Amanda Hynous was interviewed by AdvisoryCloud on 08/26/2019 as part of our Featured Advisor Interview series.
AC - Tell us more about your main areas of expertise as an advisor?
AH - My main areas of expertise are process transformation, operations, and the implementation of enterprise IT systems. I have led IT implementations for a wide variety of technologies: ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, websites, and shop floor technologies such as machine monitoring. I believe that what makes my expertise unique, however, is I also have finance expertise in budgeting, forecasting, planning, and cost accounting as well as Six Sigma Green Belt certification. These additional areas of expertise allow me to work with clients to truly understand their business goals first before selecting and implementing technical solutions.
AC - Describe your main motivation for being an advisor?
AH - The best way for me to explain my motivation is to highlight a story from a past implementation. I remember working on a project in a business environment where all those involved had a lot of pressure to accomplish a consolidation of services in a short time. This meant that we had to implement new technology urgently or the business would have to hire more temporary staff, thus risking the benefit of the consolidation. Business unit leadership was checking on this project bi-weekly.
After many months of hard work, it was time to put the new system live. I remember the manufacturing leader walking into our war room that day and saying, “this is the most exciting day I’ve had in years!” He was genuinely excited because we were actually putting in a new system that would save him and the finance team hours a week and the pain of errors. Despite the pressure to just “get the project done,” we were implementing a project with real productivity savings and process improvement. That moment has stayed with me in my career – I truly enjoy working with teams to deliver real improvement with IT, not just checking the box to say something is live. I believe that is always possible, no matter the technology or the circumstances, but this outcome requires experience, focus and empathetic listening, which I believe I can offer companies as an advisor.
AC - Elaborate on the types of situations, challenges or decisions, do you feel you could add the most value to as an advisor?
AH - Two situations where I believe I can add a lot of value are:
- A growing business that knows it needs to implement technology to support and scale operations but does not know where to begin. Do you start with a financial system? A customer service ticketing system? What software should you use for your website or shopping cart? One of my previous roles I enjoyed the most was as Senior Director of Operations for a growing non-for-profit. I worked with the team there to grow operations over 225% in three and a half years. A lot of that time was making careful decisions on what to focus on and choosing the right systems and infrastructure. I can also help with selecting solutions to evaluate and the evaluation process.
- Any size business that has an IT project that they need advice on implementing or implementation strategy. I can help advise on strategic items such as business goals, project planning and defining a phased rollout strategy as well as mechanics such as functional integration design, data migration, and testing plans.
AC - Do you see any disruptive trends on the horizon in your industry or position?
AH - Currently, I am always watching the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning. I was just reading recently about how McDonald’s is integrating artificial intelligence into menus to help suggest items that are faster for the kitchen to make if the kitchen is running behind or items more suitable based on weather. I also recently saw a presentation on how this technology might be able to assist on applications and suggest the best candidates. It’s fascinating to see how these capabilities will increase growth. At the same time, these technologies rely on good data and good process to capture the data in which these decisions are based on. As technology grows, one thing seems to remain the same: data quality will always be the foundation. The more businesses invest in strong processes, infrastructure, and data quality, the better positioned they will be to take advantage of these trends.
AC - Tell me about the most impactful project or decision you’ve been involved in as an executive.
AH - I have had the privilege of being involved with many impactful implementations, but two that stand out involve the migration from a legacy, homegrown IT system to an enterprise solution. These projects are always impactful from a change management standpoint as they involve understanding all the workarounds and manual processes that have existed with the legacy system and making sure that the new system really will add value overall. Also, these projects involve some functions often having to do things differently or adding a few more steps to their process so that the overall system and process is more efficient. The first such project was the implementation of an enterprise logistics system, Oracle Transportation Management. The second such project was the implementation of a customer relationship management system, Microsoft Dynamics, at a non-for-profit. Both projects were extremely rewarding as they ended with delivering powerful synergies across functions.
If you are interested in speaking with Amanda Hynous about this topic or others, you can book a meeting with her through her AdvisoryCloud profile here: