We speak to Tako Chak, Integration Architect at Rojo Consultancy. Based in Southern China, Tako makes the most of Rojo’s remote working policy. Back in the Netherlands for a brief stint, Tako finds time to talk to us about how he found himself in the world of integration.
Hi Tako, welcome back to the Netherlands! Can you tell us where it all began in integration for you?
I was born in Curacao, in the Dutch Antilles, and grew up there with my parents who owned a restaurant. When I was 18 I moved to the Netherlands to pursue a university degree at Eindhoven in Computer Science, and after that I stayed to develop a career.
I began in the world of IT as an administrator at an energy company. After that, I joined the SAP Academy working in development. That lead to a 10-year career within the organisation, specialising in the integration sector. Now, I’m working for Rojo Consultancy as a SAP Integration Architect, based in Southern China.
Did you know from your studies that integration was something that you wanted to go into, or was it more a process of discovery?
It was more of a discovery. When I joined SAP it was all about developing. We had to learn the basics, and from there specialise in a specific industry. I initially chose MDM – Master Data Management, and eventually switched to integration. I began following courses for Process Integration and worked on a project in Luxemburg for six months, then I was placed in the Netherlands.
How did you find yourself relocating to China but working for a Dutch company?
My husband got positioned in China with his work and so I was looking to relocate from the Netherlands. I faced some difficulty trying to make the move to SAP China so I decided to find a new challenge.
I met Roberto and John during a project that we were all working on around ten years ago and we kept in touch over the years. Rojo offered me the opportunity to work for them remotely in China, on projects in the Netherlands. It’s cool, it’s funny, it’s at times challenging due to the time difference, but it completely works.
What is it about integration that you like so much?
What I like about being an integration architect is that you don’t have to be industry specific: It’s very broad, so you will touch base on a lot of applications and systems. Integration is exchanging messages and things that you want to communicate with the system, and when it’s a success, you have that “aha!” moment. It’s so versatile; you can integrate with SAP and non-SAP landscape systems; the scope is huge.
It seems to be a creative specialisation within IT, would you agree with that?
Yes! As soon as you know the processes involved in an application, you can build the connection between them to get them working in synergy. I have also travelled a lot these past three years for integration projects; from Brazil, to Korea and Argentina. It’s extremely versatile work.
What are your thoughts about the future of integration and yourself within it?
SAP is developing a lot of new technologies and exciting products. I would like to get more in touch with those landscapes and expand my integration knowledge even further. Rojo is very technology minded and always aims to be the first to know, so in that sense it’s a very innovative, fast moving company.
They really encourage “lifelong learning” and professional development, as well as knowledge sharing during their R&D presentations and pizza sessions with the team, which is refreshing to be part of. Rojo is a very flexible company. It gives you enough opportunity to be yourself and to develop your skills, work remotely when you need. That is something that I appreciate a lot. I haven’t experienced a company that gives you that amount of freedom and trust, where you can work on your projects in way that is suited to you and your life.