Episode 28: Rey Ortega of Grata Software – Full Transcript
Rey Ortega 0:00
So I would sit in these meetings and, and they would start having the business conversation. And then the technical engineers are being very, very technical. And so I would basically bridge that gap. So, at that time, I was like, man, you know, this is a pretty, pretty good skill to have, not many people have it. So I thought, well, what happens if I decided to go out and just do it myself, you know, and go out and start looking at other companies that kind of need that kind of skill? So I started doing that. And low and behold, it was not even six months later, we started getting clients and, and I found a business partner who kind of saw that value. And so she kind of invested and jumped in. And so we started- it was originally Grata Online when we first started but then later it went to Grata Software after some events happened. We had to switch the company name so, but yeah, that’s how it started. Basically was me saying, hey, I can do this and let’s go find some businesses that need this.
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Jordan Ostroff 1:50
Hello and welcome to “Let’s Get Up to Business” with Jordan Law. Joining me today is Ray Ortega with Grata Software. Thanks for coming in, Rey.
Rey Ortega 1:58
No problem. Thank you for having me.
Jordan Ostroff 1:59
So tell us a little bit about Grata Software and then we’ll get into more detail.
Rey Ortega 2:03
So Grata Software, we’re a consultancy agency. We’re technology consulting, we come up with technology solutions to help businesses reduce their costs, increase their profitability. We do cloud based solutions. We’re a technical, or a select technical partner, for Amazon Web Services. And so we do, you know, all types of solutions for problem solving, working with different companies in the SMB market. They usually come to us with problems and we, we figure out the solution and how to solve their problems.
Jordan Ostroff 2:31
And when you say SMB, you’re talking about small to medium sized businesses?
Rey Ortega 2:34
Yep. Small to medium – we usually work directly with CEOs, executives. We act as their CFOs or sorry, not CFOs, the CTOs or the CIOs. So we give them the strategic ideas of how do they take their business in this current state and how do they make it better? And we try to help them with optimizing some of their processes with, you know, the different technology solutions that we come up with.
Jordan Ostroff 2:57
And so CTO – Chief Technical Officer? CIO – Chief Information Officer. Okay, so um, so you’re dealing with mostly the C level people to solve like the, the high end problems that are business.
Rey Ortega 3:08
Yes, exactly. Yep.
Jordan Ostroff 3:09
Alright, so if we’ve got any listeners who know that they need some help with some technology when it comes to their business from that level, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Rey Ortega 3:17
They can get in touch with us directly through our phone number, 321-236-0011. That’s our phone number. Or they can go to our website at www.Grata (G-R-A-T-A) Software.com and just go straight to the contact page and contact us. Or they can contact me directly at Rey (R-E-Y) @GrataSoftware.com.
Jordan Ostroff 3:36
Alright, so we’ll get into that in a little bit more detail but before then, tell us about you.
Rey Ortega 3:42
Me? I’m a software engineer by trade. I’ve actually, we’re in Orlando so, and I’ve been in Orlando since 1990. I was raised here, went to Colonial High School, down the street, kind of, from where we’re at and just doing software engineering ever since I was in high school. Originally started with, as a student assistant, with the dean of students at my high school, he was building websites. When the website first came out, I was managing his websites and kind of went from there, got into this industry in that, in that fashion. You know, just I love doing what I do. I love building technology, I love working with businesses. I come from a business background. And you know, and I’m sure somewhere we’ll talk about later. But, you know, we have a lot of business acumen as well as technical acumen and all that comes, stems from my background and, and being in both. And so, like I said, been around here for a while, and, and just love doing what I do.
Jordan Ostroff 4:35
So then walk me through how you got involved with Grata, where did that come from?
Rey Ortega 4:38
So years ago, I started working at startup. I love, you know, I was doing the technology stuff, you know, building websites and things like that. I started working as a contractor, got really involved in it and then I started looking for startups to work with because I really have a lot of business background and I wanted to get more into that business side of startups. So I started working at other startups being, you know, just a software engineer or something like that, and work my way up to the technical lead and then the lead engineer. And when I was working at this one company, it’s pretty popular company, I don’t know if you heard of Assist RX? They’re a medical company here in Orlando, really popular, they’re like worth over a billion dollars these days. But when I first started with them, it was a smaller company, there was only a few of us engineers. And the one issue we would, they would have, especially in meetings with a lot of these healthcare companies is they had this very business oriented person on the phone. And then we were supposed to, we had the technical guy on the phone. And they were having a major issue in that communication gap between the two. So they would, they would always be like, hey, go get Rey, you know? Get Rey because Rey can talk business as well as talk, you know, programming.
Jordan Ostroff 5:40
Rey Ortega 5:40
And so I would sit in these meetings and, and they would start having the business conversation and then the technical engineers are being very, very technical. And so I would basically bridge that gap. So at that time, I was like, man, you know, this is a pretty, pretty good skill to have, not many people have it. So I thought, well, what happens if I decided to go out and just do it myself, you know, and go out and start looking at other companies that kind of need that kind of skill. So I started doing that and low and behold, it was not even six months later, we started getting clients and, and I found a business partner who kind of saw that value. And so she kind of invested and jumped in and so we started, it was originally Grata Online when we first started but then later it went to Grata Software after some events happened, we had to switch the company name so but yeah, that’s how it started. It basically was me saying, hey, I can do this and let’s go find some businesses that need this.
Jordan Ostroff 6:35
That’s interesting because what you talked about is basically the key to be a lawyer.
