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May 01, 2016

Datapath and United Way Partner on Downtown Dinner for Second Year

One Table is based on an idea that has been done in a few cities across the country and was adapted to downtown Modesto, an area that lends itself well to the energy and space needed for such an event. Attendees gather at one 150-foot long table, without the usual pretext of assigned seating or a program promoting the event.

Instead of flyers and agendas, they get live jazz music, unlimited beer and wine, and food from some of the area’s best restaurants which last year included Tacolicious, Redwood Café, Concetta, Vito’s Ristorante and Commonwealth.

Kelly Mantel, Manager of Marketing and Customer Experience at Datapath, was key in implementation of last year’s event. “There was no high-pressure sales pitch or formal program,” said Mantel. “It was just likeminded people getting together to enjoy good company and talk about issues and solutions for our community.”

The only indications that the event supports an important cause come during a designed moment, which last year was a breezeway at the K Street entrance lined with United Way board members and photos of the cause du jour, Graduation Coach (Grad Coach).

Grad Coach is an education initiative that seeks to raise local high school graduation rate by increasing student engagement when it matters most—in junior high. “When you think about increasing graduation rates the natural thought is to work with high school juniors and seniors and see if you can get them across that line,” said Jamieson. “But research shows that by then it’s too late to engage kids so we are starting younger and that has allowed us to see big gains over time in our target population.”

The program, which has oversight from the Center for Human Services, matches students identified by school administrators as being at-risk with coaches who work with the youth on removing barriers to success, tutoring, accountability, and life skills. In its third year, Grad Coach has grown by 125% and impact is being seen in the attendance, grades, and self-esteem of participants.

Last year’s event sold out at 200 attendees (though Jamieson reports they were able to accommodate an extra 10 guests) and raised upwards of $20,000. This year’s event, which will be held on Sunday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m., will accommodate 300 diners and is expected to sell out quickly. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Read Modesto Bee’s Article on the Event Here: http://www.modbee.com/news/article67847767.html

Visit www.onetablemodesto.com for tickets

Mar 01, 2016

Datapath Partners with Center for Human Services on Lemonade Day

Datapath has been working closely with Lemonade Day Modesto for the past three years. For 2016, Lemonade Day Modesto was being taken over by Datapath to help and continue to grow and improve Lemonade Day’s community effort in teaching kids entrepreneurship.

Lemonade Day is a national program helping kids learn basic business finance, customer service, teamwork – all while learning to run their own business for a day (a lemonade stand).

In the effort to continue strengthening Lemonade Day, Datapath has partnered with Center for Human Services to help manage Lemonade Day for 2016 and future years.

Learn more about Lemonade Day Modesto here: http://www.lemonadedaymodesto.com

Sep 01, 2015

Tech Top 5: Ways to Provide Customer Service in a Digital Age

The benchmark for good customer service used to be fairly standard: friendly sales people, personalized service, easy refund or return policies, and attention to detail. In short, a high-touch service environment. It was fairly easy for any business to offer a high level of service because the basic needs and expectations of the consumer were similar. Thus the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” was a universal service code easily implemented.

Fast forwarded to 2015. Many service providers serve a widely diverse clientele. Not only culturally diverse, but technologically diverse, as well. These new descriptors of your customer make following the golden rule difficult, if not impossible, and create a whole new set of service demands. Today’s service mantra should not be the Golden Rule, but a universal rule that states “Treat people how they need to be treated’. This new philosophy considers the complexities of today’s consumers and is a better way to provide a true level of service.

All you have to do is understand the needs of today’s consumers, and apply that knowledge to your current services and marketing techniques. Here are five ways to get you started:

  1. Ensure a Positive Web Presence

Does your website load easily on a wide variety of computers and devices? If you build a website for only the newest devices you are guaranteed to frustrate your customers. Make sure to use clear language that helps customers understand that their credit cards are secure. Allow consumers to request information from the site without being hounded by the provider. Ensure visitors to your website can locate your contact information easily.

