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TAP 28 | Workplace Efficiency

 

Many small businesses these days don’t have the resources to increase efficiency and mitigate costs. This hinders them from moving forward and growing because of how much time they are spending on things that can be automated. This is where the power of technology and digital transformation comes in. Join Brian Powers and Andrew Cohen in this discussion about workplace efficiency.  Andrew is the CEO and Managing Partner at EVOKE, one of JGS CPA’s closest (geographically) affiliates from the Business Resource Network of the BDO Alliance. Andrew builds digital workplace solutions for businesses, especially the small ones.

Brian and Andrew talk about workplace changes and using technology to improve efficiency. Tune in and learn how technology and automation can help companies focus on growth. Also, find out how Andrew brings businesses into the modern age.

Listen to the podcast here:

Workplace Efficiency And Technology With Andrew Cohen At EVOKE

Welcome, Andrew Cohen from EVOKE. Good to have you here. Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your business.

Thanks for having me. My name is Andrew Cohen. I’m the CEO of EVOKE. I’m from North Carolina originally. I moved up to New York over twenty years ago. I’ve been pretty much in business for myself since I moved to New York. I went to UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I played soccer there. I was a Fine Arts major. When I moved to New York, I was interested in exploring graphic design, 2D and 3D Animation. This is pre-internet. My first iteration of the company as we grew and evolved was focused on broadcast graphics, 2D, 3D animation and then moving into working with big pharmaceutical companies and helping them understand how to show their drugs come to life with 3D animation. That led us into a transition by the late ’90s and early 2000s into focusing on the internet.

We started moving forward. We rebranded as EVOKE in 2005. We’ve been in business for over fifteen years. We focus on pretty much technology but blended with the user experience. Everything that we do is with the end-user in mind. Over the last several years, the big transition in terms of what people are interested in working with us is what we call digital transformation and moving to bottom workplaces. I always say that’s a big broad thing. What we do is we try to break that down. It’s sizable and understandable. Sizable chunks for people to understand and also gravitate towards. Not everything has to be a massive transformation. Some things can be incremental. We look for areas of opportunity to increase efficiency for a company of all types of sizes.

In this new workforce that we have going on and workplace, it’s even more important. We’re all wanting to become more efficient and different working spaces, working from home. I think it’s more important than ever.

It’s weird. Before COVID hit, we were not pivoting the whole mandate of our company but we formed a division. I think it was early 2019 and we call it EVOKE Engage. That allowed us to build what we call the SEAL Team Six part of our company that goes in and looks for areas of opportunity to create real impact and value for our clients. To find opportunities to essentially transform the business in the current processes, to automate, streamline, and bring and elevate to the entire organization. We were ahead of the curve, then COVID hit, and now the demand is heading towards that type of application work that we do versus a lot of the big custom projects that we do in the past. Things have changed and we were lucky that made that pivot pre-COVID, but now the demand seems to be coming. That’s what we talk about almost in every call. How do I fix something? How do I get the value? How do I automate the process that we currently have?

We know each other, our companies, through the BDO Alliance. Our clients have heard me talk about this ad nauseam, but it allows us to have access and resources like yourself. We’ve already started to have a conversation about how you can help us from the accounting world, streamline a lot of things. We just made the switch over to Microsoft 365. How can you get the most out of that? You often say that you’re not just working in the accounting world, but you’re also working with smaller businesses, which are probably a lot of the folks that are reading this. Let’s talk about that a little bit and how you’re re-imagining that modern workplace?

You bring up the BDO Alliance and that’s something we joined last August 2020, I believe, after even going in the onboarding process there. It wasn’t a space that we thought we were going to do that much business in the accounting advisory space. Simply being in the BDO Alliance is that opportunity. I think you’re one of the first people I did meet in the Alliance, which has been great. We’ve been getting more and more clients in that space working directly with the accounting and advisory firms. As we all well know, there’s a conservative risk-averse network in terms. We’d have to build what we call that a proof-of-concept type of solution. We want to show them before we even consider billing events for these clients.

