ComSpark Podcast - Brian Cerchio, IT Director for Everything But The House




ComSpark Thought Leader

Brian Cerchio, IT Director

Everything But The House

Moderator

Vernon Kennedy

ComSpark Executive Host Committee; President and CEO of ActiveWrite

To listen to the podcast click here!

 

Hello, and welcome to the comSpark podcast, where you will get to meet today's technology thought leaders. To learn more, visit comSpark.tech.

 

Vernon Kennedy: Hello. We are here today with Brian Cerchio, Director of IT For Everything But the House, an online estate auction company with about 1,000 employees nationally. They were founded here in Cincinnati in 2008 and have offices all over the country. My name is Vernon Kennedy.  I am president and CEO of ActiveWrite. So, I'll be the moderator today and we should get started. Good morning Brian.

Brian Cerchio: Morning.

VK: Before we get into the IT side of the things, why don't you give us a little bit of an overview of what Everything But the House is, and kind of what you do for a couple of minutes. And then we'll get into some of these questions that I know our IT folks are going to want to have the answers to.

BC: Everything But the House is, like you said, an online estate auction platform. We take items, after major life events or when there is downsizing, moving, any major life event and we will list those items on our web site across the entire world. So, we currently have offices in over 20 cities in the United States and we sell in 150 countries.

VK: So, that must take a pretty large network. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your, your corporate network? We'll get into the IT side of things right now. Jump into the deep end.

BC: We're a pretty lean organization, technology wise. We've really relied heavily on Cloud based infrastructure and being lean and agile. We utilize a lot of Cloud based hosting. Our network is all cloud controlled. Uh, and it's kind of funny when we talk about how large your staff is, when you're thinking about an organization of our size, of what we're able to do with, with less by being very cutting edge and lean and always kind of adopting the newest technologies and the latest trends.

VK: That must lead to a fair amount of turnover, a relatively quick turnover when it comes to, uh, equipment and lifecycle. So, what is the equipment lifecycle management plan at your organization?

BC: So, we're very quick to adopt new technologies when they come out. Whenever we do, they have the typical three-year lifecycle for equipment. If nothing changes the industry, we'll stick with that. However, if we find something new that is more effective and allows us to do our business better, we're going to migrate to that very quickly.

VK: From a service desk perspective how are you all equipped to handle things internally? Like, you know, a typical level one incident request. What is that experience like?

BC: A while back we thought “let's take a look at what outsourcing tier one looks like,” but what we found when looking at our numbers and our quality of services is that, most of our requests, being a technology enabled service company, and our staff is fairly technical, were not the simple average tier one help desk things. So we found that keeping it internal is much more valuable for us than it would be to, to externalize it. So all of our entire help desk and support is all internal.

VK: How do you approach supporting company-specific applications that you use in sort of the every day-to-day?

BC: Yeah, leading back on the help desk question. That's the primary focus of what our help desk does, is supporting these applications. We make sure we empower our team leaders to be knowledge experts in our specific applications and do that first kind of peer of support of how things work and how functionality happens. And when there's actually an issue is when we bring it up to our help desk. The help desk then works with the development teams and our squads that are focused on these specific products to resolve the issues if there is one, or help develop new applications, new workflows to support our business.

VK: Now I, you know, I'm sitting here thinking, as a father of two teenage sons, and you've got offices in 20 states and 150 countries. I think you said you sold them, right?

BC: Yep.

VK: And this just kind of a B.Y.O.D., bring your own device world, and how do you handle that with the vast number of people and devices and needs and different formats that are, that are accessing your network and your company on a daily basis?

BC: I'll tell you, it’s challenging really. B.Y.O.D. is here to stay. So, everybody wants to have their, their equipment; they want to be comfortable on it. The way we've kind of handled it is, we do allow devices to connect to our network that are, that are, you know, brought in from home. However, for our production facilities, and for like really standard operations, we try and keep a, a very standardized process. So, we're a heavy Mac shop as well as Chromebook, so we support B.Y.OD., but our applications are developed specifically for these platforms.

VK: Well thanks so much for providing the insight and being part of the podcast this morning. I know, we’ll, we'll do some offline stuff here shortly. So thanks again Brian. Nice to meet you.

BC: Nice to meet you, too.