  1. Pay Close Attention to Web Traffic

There are now ways to easily decipher the “who”, “what” and “how” of your website – who was on you’re website, what were they clicking on and how did they get there. With new technologies such as VisiStat, you’re able to visualize the experience a visitor has on your website. From this, you’ll be able to identify potential leads and recognize browsing patterns. This can make all the difference in making a sale or losing one.

  1. Improve Telephone Service

Is the automated portion of your telephone service truly responsive to customer needs? Do your prompts accurately reflect what the majority of concerns are? Have you called yourself to make sure it works? Sometimes callers make a mistake, i.e., dial a wrong extension, do they have to start all over again? Ensure that callers can reach a human being in a timely fashion before frustration overwhelms them, and if possible, provide access to service and/or resources 24/7 via phone or web. 

  1. Hire Excellent Service Associates

Are your hiring practices helping you identify service minded individuals? Are you training and authorizing your staff to meet the needs of your customers? Make sure you are praising good service behaviors and correct the unacceptable. Confirm that everyone in the organization is aware of the role in your service initiative. Can your staff effectively solve problems for customers? Do they make you proud?

  1. Keep Social Media Fresh

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogs, and the like or an ever-growing way to market your services and gather potential customer information. Loyal “friends”, “followers”, and “subscribers” can be influencers for your programs and services. However, they will expect (and probably deserve) some extra consideration for this effort. These folks should be treated to advance sales are additional discounts. They can be rewarded when they like, share, or re-tweet your information.

Your sites need to be lively, interactive, and ever-changing in order to keep the interest of your savvy consumer. Followers only check in with you if there is something new to draw them in. It has been said that a tweet has a 17-minute shelf life and I’m sure that was so 2014 – it will probably be 10 minutes in 2016! The bottom line is: social media must be frequently updated to be effective for your organization.

High-tech and high touch is possible. Take the time to assess your company’s customer service initiative in a non- defensive manner. Look for areas to increase your offerings for both the tech savvy and novice customers. Most of all, commit yourself to providing the best service you can, through every avenue available.

Aug 11, 2015

Datapath Helps Middle Schoolers Break Code for a Better Life

Computer science camp on sitcoms is for nerds, but at Hanshaw Middle School in one of Modesto’s poorest neighborhoods, it’s seen as a game changer.

About 300 south Modesto families crowded into a Tuesday night meeting this spring to hear more about the community-supported program designed to give 24 kids a leg up on a high-paying, high-tech future. Some 120 students applied, a process that included writing an essay and a phone interview.

The two dozen students who made the cut, half girls and half boys, started with a seven-week summer session. The program continues with weekly classes at a neighborhood church and sessions at the school in summers to come. The plan is to keep this group together for at least three years, four if possible, adding a new group of incoming seventh- and eighth-graders each year.

“We got these top students this far. We want them to continue. We definitely do not want to lose track of them,” said program lead Emanuel Escamilla, a UC Berkeley graduate heading to Harvard this fall for graduate studies in theology, then on to law school.

Computer science was just an elective he took along the way, he said during a Tuesday session teaching JavaScript.

After writing out the JavaScript for a rectangle on the board, incoming eighth-grader David Madrigal explained how the code worked. First he wrote “rect” then in parentheses four numbers separated by commas: x and y axis coordinates, width and height.

Trying to simplify how coding works for a visitor, he explained, “It’s like your dog. You tell it what to do and it does it.”

Seventh-grader Amalia Avalos, 11, talking as she worked, said she likes making objects move or change shape just by changing the numbers, but there’s a lot of trial and error. “What’s frustrating is trying to make it straight. Sometimes it goes too long and looks weird,” she said.

The group meets each Tuesday and Wednesday, spending about two hours working free lessons available to all from Khan Academy or Code.org, and one hour working on less tangible job skills, such as lunch line etiquette.

OUT OF HANSHAW’S 840 STUDENTS, 809 QUALIFIED FOR FREE OR REDUCED-PRICE LUNCHES IN 2014-15.