By extension, what’s happening now and the deliveries we’re doing for the county advisory space, we’re being introduced to their end clients because there’s trust had been built. We’ve shown a real value in what we can do. We’re saving the company anywhere from hundreds to thousands of man-hours by automating some type of issue that they have current. This is what’s happening over and over again. Once we proved that case, we’re able to show them the results and then also, they want to introduce us to their clients as well. It’s been a great relationship. You mentioned the size of the companies. We used to be a heavy focus on large enterprise clients, but we completely shifted a couple of years ago there as well. We incorporated and have a bigger practice now with small to mid-market clients as well. There’s no company size that we can’t work with. There are probably a few requirements in terms of the technology stack that they might be utilizing. You mentioned Microsoft 365. That’s a big component of it. It allows us to leverage that platform versus building something custom.

The other great part, I forgot to mention when we talked about the Alliance is we’re both in the Hudson Valley. We both have offices in Poughkeepsie, which is funny. We get introductions to firms all over the country through the BDO Alliance. It’s one of the things that makes it great. We’re lucky enough that you’re right here in our backyard.

Not everything has to be a massive transformation. Some things can be incremental. Click To Tweet

You would think that BDO is such a massive brand and we’re working with a lot of minds from all over the country, which is great. A lot of different firms. We’ve also been introduced to the whole USA World and BDO international. We’re doing a joint bid for BDO Philippines. There are a lot of things that are going on. EVOKE is being looked at as a great asset, not just for the BDO Alliance but even potentially with the BDO USA as well. We’re excited to be with BDO Digital to show what we can do and be a nice augmentation of their service offering.

It’s a great opportunity for everybody involved.

It’s great to have a local person to hang out with. Get in-person once in a while, more often.

I know you’ve put together a slide deck of the digital transformation journey. It coincides with the same way we do things on the planning side. Maybe it’s not now, but let’s look a few years down the line. Maybe you have a significant person on your team that does a lot who’s retiring. Is there a way where we can transform what they’re doing to streamline that approach a little bit more? Thinking ahead, especially now in this environment, is important.

We’ve been in business for over fifteen years. We’ve focused on digital transformation. This presentation is identifying where you are. It’s this roadmap premium modern workplace as we call it. This allows us to understand and talk to every type of company that we work with, small, medium, and large enterprise where we can insert ourselves or impact at the most maximum value. There are multiple different ways we can do that. When we talk about digital transformation, it is a journey like you had a call with a potential prospect, a small company of only twenty people. The owner was on a call and he’s 80 years old. He has an accountant firm in North Carolina and wants to figure ways to elevate his business, make more profits so he can plan a succession plan in things you talked about. You can’t be wealthy with technology because technology is always there. It’s secondary. The most important thing is what is the value? What is the impact? We do what we call impact analysis for our clients.

We want to understand what you’re currently working with, what you’re trying to achieve. As I said before, transformation can be incremental or complete re-imagining of what your workspace is going to be like. They set all areas. How do you get your growth and the revenue, compliance and security? All these things play in. When you leverage platforms, you’re going to see that they have the opportunity to mitigate some of the security and cyber risks. We’ll look at where you are now and where you want to be. That’s this whole idea of re-imagining. We call it a roadmap. A lot of people have different ways of playing this out but again, it starts with, do I have an issue? Do I want to fix something? Are we challenged with something? It becomes an initial conversation of trying to identify the cost for not doing it. Are you going to lose business or are you also losing money and time because of it? There are certain things that you’re not doing that could easily automate it, or you’re brought into a more common interface.

We’ll try to look at ways of how you’re currently operating, where there are opportunities for us to add the most value and bringing in all these disparate systems that you might have. You mentioned the accounting space, but I’m inclined to work with that multiple third-party applications. Bringing all those into what we call a single site solution, so you have an interface that is your modern workplace. How complex and how much you connect to different systems? How much you automate? That’s a case-by-case scenario. We look at where the best way we can do it and help your strategic partner, not just for the short-term but for the long-term. We believe and I’m sure you probably do the same way for JGS. We’re not trying to get thousands of clients. We’re trying to get great accounts that we can work with and help them and show real tangible results. By where you are, now, that’s a big part of it, which you know what you’re current gaps are, what you need to fix.

It’s much easier to start making that first step. I talked a little about leveraging the technology ecosystem. We don’t know that until we do that first upfront. What is your technology ecosystem? What are you currently working with? What do you want to get to? What would be your best case? We like an open picture there because if we’re open about it and you understand what’s going to be involved, we can introduce things. If you’re also open to the idea that some technologies should retire. Take advantage of the things that exist. It will cut costs in some areas and help elevate a more modern experience. The way we build is very agile. We prototype, we do concepts, build and iterate. It’s important to make sure the solution fits within the time-box we create with the client but also have an opportunity for a lot of touchpoints.

In the agile world, I’m not sure you’ve ever worked with, does that type of methodology. It used to be the old traditional waterfall. You get to have one thing, then the next thing happens. We focus on agile, which means we run on 2 to 3 weeks, what they call sprints. Every 2 to 3 weeks, we’re able to stand something up that’s built, show it to the client, get reviewed, do quick testing, and move onto the next one and backlog issue where it gets brought into the subsequent sprint. That’s a complex way of doing it, but it allows for a lot of quick decisions. Also, before we have a build package, we re-engineer things down the line. It’s much quicker to keep it agile in that approach. There’s the testing and training. We want to make sure we deliver. The knowledge transfer is always there.

TAP 28 | Workplace Efficiency

Workplace Efficiency: Concepts build and iterate. It’s important to make sure the solution fits within the time box that you created with the client.

 

It’s very important to us how we document, how we hand off building knowledge bases. Once again, leveraging the platforms you’re on. If you’re a Microsoft 365, we will build up your team’s environment to allow you to have a full knowledge base of the solution we provided. As well as building training videos and components and documentation that’s one click away from anyone in the company that comes onboard or has it been brought into the solution. That goes into the final delivery. One thing I will say is after delivery, there’s always support. We have a lot of companies that we work with ongoing service level agreements and support contracts. It’s not necessary to do work with us. It could be we deliver turnkey and we’re here if there’s an issue.

What I like to say is when you think about digital transformation, let’s say why it fails and there’s a couple of reasons. It’s important to know the big scope of what we’re trying to achieve. If you don’t have the correct vision upfront, if you’re blinded by the cost if is going to be too high or we can’t do with all the technical resources in-house or where does that set off worth? What that means is you don’t have the vision appropriately in place to achieve a transformation for the company. It goes back to that impact analysis. Why we’re doing it? It’s because you wanted to do these things to save money, time costs. There are all these different kinds of value metrics that you can put together for it before we even get to this stage.

If you’re going to get rid of the lack of vision issue and there’s almost like that fear factor, I do this, can we support it? Most of the time when we talked to people and I mentioned that older gentleman before, they don’t have the technical resources in the house but they don’t need it. Ninety percent of how we’re going to do is going to be behind the scenes. It’s all automation things. Once it’s working, it works. They don’t have to learn how to use new software. The last thing I wanted to introduce is five new awkward software pieces that you have to relearn for packages and software. The goal is to leverage what you got, see what you have. See if we can show you how to use it better.

The next issue is no internal leadership. That’s the thing. It’s important to identify those key stakeholders upfront. Who are we talking to? Who’s the owner of this project? Who’s the sponsor? Who are we going to work with? Who do we have to interview to make sure we have success? If they create that ownership team, that stakeholder team and stay within the whole life cycle of that project, your guarantee for success is much better. We like to say we enter every project, what we call a guiding principle. That’s as a unified statement with the client, our partners, to make sure we’re always staying within that principle. What is the goal? What is our end goal? What are we trying to achieve? We always have to map back to that during the process and in the end, did we meet our guiding principle? A couple of other areas that are important though. Some people think it’s reconstruction or some kind of thing, organizationally. Some of the big companies that we work with do this.

