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MEET THE TECH EXEC

Jamie Valdez

VP of IT

Buffini & Company

With 25+ year’s experience, he has had opportunities to build and support IT operations in Europe, Ireland, Asia, and the Americas. He is well known for designing and implementing innovative IT solutions that enhance operational efficiency, accelerate revenue growth, and maximize profitability. While serving in the United States Navy, Jaime was responsible for Integrated Tactical Amphibious Warfare Data Systems (ITAWDS) and the Joint Over-the-horizon Tracking Systems (JOTS). He is a recognized leader in professional and consulting services, business development, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), among other technology disciplines.

What’s the #1 area of focus VP’s in IT should concentrate on?
Security of a company’s assets should be top priority.  Cyber security is going to grow leaps and bounds in the coming years and the CIO or CISO need to have a plan in place.

What’s your take on public cloud?
   
The Public Cloud has matured a lot in the last 5 years.  Companies like AWS, Azure, and Google have driven down cost so much that they are a compelling buy decision.  Gone are the days of having to budget CapEx dollars to replace old equipment that needs retired or purchasing software that needs upgraded.  These companies do it for you.

Do you feel IT still carries the title of a cost center rather than revenue driver?
   
IT done right, it’s absolutely a revenue driver.  There is still an old guard out there that wants to maintain systems that have been around for years.  This is the wrong mindset and a thing of the past; however, these IT folks still exist.  IT should be innovating ways to help the business to do business faster, staying more competitive, helping marketing with digital transformation, helping sales improve the sales process to close business faster, developing analytics to help the business see into the future.  Artificial Intelligence is going to be “huge.”  Building applications that have machine learning that analyzes a company’s many datasets will provide the business a leap forward.
What are you doing to support innovation in the company and its own organization to deliver better solutions?
I am continuing to expand upon our SaaS platform called Referral Maker®.  Over 19,000 Realtors and Lenders use this as their CRM application of choice. Last year we launched the first ever fully mobile application for iOS and Android.  In addition, we launched a new Teams product that allows the Team Leader to gain powerful insights about his/her business performance.  The Referral Maker® product was just honored the 2017 HousingWire Tech 100 Award Winner: Top Technology Company.

Are there any hiring challenges?
  
 
Yes, I’ve hired 10 people over the past 2 years and each time it’s taken months to fill.  The job market is stiff and many companies are paying top dollar to retain and counteroffering retain and attract talent.  It’s an employee’s market right now and great time to be in IT with IoT, AI, and cyber security.

What superpower would you want most?
There was a TV series on NBC that was called Heroes.  On the show there was a character by the name of Hiro Nakamura.  He had the ability to travel back and forth through space time manipulation.   
 What kind of messaging is coming down from the CEO/Key Executives about their partnership with IT?  What are they expecting you to look at?   
There are a lot of documents and websites that talk about the synergy between the CIO and the CMO.  With digital transformation on the rise, the CIO and CMO need to be in lockstep as to the IT plans for supporting Sales and Marketing.  This is what my CEO is looking for me to do.  To support the business, ensure IT is staying ahead of the business, and to be innovative.

Has the idea of using cloud changed your mindset of using outsourced/Managed Services
?
   
No, I see them as independent from each other as I offload certain workloads to the Cloud and need Managed Services for day-to-day operations.  This can be boots on the ground at remote locations, additional help when a tiger-team is needed for special projects, and etc… So, I see them as complimentary.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?  
I would likely take time off to fully take advantage of the new found wealth.  I would travel the world with my bride of 26 years and travel to all the places that we’ve talked about over the years.  Among some of those places includes Greece, France, London, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Jerusalem, and etc…

If you could give guidance to any VP  about how they position their careers what would you tell them
?
  
Be a partner to the business.  Earnestly listen to what the business is saying/asking and leverage technology to support the businesses need.  IT is meant to be service to the organization and not the other way around.  Service the organization by providing them the tools they need and want vs. what you think the need and want.

Rank your top three IT concerns out of: security, mobility, IoT, analytics, DevOps, advanced systems architecture, cloud, automation. 
1. Security
2. Analytics
3. DevOps

MEET THE TECH EXEC INTERVIEWS

Managed Solution is conducting interviews as part of an outreach initiative to share trends and engage technology enthusiasts in the southwest.