Today we continue our latest blog series offering a peek into the daily lives of IQMS’ directors. From human resources to testing and training to development, meet the key department leaders who are molding our company’s future and continually advancing the EnterpriseIQ ERP and MES software.
Meet Shannon Holloway, Director of Product Education and Support, who is about to celebrate 20 impressive years with IQMS.
Shannon, you are in charge of two important IQMS teams: The Training Department and IQMS’ largest department, Technical Support. Tell me a little bit about these customer-focused teams.
On the training side, my group is responsible for customer training both in this Paso Robles facility and our Chicago facility. Any of the classes we offer we will also teach on site at a customer’s facility. Additionally, we offer one-on-one, customizable Internet-based training options with a live trainer (one company to trainer) and group virtual training classes, which are one trainer to multiple companies, at cost effective rates to our customers. So those classes help with immediate needs on limited topics, something that doesn’t really need a whole day, and range anywhere from an hour to a three hour session. We also manage the online library of training videos on MyIQMS.
That training team is also tasked with internal training, so we manage the new employee 90 day program, including certification and testing, as well as any other subsequent internal training needs that come up across various departments.
On the technical support department side, we answer questions for customers: Anything from “How To” type questions to software best practices. Most often its data analysis: Customers expecting to see certain results and they are getting different results. It is our job to assist them in any way we can and help them understand how the software works and explain what they are seeing.
Are there any upcoming new projects in your departments?
We are constantly hiring, so we always have hiring projects going on. In fact, we have a group of 13 people who are going through the testing process right now who will go to the technical support team, and then possibly onto other teams within the company. The support department tends to be a feeder program for the rest of the organization. We also have a group of 14 employees starting on July 8 that will go through the 90 day new employee training, testing and certification program again. I’m excited about getting them out there. We are growing very quickly and keeping up with that is very exciting and challenging.
Then of course, there is the new building - The training department is very excited about it. We have five state-of-the-art training rooms going in over there. So we are excited about that project and the challenges and experiences that it will bring.
Tell me a little bit more about hiring. What traits do you look for when hiring new team members?
Really, we look for aptitude and attitude. Those are the two main things. We also look to see if they have a degree in an area that we find beneficial (For example, industrial engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business and accounting are majors that tend to work well within my groups), but that’s not required. They can alternatively have some experience in some of those areas, such as in a manufacturing environment or an accounting environment. I think on the hiring side, people read our employment ads and they tend to be intimidated. I think that there are a lot of good people out there with good traits that they are underestimating, and they should consider applying.
As for aptitude, probably the biggest thing we look for is the ability to troubleshoot and problem solve. The ability to not only understand that when I click this button in the software, this is what happens, but the ability to understand why and how it happens. Understanding the 15 things that go on behind the scenes in between gives someone the ability to isolate and resolve an issue. In the support department, we don’t have a script or a flowchart or the 10 questions we can ask our customers to solve any issue. It’s all different issues, always a different day and always something new. So we really just have to apply our own knowledge and understanding to each situation and identify where things could be deviating.
And then of course, a good attitude. We want not only good people, that understand and have the right skills that we need on a professional basis, but we also want the right people. We want a good fit for the company, someone who is going to add to our organization and work well with the group. It’s important for morale.
Shannon, you’ve been with IQMS since nearly the beginning. What inspires you and keeps you coming to work every day?
I think probably the biggest thing is that I love what I do every day. I like to solve problems. I like the gratification that comes from providing a solution and I get to do that all the time here. There is nothing more fun for me than to come into the middle of an issue that people have been working on and can’t quite figure out and get in there and play a part in resolving it to make someone’s life easier. I really enjoy the troubleshooting and problem solving aspects, both in the support side of things, but in also directing these two departments.
There are things that come up constantly. Employees will come in and say: “I don’t know how we are going to do this.” For example, right now, not only do we have these two groups of support people that we have been talking about, but we are hiring on the professional services side like crazy too. So I meet with the trainers on a regular basis to go over how we are going to accommodate all of these different internal training groups, while still giving customers priority for their classes and get everybody through. I like being able to sit down and put that puzzle together and have my team walk out of here feeling empowered and like they can do it. I really enjoy helping in that regard, in coaching and building up my team. I love watching “ah hah” moments happen for people.
Your knowledge of the EnterpriseIQ software is extensive. Can you offer a specific tip to our readers to help them best take advantage of the system?
I would say preparation. Because I get to manage these two groups, I get to deal with both ends of the spectrum. On the technical support side, everything is reactive. The customer is calling in because there is already something that they need help with, there is already an issue. But on the training side, it is very proactive. When people are prepared, it is so much better. I get to see on a daily basis the benefits of coming to training and learning things upfront and being prepared, as well as the negative side of people not being prepared. Whether it’s doing an update, or a physical inventory, or implementing a new piece of software: Preparation. The more prepared you are, the less reactive you will have to be later. I am sure I probably have 100 other EnterpriseIQ tips, but you will have to look for those in future blog posts!