Rey Ortega 6:38
Jordan Ostroff 6:39
You know, as, as a lawyer, you’re taking the, the doctor’s opinion, you’re taking the police officer’s opinion, you’re taking whatever it is along those lines, and explaining that to, you know, your six jurors, when it comes to you know, having no technical training. So, for you, you know, you’re, you’re taking the technical expertise from the, from the software side and explaining to these business owners that may not know you know, coding or whatever it is.
Rey Ortega 6:59
Yeah, it was really cool because we had this, I had to establish a way of talking to them to where, because I was also technical. So the hard part was is I had to start, you know, how you start looking for metaphors and things like that, that kind of help them understand.
Jordan Ostroff 7:14
Yeah, oh definitely.
Rey Ortega 7:15
So I started using building housing metaphors, because a lot of the people that we deal with, they either have built, either built a house or had a house that was built, you know, they’re mostly executives, or they’re guys who’ve probably, you know, went out and had a house built, or they, you know, they know how to build a house or something. And so I used to tell them, you know, we’re very similar, very similar to the housing market, you know, like, like building a house, the process is very similar building software, building technologies is to building a house. So we would have, so I would start explaining things in that fashion about, you know, here’s the foundation of your, you know, your business is the foundation of the software that you want to build. And this is, you know, then we now have to wire it up. And you know, we have to build the framing, and we have to do this and I go through that whole process and they would start understanding a lot better exactly what we do and how we do it. And so it just, so it made a lot of sense and it kind of helped, you know, build our client base, because originally we were going after, you know, the CTOs and CIOs. And they were already technical, you know. And so that was the thing is, it helped us get a lot of the C level companies because they were, or C level executives from companies because they were looking at us going, wow, they understand me, and they also understand how to explain it to me. And so it definitely helped out a lot. And that’s what helped us grow our business to where we’re at today.
Jordan Ostroff 8:24
That’s great. You know, it’s amazing to me how, how, you know, we talk about people being bilingual, but really being able to explain a very difficult and very specific knowledge to the normal person, the average person?
Rey Ortega 8:39
It is the average person, yeah.
Jordan Ostroff 8:41
I mean, sometimes that’s harder communication, then you know, translating stuff across languages is translating, you know, English or technic. You know, Louie call it legal ease.
Rey Ortega 8:49
Jordan Ostroff 8:51
So walk me through kind of what are the major problems that you all are, are solving for businesses.
Rey Ortega 8:57
So one of the things, one of the problems that we run into a lot, we have a lot of, we have companies that have, they may have an idea for something that they want to do. And so a lot of the, especially if you’re dealing with the CEO specifically, they usually have an idea and they’re like, okay, I want to build this product, I want to extend, I want to build another product out of my business. They haven’t really talked to their customers, they kind of think what their customer wants. And so they say, okay, I want to build this and I want all these features and all this stuff. And so they come to me they’re like, okay, well build me this. It’s like, we go back to the building the house, the house analogy, right? Build me this four bedroom, three bath house, I want, I want crown molding, I want the Italian, you know, marble floors, I want this, I want that. And, and then you have to and then you look at them and you say okay, well, that’s like a million dollars. You know, it’s like, do you, does your customer really want that? And so that’s the biggest issue we run into a lot of, especially new customers that we get. They come up, they come to us with all these ideas and we’re and we’re trying to break it down and say, okay, what is the problem you’re really trying to solve, right? Let’s focus on that problem first. And then we iterate from there. And so we usually recommend them to build some type of prototype, take it back to their customers, get some feedback, figure out if this is even a valid thing that they’re going to use. And then some of the features, you know, they’ll tell you, they’ll tell you what they want in there and –
Jordan Ostroff 10:18
“They”, the customer?
Rey Ortega 10:19
“They”, the customer.
Jordan Ostroff 10:20
Rey Ortega 10:20
And so, and it helps save our customers a lot of money, because like I said, they came to us with a million dollar idea, which, you know, is how much they would spend. And then in turn, you know, it may only end up being like 50,000 or a hundred thousand dollars to get into that market, right, and start getting those customers. And then they’ll turn the profit that they make from those customers into helping us iterate into the next, you know, features and next benefits, right? And so that’s a huge problem we see. And the problem really is that some of these people, you know, some of these customers, they don’t, they end up not moving forward with that idea because it ends up being more expensive, because they’re trying to put everything in it.
Jordan Ostroff 10:58
Right, of course.
Rey Ortega 10:59
So we help them kind of think it through and say, okay, well listen, this is not really what you should do, you should probably do this instead, right? You should probably only add these few things and then move from there. So we’ve helped several customers go from, I got this big idea, I’m going to spend all this money to okay, well, let’s start off and let’s start building a client base. And so we actually have two customers right now, we have two products that are going to be coming out soon from two of our customers, one of them is in the space of like yoga studios and exercise facilities. It’s a whole system that allows, allows them to tracking all of their guests, all of their sales, all of these things. And it really stemmed from a yoga studio owner saying I want to build this thing for my studio, but it was just way too big. And we, we’ve dumbed it down to something that was more, more useful for the, for the right things and now he can white label that, you know, license it out to other yoga studios and make money.
Jordan Ostroff 11:52
When you say white label, what do you mean?
Rey Ortega 11:53
So white label means is, the product is built and it’s, it already has all the features. And so what they do is they basically strip their logo off of it. And so that’s why we call it white label. Because you strip your logo off of it, essentially you slap on what we call a white label, which is a generic name. And then you, you license it to other companies and allows them to put their logo on it and their branding.
