The following is an interview with Eric Jones Supply Chain Management Practice Director at itelligence.
Tell us about your role at itelligence.
I’m the Practice Director of Supply Chain Management with a focus on planning and optimization. My role encompasses developing and executing the go-to-market strategy, as well as consulting, project delivery and customer support. I consider our department to be an entrepreneurial business within itelligence; we are responsible for the full customer engagement cycle.
When did your itelligence career begin?
I joined itelligence in June 2011. I started out as an industry solution principle with a focus on developing the solution and go-to-market strategies within wholesale distribution and consumer products. In my new role, it’s more of a line of business focus instead of an industry focus, so I now look at supply chains across multiple industries.
Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.
- My family and I are life-long Chicagoans. I’ve been married for 23 years, have a daughter attending Clemson University and twins in high school.
- I’m an avid punk rock fan and am no stranger to the mosh pit, mainly during times in my youth, but occasionally in my advanced age and against my better judgment.
- My perfect Sunday includes watching the Chicago Bears on TV with my family, my homemade beef stew in the Dutch oven, and a glass of red wine or an IPA.
What do you see as the biggest trends in your particular area of business in the remainder of 2015 or upcoming in 2016?
The movement towards predictive modeling and real-time simulations. This trend is driven by the advent of big data, the advancement of in-memory computing, and the Internet of Things.
With all this information and computing power available, there is an ability to understand events in real time and more confidently predict future events. For example, we can more accurately predict when there’s going to be a supply disruption, spike in demand, down-time or failure of a machine in the supply chain. Prediction and forethought that leads to taking preventative action is becoming a big trend.
Can you please share a best practice or personal insight you’ve gained from your job experience that you think would be beneficial to helping your colleagues?
Delivering quality work to customers starts with having empathy. As information workers, we labor under the curse of knowledge. Since we are immersed in the SAP world every day, we often have the assumption that our customers and prospects share our same knowledge and point of view. Subsequently, our interactions are peppered with lingo, details and acronyms that can confuse and frustrate the audience. We need to take a step back and look at issues and questions from different perspectives. If a message is not getting across, we should always assume it’s due to the delivery method, then find an empathetic way to be clear and concise.
What are you most excited about this year from an overall company perspective?
Specific to itelligence and SAP, I’m excited about the emergence of SAP’s next generation of ERP. S/4HANA is the next generation of business computing; delivering a simple, fast, optimized and intuitive application. Today, SAP ERP is a transaction system that works, but it’s complex, non-intuitive and provides limited optimization and automation capabilities. If companies want to make substantive business process improvements, it would require them to purchase additional modules and systems.
With S/4HANA, the core system is going to be faster, simpler and easier-to-use with optimization features, like predictive analytics, already built in.
In the next few years there will be big leaps forward in innovation, usability and performance that haven’t been available in the previous twenty years. It will reinvigorate the ERP market.
Why you enjoy working at itelligence?
The people, first and foremost. They’re qualified, passionate, interesting people to work with. If you’re interacting with people that help, challenge and inspire you, it makes work much easier.
I also enjoy the freedom to discover and understand what our customers need, and then find solutions to meet those needs that are both attractive to the customer and profitable for the company.