Return of the technological Jedi
If your house is haunted, you call Ghostbusters. But alas, those misfit parapsychologists are useless in terms of demonic hard drive possession. Computers crash, email functionality goes awry, and networks fall apart. So who do you call when stuff hits the fan? You call - Sean Suydam.
The man behind the curtain
Sure he has a cool name - but beyond the moniker is a brilliant techno-geek who has basked in the wonder of all things technology since he was just a kid. “I took my mom’s television apart when I was 4,” Suydam said with a laugh. A curious child, he wanted to look inside and see what made the magical box tick. Mom, needless to say, was not amused.
After graduating from DeVry University in Phoenix, Suydam took a job with Huffy corporate (yes, they’re the people who make the bikes). Eventually a job transfer offer came into play, with San Diego being the next destination. As the years moved on, he left Huffy and worked with several other businesses prior to making the jump into starting one of his own.
“I initially started a business with a friend back in ’96, but after working together for four years, it became clear that we had different ideas and concepts," he said. "Her primary focus was the bottom line, but my greater focus was providing excellent customer service and making sure the customer’s needs are the number one priority. If you have a high standard of service, customers will come back. It’s just good business.”
In 2000, Suydam realized that if he wanted things done along his ideological model, he’d have to branch out on his own. In September of that year, Sephno Systems was born.
“My office was in Hillcrest,” Suydam said. “At our peak we had 10 employees. We specialized in services that helped small businesses grow, and in teaching them how much a lot of the technology they already had, could benefit them. Teaching our customers that computers are more than just computers and that they can generate a lot of cost savings, because if technology is utilized to its fullest capacity - companies don’t need to hire as many employees.”
Things were going good for Sephno Systems. So good, in fact, that seven years later, their biggest client pitched the idea of bringing the entire team in-house, full time.
“We negotiated for quite a few months and decided it would be a good fit. So in July 2007, we shut the business down and all went to work for them. But in March of this year, they needed to cut business expenses and laid all of us off,” Suydam said.
Since that time, Sephno Systems has been revived.
“I realized that it’s not great to put all your eggs in one basket. I wanted to go back to being my own boss and running my own company with multiple clients. That way, if we lose one, the world doesn’t fall apart. The plan now is to regrow my business in such a way that I can begin rehiring my employees.”
Since Sephno Systems' reintroduction to the community, the reception has been more than welcoming. Suydam has rejoined the GSDBA and begun to actively promote his business, and he’s trying to let people know that, much like Tag Team in the song Whoomp there it is, he’s definitely ... back again.
“I’m amazed at how quickly people have begun calling, and how quickly clients have begun to use me again,” he said.
Sephno Systems is a resource for a myriad of technological woes, from email problems to printer issues to challenges with the network. Many problems can be fixed by simple on-the-phone troubleshooting, but when bigger things arise, Suydam makes sure to dedicate the in-person time to see things are resolved.
“There’s a lot of things we do, but they’re not always related to things going wrong. Sometimes people want to network their small business so files can be shared; sometimes they want to create a project management program to streamline communication and tasks between them and their clients. Others are just looking to have a groupware email system, so they can connect in-house employees with ones that work remotely. If you’re considering setting up a web-front (aka, an on-line store allowing for an e-commerce presence), that too, is something Sephno can assist with.
“My favorite part in all this is being able to pull technology together in a way that makes the client happy, so they understand what they have,” Suydam said. “I know it sounds cliché but I like to see things work. Even if it’s the same thing, over and over, every time we see things work the way they’re supposed to, we love it. It’s pretty amazing, if you think about it. With a point and a click of a mouse you can send an email to Germany. A lot of times people take the things technology can do for granted. If I can get a client to utilize what they want, how they want, that’s what makes me most happy.”