JMARK Business Solutions
September 9, 2013 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
An IT Management Company, JMARK Business Solutions Focuses on Managing the Infrastructure of Client Networks by Providing Solutions and Stability to Help Their Businesses Become More Profitable
The Springfield Branch of the U.S. Small Business Administration chose Thomas as the SBA’s 2013 Missouri Small Business Person of the Year.
About JMARK Business Solutions
Gratefully. That’s how we serve. With every device or user we support comes a tremendous responsibility. Successful IT Operations have become the epicenter for all organizations. The JMARK team understands the burden of this responsibility and the trust that our clients have in our team to provide solutions, stability and an environment that “Just Works”. The trust our clients place in JMARK is one that we treasure and focus on.
JMARK Business Solutions
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – September 9, 2013
CEOCFO: What is the focus at JMARK Business Solutions?
Mr. Douglas: We are an IT management company, which means that we support the IT infrastructure for our clients in various ways. Sometimes that means that we take care of their entire IT infrastructure and sometimes that means that we have specific responsibility and work in conjunction with an internal IT department. One way or another, we are a company that focuses on managing the infrastructure of our client network to help their businesses become more profitable.
CEOCFO: Why choose JMARK?
Mr. Douglas: Our employees. All companies say that their employees are the cream of the crop and the best. However, our core values are honesty, passion, teamwork, excellence, accountability, and fun… and our employees exemplify those core values in such a way to ensure our clients feel the difference in how we deliver services. One of the hardest things in technology is the management and communication when outsourcing your IT environment. The business is called Managed Services and one of the worst things that happens is when the customer has to manage the Managed Service Provider. It is our responsibility to manage the cases that come in and be proactive in the management of their infrastructure. We also must help our clients with strategic planning, business continuity planning, and prepare them for the next round of whatever technology may be bringing to the table for our client. We have an outstanding group of people that facilitate that.
Another thing that is important about what JMARK brings to the table is the experience of going through the woes necessary to become a larger Managed Service Provide. Companies hit a hill somewhere between two and five million dollars depending on the structure of the organization. It is very difficult to grow properly. JMARK has figured out how to grow properly, how to manage expectations, and deliver a superior service. We have to make sure that we bring in the right amount of engineers and resources appropriate to the amount of clients that we are onboarding so that we can maintain the guarantees that we provide to our clients. We have those bases all figured out.
CEOCFO: Are there particular industries of focus for you or a particular size company?
Mr. Douglas: Both in size and in vertical markets. Most of our clients have less than 100 devices on their network but we have some clients that have over 2,000 devices around the country. We are getting pulled up market into larger and larger clients as their needs continue to grow and they have trouble managing the technical resources within their own organization. As far as vertical markets go, we have four teams that are somewhat specialized but there are very few industries where we do not have some experience. Those teams are professional services such as law firms, CPA firms, independent insurance companies, trucking companies, and transportation. We have a banking team or financial services team that focuses on banks and credit unions, we have an educational team that is primarily K-12 that also does a lot of municipality work, and a medical team that focuses on the independent medical clinics.
CEOCFO: How do you reach potential customers?
Mr. Douglas: We have an outside sales team that is tremendous. They make a lot of calls and do networking in our community but mostly it is cold calling efforts and word of mouth efforts that we generate new business.
CEOCFO: What is your geographic reach?
Mr. Douglas: Primarily within 200 miles of Springfield and about 100 miles of our Fayetteville office. We have clients in many states around the country and at the last count it was close to 25 states where we had some sort of a client presence. Whether that be a direct client or a client that had a branch office.
CEOCFO: You talked about the qualities that you look for in your employees. How do you know when you are bringing someone on the team that they are right for the company?
Mr. Douglas: Many conversations. Passion being one of our core values, it is something that is very important to our organization. Staffing the technical skillset is one of our biggest challenges. The interesting thing about our organization is that we are a people company that happens to do technology. We have to have personal relationships with our clients, our clients have to trust us, and we have to earn that trust and earn their business every single day. You do that through constant communication and conversations with our clients. When we are talking with potential employees we are looking for people that have the communication and people skills necessary, as well as the technical skills.
CEOCFO: How is business these days?
Mr. Douglas: We are consistently seeing 25-35% growth year after year. That is a good thing and a challenging opportunity. It is difficult for us to find the right team members at the levels which we would need to, or want to. It is definitely a challenge for us to do that. There are times where we have to schedule things out further than we would like as far as bringing on new clients specifically because we have to make sure that we have the right amount of people in the organization to meet our expectations.
CEOCFO: Do you see acquisitions as you go forward?
Mr. Douglas: Yes.
CEOCFO: Do you see a roll up in general in the industry?
Mr. Douglas: There is a lot of consolidation in our market right now. We get two or three calls or emails a month at a minimum and sometimes more than that from people that are interested in investing in technology companies or just outright acquisition. There is a great deal of that going on.
CEOCFO: Why should people in the business or investment community pay attention to JMARK Business Solutions?
Mr. Douglas: What we have figured out about our focus as an organization is that our “Why” is about changing lives and not about supporting technology. What I mean by that is not just changing the lives of our employees by creating careers in a successful growing company but we also understand that we are changing lives in what we deliver from a technology solution perspective. An example is if we deploy a solution where our clients have a very difficult time getting their job done, the performance of the infrastructure is poor, or they cannot work remotely very well, that impacts how well and how happy they are as an employee which also impacts productivity and profitability of that business. It also effects that person’s home life. If they have to go home and continue to work at night because they could not get their job done during the day or if they have to stay late because the systems were down, that creates more frustration and a more difficult home life for that individual. What we know is that we can change lives with technology by creating a more productive working environment and more profitable businesses that we support where they can have confidence in the network stability, security, and backups. Our job and focus is to change as many lives as we can and we do that by building great solutions and supporting it in a great way. I think any time that a company really understands their focus and their reasons “why” they are who they are, that is a company that will continue to grow and be successful. People should pay attention to JMARK because we understand our focus, and we understand who we are and what we are here to do. We are grateful to have that opportunity. In an environment where you have that many people focused on the same thing, we are going to win.
CEOCFO: I know you came up through the ranks and eventually bought the company. What did you learn as you were going through different stages in the company that has been most helpful for you as the CEO and as the owner?
You have to
listen before you speak and you have to always consider what it is like to
sit at the other side of the table. I think those are probably some of the
most important lessons. One of the biggest challenges in any growing
business is navigating your way through management challenges, people
challenges, HR challenges, and motivating and inspiring your people. You
also have to communicate with your employees so that they have a clear
vision of their future. You can help them understand that they are part of
something great and how they impact those things. You have to communicate in
a way in which people can receive it. For example, if you are dealing with
conflict resolution but you refuse to hear both sides of the story or think
about what it is like to be that single mom or single dad who is trying to
deal with all of their own challenges- if you cannot sit in their chair and
empathize with their environment, all you are doing is preaching and that
never comes out positively. I think you should listen first, talk second,
sit in the other person’s chair, and over-communicate. Those are the biggest
things that I continue to learn, as well as managing the numbers. We are an
organization that is very big into Key Performance Indicators and it is
important to keep performance indicators and the management of those in
line. We try to be proactive in what it takes to manage our organization
around client expectations and people expectations inside of our own
“What we have figured out about our focus as an organization is that our “Why” is about changing lives and not about supporting technology. What I mean by that is not just changing the lives of our employees by creating careers in a successful growing company but we also understand that we are changing lives in what we deliver from a technology solution perspective.”- Thomas Douglas
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