Jordan Ostroff 12:15
Rey Ortega 12:16
So essentially they, so to their customer, it looks like they built that technology, it’s their technology, but it really is from the original company’s technology.
Jordan Ostroff 12:24
So Bill’s yoga studio versus Jane’s yoga studio.
Rey Ortega 12:27
Jordan Ostroff 12:27
Rey Ortega 12:28
So you’ll see a different logo, different – the same look and feel. You see that a lot in like these, like have you ever like, like HubSpot and those kind of products?
Jordan Ostroff 12:37
Rey Ortega 12:37
You know, some of them will license out their very technology to some other company to slap their logo on there and their branding, but it’s the same back end, same system that they’re already using with, you know, a HubSpot or you know, another sales, you know, system, it’s like that. So, so yeah, so there’s that one customer then we have another customer who is a, they’re, they do insurance adjusting. They’re like, they send out adjusters to kind of determine what the value of the damages on a home or something like that. And so –
Jordan Ostroff 13:08
So as a, as a personal injury lawyer, should I be booing them right now? Or are they, are they one of the good ones?
Rey Ortega 13:12
They’re a good one. So, so they, so they work directly with, with FEMA. FEMA sends them a lot of –
Jordan Ostroff 13:18
Rey Ortega 13:20
And so what happens is is they, similar to them, you know, they want it all bells, knobs and whistles, we got it down to something a lot simpler. They were able to build the system that has made their business more efficient. They can, they can produce and turn around a lot more claims a lot quicker. Oh, that’s great. And then in turn, now, several of their competitors want to license out the technology. So like I said, it’s, it’s, you know, we turned something that’s a simple, simple problem. And we turned it into a very large solution that could actually make them more money, other revenue streams, things like that.
Jordan Ostroff 13:53
I like the first one. It sounds like Open Table for yoga studios. Like an open mat.
Rey Ortega 13:58
Yeah and what I love about the interface, it looks very, it’s very similar to the like, if you go to a bar you see the interface that they use in order to tab up somebody, it has a very similar look, look and feel to that.
Jordan Ostroff 14:11
So like the, the mat in the back left corner, the back right corner, the middle mat?
Rey Ortega 14:15
Yeah, it’s got, it’s a lot of very cool colored boxes on the screen and they can sell, you know, very similar to – I can’t explain too much. I don’t want to give away too much.
Jordan Ostroff 14:24
Rey Ortega 14:25
It hasn’t been released yet but it’s, but it’s, it looks really cool. It’s amazing. It’s a, and it has an amazing back office system that allows all of the studio owners to manage their employees, their billing, their – a lot of stuff. It’s one of the best products I think we’ve built, you know, since we’ve worked with, you know, from a lot of different customers we work with, it’s one of the best ones, I think.
Jordan Ostroff 14:45
And so how much of this is you all, you know, putting everything together from scratch versus you all integrating existing systems together?
Rey Ortega 14:53
So it’s both. We’re a select partner with Amazon Web Services.
Jordan Ostroff 14:57
Rey Ortega 14:57
So a lot of times, we’re using a lot of Amazon Web Services solutions. On top of it, we’re certified in both the development side and also architecting solutions with Amazon.
Jordan Ostroff 15:08
What’s the difference there?
Rey Ortega 15:09
The difference is that development means that we can develop on top of their cloud port platforms and use a lot of their tools. On the solutions architect, it is the, when I talk about foundation, you know, to a home, it’s the foundation, it’s the infrastructure. So when a client, for instance, these white label clients, every time you have, every time you white label a product and you get a new licensee, you have to build an infrastructure for that licensee. And so we’re certified to build scalable structures and fault tolerance structures, which means that if, let’s say, one cert, one, one data center goes down in Virginia, there’s a backup in Ohio, you know, type of thing. Knowing how to build the infrastructure to handle crashes, major events. And then also be able to have them redundant so that if, let’s say, you have data in one section, you have a backup somewhere else. But then the biggest thing is the scalability. So let’s say a white label client signs up two or three new businesses and those businesses have millions of users. Well, the infrastructure we build expands and contracts based on that demand. So it, and so we’re certified and that ability to build those kind of infrastructures. And that’s what that means.
Jordan Ostroff 16:21
So basically, from that standpoint, you’re sort of like running the bridge that covers this whole housing community as long as it needs to be why, down, up, whatever?
Rey Ortega 16:28
Yeah, it’s, it’s like the, it’s also, you also have to look at as the general contractor too.
Jordan Ostroff 16:34
Rey Ortega 16:34
So, you know, imagine if you’re building five or six different neighborhoods, and you’re the general contractor to those five or six neighborhoods, you have to know exactly how everything’s built, how it’s all put together, how the piping is all done, because you have to know how do you go and you handle each situation as it happens in each neighborhood. It’s a very similar situation, but it’s on the technology spectrum.
Jordan Ostroff 16:53
So then let me, let me give you the, the John Lennon Imagination kind of thing.
Rey Ortega 16:57
Jordan Ostroff 16:57
With an unlimited amount of financial resources and time. I mean, is there any software based solution you all can’t create?
Rey Ortega 17:06
So we just ran into this.
Jordan Ostroff 17:07
Okay, so there is a wall?
