We selected and designed enhancements to an ERP (Enterprise Resouirce Planning) software package to extend functionality to the users outside the corporate headquarters of a sanitation company. Our ERP team worked at corporate headquarters which was a nice building with cubicles, desks and conference rooms. When we visited our first user site, our vision of user needs was shaken to say the least.
Managing, recruiting, training and motivating IT staff was the biggest challenge I faced as an IT manager. It wasn't vendor management – they mostly wanted to make me happy. It wasn't choosing competing technologies, like Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris servers – almost any choice had a path forward to success. Somehow it was people that perplexed me.
"Management is a series of interruptions interrupted by interruptions"
- sign on the door of my first boss at Bell Labs
John B Smelcer, MBA, PhD
Interruptions reduce our productivity and give us less time to get work done. Individuals can take charge of their own environment, disabling technology and telling co-workers "Do Not Disturb." Managers can also reduce needless interruptions by organizing the larger work environment and encouraging a culture of focused time alternating with collaboration time.
The Problem: Rapid Growth and Inefficient Systems
A leading document management company based in the Southeast had outgrown its support systems. Over a few years, it had acquired competing firms and absorbed their customer service centers. Even after closing its smaller service centers, it still had five large centers.