After twelve years serving as a Professional Military in the Dutch Army, Richard took a sharp career turn. To date, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. Richard tells us about projects he’s worked on, and gives his advise to others aiming to enter the integration landscape.
Hi Richard, can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
I’m an independent working Integration specialist with a technical background, who’s now more focused on project management. The last project I managed was with 45 developers, which is big within this industry. The challenges of managing such a large team lay in the span of control.
Often when you’re managing projects for big organisations, internal structural changes occur; which means the reforming of departments, the shuffling of positions, and the merging of processes. My role is often integral in redesigning the IT infrastructure during such changes.
What are some of the most interesting projects you have worked on?
Well, I’ve been working for more than 12 years in the integration environment, and that for me is the most attractive environment within IT. The number of tools and options available to you, enables you to create an informational web within an organisation. This kind of technology is growing and growing across organisations.
I’ve worked in all sorts of industries and different sized organisations, from government to utilities, insurance to the police and Ministry of Defense. I served in the Dutch Army for twelve years before I before I retrained in IT! So, it’s fair to say I have a lot of experience spanning a broad spectrum. But it gave me a strong background; I’m a professional leader, who executes projects always to the best of my ability.
You’ve worked with Rojo on projects in the past, can you tell us about those?
Roberto Viana (Integration Solution Architect, Rojo Consultancy) and I met several years ago on a project with a major utilities company. We were more than business associates, and quickly we built a very good rapport. I identified him as a very talented technical analyst, who understood the organisation thoroughly, and the cause of their challenges. Roberto could identify what it was we needed to achieve to find the best possible solution for the company to grow.
Our challenge was to rebuild everything from scratch, while making sure all the data and the systems were secure and intact, ready to be deployed in that new environment. I was already busy with the plan for the new landscape and Oracle integration, but we needed SAP integration knowledge specialist in our team. That’s when Roberto entered. There was a lot of designing, advising, handbook writing… for such a big project, there’s a lot involved.
How was your experience of working with Rojo?
I’m very enthusiastic about working with the Rojo team, they are calm, yet sharp individuals that know how to get the job done. The consultants have the unique ability of identifying the essence of the problem, and establishing clear solutions that are executed through expertly developed strategies. Their creativity provides their clients with more options and viable integration solutions that they can use.
The goal of a good consultant is not just finding a solution to fit the problem, but discover what is really the best for the longevity and adaptability of the company, the performance of the platform, the implementation of the environment, how to build your interfacing, and bringing forward these suggestions and advise accordingly. I share the principle with Rojo that it’s not just about building and delivering, but it’s about thinking forward.
What are some of the differences you notice within the industry?
Integration is a very specialised area that takes a certain level of expertise to understand and perform. A lot of large organisations are based on the mindset, ‘cover as much ground as possible’, but this creates generalists. Smaller organisations can truly specialise, which heightens the quality of service, and in turn makes them more dynamic, agile and creative entities. Placing them at a huge advantage.
What advice would you give others interested in training to become an integration architect?
When you focus on what you really want, everything is possible. There’s a Dutch saying, no matter how many bears are on the road, always focus on the horizon. It’s all about changing your mindset. Whether in the work that you do or what you want to achieve in life.
What is it that you love about what you do?
It’s the feedback that you get from your client. When you implement and execute projects well to the needs of the client, it gives you energy. The passion that you give determines the long term relationships you create. In the end it’s all up to you.
Great, thanks Richard.
You can find out more about Richard’s work by connecting with him on LinkedIn.