We speak to Team Manager of one of Achmea’s central IT departments, Nico Heijnen, about the thrills and challenges of the integration landscape in a big organisation.
Hi Nico, can you tell us a bit about what you do?
My background is originally in statistics, then I moved into programming, tool support and management. I started at Centraal Beheer around 30 years ago – and I never left!
I’ve seen a lot of interesting changes over the years within the company. An integral part of any company’s development and growth is always IT infrastructural changes – and I’ve been there for it all!
What are some of the most notable projects you have worked on?
At the moment our department of around twenty people works on more than twenty different projects. From the small to the large. We have many departments that are migrating from legacy to target architecture and to cloud. So, it’s very diverse work where no two projects, or days, are the same.
When we started with SAP we hired Rojo Consultancy as the SAP Integration experts to work with us on developing these projects. The Rojo team really are specialists. We learn a lot from their courses and strategic and practical guidance.
How do you spot a good Integration Specialist?
In my department, we like out of the box thinkers. People who really understand how something works, and how they can make it work even better.
What advice would you give others interested in training to become an integration architect?
A lot of people don’t realize how interesting integration can be, but as soon as people experience working on integration projects they enjoy the diversity of it. Because it’s so broad, it’s very flexible, and quite creative in that sense. I encourage young people to go into integration to get to know the landscape and its possibilities.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I’m a builder. I couldn’t manage a department doing non-build activities. I enjoy developing new things. We’re interested in Internet of Things development, API management, mobility – so we’re not only dedicated to integration and SOAP, rather, a much broader landscape. Part of our collaboration with Rojo Consultancy is also about being more innovative and open to new ideas.