Tech done right: The 2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards

Vision and execution are hallmarks of great leadership, as these eight technologists proved in pushing their organizations in bold new directions

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2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards:

Technology deployment

Karen McNamara, senior IT manager, HD Supply

Karen McNamara, HD Supply

In 2011, HD Supply's Construction and Industrial-White Cap division decided to leave behind a legacy ERP system and begin a new ERP implementation that involved deploying 15 Oracle modules to more than 150 business locations and more than 2,200 employees.

There was pent-up demand from business executives for a better system, resulting in pressure to deliver quickly. But branch locations are spread out across the United States, and it was clear that effective user training needed to be done in person and on site in most locations.

Of course, there was the critical need to work with the business users to understand their workflows and processes, to determine which should be updated to use standard Oracle approaches and which needed to be handled in a customized way. In HD Supply's case, White Cap-specific processes such as equipment rental and tool repair needed to be accommodated, as well as more general business workflows used by all HD Supply divisions.

To get that deep understanding and pave the way for user adoption, Senior IT Manager Karen McNamara established a "power user" system in which several employees at each location were brought in early as co-creators, beta testers, and eventually internal experts that other staff could rely on after deployment. "This program was deemed the secret sauce to the successful ERP deployment, driving local ownership to each and every store and enabling the project team to move forward with the aggressive deployment schedule," McNamara says.

ERP deployments are often difficult projects, with many failures and some never-ending deployments -- usually due as much to change-management gotchas as to technology complexity. In HD Supply's case, the 30-month-long ERP replacement effort, completed in October 2013, avoided those pitfalls and brought the Construction and Industrial-White Cap division into a much more effective environment thanks to its strong focus on the users and the business, not the technology alone.

This story, "Tech done right: The 2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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