Ed Pieters’ end-of-year-blog 2019

2019: the year of focus, growth and freedom

My back is soaked with sweat, my mouth dry. Just another mile or two to the top, and then I can fly down the mountain – the ultimate feeling of freedom.  That’s what cycling is for me, and this year I’ve experienced that freedom in the rides I’ve done from Salzburg to Venice and through Croatia and Slovenia. It’s also what I experience in my work at Cadran, where freedom is one of our most important core values. We’ve paid a great deal of attention to this core value in the past year during the restructuring of our organization. By creating self-managing teams, we’ve given everyone greater freedom and responsibility, resulting in a bonus in the form of significant growth in our focus areas.

Self-managing teams

A cyclist can only win a race with the support of a whole team: a trainer, a physiotherapist, someone to maintain and repair the bicycles, and a nutrition expert. It’s the same in an organization: everyone has their own area of expertise and contributes to the success of the whole. When an organization experiences rapid growth, there’s the danger that employees will so outstrip the client that they lose their focus – which is what we definitely don’t want to see happen. Commitment, delivering added value, personal development and freedom are all very important to us, and it was for that reason that we created four self-managing focus teams in 2019: a JD Edwards Industry & Trade team, a JD Edwards CTRM team, a NetSuite team and an Analytics team.

The JD Edwards Industry & Trade Team: JD Edwards optimization

This team’s knowledge and products are aligned with our customers in the trade and industry sector. The team members help our clients to optimize their JD Edwards environment by upgrading to release 9.2 and by providing support with their knowledge and experience in IoT and the JD Edwards Orchestrator. We’ve also developed an analytics solution based on Tableau and a reconciliation solution for JD Edwards. Cloud9 enables us to offer our clients an IaaS (infrastructure as a service) solution, and our expertise in JD Edwards Managed Services means we can relieve them of their ERP-related tasks.

The NetSuite Team: new partnerships

This team’s product portfolio is specifically targeted towards SMEs in the industry and wholesale sectors that are using or want to use NetSuite. In the past year, we’ve entered into a number of partnerships with the goal of further improving our range. For example, we started working with Transsmart, which enables our clients to book shipments from NetSuite. More than 400 carriers are connected to Transsmart! Similarly, NextService enables us to offer NetSuite clients a field service management solution. Last but not least, we’re now working with Celigo, a platform for integrations between NetSuite and other applications.

The JD Edwards CTRM Team: on track with the roadmap

The CTRM Team is focused on the commodity trading branch and has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of this branch and our products that are relevant to it: our CTRM module, JD Edwards ERP and Tableau.  Our integrated ERP/CTRM/Analytics solution provides commodity traders with a unique environment for their highly complex trading and logistics processes. Our development team works hard every day on new functionalities and improvements, with the goal of realizing the roadmap for 2020 and 2021!

The Analytics Team: predictive analytics too

How can we use analytics to deliver added value? This is the question that the Analytics Team is primarily concerned with – looking at how we can provide organizations with greater insight through management and operational information, enabling them to more effectively respond to and anticipate changes in the market. Our customers are also increasingly interested in getting started with predictive analytics. They already have a great deal of data; it therefore makes perfect sense to get the best value out of it. Our Analytics Team has a great deal of expertise in this area, including our colleague Jelle Huisman, who’s happy to share his knowledge – get in touch if you’d like to know more! We’re also using Tableau to build effective solutions for our clients, giving them a head start on their competition.

Focus leads to growth

When you’re flying down a mountain on your racing bike, good focus is essential if you’re to stay safely on the road. Focusing on the four client groups above has resulted in tremendous growth for us, both in terms of clients and our employees. We’ve welcomed 18 new employees – developers, consultants and project managers – who are already hard at work for our clients. Because the teams are smaller, we’re better able to guide new staff with focused coaching by senior colleagues. Knowledge sharing and development are a major priority, and the teams have been accorded more control and a mandate enabling them to make decisions independently that are beneficial for our clients. At the same time, this increases motivation and commitment among our staff, and provides more opportunities for our organization to grow.

…. And to a fresh perspective

New talent introduces new dynamism and brings other solutions and ideas on board. For example, the CTRM Team has recently started up a side project in which a number of our new consultants are preparing for an international roll-out to four countries. The countries are now to be rolled out simultaneously, instead of consecutively. Because we’ve taken a radically different approach with this project, we’ve reaped the benefits in terms of speed. Another example: we’re currently working with the University College Roosevelt to migrate Oracle BI Cloud reports to Tableau. Data science students are working together with our Tableau team to convert reports from one environment to the other. These new work methods spark a completely different dynamic, which is a result of focused growth.

…. And to success

We’ve done well out of all of our efforts this year. For instance, we’ve had a good number of clients successfully going live, including Vlisco, Fasten, Juvent and Comfoor Pluggerz. On top of that, NetSuite has named us Rookie Partner of the Year, because we’ve achieved the most successes in the Benelux as a relatively new partner. The new structure has also proved very attractive to young talent; together with the international opportunities we offer with Redfaire International, it’s become clear that we’re of interest to potential employees.

Cloud and ERP developments: OCI, Azure and AWS

In addition to our focus on our internal organization, we’ve kept close tabs on our clients’ needs and developments. The cloud has already proved its worth, and we’re investing heavily in growth in the SaaS (Software as a Service) area, including with NetSuite and Tableau. Many companies are also putting their ERP systems in the cloud on an IaaS, and we’ve gained experience with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Azure and AWS. We’re also observing that organizations increasingly want to optimize their processes and maximize the returns from their ERP systems. Tableau can help them to improve their management, but self-learning systems and IoT also have a lot to offer in terms of opportunities. For example, they enable automated inventory management from sensor to order, and linking mobile applications to the ERP can help employees such as service technicians to work more effectively.

Redfaire International

More and more companies are looking for an international partner to implement and provide support with their ERP systems. Thanks to our joint venture Redfaire International, we are now operating in 24 countries and were able to provide support to 15 new clients in the last year. Worldwide coverage and the guaranteed availability of local expertise and support are important success factors for international clients.

Proud

I’m extremely proud of the commitment and effort demonstrated by our team during this incredibly dynamic year. The way in which everyone has worked so hard to meet our clients’ wishes is truly admirable. Having witnessed the new dynamism, energy and power in our team, I am really looking forward to 2020.  I’m also very proud of the long-term relationships and partnerships we’re building with our clients. ERP implementations and support can be tricky, but it’s good to see that we and our clients always come out on top together.

What are our plans for 2020 then? We’ll be working to further optimize our services to our clients and our international partnership in Redfaire International. However, we will mainly be committed to putting into practice the fantastic plans we made in 2019, ensuring that everything is rock-solid. And of course, we’ll be doing that with the wind in our hair; just as you choose your own route with cycling, with our self-managing teams we want to give our people the mandate and freedom to develop themselves. After all, freedom is an invaluable resource.

I wish you a very happy festive season and a healthy and prosperous 2020!

Ed Pieters