Michael Clark is the Oracle project manager and expert JD Edwards ERP consultant. In these roles, Michael helps lead the company in project strategy, client expectations and RFgen implementations.
Michael recently spoke candidly about his role at RFgen and how it has evolved over the past nine years with the company.
How did you start working with Oracle’s JD Edwards ERP?
I was introduced back in my VITAL days (a division of TSYS/VISA) when a decision was made to move our business over to JD Edwards. At that time, Oracle had introduced their first Windows version that would become JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. Similar to today, consultants for JD Edwards had three primary specialty areas: CNC (the administrator), DBA (a combined JDE/Microsoft SQL DBA) and a JDE Developer. I was lucky enough to be able to learn and work in all three areas for several years.
What does a typical day at RFgen look like for you?
Wow—every day is different! I have several standard items, but even many of those change from day to day. I’ve had many roles over the years here. Funny enough, when I started, I was ‘the’ project manager and handled the monthly consultant billing. Then over the last nine years, I moved up until I was the VP for Professional Services. And now as I get older, I am slowly moving back full circle until much of my time is now doing PM work again and handling the monthly consultant billing. Although it is a much larger job that it was some nine years ago!
What do you think makes you so effective at your job?
I am a ‘black hat’ thinker, meaning I can foresee the issues that could come up based on how items are designed and based on a strong understanding of how items will flow for the person that has to perform the work itself. So, I am always wondering what would work for them and considering what problems could come up; then I design the solution for that.
What are you always excited to share with new customers about the RFgen technology?
Its ease of use and flexibility. RFgen can do virtually anything and its hallmark is its flexibility to work as effectively as possible for the end users of your ERP. Anyone that knows how to program in most any language can program using RFgen. Any unusual tweak or modification the customer needs for their business can be done for them with RFgen.
How do you approach creating the best possible workflows for your customers?
It’s three tiered. First, is to keep it simple because the more complex we design things, the greater the possibility that something is missed. Second, is the ‘black hat’ approach, which means we always need to consider that the path being designed is not the one some users will take. What if they take that path or what if the data is not as expected? Finally, is what I consider the wow factor. What can we do that will have the end user going “wow, we can do that now?”
How do you work together with a customer to solve any challenges that might arise during a project?
With the expertise that comes after working side-by-side with our customers, I have found that most often they are correct when they bring up any type of issue. An issue for the customer becomes an issue for the entire team. In our industry, we are very lucky that most of our customers have excellent team players with a wealth of understanding of how their business needs to work, so we believe them and listen to what they are saying. Then, our RFgen consultants really are excellent at what they do and always find the solution path. So, I suppose you could say I overcome customer challenges by relying on those around me!
What do you love most about your job?
I have always liked working here and I think that is compiled by three aspects. First, since I started, it seems every month brings something new and I love that. There is always something I can work on. Next, I enjoy being in the office and taking some of Tama’s [my wife’s] treats in from time to time. I really do think that our consultants are top of the line and I enjoy having face-to-face involvement with them, albeit difficult at the current time. Third, and I know this might sound a bit self-serving, but I have always felt that Rob and Tom (Robert Brice, president and chief technology officer and Thomas J. Eddinger, chief financial officer, retired) are part of the good guys. They believe that doing something right takes precedence over doing something quickly. I have worked at a number of places, and believe me, this viewpoint is unusual.
How would your coworkers describe you?
A bit crazy and always planning a trip.
What do you like to do outside of RFgen?
I am not much different. I am a family person and huge Disney fan — our next Disney World trip is in late January if anyone wants to come along!
What’s something that’s not commonly known by your coworkers?
In high school, I was a cross-country runner. In the summer of 1973, I received my black belt in Shotokan Karate. I used to be in decent shape back in the day!
After graduating from college, Michael joined the Air Force where he fell in love with electronics and computers and has never looked back. At his previous company, he was awarded the President’s Circle honor as one of the top 20 team members out of 10,000 around the world. He began his tenure at RFgen in 2011 and as a JD Edwards ERP expert, Michael has extensive knowledge in:
RFgen can do virtually anything and its hallmark is its flexibility to work as effectively as possible for the end users of your ERP. Anyone that knows how to program in most any language can program using RFgen. Any unusual tweak or modification the customer needs for their business can be done for them with RFgen.