Rey Ortega 17:09
There is a wall. So there are limitations to current technology that prevent us from doing certain things. They’re getting there, but they’re not there yet. So we had, we had a request to, it was kind of, it was to take information that is dynamically created and being able to determine whether that information is dynamically created, can be checked for errors, and then flagged and then essentially send notifications to someone that hey, there might be an error with this thing that you’ve just submitted.
Jordan Ostroff 17:43
Alright, so let me – break that down for an idiot like me.
Rey Ortega 17:45
I’m trying to, I’m trying to say it without giving away any intellectual property.
Jordan Ostroff 17:50
Well, okay, so dynamically created.
Rey Ortega 17:53
Jordan Ostroff 17:53
Meaning it’s, it’s not going to be, there’s no consistency to the creation?
Rey Ortega 17:58
Jordan Ostroff 17:59
Unknown Speaker 18:00
So, so it can – there’s several ways of creating, for instance, let’s just imagine a document.
Jordan Ostroff 18:06
Rey Ortega 18:07
I can create this document in 10 different ways, right? And then, in that document also, there’s information or data, that’s, that’s put into it, that is created on the document. So it’s not created prior, it’s created on the document, the ability to essentially take that data and create checks to find out if there’s an error in comparing that data with other data and then saying, okay, well, there’s an issue here, flag it for the issue, send it back to, as a notification.
Jordan Ostroff 18:38
So this sounds like spellcheck to like the hundreth degree.
Rey Ortega 18:42
Yes, that’s a good way to put it. It’s like spellcheck to the hundreth degree, yes.
Jordan Ostroff 18:46
I have a future in metaphors
Rey Ortega 18:47
There you go. So and so because of, so we were asked for that and the technology just isn’t there. It’s, you know, you can roll the dice and, and basically come up with the same result set. You know, as far as like the errors, you can come up with the same error probability as if you just roll some, a pair of dice. Like the-
Jordan Ostroff 19:05
Rey Ortega 19:06
It’s not accurate yet. And, and so there’s, there are limitations to what we can do because of that. So,
Jordan Ostroff 19:12
All right, I’m glad that, I’m glad that you came across that because I mean, you’re, you know, basically you’re giving me the Zapier to the, you know, to the nth degree also, with all these other things. It just seems like any problem has a solution through you all, but I guess, I guess there is that one.
Rey Ortega 19:28
There is, well, and there’s probably others, but we don’t run into them often. If you actually looked on my LinkedIn, you’ll see at the very bottom, one of the biggest strengths that we’ve, we have, or at least I have, and has actually brought into the company is the ability to find a solution to almost everything. We’re, we’re really good problem solvers, and we can find solutions to practically everything it’s just, and, and like one of my professors said in college once, he goes with this and he drew a big money sign, anything’s possible.
Jordan Ostroff 19:56
Yeah, well, that’s –
Rey Ortega 19:57
And so, and we, and we kind of have that mentality too where it’s like, yeah, we can find a solution, but it’s going to cost a lot of money to get there. You know, I mean, look at self driving cars, who would have thought? You know, that a car could just figure out exactly how to drive down the street? No one would have thought that five years ago, and here we are so, so things are possible. But there’s a lot of money behind those things that are possible.
Jordan Ostroff 20:19
Well, I’m always, you know, self driving cars are better than us until they’re not, that’s my-
Rey Ortega 20:23
I don’t, I don’t trust it being a technical guy because I know that things have bugs and I don’t want to be in it when that one bug happens.
Jordan Ostroff 20:29
And I don’t trust it being a lawyer guy, you know, you get enough with like the Toyota’s with the accelerator that sticks. Imagine if the, imagine the computer glitches and suddenly it thinks that all the cars need to go in the lake.
Rey Ortega 20:39
Jordan Ostroff 20:41
So I guess, you know, it sounds like there’s so much opportunity here. So really, I think the focus kind of needs to be on what somebody’s expecting, cost wise and time wise, based upon the size of the project, like what’s a, are there projects that are too small for you all?
Rey Ortega 20:58
There are. So a lot of, we take on anyone. So let me be clear about that, anyone who calls us, we will, we will work with them. And we may not take them on as a client, but we may direct them to someone that can actually take care of them. So but, but for us, a lot of our projects tend to be long term over six months, I may tend to also cost in the upper in, in the upper, to, up to 100,000 range or higher. So, so there is a, you know, it- but it all depends because a first project, some of our clients, in fact, most of our clients have been with us for years, we, we very rarely lose a customer. And if we do it’s because we move them to the next phase because we only take up to a certain amount too, we don’t work with fortune 500 companies. If a company is growing that extensively then we have to, we feel like it’s probably in their best interest to slide them on to a company that can handle that type of, that type of work. Because once you get to that fortune 500 stage, you’re not looking for custom solutions, per se, you’re looking for a lot of pre built solutions from other fortune 500 companies that have built systems, you know, to handle what they’re doing. But when it comes to small businesses, we, we take every small business and, and then kind of figure out, can we work with this, this company? Is it, is it fruitful for not only them, but for us, you know, in the long term? And so we make those assessments and then we decide, okay, we work with them or not, we’re very boutique. So you know, I don’t want to say that we just take on everyone, and then we work with everybody. And I don’t want to also say that we’re very selective in who we work with, because we work with anyone that it just, it makes sense for both of us to work together.
Jordan Ostroff 22:37
So, and so a lot of times when you’re, when you’re meeting with somebody to not then take their business is that because there’s an already existing solution that’s close enough or is that, somebody else is going to do it cheaper because it’s too small of a project or is it, how does that work?
