The team that learns together, stays together
by Pam Records
In many industries, taking customer support calls is stressful, leading to high turnover. Not Infor EAM Support. Working out of the Greenville, South Carolina, office, the team has enjoyed surprising longevity. Even the team’s “newbies” have 10 years under their belts. The veterans have logged more than 20 years. Each one talks about their role with confidence and pride. They describe their personal growth by sharing anecdotes about continuous learning, deep dives into complex topics, and team efforts.
“Retaining employees in product support can be hard, with resumes showing a change of jobs every two to three years. But in EAM, we have longevity, which is one of the secrets in the sauce of our product quality, customer satisfaction, and innovation,” says Kevin Price, Technical Product Evangelist for Infor Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). “The tenured folks are the true backbone of our business and are responsible for where we are today.”
Brett Stansell, Senior Director Support Operations, leads the support team and agrees the longevity is rare—and valuable. He is one of the veterans, having joined the organization 20 years ago. “Many of us sort of grew up together, joining as young singles. Now, we have families and high school or college graduates. Some of us even have grandkids, now. We’ve been through it all together.”
Several team members started at Datastream, supporting the legacy product MP2. They then made the transition to the Datastream 7i Oracle Forms product that was the basis for Infor EAM. The solution was migrated to a full html-based front end, and it migrated to the cloud beginning in the early 2000s. With Infor’s acquisition of Datastream, the investment in the product accelerated, and the team has seen it evolve to the advanced solution it is today.
“We had to step up to the challenge,” Stansell says. “We’ve had to keep up with the tremendous amount of changes and stay on top of our game.”
The product and the customer base have also changed. In the early days, customers tended to be small start-ups or family-owned companies. “Today, global enterprises leverage our multi-tenant EAM SaaS solution,” Stansell says. “The types of support needs have also changed, from being very transactional incidents to, now, our SaaS customers truly expect us to be stewards of their data, looking after their welfare, bringing them ideas for how to better optimize their operations.”
Finding job fulfillment
The major changes to the solution have created a dynamic work environment, keeping the support job challenging—and fulfilling.
Christina Glass, Senior Product Support Analyst, has been working with the solution for 23 years. “Every day, it’s something different, something new, and helping customers find the solution is very gratifying.” The release of the mobile solution let Glass dive deeper into some advanced modules, like map integration and GPS tracking. She has become the team specialist on EAM mobile and often takes the lead on any mobile-related support incidents submitted by customers.
“We all work well together. Everyone is willing to help each other,” Glass says. “If there is something you don’t know, you can ask, and someone will either know the answer or help find it.”
Eric Hicks, a 20-year support veteran, agrees. “Everyone has to be somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades, but most of us also gravitate to certain areas of functionality where we dig deeper and develop expertise.” For Hicks, it is the data bridge and how EAM integrates with Infor ION and shares data with other functions, such as in managing purchases orders. “One person couldn’t possibly go that deep with every aspect of the solution. It’s just too big, too complex, and always changing.”
The move to “cloud-first” was one of the biggest changes the team faced. “With the shift to cloud deployment, customers became larger, with higher expectations, tighter deadlines, and more complex questions. That sometimes means more stress. But everyone is willing to help out,” Hicks says.
Melissa Jennings joined the team in 1999. For her, building relationships with customers is one of the highlights of her job. “We have great team members who really care about our customers and take pride in giving quality support to everyone,” she says. “Everyone is dedicated to our customers, and that is why we have such longevity–not just in our team but in our relationships with customers, too.”
Tanicka Canty is one of the newer members, with only 11 years on the team. She started her career as a software developer, then teacher at a technical college. Now she frequently provides customers with quick how-to sessions, helping them better understand the best uses of the solution.
“Often, when customers report an issue to the Support team, I find they may not be using our product the way it was designed to be used or they may have missed some steps in a larger process. I can answer their initial question, but if I also explain the intended process flow to resolve the issue, it will be more beneficial in the long term,” she says. “Helping customers solve their issues is highly fulfilling. I really enjoy doing something to help people.”
Market Based Management (MBM)® is the business philosophy and framework developed by Koch Industries Chairman and CEO Charles Koch. The MBM Guiding Principles help us forge “virtuous cycles of mutual benefit.” Self-actualization is one of the eight principles. It calls for each person to “be a lifelong learner and realize your potential, which is essential for fulfillment.” A person who becomes “increasingly self-actualized will better deal with reality, face the unknown, creatively solve problems and help others succeed.”
The EAM support team is a vibrant example of self-actualization. Continuous learning is one of the key elements that team members cite. The team’s willingness to think out of the box as they solve problems for customers is another hallmark. Support team members tell us they are self-motivated to dive deeper into areas of specialization, and this leads to greater job fulfillment and team longevity. Everyone benefits from this type of effort—especially customers.
“As Infor embraces MBM, we will find many examples of teams that instinctively hit upon the right combination of attitude and actions. The EAM team is a perfect example,” says Pete Sparber, Chief HR Officer. “We should make a deliberative effort to emulate their spirit and commitment to continuous learning.”