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Episode 4: Internet Technology Information from Anthony Bongiovanni, CEO & Technologist at Micro Strategies.

What You Will Learn:

  • IT strategies for working remotely
  • How to upgrade your systems
  • Protecting your infrastructure from cyber-hackers
  • What’s included in an incident response plan

In the latest episode of the Secret Sauce Podcast 365, Anthony Bongiovanni, CEO & Technologist at Micro Strategies, shares with us important information on Internet Technology for your business.

About Anthony Bongiovanni

After graduating Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, Anthony worked for Exxon Research and Engineering as a Project Engineer. Later, Anthony started Micro Strategies in 1983, and has been able to engage in how technology has changed and continues to transform the way businesses operate. While their business and customers’ businesses continue to evolve, their focus remains unchanged – to partner with their customers to align technology with their business strategy and drive outcomes.

Resources:

Intro (00:03):
Being proactive, not reactive gives every business owner the opportunity to think through and make the best decisions for their business. With our world as busy and confusing as it currently is, even the strongest, most seasoned business owners might find themselves reacting to issues that they didn't see coming. With his 30 plus years of experience, helping business owners make the right decisions, your host, Stan Hladik.

Stan (00:28):
Hello, and welcome to Secret Sauce 365 podcast, where I welcome all of our listeners back and the new listeners joining us today, where our podcasts will give you the secret sauce, which is the answers to questions that business owners have every day. So as a business owner, what keeps you up at night and we're here to provide you those answers. And I'm so lucky to have a good friend and a leader in today's topic, the technology. A leader in the IT industry CEO, president of Micro Strategies, Anthony Bongiovanni. Good morning, Anthony.

Anthony (01:06):
Good morning, Stan. Nice to be here.

Stan (01:08):
Great to have you, and thanks for taking the time today. Today we're going to learn IT strategies on working remotely. We're going to learn about how to go about upgrading your systems for maximum efficiency. And we're also going to talk about protecting your infrastructure and securing your system from cyber hackers as that's a problem that's going on every day and we want to keep the bad guys out. So you know, Anthony let's start a little bit with your background and what got you excited about IT and into that segment?

Anthony (01:42):
Well, it goes back a long way. We've been around for 38 years, but when I first started out of school, I actually got my degree in mechanical engineering, so I was always very interested in technology. There were a lot of things that I wanted to do moving forward, but I was working for Exxon research and engineering right out of school and ended up moving into their simulation department, writing applications for where some of the operator training and some of the refinery operations in the vast number of Exxon refineries and having built up a lot of development experience. I ended up meeting an individual that was selling computer hardware, believe it or not. And at that time, the IBM PC wasn't even out, but personal computers were starting to become prevalent and he was selling them, but there was no software for businesses. So essentially he asked me with his customers, would I go in and be willing to take a look at their business and write some software for them to help with their own internal operations. So started doing that on the side, if you will just to occupy some of the time that I wasn't working at Exxon and it pretty much grew from there, but I really enjoyed technology. And what I really liked about that technology at the was the ability to take an inanimate object, the computer and actually make it do something. So I don't have an artistic creative bone in my body, but from a development perspective, it was great really being able to write software because it's incredibly creative. It's a lot of fun to do. So that's really how I got into it. And over the last 38 years, my business has kind of grown from really going in and learning people's businesses and writing code for them, to doing many other things. But at the end of the day, what we started out doing day one is still what we do today. We help businesses utilize technology to grow, to prosper, to be competitive.

Stan (03:43):
Must've been a great ride and I'm excited. We're going to hear more about it during our conversation, but it sounds like your engineering background and the excitement of just tinkering with things just evolves. When I, you know, it's tough to think back to the days when computers didn't exist, but then as you start getting into them and the software, I think that's a great segue to get into that field that at the start of it, right? Before the boom.