To help them understand the doors coding skills can open, Escamilla spends about 15 minutes out of the three-hour class showing photos and video clips on the websites of top colleges. This day he showed Harvard, starting with a view of the freshman residence hall and dining area.
“That’s their house?” kids asked incredulously. “They live like rich people,” said an awestruck young voice. “How do you get in?” asked one boy. Another wondered aloud if you had to buy time at a college, like a ticket.

“Are you rich?” “No, look at his shoes,” two boys asked and answered in Spanish. He is not rich, Escamilla assured them with a chuckle, but he understands why they ask.

Escamilla spent his teen years in the neighborhood, graduating from Davis High before heading off to Cal. “Since I’ve been in college, I’ve wanted to give back,” Escamilla said. “These kids need opportunities.”

“It is that neighborhood connection that makes the program work”, said James Bates of Datapath, one of the program’s sponsors. “Too many times we try to ride our white horse instead of backing something that came from the community,” Bates said.

He especially liked the equal seats for girls and boys. “Computer science is such a male-dominated field. Women bring a different factor to working with customers, and I think you need that,” Bates said. “But when we put up positions, hardly any women apply.”

The Modesto company and other donors are paying for a field trip to Stanford and Google headquarters later this summer for the group, about $1,000, and a Google Chromebook for every student completing the seven-week starter course.

Modesto City Schools provides the computer lab. Lunch is free at the Salvation Army Red Shield Center next door.

The computer science program was a collaboration brought together by the South Modesto Partnership. President Jose Sabala said the fledgling nonprofit works to bring together faith, business and government groups to help the neighborhood.
The kids will be posting their progress and projects on social media: @CodeXProgram(#CodeXProgram) on Twitter, CodeXProgram on Facebook and www.codexprogram.com.

Tech Top 5: Ways Technology Can Help You Manage Better

Productivity is a frequent topic of conversation for businesses for a simple reason: when you figure it out, your revenue increases.

Getting to that perfect level of productivity and efficiency can be challenging. Your business is multifaceted, made up of customers and employees and everything in between. How do you get everything and everyone to move in the right direction?

Here are five essential tips you can use to boost productivity with your team.

#1 Give your team ready access to the information they need.
Making your team hunt for the information they need is not productive – it’s frustrating and doesn’t encourage accuracy. After all, it’s much easier to guess than it is to hunt down the information.

Remember, if knowledge is power, limiting access to it is a serious weakness for your business, and it gravely impacts your team.

#2 Take control of your meetings.
Are long, pointless meetings wasting your time and your team’s time and solve nothing? Sure thing: they are a source of dread and annoyance for everyone involved.

Keep meetings short and save yourself from an expensive exercise in time wasting. Think of meetings as a huddle. Keep them brief and to the point. If possible, stand during your meetings – it helps to keep them short.

Ultimately, meetings are about communication, which is a two-way thing. Make sure that meetings are not driven by lectures or people who like to hear themselves talk. If possible, have meetings later in the workday. The morning is your team’s most productive time; don’t waste it with a meeting.

What does a good meeting look like? Very simply, you came in with a goal and you accomplished that goal in the minimal amount of time possible.

#3 Get your head in the clouds.
Significantly improve efficiency by using cloud-based applications. Team members who work remotely can work from anywhere, whether on a sales trip or simply out of the office.

Invest in a cloud-based app for your custom databases. You’ll be able to manage your sales and inventory in the cloud, as well. Make it easy for your sales team to work while out of the office, inputting live sales and updates into your system.

Put your documents (and documentation) in the cloud so your team can read, edit, and share them easily. Avoid using email as storage and sending out versions of documents. Consider a business-grade file-sharing tool, which could save time by making the original accessible by all.

#4 Take team member satisfaction seriously.
If your team feels secure, safe and happy, their productivity will increase. How do you show your team that you care for them?

Give them good, well-functioning tools. Clunky tools can be frustrating for your team. Give them the best tools you can so that their job is made easier. In the end, you reap the benefits of their happiness.

Have a break area. Do you give your team a great place to take a break where they don’t feel like the boss is watching them? At Datapath, we have a dedicated Ping-Pong room where anyone, even prospective clients, can spend a couple moments of fun. In fact, at any moment you may find people like Congressman Jeff Denham in there enjoying a friendly game of table tennis.

