Case Study: Mondavi refines TeamTrack for SOX compliance
- By Kathleen Ohlson
Nestled in the lush, green landscape of wine country, Robert Mondavi’s IT
staffers were refining its ERP system when the dark cloud of Sarbanes-Oxley appeared.
The winery initially implemented Serena Software’s TeamTrack management
software in 2002 for its business applications group, adding change controls
and issue management. “There were a zillion projects going on, particularly
on the ERP side,” says Brian Shelden, Mondavi’s director of IT.
Data was stored in different places, including e-mail and Excel spreadsheets,
so “at the time, we just wanted to keep track of things,” he recalls.
In addition, when users requested changes to reports, work orders and other
material on its J.D. Edwards’ EnterpriseOne system, the IT staff manually
Shelden and his team targeted TeamTrack for 100 customers in business departments,
including finance and distribution, so they would be more involved in the change
control process. But these plans all changed.
“We were getting ready to put [TeamTrack] into Round 2, then the auditors
showed up, and Sarbanes-Oxley got into high gear,” Shelden recalls. Mondavi
looked at open-source type tools to gear up for SOX, but nixed them because
they lacked support, according to Shelden.
Extending TeamTrack, which runs on Windows 2000 on a Compaq DL380 server, to
its business customers was successful, but growing pains cropped up when it
came time to abide by SOX.
A stumbling block included defining business processes through the eyes of
the auditors. For example, differences arose around service-level agreements
between the winery’s IT staff and auditors. “In an organization
as small as ours [did SLAs] logistically make sense?” he says. The next
question became defining what action to take when submissions were made, relying
on the system to identify what warranted an immediate response. Alerts are sent
out if a submission, say a broken printer, isn’t fixed in a designated
time. Any issue that occurred to Mondavi family members rated a high priority.
The changes Mondavi made through Sarbanes-Oxley turned out to be good practices
the company needed to adopt regardless. “Eighty-five percent of the time
they make sense, and the other 15 percent of the time, it’s nonsense,”
Shelden says. “You take the good with bad.”
TeamTrack assisted Mondavi in coming up with a better-defined pricing change
control. Over the years, the pricing process was “very manual, a hallway-conversation
style,” according to Shelden. The problem is pricing in the wine industry
is a “pretty crazy thing,” as each state has different prices for
such factors as reserves and years.
“The tool…made a given process more livable; there’s 55 prices
for any given wine,” Shelden says. TeamTrack manages exceptions, so Mondavi’s
policy pricing for each market follows a formula. If a pricing change is made,
it’s routed to the brand finance person, who approves it, then several
people are notified via e-mail, and the pricing administration group keys the
price change in and closes out the ticket.
The winery recently implemented TeamTrack on its help desk, giving access to
Mondavi’s internal users who can track problems and verify if they were
TeamTrack’s audit history set aside any concerns Shelden and his team
had with SOX compliance, providing proof that Mondavi’s policies are followed.
“I have a high degree of confidence. If Brian Shelden approved this on
this date, then it really did [happen],” he says.
Shelden will get another crack at implementing TeamTrack since Mondavi was
recently bought by Constellation Brands, a producer of beverage alcohol brands.
He says tackling SOX was a “pretty daunting task,” though the key
is defining processes and rules.
“You have a tremendous business if you have good process and policies
in place,” Shelden says. “The policies are for the users, for the
business. If you don’t meet them, you’ve failed.”
Back to feature: Tools
to Master the Sarbanes-Oxley Challenge
Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.