Anthony (04:12):
Well, it's certainly very interesting and you're right. I did love to tinker. I love to tinker with things. I was like that from the time that I was a little boy, I'd take motors apart or vacuum cleaners or anything that would come apart, then I'd put them back together just to see how they worked. So you know, when computers came out, that was kind of the ultimate gadget, if you would. Right. So now I wanted to conquer that, but it was, yeah, and for me, technology today is amazing. Like if somebody had said to me almost 40 years ago, this is what technology is going to look like in the year 2020, I would have thought that they were crazy.

Stan (04:50):
Yea, they wouldn't have believed it, right. How could that be? That's never going to happen.

Anthony (04:53):
So we've lived through that and actually that's the interesting part about the technology business. I mean, I know, in the world, we're going through a lot of disruption today, but I will tell you it's been 38 years of consistent and continuous disruption, you know, in the technology business. And that's what makes it interesting, never gets boring.

Stan (05:12):
There's always something new to go about. And let's jump into our first topic you know, which is working remotely. We have so many more people these days that are either working from home or need to access their systems from different areas. So maybe you could touch base upon the challenges and the opportunities of working remotely.

Anthony (05:35):
Well, you know what there's plenty of challenges and plenty of opportunities. And I think that, you know, everybody's kind of redefining what their work environment looks like, but, you know, fortunately for us and as well for the vast majority of our customers, at least the technology they needed to go to remote work they were pretty prepared, but the key was being able to be mobile, right? If everybody's sitting down and has a desktop and they're all tied to the office, right. Obviously remote work makes it a little bit more difficult, but having the infrastructure in place, and this is what we've been doing for the past several years is providing customers, the infrastructure in place that they need to be able to be flexible, right. So people can work from anywhere and that's the cake. But you know I think it provides a lot of flexibility in that. You know, employees seem to like the flexibility of being able to work from home, being able to work from the office when the traveling being able to work. And I know for us, a lot of it had to do, you know, our preparedness came via traveling because a lot of our people travel on a regular basis. So how do they work when they're traveling? So we were well-prepared but having the right network infrastructure in place, having the right server environment and the tools that you need and the ability to be able to connect to those tools safely and efficiently and be able to get the performance that you need when you're working remotely is really important. And I think it's a process that you go through. It's really hard to build it up very, very quickly. But I think people are really getting to the point now where we're supporting and where they getting more efficient with it, but the challenges are really wrapped around security of course, having the right security posture. Now you're punching a lot of holes in your firewalls, right? To let people in from the outside, right tools in place to prevent the threat actors from diving into your organizations become very, very important. And then as well, allowing people to be productive, right. That's another challenge, right? Do they have access to all the tools that they need to be efficient in their job, outside the office as compared to when they're inside the office and every business is different. So it really requires a good look at the organization. How do people operate? What does the process look like for the different groups within an organization, and then tailoring the infrastructure to be able to provide that flexibility and as well, the productivity that they need. And I think today, you know, obviously the amount of tools that are out there has been accelerated by COVID right, to allow people to be more productive and the utilization and the adoption of those tools has been much faster and today you know, doing that has really been about how do I operate right now, but now that we know that this is going to be around for a while, and now that we know a lot of people really like the flexibility and don't necessarily want to go back to work five days a week, what do we do moving forward? How do we make sure that we are as productive out of the office on a continuous basis as we are inside the office. So it's really now coming down to the fine tuning of people's organizational process and infrastructure, right. And the tools they have to make this remote work a way of life, as opposed to a stop gap measure, to keep the business going until we get to the end of COVID.

Stan (09:11):
Right. It's really as I listened to you a system of each business, having its own characteristics, but looking at the way to operate most efficiently. So I want our listeners to understand that Anthony is saying the tools are out there. So you may not even be aware of those tools and what different software capabilities are there. So you really have to do an internal assessment of your business, which full disclosure Anthony and Micro Strategies handles the technology and IT needs of our organization here at The Secret. And we were able to pivot very quickly back in March to be able to have everyone work from home. So whether we have to work from home because we can't access the office or it's a snow day or whatever, our organization, doesn't miss a beat we're there able to service our customers. So Anthony, that's a key strategy that you're providing your customers for Micro Strategies correct?

