them and helping them set up their business continuity and Disaster Recovery plans and managing that throughout the cycle of year because forget flu season for your covid. We were blessed with hurricanes every year. So, we have this type of fire drill down here every year. So, we’re kind of ready for it. So, you’re kind of making sure that they’re always kind prep for Kirk for that disaster. So, I mean About your clients who you were

never afraid. They were going to start losing data during this. It was really how do we make the pain not hurt as much correct? Correct is and that’s to your question back about teens and how the companies have changed culture. One thing that we’ve started doing IDF. We started doing a weekly basis is every Friday afternoon. We have a whatever you want to call it a team huddle or happy hour, whatever it is. We kick on a team session and we’re there for maybe 45 minutes or so. So going through the week, but we’re also just also just sharing time together and it’s just making sure that that that’s in place because we didn’t have a concern for data when you date it was fine is making sure that the pain is you said was not there are minimizing and that’s one thing that we’ve had on. All our calls are we need to assure that the clients can function as close to they were before. Now, yeah, and I think it’s interesting that you mentioned that you started doing your team Huddle’s Friday e after late afternoon, I actually have an implemented that lunch him but we have certain implementing more sort of Zoom, you know team meetings new staff meetings that you previously we would know once a week was fine because everybody saw one another there is still that action and especially for people that aren’t public facing that aren’t dealing with public on it. Regular basis I could you know, when I started implementing more of these you could even see that they kind of crave they needed that so especially with your team if they’re not public basic. They’re not dealing with talking to clients on a regular basis. They kind of lose that touch even for the most introverted introvert, you know still like we don’t live in a vacuum one of the one of things that I started doing again using teams. I created an internal General Channel and I told my I told my team I said guys it’s called Jesse TV starting at 8 o’clock in the morning plus or minus till whenever I stopped working Jesse TVs on and I literally have my camera on the whole day and they just like it was in the office they jump in and we’ll start talking and it gets kind of crazy because sometimes will be three of us trying to talk about three different topics, but it’s just like if we were in the office you’re trying to pay attention to one and you here to other people talking in the background you’re telling him to shut up and but so we’ve been doing that but also as you just said we’ve been I guess Quantum to see each other. We just don’t call each other on the cell phone or are an extension. We are actually do a screen share in teams and you’ve got the camera running. It’s like, okay. What do you think about this connect to the server? I’m on the server. Give me your ideas and we’re working together on it. So, it’s been a change, but I personally don’t feel that my team has had any negative impact if anything it kind of forced us to communicate little bit better. And I love the idea of chassis TV. I think there is a Jim Carrey movie that was about that. I’m sure that was more interesting than yours. Just saying but that’s being good at listening to you. Everything’s off emails clothes, even though the cell phone everything. It’s like I’m dark for about an hour or so for the most part. To allow for that. It just feels normal like I mean, whatever. My office has if I’m not on a call, yeah always knock on the door and ask me a question. I leave my door open, but you know like my face away from the door, you know, like I believe you I believe you if there is their store so with ultimately that’s where people kind of put myself in come in and I just feel like just knock on tell me what’s going on. I don’t see you and okay ask me a question rather get out of the way. Then that have people kind of flustered one of the another thing in our team Huddle’s one of the things that I We discussed was as and I told the guys I said, I don’t know how you’re going to do it. We have the tools available to us, but try it is when you’re doing the remote support for clients offer to get on a session with them. So they you know, they may not want you to see them because they made me working from home and they may be wearing their hoodie and whatever conditions but you get offered so they can see you, you know, because again, let’s keep that connection with people and we do have a couple of attacks that have done. And you know, honestly, I haven’t done it because I haven’t done any support calls, but I brought it up on one of the calls and asks. I said has anybody done and I was surprised because they said yeah, we’ve done it and its they really appreciate it because they were able to see me while I was working on their computer and so forth and so on. So, it’s again trying to maintain whatever the word normal means to you to meet whoever is trying to maintain that level of normalcy. Right? And I think that the one thing that this is kind of forcing us to think about differently. We’ve had this conversation before, but I’ve shared this other people is people do business with people that they know like and Trust that’s a universal truth whether they do work with them. They were there for them all of it. It’s about No Liking and trusting and this the social distancing has created distance between people’s that becomes your and I think it’s pretty smart to have that that almost like the curtain behind The Great Oz has cooled down that curtain. Okay, especially how it was a lot of people are very, are completely I should have turned it off before I started recalling. No, me calling you to test I was testing your eyes. So when I think what this is really sort of forced us to do is kind of create opportunities for that social and I love the idea of pulling the curtain of behind The Great Oz, a lot of people think what you do is just kind of a mystery like mean if they’re not technically inclined what you do is it’s magic. I’ve got the a gentleman in my life that constantly torches me my father and that’s what he says that IP is about 80% magic and the rest is knowledge, which I continue to try and prove him wrong, but I’ll keep trying to the people in the know it’s a hundred percent. But if you’re not in the not like, I mean people who look at programming, obviously, we have some programmers on staff blind chip, you know, magically you just sort of happens. Right L statements. It’s just a lot of logic that goes back and forth. But if you don’t have the language of how to write that you don’t understand how to create a logic that’s necessary. It’s it is it’s not just another language. It’s completely totally it’s magic. You know, I’m like what is there’s a kind of disguise as it well quote or something probably scream who said it but to an advanced technology to base. Ali is indistinguishable from Magic to approve of enough culture. So, if you were to show a cell phone to someone 200 years ago in this country that would be magic. Well, yeah, it means yes be magic and beam is not possible, it’s not possible. Star Trek 50 years ago. What starts with the original Star Trek was on the air 50 years ago. That didn’t feel possible. Right? It’s been possible for the last 20 years as we have had 20 years because that’s technology. Now when they watch it, that’s never possible. How is that possible to no way it felt impossible and now it’s not just possible, it’s the norm and it’s weird if you don’t have it. Correct, yeah. This has been really helpful is really interesting. Thank you, Jeff. Appreciate your time. How are you sir? In about 30 seconds tell people about IDF which actually going to experience a name change and they not too distant future, but we’re not going to tell people what that is yet we’re working on it. So, tell us about IDF 30 second plug go for it. I mean 30 thing blows. All right, I just use about 5 or 10. We’ve been around for about 20 years family-based business. Now he just used five more seconds. So, we’ve been around 20 years. But as I said earlier, the biggest thing is we’re a form and function company. I mean, we want to partner with companies and we’re here to really assist them as best as we can. I mean, I’m not the marketing guy. So, I’m not going to sit here and plug and while the different things we do, but we’re bunch a bunch of geeks that can get things going for you. That’s what we are. I like it, Cesare thank you so much for your time. Thank you, Jeff. Be safe, be well. Stay away from the zombies. And avoid the zombies, take care. You got it sir.

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