About EdEd Ferking, Jr. is a degreed chemical engineer and also holds a degree in Inter-Disciplinary Natural Science (Chemistry, Biology, Math, Physics). Ed lives in Lake Wales, Florida. He spent the very early portion of his career working as a practicing chemical engineer and then spent the majority of his professional life in technical management. His responsibilities yielded many opportunities to work directly with engineers, scientists, and other professionals from a broad list of disciplines.
Significantly in the mid nineties, Ed accepted a special assignment at his company's world headquarters as a functional expert in manufacturing logistics and quality assurance. This Fortune 200 company (with offices in 86 countries), in collaboration with Ernst and Young, was beginning a worldwide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation project. They brought in experts from every discipline and every division of the corporation to collaborate on the design and implementation of the system.
Ed continued to live in Florida on the weekends and worked in Kansas City, Missouri on Monday through Friday for 3 and a half years. He touts himself as a world class expert in "suitcase living" and "airport survival".
Ed Talks About His Information Technology (IT) Experience
"My view of the world broadened dramatically. For the first time in my career, I truly understood the immense burden, responsibility, and impact of the corporate IT department. I was always a customer, collaborator, and advocate of IT, but to that point, I had worked in only one narrow aspect of an immensely complex worldwide enterprise."
"As a member of this project team I was exposed to almost every facet of corporate operations including a tremendous sampling of the company's best and brightest people. Not being a true IT person per se, I was able to come away from that experience with some unique and lasting insights as well as many valuable friendships."
"The impact of a corporate-wide IT outage or protracted performance aberration is almost unthinkable in the current environment. There was no discernable part of the business that IT didn't reach and no part of the business on which it didn't exert significant impact. The requisite integration of functional systems in the ERP environment is immense."
"Fortunately, the discipline, culture, skills, and internal controls developed by IT staffs over the years, along with a dramatic improvement in hardware reliability, capacity and redundancy, has brought the possibility of such system upsets to a manageable and extremely low risk level."
"This is undeniably an extremely good thing for stockholders, employees, and customers, but in today's world it is not without cost. I am not talking about the costs of the redundant equipment or the massive testing environments, or the stress of these environments on the wonderful people who manage all this, but rather I am talking about the cost of a purposefully risk averse IT culture and the downstream effect it has on their most valued user/customer base."
"It appears to be a disconcerting Catch-22. You cannot achieve this level of reliability and sustainability without reducing risk and conversely you cannot take on additional risk without the possibility of sacrificed reliability and performance."
"Expert problem solvers have confronted similar issues for centuries and one of the most interesting adaptations is to simply change the rules of the game. In the IT world today, they are changing the rules of the game by inserting a new variable. As monies become available, corporations across the globe are starting to create user data environments apart from the traditional transactional databases. These "data warehouses" as they are called, are specifically designed to allow the user free and open access to the data without putting at risk the fundamental transactional processes of the business. Simultaneously, OLAP is adding tremendous richness and speed to these systems and not surprisingly, Excel is increasingly becoming the user interface of choice."
"Data Warehousing is a great win/win opportunity for IT, for the user, and certainly for business in general. We need to remember that data alone cannot get you there. We must provide the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to extract value from this huge data reservoir. I am extremely excited about what is occuring and I feel certain that Excel automation as well as other advanced analytical tools will provide great value to companies investing in this technology."
Where To Go From Here....
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