Anthony (10:13):
Yea, we do that every day. We do that every day. And one of the challenges too, that really comes into play you know, today when we're talking about remote work is the overall productivity of the organization, right? So you can take a look at the individuals and you'll have some people that maybe have the same level of productivity outside of the office, some people may even have more productivity because the day is less disrupted, if you will, they're able to focus on the tasks that they have at hand. But I do think, you know, for every individual that is very productive, or even more productive at home, you have another individual or two individuals, maybe a little bit less productive because they're not quite, you know, the individuals that would help them are not quite as accessible when you're out of the office. So the real key now becomes right. If this is going to be longterm, how do I take a look at the data to see that, how do I take a look to see what the KPIs are wrapped around individual's performance and identify the people that need help? So I can do things to help them continue down their career path, right, and grow and be very productive and efficient. And I think you're going to start to see more effort and more tools wrapped around the analytics associated with gathering that information.

Stan (11:32):
So Anthony, you were talking about working remotely and how that has set up some challenges for security. So let's talk a little bit about business owners being able to protect their systems and what you see going on in that part of the industry.

Anthony (11:49):
Yeah. That part is really important for organizations and businesses to get a handle on their security posture very quickly. You know that's been very important prior to COVID, you know, as the recs get bigger and larger and more expensive you know, making sure that you have the appropriate security resources, tools and processes in place is incredibly important. But when you talk about now people working from home, and now you've got lots of connections from the outside, from people's home networks, going to the office networks, it's really important to ensure that you've got the tools in place to minimize any potential threat. And you know, I can't stress that enough. We spend ourselves a lot of time and a lot of money on our own internal security. It's incredibly important for us to be secure. And likewise, you know, every business really needs to be there. And today does present new challenges. One of the key components though, in terms of really being as secure as you can, is user training, because the very vast majority of incidents that happen, start with something that happens on the inside of the organization of phishing scam, right? Or somebody's going out to a website that was hacked, you know, there's many different ways and you know, many, many of these threats and these incidents can have that happened, can be prevented by very strong user training. And we spent a lot of time with that, getting people to be able to identify phishing. And a lot of it comes through emails and these emails, you know, are getting better and better and looking more realistic every day. And that's one of the things that concerns me greatly. And we have really been working hard with our customers to implement training. There's a lot of great tools out there now to train employees, you know, inexpensively, keep them on top of how do they stay secure, you know, in terms of what they do.

Stan (14:01):
Yeah. I don't want to miss this point. So if anything is taken out of this podcast from our listeners, you definitely want to, and the tools are out there. It's a, you know, 15 minute training video that every employee in your organization right up to the owners should watch, which will give you the current, you know, tips to avoid those phishing scams, because it looks like an email Anthony from your coworker and these people, these cyber hackers, they live in your Outlook and they watch how you speak to each other. So all they do is they send an email that looks exactly like a normal response, but they change the IP address of the actual email address by a letter. Right. So, I mean, it looks real, it smells real, but, and then it's too late. So it's really, really important that everybody in the organization focus on that. And then I guess taking it to the next level, Anthony is Micro Strategies. You have the, the state-of-the-art patches and tools and things to prevent some of these scams from even entering the servers, right?

Anthony (15:07):
Absolutely. I mean, making sure that people send points and as well as the internal servers, as well as the cloud servers, if you will, are patched on a regular basis and up to date, I mean, that's incredibly important too. There a lot of entry points into somebody's network and patching helps to keep them closed down. And when when a new potential threat comes out, a lot of the tools that are out there pick that up, you know, it's very hard to prevent a zero day threat that happens because nobody's seen it before nobody's scanning for it, but there's no reason to get hit by a threat that's been around for awhile. So keeping equipment patched, keeping your anti-virus up to date. I mean, there's a number of things to do, but a lot of this has been automated, so it's not terribly expensive. But well worth the time and the effort and the cost associated with responding to a threat or responding to a breach, if you will, is very, very expensive.

Stan (16:06):
So let's talk a little bit about what would be called an incident response plan, right? So every business owner really needs, if the bad guys want to get in, they'll get in, but this way there's a response plan in place, correct?

