December 17, 2020

December 16, 2020 | Mark Kreutz | VP, Global Support Services, JD Edwards

Geoffrey Chaucer said it best: “All good things must come to an end.” As our JD Edwards customers learned this fall, I’ve decided to retire from Spinnaker Support to enjoy time with my family and friends and more time in the outdoors. After 30 years working for and with JD Edwards software, the timing is right. But before I go, I want to share my reflections on JDE, Spinnaker Support, and third-party support in general. 

Where It All Started

Mark Kreutz

I feel very blessed to have aligned my career with JDE from the start. In 1991, I was hired by JD Edwards (the original company) soon after receiving a BS degree in Computer Information Systems and Management Science from Metro State University in Denver. I started as an RPG programmer with the Energy (O&G) development team designing new Production System applications for the World Software product line. 

After 2 years, I moved into the technical development team where I was mentored by the likes of Jon Nugent, Jack Thompson, the late John Schiff, and the late Ed McVaney, to whom I owe many respects – a true hero in my life and occasional fishing buddy. These were amazing and talented executives who made a lasting impact on the company, especially on me as a young professional.  

During my fifth year, I was promoted to manage the Technical Foundation development team for the World product line. I kept my fingers in the source code and continued in that role for 10 years through the PeopleSoft and Oracle acquisitions. 

The Legacy of Early JD Edwards 

When I think back to those early days, I see three lasting traits from the company and those leaders. The first is the company culture and “family” environment that our leadership nurtured. That was especially invaluable to me – a great foundation that I brought to Spinnaker. It’s very much the same glue that binds our JDE team at Spinnaker today.  

The second is the JDE software itself. Customers LOVE JD Edwards and don’t (won’t) change to another ERP. The quality and usability are simply unmatched.  

The third is the close relationships (friendships) of our global JDE user community. It’s commonplace to find a familiar name and friend among the JDE user community – with our customers, prospects, and members of our Spinnaker team. It’s truly one of those small-world JDE aspects that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed through the past 30 years. 

Spinnaker Support, Circa 2008 

I had already been working in third-party JDE support when Matt Stava, our CEO, approached me in 2008 desiring to establish a JDE support practice with Spinnaker Support. Our global JDE team of 25 employees loved what we learned of Matt’s vision for the company and gave a unanimous thumbs-up to join Spinnaker Support.  

We managed to bring 45-50 customers to Spinnaker in the start-up days while also dealing with the fallout from the 2008 Recession, a great achievement from a best-in-class scrappy bunch of JDE experts. We knew the business, and customers loved the idea that they could save money and get better support from a team they knew and trusted. Matt was all in and ready to build the business under the same close and intimate culture that we’d enjoyed at JDE. 

As Spinnaker Support’s first VP of JD Edwards Global Support Services, I became responsible for all business development activities and organizational management. It was a special time with many challenges in constructing our infrastructure: ticketing system, logistics, communications. We accomplished all of that in only two months, and much of it – though upgraded – remains in use today. 

Spinnaker Support Today

Over my twelve years at Spinnaker, I was very pleased to play a part in the expansion and growth of our service lines to Oracle, Database, Siebel, SAP, and more recently, Salesforce. As for JDE, we saw steady growth with third-party support and expansions in consulting projects and managed services for applications/development, technical/CNC, and IBMi administration.  

That brings us to late 2020. As I am not shy of saying, we have the best team in the industry for JD Edwards support. Our support process is a fine-tuned and well-oiled machine, with engineers averaging 24+ years of experience with the JDE products. One of the impacts I am most proud of is that the infrastructure we put into place at the start is still operating smoothly today. We’ve continued to improve it by adding ISO certifications and policies around intellectual property. 

We have incredible, loyal customers, many of whom have been with us since 2008. Companies like Flatiron Construction have used all of our services, from support to technical and application managed services to consulting projects. They have leaned on us for help with literally anything JDE. As a whole, our JDE customers continue to rate us at nearly 100% for customer satisfaction. 

Recent Improvements at Spinnaker Support

In the past few years, we have adapted our business to address the changing market conditions and customer needs and desires. Our GTRC practice has grown tremendously as Oracle has shifted its support for all but two software releases to Sustaining Support. We are also fielding more questions regarding our security support capabilities, allowing our team to use and enable our integrated technology teams across all service lines. This means that the JDE team has a large bench of tax, compliance, database, security, and other internal experts at our disposal to join in supporting our customers in these areas.  

I’m also excited about what we’re now doing with monitoring solutions for our customer systems and JDE environments, another new trend that’s picking up steam. Every organization that we talk to about monitoring is interested, and once we demonstrate the solution within their environment, they’re bought in. Many customers value the monitoring dashboard and usability and take advantage of collaborative settings to alert their internal IT team and even address their own network and security issues.  

You’re in Very Good Hands Going Forward

Someone recently asked me what I will miss the most. That’s easy: my team and the solid relationships we/I have formed with our customers through the years. I love our people, and our customers see them as their heroes. What I won’t miss are the occasional urgent alerts that come at 2 AM (ha). 

I planned my retirement well in advance to give Matt the time he needed to ensure the continued excellence of our JDE support services. A few months ago, we hired Brian Stanz as my replacement, and I could not be more pleased with the choice. Brian and I have worked closely through the fall to transition responsibilities and assure customers that our leadership remains strong. 

In fact, our backgrounds are uncannily similar. Brian also began his career at JDE in 1991 as a JD Edwards World technical consultant, which led to being a part of the original technical team that built EnterpriseOne. We know and “grew up” with many of the same JDE people, and we’ve all been sharing memories and funny stories from the early days.  

Another fun fact – we both have our names and comments in the existing source code for software issues (SARs) that we addressed throughout the years. Brian brings a terrific energy and enthusiasm to Spinnaker Support and comes with a wealth of knowledge of EnterpriseOne and various security topics. 

Finally, as I retire and move into the next phase of my life, it’s with gratitude and trust that the practice I helped to found so many years ago will remain in the most capable hands. It’s been an amazing journey, and I want to thank Matt, the JDE team, all of Spinnaker Support, and our wonderful customers for letting me be a part of it. Be sure to say hello if you see me on a trail somewhere in Colorado or somewhere else around the globe. I’ll probably have a pack on my back and, likely, a flyrod attached.

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