Dan Schneck is CEO & Founder of WJI Networks Business Solutions, an IT agency firm in Brookfield, Wisconsin specializing in providing engineered technology & cybersecurity solutions, building, and integration of IT systems & support for the modern business office, warehouse, or automated production facility.
He hosts the IT Records podcast, which features discussions with business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals about the human side of business, how technology affects personal and professional development, and what motivates guests. As his creative passion, Dan performs jazz, blues, and funk music on the Hammond B3 organ with his group, B3 Groove.
What is digital transformation and why should I care?
Digital transformation actually has a personal connection to me and it's why I really started my company. I think the whole pandemic really accelerated all of this for all companies. Digital transformation, to me, is about what your goal is for the future, how you can get there, and how you can leverage technology to meet your goals in your business growth. It's really that simple. As you said, it's kind of a buzzword that's out there, but really it's taking a deep dive to assess what you want to get out of your business using technology.
How is automation changing the world of business?
Where do I start with automation? First of all, it's changing the landscape of how we connect with customers. From my perspective, sitting in an IT and engineering and support world, click to chat, digital chat, ways to connect, communicate with customers on service calls, that's all evolving rapidly. It's making it easier to connect and communicate with customers. Number one, it's presenting a lot of new challenges and going out and finding new business. I know there's a lot of automation happening with email, and CRMs, and things like that, but my background is a little more as a technology integrator so I spent a lot of time in automation facilities and manufacturing companies that are implementing a ton of automation. It's really fascinating to see that shift from robotics to packaging lines. That automation world is taking off like crazy lately and it's really helping companies produce more, faster, better and the level of knowledge is really rising within those companies on how to automate processes and procedures. It's really fun.
How do I find technology resources when I need advice?
My answer to this is a little nuanced. First of all, everyone needs a good technology partner these days. So my answer to that would be to do your homework, communicate, talk, interview different technology companies. There are a ton of tech companies out there and I always like to say you can throw a rock and hit an IT company, but all of us specialize in different nuances and areas. Our strength is really what we opened with digital transformation, taking the customer on the journey from good to better, and finding cost savings on existing technology. So you need to ask questions and attend events. There are such great cybersecurity webinars happening and informational webinars happening. If you visit our website, we have some content posted, we run webinars all the time, and just be willing to have a conversation and ask questions. It's a little overwhelming for customers at this point because of the explosion of technology, but we are certainly here to help answer any questions and that's what we like to do. We like to be your concierge and your quarterback so we think we have the answers and feel free to ask.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
Recently, one of my most successful networking experiences was finding a group called Vistage. I joined this group a couple of years ago as a peer, entrepreneur, and CEO group. That really has been a godsend for me! It's been a great group to connect with other like-minded business owners and that's just been a huge journey and success for me.
How do you stay in front of and best nurture the relationships you’ve created?
I visit my customers a lot so I have a lot of face time with customers. As part of our process, when we onboard a client, I make it a point to visit customers every couple of months and check in with them. It's not all about tech, it's just checking in and asking how their business is doing and where they might be struggling. I'm always listening for technology solutions that can help them and I'm always amazed at the number of times that when I create that relationship with a customer, we ended up talking about 15 other things, but one of them is a really important technology solution that I might be able to provide.
What advice would you offer to those business professionals really looking to grow their network?
Keep connecting with others. Make it a point to follow and stay in touch. Don't always pick up the phone and talk about your business. As I said, the conversations that I love to have with my customers aren't even about business half the time. Prior to the pandemic, I didn't even use a CRM because I never really had to, but now I lean on my CRM like crazy! I leave touchpoints, follow up with my customers and make it a point to tell your story as often as you can.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
If I can go back to my 20-year-old self, I am telling myself to slow down to speed up. One of the lessons that I have personally learned over the past two years is to develop focus, and I have constantly been finding that the more you slow down and really think through a decision, what's the best outcome, not only for yourself but for your clients. When you're in business, that's my top piece of advice. Don't rush decisions. I think you appreciate your decisions, more you make better decisions, and you make the best decision for your clients if you do things that way.
Connect with Dan
Connect with Dan through his website at https://wjinet.com/ to claim a free copy of his eBook, 10 Keys To Finding Your Best IT Provider Match!