As many in the business software world will attest: managing the company-wide deployment of an ERP platform is a serious business. Yet Bjarte Haugland, Area Head for IT/IM at Norwegian engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) contractor Apply, not only managed the successful implementation of IFS Applications, his passion and drive to make every part of the system work optimally for all users made him an obvious IFS Champion.
The IFS Champions program is an initiative that seeks to identify the most intrepid, trailblazers within our customer community. The idea is simple: we want to provide a platform to tell their stories, share experiences, and draw inspiration from their amazing work.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Bjarte to ask him some questions and see what makes him tick.
What’s your role at Apply?
My current role is Area Head for IT/IM. I am responsible for Application Services, IT Operation, Digital Solutions and IM Development.
Most of Apply’s improvement projects and technical requirements are run through my group as we have company-wide responsibility for application management and digitalization. We also have overall responsibility for IT operations and security, where the operational side has been outsourced to an external service provider.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
I would say ambitious, passionate and reliable.
Ambitious because I always want to be in the place where things happen—in the thick of it—and to engage hands-on with change initiatives and improvement processes. This characteristic is part of both my professional and private life. For example, I was selected as the Employee Representative in Apply’s Board of Directors, but I also coach my seven-year-old daughter’s soccer team.
Passionate because I have a genuine interest in technology and information systems. Very often, a problem will stick in my mind until I have found a solution. I think I have an above-average capacity for drilling down into details when I need to. Part of it is also my eagerness to avoid downtime: to make sure that things are always humming along at optimal capacity.
Reliable since I have a strong sense of responsibility and I take pride in going that extra mile to solve problems for myself and my coworkers.
How do you use IFS to run your business?
We started using IFS Applications in 2009, but then only for engineering. With the full implementation of version 8 in 2014, as well as the current project that will take us onto version 10, IFS Applications has become the central hub of business IT landscape, empowering our 1,200 staff with access to real-time data.
We use IFS technology to support most of our mission-critical business processes, including document management, HR, resource management, engineering/construction, project control, finance, and supply chain, and HSE&Q. Thanks to it’s open architecture, we also have a few best-of-breed solutions integrated with the central IFS platform.
By relying on IFS Applications as our central platform of record, we have been able to realize significant efficiency gains over the years. With the upcoming upgrade to IFS Applications 10, I can only see that increase accelerating, especially given the new IFS Aurena user experience, which will have a major impact on the productivity of our offshore staff and the way they will be accessing the solution.
Personally, in my day-to-day, I’m a heavy user of HR, time and travel, authorization of hours, purchase orders, and invoices.
We think of Challengers as people who are willing to do things differently in order to get ahead, but what does being a challenger mean to you?
For me, a true challenger is someone who doesn’t necessarily accept an established truth as gospel—especially not when your intuition tells you that things could be done in a better way. I also believe that a challenger in the positive sense, you need to involve people, provide guidance, and assign clear responsibilities.
I really like the thought of celebrating those who dare to challenge the norm and I suspect that one of the main reasons I was nominated for this honor was my role in rolling out an IFS Applications upgrade back in June 2014. I was responsible for the application development team during that project and I’ve stayed engaged with the system ever since to make sure everything is configured and integrated in an optimal way so that the business continues to derive value.
You’re a busy person. Why is it important for you to take the time to tell your story? What do you hope others take away from it?
In general, I think the best way to achieve anything is to get yourself and other people engaged and involved. Looking at the IFS community, in particular, I feel it is important to tell my story so that other users can relate and maybe get inspired to get involved in whatever way makes sense for them.
Having experienced the buzz of IFS’s user group conferences—and by attending IFS World Conference in Boston, I truly believe that it’s important for creative IFS customers to come together as peers to continue to improve their use of the solutions and to discuss areas of improvement.
IFS ? CHALLENGERS
The IFS Champions initiative is a way for us to celebrate people who have done something different, in order to have more impact for themselves, their colleagues, and the companies they work for. Using the right tools in the right way, even small changes can generate big results.
We cannot wait to celebrate the successes of all the challengers at our customers in October at the IFS World Conference in Boston. Learn more and join your fellow challengers at www.ifsworld.com/corp/news-and-events/events/world-conference-2019/.
Read more about the IFS Champions program.
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