Integration Hero: Alex ten Harkel
Enable U consists of individual heroes. Some work with customers, others send...
But the Enable U machine works so efficiently because of our many integration heroes. This series of integration heroes is intended to honor those individuals.
Marc, tell us about your first contact with Enable U and what made you decide you wanted to join our company?
“Well, my first job interview didn’t really feel job interview, it felt like a group chat with Frank, (our CEO) Judith (our recruiter at the time) and the manager of the consultants. It was an unusual setting, but somehow I really felt at home. Luckily, I was dressed quite casually, but the other potential employee was wearing a suit and since it was quite warm, he didn’t feel very comfortable. Compared to a previous interview I had with another company, I felt right at home here. The ‘start-up’ feeling of the organization appealed to me and despite the fact that I didn’t really understand what Enable U was actually doing, I decided to be part of this.”
If you didn’t quite understand what kind of technology Enable U was working with,
didn’t you take a big risk?
“Because of my technical background, I assumed that this would be fine. The personal click with the team and Frank made me feel so welcome. This, combined with the fact that I was allowed to work from home a lot, ensured that I did not hesitate.”
What were your first few months like?
“In the beginning there were some introductory meetings and short training sessions. I was one of the first people to start working with Boomi and I went on customer visits with my collegues Jimmy, Maria and others to gain experience. After about 6 weeks I went 2 days a week to my first ‘own’ customer (Municipality of Leeuwarden). Because I didn’t have much experience, it was sometimes quite stressful. If things went wrong, I had to trust that my Enable U colleagues would respond quickly to my SOS calls.
It wasn’t the easiest way to become an experienced Integration Specialist, but I had a lot of confidence in my colleagues and they never let me down. My character also helped, I have a calm and analytical personality and realize all too well that no one knows everything. It’s okay to say that sometimes you need help.”
Are you still a Boomi expert or are you working on other things as well?
“I still work with Boomi, but I’ve also worked with Adeptia and the Layer7 API Gateway. I don’t really have any preferences and this also makes my work more interesting because I can work on any project.”
Would you have done anything differently, if you look back on the past 2 years?
“Pfoei… Actually, nothing. I can’t think of anything I would have done differently.”
As an experienced Enable U consultant, do you have advice for new colleagues
who have just starting working for Enable U?
“Difficult question! We have a buddy system and I like to help new Enablers. Usually it involves simple tips such as; show initiative, don’t try and solve everything by yourself, involve your colleagues, they are more than happy to help. I had no previous experience with coaching or being a buddy, but there will be a constant stream of new people coming in the coming years and the better we coach and guide them, the greater the chance that they will be up to speed quickly, and that benefits not only ourselves and our team, but also our clients.”
Have you had any bad work experience in recent years?
“I really only have positive experiences, but if I have to name one that I will never forget, it is that we lost the municipality Leeuwarden as a customer to Jnet. I remember that I and many others were quite upset about it. But you learn the most from the deals you’ve lost. It’s good to see that Leeuwarden is now back at Enable U, trhough our acquisition of JNet. I’m really looking forward to working with my new Jnet colleagues and their Open Tunnel technology.”
What’s the most positive experience you’ve had in recent years?
“If I have to choose one, it has to be Saxion where we integrated their scheduling software with Office365. I did the design, which was already quite complex because it had to take everything into account: every possible error, different types of users etc. It was a challenge, but it is a huge success and about 3,000 employees and more than 30,000 students rely on it every day.”
How do you see your future with Enable U? Very different from now?
“No, I am a very loyal employee. I know that from previous jobs I had when I was in college. However, my work has already shifted from purely technical to more customer contact at an earlier stage. I am now involved in the design while others take care of the more technical execution. But I do want to make sure I’m up to date with the latest technology and luckily I’m still doing some real technical work for Saxion to stay up-to-date. I don’t want to look too far ahead, because I quite like what I’m doing at the moment.”