Driven by customer wishes instead of technology
Last year Björn Timmer made the switch to Quality and made the step from Network Consultant to Solution Architect. Björn himself talks about the what and why of these career choices.
“I have been working in IT for many years and started at the bottom of the ladder. At one point I was working at a large IT secondment agency where I was constantly working on new assignments. I liked that aspect of the work, but the focus was mainly on working hours. Quality, on the other hand, uses a project-based, customer-oriented approach. That's why I wanted to work at Quality.”
That's why Quality
This relatively small company pays attention to a personal approach. Here we look for solutions that suit the business of the customer, and not so much a solution driven by technology. In addition, we work here as a team on a project. This project-based approach ensures that we can unburden customers from A to Z, from architecture to management. That gives so much more satisfaction than just running assignments and writing hours.
I wanted to make the step to Solution Architect because then I can fully spar with customers and take them on a journey through their future IT landscape. But before we get there, there are still a lot of steps to take. It starts with an inventory of the customer's wishes. Not so much in the technical field, but especially the mission and vision that the company pursues. After all, IT has to connect to that. I think that's a nice challenge.
The only special thing is that a customer does not always know what his wishes are exactly. An example: 'We want a new infrastructure, and it must be safe.' But what does safe mean to you? You can imagine that this looks different at an average SME than at the central government, for example. And what budgets is someone willing to allocate for this security? That's what we're talking about. As soon as the wishes are clear, I make a plan of action in which the scope of the project is described: a schedule, required resources and an estimate of the costs.
Does the customer agree? Then I dive into the documentation provided and I contact the necessary stakeholders, from management-to-management organization. I hold themed interviews with them. Based on questionnaires, I try to get a good picture of what the need is in the short term, but also in the longer term. Only then do I start writing the architecture. My colleagues and I process the architecture in various design documents. The nice thing is that I can often surprise clients with innovative ways of thinking and simpler solutions than the complex structures and expensive techniques they had in mind. That is an important added value that we offer at Quality.
Unburdening as a team
I enjoy it. Finding solutions for data centers, service provider networks and guiding customers in their transition to the cloud is what gives me the most satisfaction. It is an interesting challenge to align these with the long-term vision of organizations. And specially to unburden them as a team. The fact that we are always asked to take on additional projects after a project has been completed indicates that we are doing well and that gives us a sense of satisfaction.”