Today we continue our new 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 John Asi, Director of Data Services, who oversees IQMS’ eCommerce, System Administration and IT teams.
John, you manage three separate departments at IQMS. Tell me a bit about each one.
At the most basic level, all three departments are support teams that address issues for their specific client base. Beyond support though, each team also does development of processes and concepts to better facilitate support and client goals. The System Administration team assists clients with installing, updating and troubleshooting their EnterpriseIQ and Oracle systems. In addition, the team develops scripts to assist in their daily tasks or for rolling out new processes.
The eCommerce team handles all EDI related functions within the EnterpriseIQ software. This includes implementations, EDI template/script development and client support. And from the IT side, the internal IT team is handling everything related to keeping the company running, from my mouse doesn’t work to we need to put in a new disaster recovery process in order to handle retention of information and data for the company’s ongoing success.
My day to day is pretty much handling questions and decisions related to all three of these areas. Typically on the side of IT, it’s trying to figure out what processes need to be put in place company-wide and getting approvals for certain purchases that might need to be made. For System Administration and EDI, it’s going over what we are seeing out in the field with the clients and trying to make sure that any situations that are coming up are contained and well understood.
And then on top of that, I do a little development on my own regarding IQMS’ data import tools to support the PSG team, while also assisting the testing department and sales teams with questions regarding different aspects of our software.
Recently, all of your departments have grown significantly. What qualities do you look for when adding someone new to your team?
There are a couple of key things that we look for. One is a very, very highly motivated person, someone who has shown that they have initiative and who is a go getter. I look for people who are able to think on their own and to direct themselves in their processes and what they are doing, while also having the good work ethic of, “We’re here to get a job done and that job is to make sure our customers are happy. And we will go to whatever lengths we need to make that happen.” As far as skills, when you look at it, really the aptitude is a small portion. It’s the attitude that’s the big portion.
Who do you admire or look up to?
I would have to say that’s my Dad. He’s been a very strong influence in my life. Really, I look at his dedication to the family when I was growing up and that’s really what’s driven me to go as far as a I can with what I have. He was a very strong role model: He was never demanding and he always had this quiet patience with us that allowed us to make our mistakes, to learn from them and then to try again.
After seven years with IQMS, you have probably experienced a few memorable moments. Any in particular that stick out in your mind?
I would say getting hired into the eCommerce support team and later becoming manager of the team were memorable. User Group is always a memorable - meeting face to face many of the people I have the opportunity to work with is a highlight. From the project side, there is one IQMS customer implementation that is especially memorable. The client had a number of plants that relied on its legacy system and was not in a position to move all of the plants into EnterpriseIQ at the same time. The integration allowed them to move plants away from the legacy system in an orderly fashion while implementing EnterpriseIQ over the course of a year. This was my first large scale project at IQMS and it was foundational in the development of the data import/export tools that we have today. It was very satisfying to develop the tools and see the project through to a very successful completion.
You and your departments are intimately involved in the continually advancing technology environment. Any trends or big picture changes you see in the next year?
In terms of the trends, we do see certain things. For example, in EDI, XML is the current trend. That’s been around forever, but now it seems to be something that more and more of our client base is talking about working with, so we are working to expand our product a little bit more to best handle that.
On the System Administration side, we are focused on the new versions of Oracle that are coming out and how those tools work with our product, including what we are able to incorporate and expand into. For example, we are currently looking at how we can provide another layer of protection and data robustness in terms of valid backups. Not to circumvent or to displace what we currently do, but to add to that layer. There are technologies that are being developed through Oracle and some of the clients that may help us push tools out to our client base a little bit easier.
Of course, on the IT side, we are always looking at the new technologies out there and what kind of products are available to help us better manage the users that we have and the growth we are experiencing within IQMS. We spent quite a bit of time establishing and expanding our VM infrastructure to help accommodate growth. We just went through the expansion of the phone system and our fiber optic line and are looking at options to better link our remote sites. We can definitely see there is a lot of technology out there that we can get our hands on and it will help push in the direction we need to go for continued growth.