Anthony (16:22):
Yes. And you know, every business is different in terms of what that incident response plan would be. But, you know, the first key is shut down the attempt at getting into the business and how do you stop the proliferation of whatever is happening. So an incident response plan is incredibly important in terms of being able to minimize the damage that might be done if an organization happens to be breached, right. And then beyond that, it's really about how do I recover? And there's a level of preparedness that organizations need in order to recover the same way you would have a disaster recovery plan in the event that you lose a server, a server comes down, how do you get your data back? Right. So you know, the incident response plan is very similar to that. How do I contain the issue, right? How do I recover from the issue? How do I forensically figure out why the issue happened and plug that hole? And then how do I get back back into, you know, performance business?

Stan (17:19):
I would be remiss if I didn't mention to my listeners out there that to me, when I look at insurance based clients, I think about one out of four purchases cyber insurance. So there's only 25% penetration there. And a lot of people think, well, I don't collect a lot of data. I don't have credit card numbers. I don't really need to have coverage for cyber hacking, but everybody should have a cyber insurance policy that has an IT infrastructure because if it's locked up or if it's held for ransom or your information is closed down, yes. Micro Strategies and Anthony's team can help you out, but wouldn't you like to transfer the cost of that risk to the insurance company rather than to yourself?

Anthony (18:06):
That is a great point. I mean, quite frankly, I would carry cyber insurance before I would carry fire insurance, because I think that there's a higher possibility.

Stan (18:14):
More likely to happen.

Anthony (18:16):
Having a cyber incident than your building God forbid burning down. And I think that every business should have cyber insurance for that. And the insurance companies are actually very helpful in an incident as well. And they're actually very helpful in helping organizations be prepared. And that's a great place to start is with the cyber insurance.

Stan (18:37):
Great point. Anthony, let me come back to Micro Strategies a little bit. And if you don't mind, just maybe give us a brief history. So you told us about your background and how you got in and what is Micro Strategies? They're located in Parsippany. I know you operate all over the country, but give me a little bit of history of Micro Strategies and what you guys were and what you're doing now.

Anthony (18:58):
Great. Yeah, I'd love to, so, you know, as I mentioned, we've been around for 38 years, which I hate to admit, because I can't imagine how old as time goes by so quickly, but you know, I had started really just writing software for organizations with the IBM PC. There was very little software out there to help run businesses. So essentially what I did in the very beginning of Micro Strategies was go out to different types of businesses. They could have been anything. Sometimes they were manufacturing organizations. One of my first clients was a tire dealer. He had 13 tire stores around New Jersey, right? So he wanted an application that would show him what tires he had in stocks. So when he had somebody at the counter, he didn't have to go run into the warehouse to see whether he had particular tires that would fit that car, or what have you. So it's things like that. It was a lot of small applications, but really, they were tools. We were just building tools for businesses so they could operate more efficiently. And we did that for many, many years. And ultimately these tools that we'd built started turning into management systems, if you will, because we'd start out building some of the operational tools that they needed, but then it moved into accounting, you know, and then some of the financial tools wrapped around with what they needed. And, you know, after a while we had all sorts of management systems that we built for many types of businesses. So you know, a few years after we started doing that we ended up customers really just wanted the solution. So they really didn't want to worry about the hardware. They just said, I need this application. Can you build it? And by the way, can you take care of the hardware for me so I can just go use the application. So we started selling hardware and network components, and we did that for about the first 17 years of our business. And then, you know, we were growing as were our, and as tech technology was advancing, they were, many of our customers are going beyond simply just what the personal computers could provide. And many were ending up with many, you know, you had a computer at that time for every different application that you were running. And we decided to become an IBM business partner in the year 2000. And that actually really propelled us organizationally in terms of what we did. So we started actually selling infrastructure to larger organizations that we were doing prior. And, you know, our business grew between 2000 and today by a factor of 20. And IBM was, and still is a really great organization to be able to work with. They've got great products. And of course we sell many things other than just IBM, but you know, it was that start that really moved us into larger organizations. And today we do so much more than we did, but the focus really is the same as what we did before helping organizations grow their business through technology or with technology, I should say. So today we still provide infrastructure solutions. We help customers with on-premise and with cloud. Cloud is so important in what they do is security of course, is we're just talking about their business process and how to automate that. And then as well, getting insights from tremendous amount of data that they get, you know, so we have an analytics team that is very focused on that. And then of course managed services, which has become so important to our customers today because they want to focus on their business. They don't necessarily want to run their IT operations. So the managed services component of our business is growing very, very quickly. And then we also have a staffing organization as well, and that is where we help customers get the resources, whether they're permanent employees, consultants, temporary staff, what have you to support the technology needs and projects that they have going on today.