Provide a place where they can relax, clear their mind and gain new perspective. Your team needs space to have lunch, get away from the computer, and not feel like they are still under observation.

#5 Track performance accurately.
You most likely already track your website performance, but are you tracking the performance of your business? This is more than just checking the bank accounts. This is about spotting trends (positive and negative) in your team, their happiness and your customers satisfaction.

Consider looking at your booking, appointment and accounting software. Are you able to see how well you’re retaining customers? Without being too invasive, track how your team is doing as well. Are they successfully hitting deadlines? Is customer support being handled quickly? Are you hitting sales goals?

Your team is your most valuable asset. Increasing productivity doesn’t only benefit you and the bottom line, when your team has tools making their jobs easier, they can in turn improve the way you do business.

Jun 24, 2015

Datapath Helps Raise $25k for United Way

Over 200 people gathered Sunday evening, June 7, for an outdoor dinner benefiting the United Way’s Graduation Coach Program. The inaugural One Table event took place in the middle of 15th Street between J and K streets, the guests seated at 33 tables pushed together for the cause.

“The dinner raised about $25,000 for the Graduation Coach program”, said Amy Vickery, Vice President for Marketing and Development at the United Way of Stanislaus County. “The program aims to raise the number of students completing high school.”

The Graduation Coach program is a strategic approach to raising the high school graduation rate in Stanislaus County by promoting student engagement, building a path to academic success and inspiring in our students the drive to achieve.

Donated wine from E.&J. Gallo Winery and food from other supporters went into the feast. Several noted chefs in the region did the cooking, including an entree by Gema Martinez of Redwood Café that featured pomegranate soy-glazed short ribs, couscous salad, sautéed spinach and roasted peppers with almonds.

David Darmstandler, Datapath CEO and chairman of the event, said he got the idea from a dinner in Park City, Utah. As the Modesto version got going on a warm summer evening, Datapath co-founder James Bates noted the importance of education.

“We interview a lot of people, and they don’t have the soft skills,” he said. “They aren’t job-ready.”

Bates said the single table “gets people out of their silos and gets them talking.”

The $125 tickets sold out quickly, prompting organizers to think about spreading it across two blocks next year.

Datapath is proud to take part in such an extraordinary event. We are looking forward to next year’s One Table Downtown Dinner and opportunity to invest in the community we serve.

Jun 23, 2015

Celebrating 10 Years of Service to the Central Valley

When we started Datapath ten years ago, we reimagined the role of the IT provider and committed to delivering measurable long-term value to our clients. We made an uncompromising promise to do what is right today, to create better outcomes tomorrow. It’s not always easy but it’s the secret to our success.

10 years ago we promised to deliver technologies and services that aligned with our customers long-term operational objectives.

We promised we wouldn’t push products, obscure pricing or siphon resources by maintaining equipment that should be replaced.

We promised we would listen carefully to their needs and respond accordingly.

We promised to make the right decision instead of the comfortable ones, even if we had to learn under pressure or admit we didn’t have all the answers.

We’ve kept our promises. We now have longstanding relationships with some of the Central Valley’s largest institutions and continue to grow by nearly 50% per year.
Our promise stands true with our employees and community, too.

In 2014, we raised over $30,000 for local community-based non-profits. And we back up our financial contributions with technology assistance, fundraising assistance and help with lobbying. Our efforts are currently focused on the issues of homelessness, adult literacy and at-risk-youth in the Central Valley region.

10 years ago we couldn’t have imagined where Datapath would be today. So, with great pride and gratitude we celebrate being one of the Central Valley’s leading technology companies and one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.

We celebrate our 31 outstanding employees and the families they have.

We celebrate the opportunities we have been given to serve our local school districts, government and agriculture customers.

And we celebrate what is to come. We thank you, our community, family and friends. Happy 10 Years to Datapath!

Seven Security Risks from Consumer-Grade File Sync Services

Consumer-grade file sync solutions (referred to as CGFS solutions) pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Below are seven of the biggest risks that these solutions pose in a business environment.*

1. Data theft
Most of the problems with CGFS solutions emanate from a lack of oversight. Business owners are not privy to when an instance is installed, and are unable to control which employee devices can or cannot sync with a corporate PC. Use of CFGS solutions can open the door to company data being synced (without approval) across personal devices. These personal devices, which accompany employees on public transit, at coffee shops, and with friends, exponentially increase the chance of data being stolen or shared with the wrong parties.

2. Data loss
Lacking visibility over the movement of files or file versions across end-points, CFGS solutions improperly backup (or do not backup at all) files that were modified on an employee device. If an end-points is compromised or lost, this lack of visibility can result in the inability to restore the most current version of a file or any version for that matter.

3. Corrupted data
In a study by CERN, silent data corruption was observed in 1 out of every 1500 files. While many businesses trust their cloud solution providers to make sure that stored data maintains its integrity year after year, most CGFS solutions don’t implement data integrity assurance systems to ensure that any bit-rot or corrupted data is replaced with a redundant copy of the original.

4.Lawsuits
CGFS solutions give carte blanche power to end-users over the ability to permanently delete and share files. This can result in the permanent loss of critical business documents as well as the sharing of confidential information that can break privacy agreements in place with clients and third-parties.

5. Compliance violations
Since CGFS solutions have loose (or non-existent) file retention and file access controls, you could be setting yourself up for a compliance violation. Many compliance policies require that files be held for a specific duration and only be accessed by certain people; in these cases, it is imperative to employ strict controls over how long files are kept and who can access them.

6. Loss of accountability
Without detailed reports and alerts over system-level activity, CGFS solutions can result in loss of accountability over changes to user accounts, organizations, passwords, and other entities. If a malicious admin gains access to the system, hundreds of hours of configuration time can be undone if no alerting system is in place to notify other admins of these changes.

7. Loss of file access
Consumer-grade solutions don’t track which users and machines touched a file and at which times. This can be a big problem if you’re trying to determine the events leading up to a file’s creation, modification, or deletion. Additionally, many solutions track and associate a small set of file events which can result in a broken access trail if a file is renamed, for example.

Consumer-grade file sync solutions pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Allowing employees to utilize CFGS solutions can lead to massive data leaks and security breaches.

Many companies have formal policies or discourage employees from using their own accounts. But while blacklisting common CFGS solutions may curtail the security risks in the short term, employees will ultimately find ways to get around company firewalls.

The best way for business to handle this is to deploy a company-approved application that will allow IT to control the data, yet grants employees the access and functionality they feel they need to be productive.

Jun 02, 2015

Backups and BBQ. Now, that’s how Datapath does it!

What could be better than a backyard-style barbeque, after work on a Thursday evening? Not too much, as we hoped. Datapath and guests had plenty to eat, drink and talk about at last month’s Backups, Brews and BBQ event at Do Good Distillery. We love to do things differently. So, why not discuss the importance of backups and disaster recovery over a great spread of BBQ food?

The evening began in Do Good’s very impressive bottling facility. The delicious smell of food, the beats from the DJ and the Do Good whiskey tastings kept the evening alive as guests arrived.

By 6pm, the room was full and Datapath Marketing Manager, Kelly Mantel, welcomed the guests. Shortly following, a brief presentation of “10 Everyday Backups and Data Recovery Challenges” was delivered by Kelly Mantel, Senior Network Engineer, Brian Moraca and Senior Systems Engineer, Brandon Ellis.

The presentation highlighted three of Datapath’s backup, recovery and business continuity solutions and how to overcome data protection challenges most businesses encounter. Guests were also encouraged to schedule a free Backups and Data Recovery Review.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Datapath event without something quirky and fun. Music, food, drinks and Datapath Support Technician, Dustin Gray dressed as a cowboy horse, and entertained guests until 8pm.

You don’t want to miss the next Datapath event. We always have a fun time, and you’re sure to leave with valuable insight and resources to better utilize your business technology.