Rey Ortega 22:53
So what we do is when we bring in that, when we bring in the customer, we, again, we do an assessment and we determine what their business needs. And how we should move forward based on what their business needs and what technically is available to them. We have customers that are still our customers, and we do the consulting side, but they are paying their own offshore team because it was cheaper to go that route.
Jordan Ostroff 23:13
Rey Ortega 23:14
And we make those recommendations, we, we will actually say, okay, well, if you went local, it’s going to cost you, you know, $200,000 to do this one project. But if you go offshore, you may be able to do it for $75,000, you know, but we’ll stay on as the consultant and we’ll work with the offshore team to make sure they’re meeting all your requirements and then our team actually double checks their work, and makes sure that they’re building it, you know, in order to meet the goal of the business. So, if they’re planning on growing or scaling this business, we want to make sure the offshore team is building the code in a scalable fashion, so that when they do go to the next level, or they do go to the next phase, it’s not something they have to hire a whole nother team to do and rebuild from scratch.
Jordan Ostroff 23:56
And that’s just because labor costs will be cheaper if they go?
Rey Ortega 23:59
Labor costs would be cheaper. Yeah, we try to go local as much as possible, because we do believe in, you know, supporting our local community. But it’s very difficult, especially now, nowadays with the amount of software engineer quote unquote, software engineers that are out there. A lot of them are demanding right out of school $70-80,000 a year.
Jordan Ostroff 24:15
Rey Ortega 24:15
Which is unheard of when I got into the industry. When I got into the industry, you know, you start off, you work with someone for 15 bucks an hour, if you got lucky, and you develop your skills. And then once you’ve established several products that you’ve probably released as an engineer, then you’ve added that value, you know, but now they’re coming straight out of school saying I want 80,000 a year, you know, and a lot of that has to do with the cost of, you know, the tuition costs, and they already know they’re gonna have to pay X amount of dollars back on their loans. So they’re trying to make the money to start paying back those loans. They’re demanding that kind of money.
Jordan Ostroff 24:45
And is that, are they getting that kind of money?
Rey Ortega 24:46
They’re not. That, that’s the thing is they’re not always getting it, but some do. You have big companies like Lockheed, Siemens, you know, they’re bringing in a lot of these students on as interns at like $15 an hour with the potential of being hired full time at a $60, 70, 80,000 rate, right? So it’s and we’re talking by the time they get that salary, their, their, their experience level’s a year maybe. Two years maybe. I mean, we have people in the industry right now that have eight years experience making 60,000 a year, you know, and it’s because they were in before, you know, so it’s a different paradigm. So what we have to do is we have to weigh out what are the resources, you know, who can we get? And then figure out okay, is it worth it for the client to bring in someone local, or do it offshore and, and then just hit us a local resource as a support system, rather than a building it, you know, from scratch type thing. So we have a client right now that’s asking us to go hire someone for them so that they can now bring this stuff in house after going offshore for five years, you know? So,
Jordan Ostroff 25:49
So, okay, so that, that brings me to my next question. So when you’re talking about these clients staying with you, it’s not really going to be you all updating the system, it’s going to be you all kind of overseeing Seeing the progression of that system?
Rey Ortega 26:01
Exactly. So the and then some of that is an 8020, or whatever. So because we are always managing their Amazon Web Services because of our certifications, and because of our partnership, we’re responsible for their Amazon Web Services, all their cloud hosting, and all their cloud services that they use. And then, so we manage that period, that’s just part of the deal. We don’t offer that at all because that’s an infrastructure. And we always consider anything that’s intellectual property or anything, it’s really important to the business needs to be done locally. Just because you just can’t trust the offshore to handle that part of the business. So we handle that. If they do stick with an offshore team for 80% of the work, then they’ll usually hire us as a consultant for the 20% to manage that offshore team and make sure that they’re doing things, you know, the way it needs to be done.
Jordan Ostroff 26:45
And so when you’re talking about the Amazon Web Services, the cloud based stuff, I mean, that’s, that’s just to protect the data and host the software?
Rey Ortega 26:54
Jordan Ostroff 26:55
Rey Ortega 26:56
Yeah, we’re always, our focus is always to protect our clients information. We do have some clients that are government related.
Jordan Ostroff 27:04
Rey Ortega 27:04
And then we, we are CJ- CJIS certified, which is criminal justice information system certified. So anything that is that level, we manage it. And we just, we just, we, because you can’t trust offshore with that, I don’t think the laws even go that far.
Jordan Ostroff 27:20
Rey Ortega 27:21
Like in India, you can’t really, you know, if someone decides to take your application, duplicate it and then sell it in India, you have nothing.
Jordan Ostroff 27:29
Right. Well it’s interesting, so I used to be a state attorney in a former life and so we had to get the same training because we were having, we had access to the rap sheets and everything. And I just remember, you know, the training is like, don’t click on spam emails, make sure you close the door behind you physically when you leave your office, don’t leave this stuff out. And I was just like, this is amazing, because half of this is like you have to be an idiot to do it but really, it’s it’s covering, you know, physical access versus as well as, you know, digital access to all these things. It was just a very, it was an interesting training.
Unknown Speaker 28:01
It’s funny you say that because when I took the training for the first time, it was a project for Orange County, Orange County Sheriff’s, and they were our sponsor. And so they, so we got the training and I didn’t even do the training, I went straight to the test and I took the test because it was common sense answers it’s like you know, what do you, what should you do if your hard drive, if you’re done with your hard drive, what should you do? It’s like yeah you should, you know, basically break it apart, demagnatize it. It’s like that’s common sense like why wouldn’t you do that?