Stan (22:47):
The staffing is cutting edge sometimes for short term or long term projects where maybe you don't want to take on the employee, but you want to outsource and get high level knowledge and get the projects accomplished. So, a myriad of services that Micro Strategies offers, and one thing I really want my listeners to know because I've known Anthony a long time, and I know this about him. He remembers that tire shop and he knows that that tire shop and that business is as important as the corporations who have thousands of employees that Micro Strategies services, and every client has a unique situation and unique needs, and that's why they need the IT professionals to guide them. So I want people to realize that about you, Anthony, and that's a great quality.

Anthony (23:36):
Thank you for that. Yes. We still have clients that have been with us almost our entire existence. I've got clients that have been with me, you know, 30, 35, 38 years. It's amazing. We've been very fortunate to be able to do that.

Stan (23:49):
Absolutely. And that's the beautiful thing. We're all in this together. And that's what this show is all about. You know, business owners, what keeps them up at night, getting through the day and having that good network, you know, to use no pun intended to have that network of people, you know, forget IT, but people that can help you through the day and answer the challenges. Let's talk a little bit about the future and I know we wanted to discuss reinventing business models and maybe how, you know, retail is going online and things like that. So what are your thoughts about what the future holds?

Anthony (24:27):
You know, it's interesting because COVID has kind of reset businesses if you will, right. Everybody's kind of, you know, many industries have been around for a long time and technology is a disruptor and you know, people that utilize technology well for competitive advantage, right. Tend to do better than the ones that don't, but COVID has definitely reset the bar because every business and how they operate today or let's say how they operated yesterday is changing, right. Because of the fact that people can't get out today they can't congregate today, at least like they used to, they can't come into an office. So when you take a look at it you know, what do you do in that particular case? Right. So how do we take all this disruption now that COVID is presented to almost every type of industry and how do you turn that into a competitive advantage if you will, or competitive value. And that's one of the things organizationally that we've been working on very hard with many of our customers, right? How do we help them take the disruption that has happened in their industry and utilize technology, right? To get over that, and more importantly, to be competitive. So you have the businesses that are disrupted and maybe they're not doing much. But now you have the businesses that are getting out of the box, and they're using many things, including technology to go do things differently. And that's providing them a step up compared to the individuals that aren't really utilizing technology or waiting for things to go back to normal. So you could take a look at COVID, as awful as this situation is from a business perspective. You know, it's very, it's not a great strategy in my humble opinion to wait it out it's how do we move forward?

Stan (26:26):
You wait something out, that's when everybody passes you out, you're on the shoulder of the highway and everybody's flying by, and we've talked in the past, you and I, that this is pre COVID and it will be post COVID, and it'll be forever that disruption provides opportunity and the businesses that can adapt to that disruption and be, you know, two steps ahead of the curve or going to be the ones that find success.

Anthony (26:52):
Absolutely. And there are so many examples of that. I mean, you know, still today it amazes me that like the local delis don't make it easy to go order a sandwich, and they're still waiting on the telephone, right? There's so many tools, there's so many web e-commerce sites out there to be able to provide the menu and put an order in. People don't really want to put an order in over the phone anymore. They want to go out, they want to do it on the computer, right. Or on their phone.

Stan (27:16):
Right. On their phone, sitting on the couch, by the fireplace.

