Today we announced the appointment of our new vice president of professional services, David Kelly. Welcome aboard David! With the formalities of the press release out of the way, we thought we would introduce David in a more fun and casual way. So enjoy our Q&A post as we put David on the hot seat and get to know better the newest addition to the Kinaxis management team.
A QUICK TAKE ON PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Name your top 3 implementation success factors?
- Leadership, strong team and an effective and reasonable plan. All successful projects require strong leadership to lead and mentor the team through the difficult and challenging issues that will come up. That team needs to be made up of members that take ownership and responsibility for their role and actions during the project. And most importantly, a sound plan that is based on reality and reasonable time frames is key to allowing the team to be successful and the leader to lead.
In the goal of driving high user adoption, what are the essential “must-dos”?
- Organizations need to drive effective user adoption, which is almost always tied to change management. When new processes are put in place that are wrapped around the use of new technology, we need to work with our clients to define an effective program that will allow users to seamlessly adopt the new process. As a team, we need to bring prescriptive approaches that our clients can tailor for their specific situation. This effectively leads to happy users, which makes happy customers.
In your experience, what element of a deployment tends to be the hardest to manage?
- Very few projects don’t have changes in requirements along the way. These requirement changes come up for various reasons and many times can be very valid. But, the project team needs to be able to address these changes while still keeping to the original plan, and many times we need to push the new requirements out to a future phase. These can be difficult conversations to have and requires effective project management from the outset. At the end of the day, customers almost always appreciate a project team that holds them accountable and manages towards an originally agreed upon time line.
What is the most important personality trait or competency for someone in professional services (and applicable to supply chain professional services in particular)?
- I feel that individuals need to be effective listeners who can clearly and articulately document what they have heard. This process makes the foundation for defining the project requirements and drives the clarity necessary to lock down the business and technical requirements. All too often, we end up in conversations with clients about “what was said” and that leads to issues down the road. If we can effectively listen to our clients and document what was said, we greatly eliminate any confusion.
COMING INTO KINAXIS What is one lesson learned or take-away from your previous roles that you will bring to Kinaxis?
- Problem solving is the responsibility of every individual, and every individual should feel empowered to solve problems. Every day we will encounter challenges and the most efficient way for the team to progress forward is if individuals can clearly define the problem ahead of them and define the best path forward. Empowered team members lead to greater efficiency and happier employees.
Has anything surprised you about Kinaxis so far?
- The culture and talent of the individuals that work here. Everybody I have met is very excited about Kinaxis and the future, and this has created a fantastic culture as a result.
Supply chain is being called everything from “the leader of the next decade” to “sexy”. As someone coming into the field, are you buying it?
- Supply chain clearly is a backbone to many industries and can drive greater sales and profits. As our customers rely greatly upon their supply chain and suppliers, having that visibility into supply chain challenges and the right tools to manage is key to success. So, yes, I do believe that supply chain is “sexy”!
A PERSONAL GLIMPSE Where did you grow up?
- I lived in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. until I was 16 when my family moved to the suburbs of Detroit. I finished high school and went to college in Detroit and really consider myself a mid-westerner.
- Unbroken is one of my favorite books, it teaches us to never give up and always look for the positives in life.
Favorite motivational quote?
- I love quotes and years ago bought the “Forbes Business Book of Quotations”. One of my favorites is “In this country, every man is the architect of his own ambitions” -- Horton Bain.
Best advice you ever received?
- Set 5-year goals that are manageable and attainable.