They’re not fixing the processes or the products. Everything’s the same as it was before. They don’t classify as a real digital transformation. There’s making stuff a little bit better. With COVID, that means that’s outside of our control. Something hits, we start-up and start a project and then two months in, it has the heart because of the reasons. We understand that but once you get the engine stopped, it’s hard to turn it back on. Once again, people move to new roles, especially the larger the company, you have to bring in new leaders. It’s almost like you’re starting over. If you can’t commit, it’s probably better to hold until you know you can say, “Are we allocated the time, budget and the people, the personnel internally to make sure it’s what happened?” Alas, it was never a transformation project to start with. It was, “Let’s do a little tweak of something.” That happens all the time. You’ll see it in the bigger companies. They’re like, “We did something. Everyone cheers for it. It launches it and then three weeks later, okay.”

We’d like to try and break this roadmap down into sizable chunks and allows everyone to know where they are. Everyone’s aligned along the process and it’s a very collaborative effort. We’d like to always engage at every level of the people we’re working with, but it’s important to understand what we’re trying to re-imagine. What are your goals and how will we make these changes? Not all are of reshaping in the value, what is the savings or whatever is going to meet for the company, but it’s also a cultural change. It does start with leadership. Leadership in the company has to adopt this and say, “We’re challenged with creating this new environment because we have data and fifteen different sources.” It’s all disparate and it’s all Excel driven, but I need to see where I am from my key metric. What is from a CBO or CFO? It also drills down to what the person needs, what a manager needs to see.

We want to make sure there’s a business cultural change because it’s not making a quick automation base. It becomes this whole unified solution. That also speaks to the bottom-line impacts. Let’s get back to that impact analysis I’ve talked about before. Identifying what is the real value of doing this project? It’s very important to define that because sometimes these projects aren’t budgeted, but they have to go client budget internally. Why are we doing this? What if it saves us thousands of man-hours a year? This is the cost of that resource in terms of internal cost to that. That person’s not being billable. He’s doing busy work. We can move that person into a better role by automating some mundane processes.

That’s something you mentioned the first time we met. It’s almost like an example of you’ve got this somebody that’s punching keys. It’s like, “If he’s shown a little more potential, we don’t want him to walk out the door because they’re tired of the mundane job you’ve given them.” Let’s read and let’s try to automate that through digital transformation.

I’ll say this, here’s this little aside to where this happens initially. Sometimes we get to a conversation. The project’s not well defined before we get on a call. For these first couple of calls we do, this is what we call an initial assessment or discovery calls. We’re able to work with a client partner to understand what the challenge is. We’re able to do this with a company that was working on an external system that they were having to cut and paste information for each report they created for their clients. Each one took five hours to do the cut and paste and bring it in. The end result, they do 50 of these a month. That’s 250 hours of cutting and pasting for an application.

Analysis is not always one-size-fits-all. It's important to define what you're trying to achieve. Click To Tweet

We already have a COVID solution that’s going to allow them to automate that. Each time they’ll open up their Microsoft Outlook, there will be a little thing called an add-in. They can pick Client A and also Resource A. I choose to automate it. It’s going to bring all that stuff in seconds and put it in the correct tab in their Excel sheet. You’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of hours of savings up to thousands of hours of savings in a year just based on that one small thing. Once we do that, then we start looking at other opportunities for increasing the automation in other areas but that was simple. It’s something that’s going to easily be achieved. That’s what I was speaking to you about.

We do these calls. We call it an initial audit and assessment. Some of these were assessing the situation. If we’re looking at a company wherever they are on that pathway to the full digital transformation, we want to understand where they are technically, where they are as a company. How do we call their digital maturity? How do we get on that path forward? We have to get this whole level of analysis. We understand this is not one size fits all. It’s important to try what we’re trying to achieve. It’s very custom in terms of that respect. It might be a custom development. It’s a custom applying of the technologies that we focus on. We do the school prioritization effort because we go through these are business analysis phases and you could have hundreds of requirements, but they want to get it done in 2 to 3 weeks. There are some things that have to rejigger.

We also need to plan all their internal and external resources for the company. As well as we know who is assigned to the team, but from their side, if there are third-party vendors that we need to connect with, we’ll ask for it to be brought in upfront. You can see that’s all part of that initial planning. We want to understand all of the current processes and current systems they’re doing. Find areas of opportunity to automate, increase those or moving away from traditional methods. This also speaks to some of the things that we also need to identify upfront, which is the gap analysis.