Jordan Ostroff 28:29
That’s not common sense, my man.
Rey Ortega 28:31
Jordan Ostroff 28:32
Rey Ortega 28:32
I don’t know, for me that seems like common sense. Demagnetize your hard drive when you get rid of- I even do it now like on my personal computers once I get done with the hardware I demagnetize it, do the whole thing and-
Jordan Ostroff 28:40
Common sense would be like wipe it inside windows and then resell it on eBay. That’s going to be common sense what to do with hard drive.
Rey Ortega 28:47
Yeah, I guess I, we need to start looking for hard drives on eBay then.
Jordan Ostroff 28:51
Oh, I mean, who knows? We’ll see. Get a major competitor having a fire sale and just, you know, snag up the hard drive and see what happens.
Rey Ortega 29:00
There you go. That’s funny.
Jordan Ostroff 29:01
So I like, I like the intersection of the consulting with the software creation. Kind of walk me through how that works because, obviously, in that moment, you know, you’re dealing with a lot of problems that these business owners have, or at least a lot of issues that they have that may potentially bad ideas they have to fix their problems.
Rey Ortega 29:19
Yeah. Yeah. So we have a framework we’ve developed internally, it’s called our triple aim framework.
Jordan Ostroff 29:24
Our triple what?
Rey Ortega 29:25
Jordan Ostroff 29:26
Rey Ortega 29:26
So it’s basically, we advise, or sorry, we asses,s we advise, and then we architect, and then we implement and manage. So that’s the, the flow. So it’s Triple Aim: three As, I, M.
Jordan Ostroff 29:37
Rey Ortega 29:38
And so, so we do an assessment first. We assess business. You know, goals, like I said earlier, and then we go into the analyze. We start analyzing their technology, a lot of our clients, we signed very strict NDA, so they give us access to their information immediately. So we go into their code. So we read their code, we go into their servers, we look at the architecture, we establish where they’re at today. What the quality of the work is they have today. And then we, and then we actually put together an architecture diagram of, of that information and where they want to go and how that architecture would look like.
Jordan Ostroff 30:12
So most of your clients already have some sort of custom built software that they’re working with?
Rey Ortega 30:16
They may, they may, yes. So, you know, yes, they may. So the two clients that I mentioned earlier, they came in with nothing. But they’re, most of the clients that come in, they come in with already stuff that they’ve built, and they have, and now it’s okay, we want to get to the next level. But I have one developer guy who built this for 10 years. And now I need someone to look at this and make sure that we can scale this, you know, or I had an offshore team build this and we’re having a lot of problems, can you come in and see what we’re doing and, because this is where we want to be, and unfortunately, we don’t feel like we’re getting there. And so could you help us out? That kind of stuff. And so, so that’s why we developed this framework, because we found that every client has the same framework, has the frame, same structure, where we basically have to go in, we have to analyze, we have to provide our advice, we have to, you know, architect the stuff. And then the implementation is where, what I talked about earlier, that’s where things kind of changed a little. Implementation used to be all us. So we used to do all the engineering. But we found that it was better for our clients over time, if we determine whether the engineering should be done offshore with their own team, or done with us.
Jordan Ostroff 31:20
Well, especially when you’re doing so much more than just building the software. I mean, it sounds like, it sounds like the building it is a lot of groundwork. It’s making sure it is correctly on the right system with the right foundation.
Rey Ortega 31:32
Yep. Yep, it is. And, and you know, and that’s the part where you look at that, you know, if you look at a house, that’s where you look at the framing, the wiring and the drywall, right?
Jordan Ostroff 31:40
Rey Ortega 31:40
And that part, it’s really, they’re, the clients, you know, because they’re mostly C level executives, right? They don’t understand any of that. And the, one of the biggest issues that we feel like that a lot of customers were having or a lot of business, small businesses. They don’t know the technology. So how do you know what these guys built in India? I mean, all you get essentially is the interface, right?
Jordan Ostroff 32:03
Rey Ortega 32:04
And you start clicking on there, and you’re like, oh, this looks like the application I asked for. It’s awesome. But you don’t know what went on in the background, you can see, you can what’s called stub out a lot of those features and make it look like it’s a full functioning application, and it not have a single thing that actually works correctly on them.
Jordan Ostroff 32:19
Is that what you mean by stub out?
Rey Ortega 32:20
Yes, what I mean by stub out, what stubbing out means, we, you take the back end, and you just return back flat data, right? That’s not real. But it looks like the data that’s supposed to return and then the front end interface describes that data and displays it. Right? So stub out means you don’t really complete the job, you just fake it as if it’s completed. Right? And so what we do is, that’s one of the things that we do in our assessment, and we go back and we look okay, did they really do the work that they said they were going to do? Is this really going to do the things that the client asked for? Or did they just stub it out and then show an interface to make it look like everything’s pretty and working exactly the way it should? You know, and then say, hey, we’re done, thank you very much, have a nice day. Because that’s what, that’s what happens a lot. And so we try to prevent that from happening by capturing that ahead of time. And so and that’s our job.
Jordan Ostroff 33:05
Well, and good luck suing somebody in another country with who knows what. Yeah.