Anthony (27:19):
You know take a look at real estate, right. You know, it's difficult now. And probably not a great idea would be going into people's homes, right. To go look at houses, but virtual showcases, they're pretty effective now to be able to see a home, you know, virtually, so people are adapting, organizations are taking a look and saying, how can I use technology to be able to do things a little bit differently? So it's really pretty interesting what's happening today. And we've had the good fortune to be able to work with a lot of our customers to help them kind of visualize what they could do, utilizing technology to get a step up on their competition. And I have to tell you that is a lot of fun. That's pretty good. Reminds me going back 38 years when, you know, customers wanted computers, but didn't have any software. So it was like brand new, right? How do we do this? And we would help go create it. So I think, as I said, I think that you know, you could either look at this disruption as being bad or you being a challenge or you can look at it as potentially being an opportunity. And I think that those businesses that look at as being an opportunity to find ways around it will do very, very well in the coming future. So that's where we're spending a lot of time. We're also spending a lot of time with our customers in terms of the massive amounts of data that they have. And they have collected, which basically are sitting on hard drives. And how do you take a look at those analytics and how do you look at that data and analyze that data and turn it into insights, right? Whether that's insights about your customers and what they're doing, or whether that's insights about your people and how are they doing that's insights about your business process, right. There are many ways to make money or save money by analyzing data. And this was, I believe said by the former CEO of IBM, but that's the currency of today. And there is so much information buried inside of data. And that is a lot of fun working with our customers to utilize that data, to derive insights, to make their businesses grow more productive, more efficient, you know, so on and so forth.

Stan (29:38):
Well, I'm going to use a cliche here, because when I listened to you speak about this and I don't care if it's marketing or IT and I don't care how tough the economic times are, you always have to invest a dime to make a dollar. And I think that's where, you know, a lot of business owners I speak to, they're scared, they hedge they're worried about cash flows and this and that, but whether it be marketing or especially IT, you have to spend there to make sure that you can progress into the future and be cutting edge, and be efficient.

Anthony (30:17):
I'm with you a hundred percent on that Stan I think, you know, this is the time and I know we did. I mean, we doubled down on marketing right in the beginning. The first few months are really trying to get our sea legs to understand where were things going to go. But we never stopped our marketing efforts if you will. I think that that was really important. We changed them very significantly we changed the messaging in terms of what we're messaging to the market, because we want it to be you know, we want it to be more helpful to customers that time to adapt to what they needed to adapt to as opposed to trying to sell. So we just wanted to let them know the ability and the things that we thought they should do. So our marketing messaging in the first few months was very much wrapped around helping our customers and our prospective customers to adapt to remote work situation, as well as many other things in terms of how their business has changed as a result of COVID. But then as we got beyond that you know we were also very focused on how we went to market, obviously because we couldn't do it in the traditional way. So digital marketing became very, very important. And it's great to see what you're doing from a marketing perspective, because, you know, you have adapted as well. How do we go out one market? And I think many businesses were already going down that digital path, right? The words, digital transformation, if you will. And certainly digital marketing is a big part of a digital transformation strategy, if you will. And I think many people were talking the talk and not as much walking the walk, but COVID did accelerate that. So, you know, in many cases, people did have strategies that were loosely in place, but now they really kind of tightened those strategies up and focused and move down that path. So, and I think we're here to stay. I think that, you know, the old way of marketing to some degree will come back, but I don't think it will be a hundred percent. I think the digital transformation from a marketing perspective that has happened today, it's going to stick with us forever and it's going to be a combination of things. And I will tell you that myself personally, and, you know, we go to a lot of conferences because it's all about learning new solutions, new techniques, new things that benefit our customers and provide value. But there are a lot more effective. The ones that I have gone to virtually, especially when you're there to learn, you're so much more productive. It seems like, you know, at conferences, when you're there to learn, you spend an half the time walking from one room to the other, if you will, right.

Stan (32:48):
Like a sponge. Yeah.