There’s a gap in capabilities in terms of, do they have the resources in the house? Do they need support post-delivery from a company like ours or whoever their other vendors are? A lot of the companies we talk to might have a third-party hosting company to handle the whole Microsoft 365 suite or the whole cloud environment. We need to sync up with them and make sure they’re aware of what we’re doing before we deploy our solutions into their environment. We make sure the client has the capabilities in-house to maintain a manager well trained on this type of solution when we deliver it.

This also speaks to the gaps in technology infrastructure. People on what they call the On-prem, the older versions of applications, everyone wants to be in the cloud, but there’s a process to that. We help companies migrate from the cloud and even work on cloud solutions as well. To get that data and that content from one environment to the next, there’s a nice process and plan for that too. That content, bringing it over into the new environment is very critical and the gaps are expanding. There’s not what’s going to cost to do it from a company like ours, but do they have the people in-house they’re going to be assigned to it? Do they know what licensing they might have to need if any? We might be able to reduce licensing costs if we’re going to retire systems and they can take advantage of making their Microsoft 365 licenses that they already have.

That comes out of designing it. Let’s look at how we can leverage it appropriately. You mentioned you’re on Microsoft 365. Pretty much everyone we’re talking to these days is all transitioning that way. You have Microsoft 365 with Azure’s cloud combination. We call it hybrid cloud sometimes, depending on the applications they have on what’s being hosted. The Microsoft 365 suite gives us pretty much a lot of the tools, what we call out of the box, to deliver what we call the no code, low code type of solutions. Building these modern workplaces, it used to be a heavy custom look and feel and all this stuff, we don’t do that anymore. It’s pretty much out of the box, just configuration. Some low code for some of the automation tools you need. It brings you into one uniform single site and that’s the goal. Can we make it so I walk in with the home page because that’s where all the data is brought forward?

When you look at this designing the technology ecosystem, the digital transformation strategies are set up like a bullseye. You look at all the off sheets that have to be factored in. We have third-party systems, the ERP or CRM systems integration, business process automation, things that we can tune up, any kind of business intelligence. Can we take some of this and elevate it to the key stakeholders to power BI dashboards or whatever else you want to consume? In the cybersecurity piece, you leverage the Microsoft platform. There are also some things that are voice trained correctly from a cybersecurity point of view. What to click on what not to click on? That kind of basic stuff that maybe they took for granted. It opens up Pandora’s box and some eclipse on the wrong emails. How to identify risk, mitigate risk before it even happens? This is all part of the whole blueprint that we’re talking about, the whole roadmap to getting to the digital transformation.

I’ve mentioned this previously. Let’s step too on it. We’re agile. We want to make sure everything you do proves out the process. We document heavily. The business analysis leads to what we call a user’s requirements document. From there, you get a functional design specification, technical design specifications, and we do what we call proof of concepts or prototyping. We’re able to prototype the wireframes and even clickable wireframes. We even build out the technology rapidly because these are more like the no code, low code site type of solutions. We stand up these components to your digital workplace. They can be tested very quickly and they achieve their results in a fast time versus what we used to do when it was full custom builds. This allows us to pivot if we made a wrong change. Something wrong with the hypothesis and it doesn’t look like it’s working out correctly. You can quickly pivot and rework it by some configuration of how to rebuild from scratch.

The best practices in deliveries, working whether it’s your internal resource, whether we host it and deploy for our companies on Microsoft 365 platforms or Azure. Understanding what needs to happen on that delivery piece. Delivery is delivery deployment, training, knowledge-based creation like I mentioned, utilizing teams to build your knowledge base internally and then understand and measure the success of it. Whether you’re using this word-internal, what are your measurements for success for an application like this? Is it usage or cost savings? We want to make sure we go back to that guiding principle again. We define it down to value and we can see those results and share them internally.

TAP 28 | Workplace Efficiency

Workplace Efficiency: By doing better upfront analysis, people can recommend and implement solutions quickly. In the end, that is going to leverage your current technology stack.

