Enterprise Software

Interview with J.D. Edwards CIO Mark Endry

In this interview with J.D. Edwards CIO Mark Endry, TechRepublic hears about the challenges facing CIOs, Endry's changing responsibilities, and how J.D. Edwards uses it company intranet, Knowledge Garden.


For enterprise resource planning (ERP) giant J.D. Edwards, the past few months have been a mixed bag.

In the last month, the Denver-based company announced that it would cut its workforce by 800. That came a month after J.D. Edwards replaced Doug Massingill as president and CEO with C. Edward McVaney, the company’s president from 1977, when it began, to November 1998.

Analysts and industry watchers, however, believe that the job cuts won’t affect the company. During the past few years, it has worked on adding front-office applications to its base as an ERP vendor.

We spoke with Mark Endry, the company’s CIO and vice president of IT, before the announced job cuts about his responsibilities, changes to the position of CIO, workflow, and staffing.
In this segment of our three-part interview, we discuss Endry’s changing responsibilities as CIO as well as how J.D. Edwards uses its company intranet, the Knowledge Garden, to keep its employees, business partners, and customers up-to-date. In the coming weeks, we’ll cover retention, recruiting, and workflow within J.D. Edwards.
Responsibilities
TR: What are some of the major changes that you have seen in four and a half years that have affected you the most?
Endry: We launched what we called a theme of "running IT as a business" about four years ago. What we were really shooting for with that was to transform the IT group from those people in the back room who slow you down if you ever have to talk to them about anything to a leading position in the company.

The biggest change I have seen is the fact that it worked. We are now in a leadership position with the company. A lot of CIOs are talking about not being able to get in to the planning meetings and we [the IT group] are totally involved in all of them. As a matter of fact, it becomes a challenge on the other side to keep up with it all. That has been a big change because that has changed the strategic nature of our work and it has adjusted the type of skills our people need.

TR: What are some of the skills that people need to come to the table with?
Endry: I think the technology skills are still very, very important, but we need to balance those with project management. We need to balance those with people who are effective communicators, business planners, and business managers.

There are a lot of people within our organization who are in a role we call service manager or service level manager and they need to know the technology. For instance, there is a PC service manager. He needs to know the PC technologies, but he also needs to know how to run a business. We really tried to set it up as if the company had outsourced this to us and we were our own private enterprise.

TR: How many people are you responsible for?
Endry: I have 400 today.

TR: Is that kind of a jump from the past couple of years? Have your departments expanded?
Endry: About four years ago, we had about 85. The company has grown as well. Our ratio of employee to the company is well under industry norms for a high-tech company, but it is clear that we are far more engaged in what is going on these days than we used to be.

TR: What kind of challenges do 400 people present a CIO as opposed to 85?
Endry: The first is communications and also the evolution. When we were 85, people could be involved in everything that was going on and they just generally knew because they ran into you in the hall or whatever. Now that we have 400 spread around the world, we have to find other ways to communicate with them and stay in touch and listen to their needs and wishes, plus we have to be concerned with compensation. We have IT people located in 30 sites around the world, and so it is quite a challenge to keep ahead of that with IT comp the way it is going.

Corporate intranet
TR: How do you all try to keep in touch with 30 sites around the world? How do you keep everybody on board? Do you use your corporate intranet, the Knowledge Garden, quite a bit? What are some methods of communication that work best for you?
Endry: We definitely use the Knowledge Garden. We have two areas in the Knowledge Garden. One of them is the area from IT to the IT employees, and then there is the area from IT to the employees of the company.

I have a full-time communications manager for IT and a full-time knowledge resource analyst, so the knowledge resource analyst makes sure that relevant information about IT is in the right place. In the Knowledge Garden, it can be found. Then the communications manager looks at the overall program of communicating. We have a monthly newsletter that goes to all employees in IT.

TR: Is that electronic, or is it just printed?
Endry: It is electronic and it is full of links to the Knowledge Garden. It has a little two-cents teaser about each topic, and then you click there to go and see it in the Knowledge Garden.

TR: Could you elaborate a little bit about the Knowledge Garden, your involvement, and how it helps you get things done and communicate so everybody can keep on the same page?
Endry: There are actually three Knowledge Gardens. They all come from the same basic data, but there is the information that we target to our employees, there is the information that we target to our business partners, and there is the information that we target to our customers. It is key to the sharing of knowledge around the company. As a matter of fact, we just were nominated for the Smithsonian Award and were inducted about a month ago for the Knowledge Garden.

TR: Say I am an IT manager. What is one way I will use the Knowledge Garden to keep abreast of projects?
Endry: You may want to find out the status of projects. You may want to understand what the policy is for securing some data in your servers that are located at your site. You may want to figure out who is the latest person in charge of a certain piece of our business.

You may need to do a presentation. Let’s say you are in the United Kingdom and you need to do a presentation about IT to the general manager staff in the UK. You can go out there, pull one down, and customize it to your needs.

