Inside Tigunia: A Conversation with Kris Ruyeras, VP of Operations

 

Thank you for reading this month’s Inside Tigunia. Tigunia is comprised of industry-leading experts. Inside Tigunia features full-length, candid conversations to introduce the team to our friends and clients.

 

This month’s spotlight will be on Kris Ruyeras.

 

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

 

 

Tigunia
Hello, Kris. Thanks for taking time to talk to me today. How did you first find yourself working in the information technology and ERP field?

 

Kris Ruyeras
When I first started working in IT, many years ago, it was actually through a school program.
It’s an after-school technical program, but I was working in the mailroom, and I was able to make some friends in the area. And of course, I was into computers. I actually wanted to be a psychologist. It’s what I thought that I wanted to do. I found out I was interested in IT and the company I did an internship for had a data center. So, I expressed interest and they brought me in there and taught me Unix and all that stuff. That’s how I started in IT, and the rest is history because I loved it and really enjoyed it.

To your second question, how did I get started in the BC, at least in the ERP world. The company I worked for at that time had an ERP system that was written in COBOL. So I got to learn COBOL programming and from there I went through iterations of different ERP systems, such as SAP, Oracle, and NetSuite. And then I got introduced to Dynamics back in 2009. I worked for a company that was coming from a COBOL-based ERP and they needed to get a new ERP system. I interviewed a bunch of different solutions and came across Dynamics. Ever since then I’ve been in Dynamics and I’ve worked on different versions, obviously from 1.4 up through BC, which is a new iteration.

 

Tigunia
Okay, so it sounds like there’s a lot of varied experience there. In the time you’ve worked, how has the industry evolved?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Ah, that’s a great question. As you know, a lot of the ERP solutions have always been what is considered fat client, meaning ERP had to be installed in a local machine or maybe on a server somewhere and in your local machine. That, at that time, was Dynamics NAV. Throughout the years, because other ERP solutions started becoming cloud based, Microsoft is really moving towards cloud-based, SaaS solutions. I think that’s exciting, that there is now a focus in the way that ERP is structured, particularly in the Dynamics world. It really opens up a lot of opportunities and a whole world in which you don’t have to exclusively rely on different partners for information. It also opens up opportunities for app development and possibly making it easier for businesses to be able to publish their own applications.

 

Tigunia
Okay, so let me ask you this: if a business can just sign up for Business Central directly with Microsoft, what is the value in signing up with Tigunia?

 

Kris Ruyeras
The biggest thing about going through a partner like us is the knowledge that comes along with us. When you’re running a business and you are utilizing an ERP solution, there is a lot of things that you want to utilize as much as possible. An investment in an ERP solution is not a small investment, so partnering up with Tigunia allows you to be able to fully utilize your ERP solution. It’s important to have a good partner because of our ability to educate you. We can consult with you and provide a solution for your business. And that’s really where Tigunia shines, a lot of us here are educators at heart and we just love to educate along the way. It also provides you access to a partner that has a multitude of different skills. You know, Tigunia has under its wide umbrella a range of skills, or I guess you could say a one-stop shop, so you don’t have to look elsewhere when you need something. I think one of the biggest issues I came across when I was working in the end-user space is the added difficulty that can come when you work with a partner that only offers ERP support. The biggest issue in that case can be that your software sits on hardware, and your software has to comply with networking, which has to comply with security best practices, and so forth. From an end user’s perspective, when I used to work for an end user, is that when there’s an issue that an ERP partner couldn’t handle it, they’d point fingers elsewhere.
What’s wonderful about Tigunia is that you only really need to go through one person to get all the solutions and support you need because of the many resources and skills that we have.

 

Tigunia
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Can you describe a time when you were able to improve upon an existing designer or workflow?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Yeah, for sure. There are plenty of examples around that. A lot of times we are presented with an issue, and this goes hand-in-hand with where Microsoft is going with their products. There’re hundreds of examples of this, when a company has an ERP solution and they also use a software that’s either outside of their network or maybe it’s entirely separate application, and it requires half a day to synchronize or half a day to manually enter data between the two systems, with no errors. One of the solutions that we implement is a custom-built API that can have the two systems talk to each other while also automating tasks and saving time. It allows them to have accessible data that is essentially real-time between two systems.

What’s better about that is that it also allowed us to take a look at a bigger picture. So in this case, now you have two systems talking. Where our consultants shine is how they look at it as a whole solution. Yes, you have the systems talking each other, but we want to expand it beyond that. So we would bring in someone from the Business Intelligence department. They could consolidate the reports between two systems, so from the eyes of a user, it’s just one report, rather than having to run two separate reports and then combining it manually and reconciling it. It’s another example of how some ERP partners may just tell you to talk to a reporting person or different partner. Whereas with Tigunia, we have those people in-house virtually sitting right next to us. And also, when you’re having two systems talk to each other, you want to make sure it’s secured. So all we do is pull in one of our network engineers, a security expert to make sure that that data interchanges are as secure as possible as well. So it’s a holistic view.

 

Tigunia
Yeah, wow. That’s really great. So clearly there’s a lot to consider here. What would you say your go-to resources are to remain up to date on the latest information and tactics in your field?


Kris Ruyeras
That a great question. There are multiple avenues I utilize. Primarily, we have quite a few colleagues here at Tigunia that are very active in the community. We share knowledge internally. We also stay involved in Microsoft events, Microsoft Directions, we speak to our vendors that we partner with, and we do internal classes as well. So not only one person has a piece of knowledge. We’re able to share that knowledge within the Tigunia family so we all stay as educated as possible. We also encourage our team members to take the time to take classes and to get certified in applicable areas.

 

Tigunia
That fantastic. So in a similar vein, how do you create motivation for yourself and in for your team?