Anthony (32:50):
Here, you've got the efficiency of being able to utilize all that time. And, well, it's all on demand. So if you have two things going on at the same time, you do one now you watch it later. What have you, you do it at your convenience. So I think there's a lot of big benefit coming out of that.

Stan (33:06):
Amazing, amazing. So you make some great points there, Anthony, and you know, before we close here, I really want to touch base as to your advice as to a plan for, you know, someone who's looking at their business and saying, yeah, I need to upgrade my systems. I need to look at some of these new potential software items, ways to go digital. How does, so it's such a complex thing. How does someone start? What do you recommend to them?

Anthony (33:39):
That's a really good question, Stan. And the first thing is to build a strategy. And it's hard to do to build the strategy without help doing that. Fundamentally. That's where we spend a lot of time with our customers is helping them build that strategy because every organization is different, right. And one of the big disruptors over the past several years has been cloud, you know, from a technology perspective, if you will. And I think cloud plays a part in every business you know, in one way or another, but it is very different by the business, right? Some people could benefit from the cloud. Smaller organizations oftentimes can move into the cloud a hundred percent. Larger organizations that would have homegrown applications if you will, applications that may not exist on the cloud very easily or applications, for example, that have integrations to many other applications within the organizations, those become a little bit more complex, but when it comes to really a technology upgrade, it's all about building the strategy, rationalizing what you have today, rationalizing where you want to be tomorrow, and then building that strategy to get you there because many times too, it takes years to do it. So what you want to do is build that strategy so that you can go through it in phases. But as I said, it's really important that customers build a plan to go do that with a technology consultant, if you will, right. Or a technology expert so they can learn, what are the tools? What is the infrastructure? What are the types of technologies out there that would be beneficial? And how do we implement that within our businesses to make it more productive? And, you know, the key today as well, very different from many years ago is that, you know, traditionally we used to work with IT executives, IT individuals, when it came to building IT today, we work with the businesses. We either work with the business owners, or we work with the business leadership because when we talk about building a plan, it all starts with the business. What is our mission? What are our goals? How do we use technology to get there? Where are we today? Let's go build that bridge to get us from point A to point B. But it really today starts with the business. And it's varied from what that was years ago.

Stan (36:08):
That's great stuff. And I just want to recap something. You said, which really resonates with me. And I think it will resonate with our listeners today, is as complex as that question was, Anthony said, realize where you are today, decide where you want to go tomorrow and build a strategy to get there. I mean, how simple is that? And, you know, we move so quickly, we forget to simplify and break it down.

Anthony (36:38):
Yeah. Well, it's a little simple in being able to say it, but a little harder in execution, but if done well, it's always good.

Stan (36:47):
I know you have a great team of people and you included would sit down with that business owner and Micro Strategies would develop that strategy. And it's an ongoing plan, right? It gets tweaked over time. It takes the curve balls and the sliders and you always find a way to hit it out of the park.

Anthony (37:06):
Well, thanks for that. There is nothing more rewarding to me than organizationally, whether I do it myself or my team does it. And quite frankly, it's my team that doesn't most of the time now, at this point, there's nothing more rewarding to me than us being able to help our customers make a positive impact in their business. Right? So that is one of the fun parts of my business today, where we can really help them utilize technology to drive their businesses forward. It's incredibly rewarding.

Stan (37:37):
True reward. And like we always say together, gratitude is the attitude. Anthony, I can't thank you enough for spending the time with me today and our listeners and sharing these great IT insights. So, so Anthony Bongiovanni, CEO of Micro Strategies in Parsippany, New Jersey, when you're ready to build your plan, he'll be there to help you do it.

Anthony (38:00):
Thank you, Stan. It was a pleasure being here and I enjoyed it very much.

Stan (38:03):
You stay well, Anthony, we'll talk to you soon.

Anthony (38:06):
Thanks you, you as well. Bye.

Conclusion (38:08):
Thank you for listening to another episode of Secret Sauce 365. Your feedback is how we grow, so please leave us a rating and review on your favorite platform. And if you want access to even more great information, go to secretsauce365.com.

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