You may be getting a call from somebody in the media who wants to know how many sites are on the network and how many routers do we have, and all that information is out there as well.
How to you expect the role of the CIO to change during the next few years? Will the CIO have a greater position of responsibility or have less influence in the enterprise? Post a comment below or send us an e-mail .
For enterprise resource planning (ERP) giant J.D. Edwards, the past few months have been a mixed bag.

In the last month, the Denver-based company announced that it would cut its workforce by 800. That came a month after J.D. Edwards replaced Doug Massingill as president and CEO with C. Edward McVaney, the company’s president from 1977, when it began, to November 1998.

Analysts and industry watchers, however, believe that the job cuts won’t affect the company. During the past few years, it has worked on adding front-office applications to its base as an ERP vendor.

We spoke with Mark Endry, the company’s CIO and vice president of IT, before the announced job cuts about his responsibilities, changes to the position of CIO, workflow, and staffing.
In this segment of our three-part interview, we discuss Endry’s changing responsibilities as CIO as well as how J.D. Edwards uses its company intranet, the Knowledge Garden, to keep its employees, business partners, and customers up-to-date. In the coming weeks, we’ll cover retention, recruiting, and workflow within J.D. Edwards.
Responsibilities
TR: What are some of the major changes that you have seen in four and a half years that have affected you the most?
Endry: We launched what we called a theme of "running IT as a business" about four years ago. What we were really shooting for with that was to transform the IT group from those people in the back room who slow you down if you ever have to talk to them about anything to a leading position in the company.

The biggest change I have seen is the fact that it worked. We are now in a leadership position with the company. A lot of CIOs are talking about not being able to get in to the planning meetings and we [the IT group] are totally involved in all of them. As a matter of fact, it becomes a challenge on the other side to keep up with it all. That has been a big change because that has changed the strategic nature of our work and it has adjusted the type of skills our people need.

TR: What are some of the skills that people need to come to the table with?
Endry: I think the technology skills are still very, very important, but we need to balance those with project management. We need to balance those with people who are effective communicators, business planners, and business managers.

There are a lot of people within our organization who are in a role we call service manager or service level manager and they need to know the technology. For instance, there is a PC service manager. He needs to know the PC technologies, but he also needs to know how to run a business. We really tried to set it up as if the company had outsourced this to us and we were our own private enterprise.

TR: How many people are you responsible for?
Endry: I have 400 today.

TR: Is that kind of a jump from the past couple of years? Have your departments expanded?
Endry: About four years ago, we had about 85. The company has grown as well. Our ratio of employee to the company is well under industry norms for a high-tech company, but it is clear that we are far more engaged in what is going on these days than we used to be.

TR: What kind of challenges do 400 people present a CIO as opposed to 85?
Endry: The first is communications and also the evolution. When we were 85, people could be involved in everything that was going on and they just generally knew because they ran into you in the hall or whatever. Now that we have 400 spread around the world, we have to find other ways to communicate with them and stay in touch and listen to their needs and wishes, plus we have to be concerned with compensation. We have IT people located in 30 sites around the world, and so it is quite a challenge to keep ahead of that with IT comp the way it is going.

Corporate intranet
TR: How do you all try to keep in touch with 30 sites around the world? How do you keep everybody on board? Do you use your corporate intranet, the Knowledge Garden, quite a bit? What are some methods of communication that work best for you?
Endry: We definitely use the Knowledge Garden. We have two areas in the Knowledge Garden. One of them is the area from IT to the IT employees, and then there is the area from IT to the employees of the company.

I have a full-time communications manager for IT and a full-time knowledge resource analyst, so the knowledge resource analyst makes sure that relevant information about IT is in the right place. In the Knowledge Garden, it can be found. Then the communications manager looks at the overall program of communicating. We have a monthly newsletter that goes to all employees in IT.

TR: Is that electronic, or is it just printed?
Endry: It is electronic and it is full of links to the Knowledge Garden. It has a little two-cents teaser about each topic, and then you click there to go and see it in the Knowledge Garden.

TR: Could you elaborate a little bit about the Knowledge Garden, your involvement, and how it helps you get things done and communicate so everybody can keep on the same page?
Endry: There are actually three Knowledge Gardens. They all come from the same basic data, but there is the information that we target to our employees, there is the information that we target to our business partners, and there is the information that we target to our customers. It is key to the sharing of knowledge around the company. As a matter of fact, we just were nominated for the Smithsonian Award and were inducted about a month ago for the Knowledge Garden.

TR: Say I am an IT manager. What is one way I will use the Knowledge Garden to keep abreast of projects?
Endry: You may want to find out the status of projects. You may want to understand what the policy is for securing some data in your servers that are located at your site. You may want to figure out who is the latest person in charge of a certain piece of our business.

You may need to do a presentation. Let’s say you are in the United Kingdom and you need to do a presentation about IT to the general manager staff in the UK. You can go out there, pull one down, and customize it to your needs.

You may be getting a call from somebody in the media who wants to know how many sites are on the network and how many routers do we have, and all that information is out there as well.
How to you expect the role of the CIO to change during the next few years? Will the CIO have a greater position of responsibility or have less influence in the enterprise? Post a comment below or send us an e-mail .

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