Rey Ortega 33:09
So the good thing about is, if you get it early enough, and we’re involved early, early enough, we can push some of those, some of those companies to actually fix it before the last dollars paid, or any of that stuff. You know, we, we put a lot of pressure on these offshore companies that take advantage of some of these customers.
Jordan Ostroff 33:29
Rey Ortega 33:29
We put a lot of pressure on them to finish the job. And then the thing is, if, if they don’t, if it seems an easy enough task for us to do internally, sometimes we’ll just do it.
Jordan Ostroff 33:38
Well, and you know, I always talk to people about this, like when you get a case referred from somebody, you’re really doing the case for two people, the actual client and the referral source. You know, you want both those people to know you’re doing a great job.
Rey Ortega 33:48
Jordan Ostroff 33:49
So from your standpoint, it sounds like these offshore companies should be kowtowing you so much more because you can send them so much more business from 100 other clients as opposed to like that one business that now may be bankrupt and can’t do anymore work because they screwed up.
Rey Ortega 34:03
And that’s exactly what happens. Our first communication with them is all straight up about that one client, then the next day, I get the call from their business rep that’s trying to get us to give them all of our clients.
Jordan Ostroff 34:13
Rey Ortega 34:14
And so, and that gives us a lot of leverage to sit there and say, wait, finish this one client’s job and get it done right and then maybe we’ll talk about it and-
Jordan Ostroff 34:21
Get it done a little bit faster. I like it. That’s great. Alright, so let me ask you the selfish question here.
Rey Ortega 34:28
Jordan Ostroff 34:29
So we’ve got, you know, the Google Suite, we’ve got Law Matics for intake, we’ve got Practice Panther for case management, I mean, emerge all those things together to have a, you know, client portal for clients to email them, to have automatic email updates, to have text message check ins, whatever. I mean, what am I looking at, to put all that stuff together in one program, so I don’t have to have, you know, three or four different things?
Rey Ortega 34:50
It depends on each program. So the key is, the one thing that’s really important is to find out if any one of those programs have what’s called an API, an application programmable interface. What that means is that the data, because the data is the least common denominator, all of that data needs to be available somehow.
Jordan Ostroff 35:07
Rey Ortega 35:07
And so what you do is you find out how is all that data from all those different systems, how does it get created and where, is there an ability for you to access that data? And if you can access that data, whether it be straight into the database or through an API, then you literally can build a whole nother system that grabs all that data, merges it together and then performs operations on that day.
Jordan Ostroff 35:07
So if they all will work with Zapier, then they probably, they at least have an API?
Rey Ortega 35:33
Jordan Ostroff 35:34
Rey Ortega 35:34
And that’s the whole purpose of Zapier, right? It’s to make API integration a lot easier.
Jordan Ostroff 35:37
Rey Ortega 35:38
So that’s why that that exists. Yep.
Jordan Ostroff 35:40
All right. So then I, I’m maybe closer to my dream. You know, my dream is just to have one program that does everything for the law firm.
Rey Ortega 35:48
Jordan Ostroff 35:48
But it’s just so difficult because, you know, there’s- one, there’s a lot to do and two, you know, you want it done the right way.
Rey Ortega 35:54
Exactly. Yep. And so and that, you know, that’d be a good conversation for us to have, you know, to sit there and, and look through it and figure out, you know what can be done.
Jordan Ostroff 36:04
Rey Ortega 36:04
Jordan Ostroff 36:05
Well, we won’t do that right now on the podcast. Maybe an actual follow up that happens here because, you know, it’s just, it’s crazy to me how, you know, you’re talking about coming into this in the, in the 90s. Like, I’m just imagining what would have blown people away, then where now it’s like, oh, I’ve got more computing power on my iPhone, you know, just to send one text message on my iPhone now, what, you know, somebody would have thought they’re living in the future, seeing that 30 years ago.
Rey Ortega 36:30
Jordan Ostroff 36:31
And all, you know, the number of different products and services there are now on on cloud based this and that and integrated with this. It’s just, well, it’s great.
Rey Ortega 36:39
Yeah, it’s, it’s great. But at the same time, it kind of, it kind of feels ridiculous at sometimes because especially when you get, you think, you know, every ideas out there, right? And it’s amazing when some of our, some of our clients come up with this idea and you’re sitting there going, why didn’t I think of that? Like that’s so simple. You know, you’re like, I thought someone would have this by now. And then you look and you do the research and like, they know, nobody has this right now. So, so it’s pretty interesting sometimes, but there is a lot of software out there that does every little thing. And I think one of the things that, that kind of adds more to it is if you go to any one of these computer science programs, that’s, that’s what they’re teaching these, you know, the students that do, right, like, come up with these new business ideas and new things and build the software, build this app, you know, start, create a startup, you know, all that kind of stuff. And it’s like, it’s just, it’s just the normal thing now, you know, you go to college to learn computer science, and then you come out and you’re now a tech startup, you know, so that’s why these, a lot of these applications are there. There’s a lot of software out there.
Jordan Ostroff 37:39
That’s interesting that they’re, so they’re trying to teach kids to become the company instead of just service the company.
Rey Ortega 37:45
Yeah. Yeah. It’s- UCF does a great job of that, like UCF is huge on tech startups. That’s why they have the incubator. That’s why they have, they’re partnered up with Orlando Tech. They’re partnered up with a lot of different organizations to inspire people to build new companies, new startups.
Jordan Ostroff 38:03
Well, it’s funny, they actually, we went and spoke to the Apopka incubator, from an employment from, from a business law standpoint to talk to them about some of the legal things to be concerned about when they’re doing all these startups.