 

This is the way to go through the process. Sometimes if we elevate quicker and sometimes longer but within 90 to 120 days, you have everything sorted. You can build out the first level of the modern workplace. Some colleagues you work with are very heavily along in terms of where they already are. They already had migrated. They’re already in that second tier here in the development phase. After you migrated, we have a lot of opportunities and we talked to the client companies as well. Now what? Were migrated, we have all this great stuff in Microsoft. We don’t know how to utilize it. That’s where we come in and show you that process.

You can configure it and as we can start building it and they connected through a third-party application system. That’s what 3PA stands for. You can do the measurement where all the metrics and power BI leveraged the platform again. Turn the long way. You can automate processes but probably after you get all these things connected. These are automated, other mundane tasks using power automate or power on a desktop or just connecting to API straits. All these things are part of that schematics and where you are is something we identify pretty early in our discussions. Some people at their very first step. They don’t know what they have. They just want to migrate. Some people are considered fairly long the way and some people might be fully automated. They need another company to come in and help evaluate where they are and help them be on another vendor partner to achieve different results or increase results.

A quick couple of case studies here. One of our clients has gone from two cases. There’s a big pharma that we work with and when I didn’t want them for internal reasons. We’ve been working with them for nine years. We created a model of the workplace. It was focused on HR, human resources. Initially, there are two tracks to this. Building out the HR Portal, which is a mobile responsive design that incorporates all of the third-party applications in that unified interface. Taking advantage of all the platforms but also synchronizing into all the data. You’re talking to Salesforce.com, Oracle, SAP. All of these get brought into one platform into a mobile friendlier environment. The next iteration as we deliver the HR Portal was to build out their HR onboarding process. You can see that schematic. That was taking advantage of the swim lanes in terms of what it took to automate to onboard a new employee.

We were able to streamline that process by using the power platform. Where they’re doing all these manual tasks that sit in someone’s inbox? It could take 2 to 3 weeks to onboard people. If by doing that, the risks they ran, especially in the sales team they hired, they hired 2,000 salespeople in one shot. If they miss that enrollment, they can’t be part of the whole system. They can’t get that access to the HR portal. This schematic helped streamline that process from weeks to days and made sure we made all their enrollments. Everything was triggered automatically and it would get lost in emails or whatever they had. It allowed employees to get to the job of selling a lot quicker.

I’m going to talk a little bit about a self-serving way about how we use it. You’re supposed to practice what you preach. We call our internal use of the quantum workplace. For a couple of years, we are utilizing it. We have our own we called EVOKE Education System. That’s from our development teams. Our leadership over our development resources built up a whole knowledge base. Any new hires, any new juniors that come into the company, junior developers, have access to all the tests they need to pass. All the videos, all the consulting information, all the client data on how we achieve things all in Microsoft Teams but well organized. Everything is automated in terms of how they get access to certain things that they pass on. It’s almost like our own LMS, Learning Management System internally, but it’s not full learning management. We utilize the platform again to allow new employees to get on board quicker without having to always drag a senior developer into a call if they’re challenging something. They can go to the team site, find the information at their fingertips.

Here’s how we visualize it internally. This is our team over in Belarus. It’s our bottom workplace, how we look at it. The view here is from the General Manager and she needs to see pretty much everything for the company. It’s important to know whose birthdays are coming up. Is it going to be bad weather? How many available days? This is all pulling from all the systems that we utilize to one common interface. You can see it’s leveraging SharePoint online, the Power Platform. We built on some homegrown applications for time tracking and vacation. We have the little vacation planner we created. That all gets aggregated into this solution. Natalia here has one touch to any of these things to do. As she clicks, there are automation tasks behind it. If it’s approving vacations or if it’s seeing information being fed off or having assigned tasks, she can assign a task and it automatically goes to the resources as it’s supposed to. They need to check. We have that one-stop shop but it’s not custom. It’s mostly configuration. We do something like this, it will take us six months to do. Now, it could take two months to build something like this.

The dashboard, I feel like a lot of businesses want that these days.

