Q&A with Candi Aston, Senior IT Consultant, We Energies
About We Energies
We Energies provides electric service to customers in portions of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The company also serves natural gas customers in Wisconsin and steam customers in downtown Milwaukee. For more about the company please visit www.we-energies.com.
ControlPanelGRC :Candi, We Energies has the distinction of being the first company to use ControlPanelGRC’s Transport Manager module (then named QTMS) back in 1997. How did that come about?
Candi Aston : Yes, about fifteen years ago, Dan Wilhelms, the Founder and President of ControlPanelGRC, worked with us as a consultant for another company he founded, Symmetry Corporation. SAP, our enterprise resource platform (ERP), had recently been installed, and while transport capabilities exist within it, there was a lot of manual work required to move the transports containing the changes from the development to the QA and production systems. Dan, with collaboration from our team and another consultant, developed a tool that automated the movement for transports from one environment to another. It’s a tool that we still use every day – along with the numerous other modules from the ControlPanelGRC solution.
ControlPanelGRC : How does Transport Manager help you in your day-to-day updates in SAP?
Candi Aston : Most importantly, it has eliminated a lot of manual processes. We don’t have an overly-complicated SAP environment at We Energies, but, like every company that uses SAP as its system of record, we have a number of changes, or transports, that need to be made. With ControlPanelGRC, we are able to move transports from development to QA to production environments without manual intervention. We don’t need someone from the IT organization to work after hours to push changes in the system – Transport Manager moves transports every twelve minutes and we have a weekly schedule to move transports into production. We also have the ability to make urgent updates via the tool that don’t involve commands at the operating system level.
ControlPanelGRC : You mentioned adding other modules of the ControlPanelGRC suite. What has that experience been like?
Candi Aston : Last year, we bought the entire ControlPanelGRC suite. The tool was cost-effective with a pretty short implementation time. It helped that I was familiar with Transport Manager, but we were operational on most of the major modules of ControlPanelGRC in two to three months. Every organization’s SAP environment is different and every company has its unique needs, but our experience with ControlPanelGRC has been great. It’s nice to partner with people that understand our business, have helped our business as it has changed and grown, and produce software solutions that add value.
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Access Controls Illustration
Intelligent management of access controls throughout an organization is a requirement of many external auditors. Having ineffective and often manual access controls in place results in system vulnerability and audit errors. In addition, lack of oversight can lead to loss of confidential information, data integrity and ability to maintaining proper authority of data. Better understand the process of how to:
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ControlPanelGRC is a second-generation suite of modular, integrated Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) applications that address the major areas of compliance concern at every level.
Many enterprises have invested in first generation GRC software tools in the initial rush to comply with the 2002 Sarbanes Oxley legislations The initial focus was on sound Segregation of Duty (SoD) controls within the enterprise’s ERP financial system of record.
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“It’s better than the native SAP tools because in real life, one needs to get granular with night and weekend scheduling. It tracks usage and job run-times, and lets me know when there’s a problem via e-mail or workflow. For example, a job slated to run for 45 minutes runs for just two seconds.”