Q & A with Robert Demarzo and Jeremiah Martinez
Q1. What was the biggest challenge you faced during the Covid-19 crisis?
A1. The biggest challenge was setting up VPN remote access for team members working from home.
Q2. To prepare a casino to re-open had to be a monumental effort from an IT standpoint. Can you give us some insight into what that process was like?
A2. The process for reopening required the following:
- Several departmental meetings
- Multiple software rollouts for facial recognition, temperature reading and occupancy awareness
- Reactivating all laid off employees throughout multiple platforms
- Created and implemented disinfectant protocols
Q3. To get to the point of a re-opening, we imagine you had to work closely with facilities, operations, line of business and senior leadership. What did that experience teach you?
A3. Working closely with other department heads throughout the closure reinforced the importance of virtual meeting, VPN and remote work. Staying connected was highly important.
Q4. Given how tech helped sustain the business through the pandemic, many experts believe IT departments and IT leaders will emerge stronger and more influential than ever. What are your thoughts on that?
A4. I believe IT departments and leaders proved their value by maintaining the business systems during this time. In my experience VPN and remote access was frowned upon prior to the pandemic. Our department proved that VPN and remote working can be successful. Which is opening doors for other department leaders to move service to the cloud.
Q5. What new technologies did you have to evaluate and/or add to the IT portfolio to help prepare for a re-opening of Eagle Mountain Casino?
A5. Had to research, evaluate and purchase or will be purchasing the following: facial recognition, contactless payment, temperature scanners, occupancy alert and BYOD menus and ordering.
Q6. Given the lockdown and impact on business, everyone is wondering what tech budgets will look like going forward. What is the outlook from your point of view?
A6. To meet the new safety protocols, purchasing new technology is an absolute requirement. I am forecasting at least a 20% increase for my budget next fiscal year.
Q7. No doubt a big focus on casino tech spend is on security. What are some of your key priorities right now and have they been changed by the Covid-19 crisis?
A7. Key priorities are keeping cloud data secure with the increase of remote work.
Q8. Can you share any best practices for managing your team through a very stressful period?
A8. Best practices for managing my team was stressing safety protocols so the team could feel more comfortable. Maintaining constant communication, held multiple staff meeting, and kept tight schedules.
Q9. Last question. Since you work for a casino, do you ever have a chance to gamble or is working in tech a big enough gamble every day?
To meet the new safety protocols, purchasing new technology is an absolute requirement. I am forecasting at least a 20% increase for my budget next fiscal year.
A9. Unfortunately, due to my position, I am not able to gamble at our location. On vacations, if available, I do enjoy playing Keno.