 

Kris Ruyeras
To be honest, I think it can be tough sometimes when you work in a remote company.

 

Tigunia
For sure.


Kris Ruyeras
I think one of the biggest things that we do internally is to utilize every possible communication tool to reach out and maintain connections to our colleagues. One of the things that we do is establish a plan to understand where they want to be in their careers, and we try to support them in that. One example of that is actually pretty recent: We have a colleague that specializes in the EDI and we wanted to discuss a plan or a direction that allows him to do more and to do better. And that person was talking about how they know EDI but they wanted to learn how to build or create reports. So, we established a plan that allowed him to partner up with one of internal experts on reporting and created a training module that allowed him to learn how to build reports. We make it a point to support the goals and aspirations of our colleagues.

 

Tigunia
I think that’s a great way to motivate people. As I’ve discussed with other colleagues for Inside Tigunia, the ability to learn and grow is important to all of us.

 

Kris Ruyeras
Yeah, education is definitely important. Again, it goes back to our drive to make education accessible. We have a ton of resources that have been in the industry and are considered experts in the industry in mastery of their skills and we encourage that open communication. If you want to learn something, we encourage it. We leave open that discussion so we can plan something out. It allows them to build their skills to the next level. At the end of the day, it not only benefits Tigunia, but it also benefits our customers.

 

Tigunia
Absolutely. One more question before we move into a few personal questions. Could you give us a high-level overview of the evolution of BC, where it came from, where it is now and what you think the future looks like?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Yeah, definitely. At the beginning, BC was very closed ERP solution, at least from my perspective. I used to work for an ex-colleague and a good friend. And he was in the world of ERP and we worked together on an integration with Dynamics NAV. What was interesting to me – he said that Dynamics NAV felt like it was built as a legacy in non-conformance, including in their programming language. It was an eye opener because I was like, “He’s right.” And to be able to see where Microsoft is now, using a real programming language. It opens a lot of doors for many companies and is very competitive in the app world.

So, there’s certainly a lot of options out there and I think there’s and I think you’re going to start seeing a lot more small businesses that focus on just that, on putting out apps in App Source and I think what makes it more important now versus in the past is to really establish good partnerships. That where you going to shine and be able to properly provide consulting, properly provide education because you can put out an app, but you may not know the full functionality of it.

 

Tigunia
Okay, that’s some informative insight. Moving into something a little bit more lighthearted, what is your favorite book and your favorite movie, and why are they your favorite?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Ah well, there’s a few books in the self-help arena that I really like, but I suppose I wouldn’t consider any of as favorites. A book that I really enjoyed was The Davinci Code by Dan Brown.

 

Tigunia
I love that book.

 

Kris Ruyeras
And I think that was sort of like the first book where I just could not stop turning the page.

 

Tigunia
Definitely.

 

Kris Ruyeras
Unfortunately they didn’t do it justice in the movie. It just wasn’t the same. But I did enjoy the book. I couldn’t put it down.

 

Tigunia
So are you one of those people that that thinks the movie wasn’t good at all, or just wasn’t as good as the book?

 

Kris Ruyeras
It wasn’t as good as the book.

 

Tigunia
Yeah, I would agree it wasn’t as good as the book, but I still really liked the movie.

 

Kris Ruyeras
Yeah, the movie is still watchable. I think where the difference is that when you read a book like this, you can actually stop and think as you’re turning pages. I grew up in a religious family and so being able to pause and go, “That is so weird. I never thought about that.” That was fascinating to me. But I do enjoy books around stories. David Goggins is a great author. Other books that I enjoy are more scientific, like books on quantum physics, which a lot of people don’t like to read. For movies, there’s quite a few movies I enjoy. Probably this is a cop out answer, but some of my favorites are the Marvel movies – I grew up with comic books.

 

Tigunia
Who’s your favorite Spiderman?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Ah, my favorite Spiderman. That’s a great question. I’d have to say it was Tobey Maguire.  I think the way he had presented who Spiderman was and the struggles of a superhero. It really provided a great idea of who he was on the big screen compared to the new ones.

 

Tigunia
Yeah, that’s the only correct answer. So what is your life motto?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Ah, it’s a good one. My sister actually reminded me of my life’s motto not too long ago. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” I’ve always been carrying myself like that. You can always hope that things will be okay and that things will get better. But at the same time, you always have to kind of prepare for anything. And it always worked out for me. I mean, I grew up in a very unsafe neighborhood. So I hoped that one day I could move, but I also had plan to make sure that I would not continue to live in the worst area. I had to prepare for the reality I wanted, which was to move, but also prepare for the circumstances that left me in that neighborhood. So I just continue to hope that the best happens but I also show up and hard work to make it so.

 

Tigunia
What is the most significant event of your life?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Well, my kids being born was a pretty significant event. Without going too dark, a significant event was when my son was going through a major surgery. I hated everyone in the world for that because it all felt unfair. You know, you do good, you’re a good person, but you still get thrown into a situation where you just have no control. And as a parent, I had no control. I felt helpless because I’m a person that has been able to plan everything. Dealing with that powerlessness, that was significant. It was a significant event in my life.

 

Tigunia
Alright, well this is this is the final question. What do you do to make life count?

 

Kris Ruyeras
Ah, another great question. One of the things my family does for me is they drive me to be a better person. My kids certainly drive me to be a better person, better dad, better friend, and a better example in their lives. My wife also makes my life count. I wake up at each day and it’s for them. Besides my family, having good friends, not based on quantity but quality friends, also makes life count. Even internally here at Tigunia, they all allow me to do better or do good for them. I’m grounded by people that care about me. Knowing that, I want to be able to do the same thing for them, whatever that may mean.

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