Rey Ortega 38:14
Jordan Ostroff 38:14
But it’s just, I’m with you. It’s an amazing program. And it’s so cool that they’re, you know, you have all these programs and you’re like, okay, well, they’re funded by the city, and they’re doing this and they’re doing that. But then you see, like, oh, they’re creating, you know, $27 million worth of new jobs by having these companies grow, by helping them get to the next step, by helping them bring on, you know, five new employees the value in that in taxes back to the city. Yeah, I mean, it’s such a great return on investment for them plus it’s new jobs here. It’s higher value jobs. It’s just a great system.
Rey Ortega 38:43
Yeah. Yeah, they do a great job of it. And so we actually tried to be part of the incubator when we first started. It didn’t work out because we didn’t have a, we weren’t a proprietary technology. So it didn’t work out for us. But, you know, but Caroline Dykes, she has a new last name, I think she got married in the last few years, but originally when I had talked to her, she was a huge person backing us up. She tried to get us in the incubator, it just didn’t work out. But she was behind our business and about us building our business and moving forward. So, so we continued on without being part of the incubator.
Jordan Ostroff 39:14
Well, it sounds you guys, like y’all have done a great job.
Rey Ortega 39:17
Yeah, I feel like we have. I mean, we’ve had some bumps along the road. But we’ve done a great job up till now. So
Jordan Ostroff 39:22
Yeah, well, so with that being said, you know, anything else we need to cover? I mean, we’ve gone over quite a bit, because we just really can solve almost every problem a business has, except for the dynamic data check.
Rey Ortega 39:32
Exactly the exam, the dynamic data check was the only one.
Jordan Ostroff 39:36
But other than that, any problem that any of our listeners have that require software, you can solve it.
Rey Ortega 39:42
We can solve it. Yep.
Jordan Ostroff 39:44
All right. Anything else we need to let them know along those lines?
Rey Ortega 39:48
Just yeah, if they’re, if, you know, the, my information, you know, like I said, if they have any questions, if they want, if they just want to get some advice, they can just contact me directly. Again, it’s Rey (R-E-Y) @GrataSoftware, that’s G-R-A-T-A Software.com. Just contact me directly and I’ll be more than glad to sit down and talk with them and see what we can do.
Jordan Ostroff 40:06
And while you’re there, just a phone number one more time and a website?
Rey Ortega 40:10
The phone number is 321-236-0011. That’s our actual phone number to the office and then the website is www.Grata (G-R-A-T-A) Software.com.
Jordan Ostroff 40:22
Alright, so then let me do my last pitch, and then we’ll wrap up with our last question. So by the time this airs, I think this will be podcast number 26, Mark? Yeah, I’m getting, I’m getting a yes or no. So somewhere between like 24 and 28, you know. So we’re available on you know, Stitcher, Last FM, we’re on Spotify, we’re on iTunes, really anywhere they’ll let you post a podcast, we’re there. So if you’re listening to this and you enjoy the podcast, please, please, please leave us a review. We’d love an honest, five-star review but really just, you know, listen and get something out of it and that’ll make my day. So with that being said, Rey, if somebody has listened to this for about the last, oh let’s say 45 minutes, and they take nothing out of this conversation except this one thing.
Rey Ortega 41:04
Jordan Ostroff 41:04
What is that one piece of advice you want as many business owners as possible to know?
Rey Ortega 41:09
So I thought about this because I have, I say this thing every single time, I actually coach high school basketball too. And when I coach I say this every single time and, and, and I’m not a preacher by any means. But I do have, there’s a biblical story, the story of Moses, okay, you know, the 40 years in the desert before finally finding the promised land. So I use that every single time to tell people that it’s sometimes it’s a hard road and, and everybody has their time at their time. So don’t look at other people’s successes and be like, oh, man, well, I started the same time that guy did and he was successful before me and this and that. It’s like everyone has their time to reach that level of success. You just got to keep working hard, keep trying at it. And eventually you’ll get your blessing when it’s your turn to hit the promised land. So, so just keep working at it.
Jordan Ostroff 41:55
So to echo that, you know, I was looking at as people look at the world as a world of abundance or a world of scarcity. And what you’re talking about is totally the world of abundance, you know, everybody’s got their moment. I just remember being at the State Attorney’s Office and you know, somebody would get promoted and all the people with more seniority would be like, oh my god, I can’t believe that person got promoted, and how can it be them and not me in this and I was sitting there, like, this is great. You know, I’m doing the same stuff they’re doing, so I’m in line for the next one.
Rey Ortega 42:20
Jordan Ostroff 42:20
And sure enough, so I like it. You know, look at it as a world of abundance. You’ve got your time. Now, obviously, do the right thing, put in the work, you know, don’t cut corners, but yeah, no, that’s great advice.
Rey Ortega 42:30
Yeah, everyone’s got their time, man. Just, you know, just keep at it. You know, don’t get discouraged. Just keep working and eventually you’ll get there.
Jordan Ostroff 42:36
All right. Thank you so much for joining us.
Rey Ortega 42:38
Alright, no problem. Thank you very much for having me.
You’ve been listening to “Let’s Get Up to Business” from Jordan Law. We hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast and would consider sharing the show. We would also love an honest, five-star review through iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or whatever podcatcher you use. If you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, please contact Producer Mark through email at Mark@JordanLawFL.com. Use this subject line “Podcast Guest” in your email. Thank you. We look forward to speaking to you again.
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