It is. I talk about the timeline of building something but also the cost has been mitigated so much too. You’re leveraging the platform as much as possible. It’s more about understanding the needs. We probably do more work on the business analysis part of the project already doing the build, which is a complete reversal. Years ago, it used to be the opposite. By doing better, upfront analyses are longer and make sure we captured what’s required. We can recommend and implement solutions quickly that is going to leverage your current technology stack if you’re on the Microsoft Suite. That’s what I have. It’s about defining that value. How do we create value?

Given the opportunity, we’re able to work with any company of any size and show them what we’re looking to achieve across industries. It’s not specific to any industry we work with like accounting advisory firms. We work with legal, big pharma, insurance, aerospace. We work with everyone. It’s not like if you’re in a company, you don’t think that I’ve shown you what is potentially out there. It’s doable. We work with nonprofits too like churches and organizations of that nature. Everything has its business challenges, these companies are organizations. We started by how we can best serve and offer the best recommendation.

In an agile world, you want to make sure everything you do proves out the process. Click To Tweet

That shows because as you said, you’ve been doing more on the animalization side. Let’s look and say, “Where are your pain points? Where do you need us? What do we need to do?” You build that solution around it but the solutions have already started and you move them to what they need.

In the analysis phase, what we do that upfront, there’s an initial part we do. That’s our altering. When we talk to new engagements, it’s that initial discovery by the first part of the assessment, that evaluation. It is not available to them. We need to know enough about the organization we’re talking to, to build that impact analysis. Once we show you what we can do and if I showed you, you’re wasting $1 million a year. If you do this, you’re only going to waste $250,000. There’s a real value statement. These are real truths. They’re not something we’re making up numbers that are here. We can show that. I want to be able to show that value to whoever we speak with before we even start clicking around or jumping on a contract level. It’s important to build that level of trust in how we would serve anyone we work with.

The need to plan but also identify efficiencies, especially now with how different things are becoming and if that person’s no longer here, you need to have a backup plan for that.

That’s a very good thing. That succession plan or knowledge and knowledge base. That’s a very critical thing because a lot of our companies weren’t siloed, even large enterprises. Everything is in email and maybe there’s one point a person that had all the knowledge. Even a company with 50,000 employees, you still find that. That linchpin for a company that size is staggering. Everything’s about elevating things into common platforms, making sure that the knowledge base is well shared across. If there is a new hire or someone retires, how does that transition happen? You can automate as much as you want, but you still need to have touchpoints. It’s important, but if you have the technology to support all those efforts, that transition or that issue had to go because then you have it all there.

This was eye-opening. I’m sure it’s something a lot of folks are interested in wanting to take a look at. Tell us the website if they want to check out more.

It’s EVOKE Enterprises. The reason we’re EVOKE Enterprise is we’re headquartered here in Poughkeepsie and we have operations over in Belarus in Minsk. That’s a big part of our technology side. We have an announcement. We’re opening up our new location in Grand Cayman. It’s official. We’re going to get the keys essentially for the office, get the official green light and hopefully, get a trip down there. That was my wife’s idea. Get off of these Eastern European cold environments. You need something more localized and help me pick a tropical environment.

Andrew Cohen, EVOKE. We appreciate the time.

Thank you for having me.

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About Andrew Cohen

TAP 28 | Workplace EfficiencyHas been the CEO and Managing Partner at EVOKE New York since 1997, an award-winning technology company that partners with clients to build digital workplace solutions for nearly every common organizational and technological challenge imaginable.

Their main focus is building “enterprise” solutions for the ENTIRE organization to maximize efficiency and encourage collaboration amongst teams through our custom design and development. EVOKE’s solutions cover a variety of platforms including:

– Microsoft SharePoint
– SharePoint Online
– Office 365
– Office Add-In
– iOS
– Android
– IoT
– Machine Learning / Computer AI
– VR/AR (Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality)
– UI/UX
– Responsive Design
– React
– Xamarin
– ASP.NET

With their expertise in custom solutions on a variety of platforms, they can give clients the peace of mind of focusing solely on their business without the headaches of solving daily technological issues. Unlike larger technology firms, EVOKE New York is small and nimble enough to create “turnkey” solutions that work immediately and where you will have direct access to leadership, should you have any issues whatsoever.

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