Building a cloud for a challenging organization
Try and think of a few organizations that are really ambitious about their transition to the Cloud. Was Jumbo one of them? Probably not. But you may be surprised at just how far our Cloud-related ambitions go. In 2022 a major IT magazine mentioned us specifically as a leader in the deployment of Cloud infrastructure and technology. And for a good reason.
Like a start-up
At Jumbo Tech Campus, the Cloud is becoming more and more important. Especially for a fast-growing organization like Jumbo, the benefits add up quickly. To make sure we make the best use of all advantages and possibilities, a team of no less than 6 cloud architects help their colleagues to get the most out of Cloud providers, platforms, and services. Each team member has his or her own specialism.
One of them is senior Cloud architect Jos Brekelmans. When asked to what company we could compare Jumbo’s Cloud strategy to, the only examples he can think of are startups and companies dealing with big data. Jos: “They are the only ones follow up on their plans with the same speed, effort and dedication as we do.”
Goodbee to traditional delays
Using Cloud instead of on-premise infrastructure saves time, even….before we get to actually to build something”, according to Jos. “Because when we use prebuilt services or components, we don’t have to go through procurement processes, like we need to do when we build and maintain our own infrastructure.”
“In addition to that, you no longer need to build everything yourself. Even if you have specific demands, the basic elements you require, probably already exist. Jos firmly believes that you shouldn’t build what has already been built better by someone else. “There’s so many services, programs and other elements for our IT infrastructure that were created by third parties. They help us to deploy and scale up quickly. It really helps us save valuable time and resources.”
An organization as extensive and complex as Jumbo has very specific demands when it comes to platforms. Jos: “That’s why we recently started switching to new suppliers for our Amazon and Azure Cloud needs. We have different suppliers for our enterprise IT, for our Cloud, Workplace and our Service Desk.”. Using the cloud doesn’t mean you can self-service or become completely independent. Jos: “We looked for suppliers from which we could adapt their standard Cloud services and Cloud best practices on top of our Public Clouds, so we can speed up our transition to the cloud even more.”
Jos and his team were very involved in the process of finding new partners and still are in making sure there’s a ‘soft landing’ on the new suppliers’ platforms.
A proper architect
What Jos loves about his job is that it’s all about architecture. “It’s like being the director instead of an actor.” As he says. “I spend more than 90% of my time working on cloud architecture. And that’s very fulfilling. It gives you the freedom and time to get the best results. And it’s probably one of the reasons Jumbo really is a front runner in Cloud adoption; we take it very seriously.”
The unlikely job
Jos’ path to his current position at Jumbo was a colorful one. He started out as a developer, switched to Oracle as a project manager, but found more joy in a technical role. In 1996 he had his first taste of SaaS and Cloud technology when he helped building a Video On Demand service in the UK. As a trial, investigating the future, 800 households were hooked up to a service by British Telecom he helped to develop. After that he focused on IaaS, but he always chose to remain a consultant. Jos: “I was afraid I would get bored if I stayed at a single company for too long.” But then Jumbo came along. And his perspective changed. Jos: “I Signed up and I haven’t had a minute of boredom. There’s so much to do and as an organization Jumbo has so many different departments, services, and, most importantly: plans. I still love my job and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”
An architect’s skills and competencies
To be a Cloud architect at Jumbo Tech & Data you obviously need to be qualified and skilled. But, even more important, you also need to fit into a very special type of organization. Jos: “The organization doesn’t feel as a hierarchy to speak of at Jumbo Tech & Data. We work as a team, make mistakes as a team and we fix them as a team. Because when you pioneer like we do, stuff breaks. So, we adjust, learn from our mistakes, and move on. Together, as a very diverse team. There are people from all over the world here. People with skills and ambitions that want to learn and grow. It’s great to see and to be a part of.”
As for competencies: “You need to be able to find your own way and be persuasive so you can sell your ideas to the stakeholders. People will need to trust you to come up with the best solution. And creativity helps. If you come up with an idea, you will very likely get the green light to go and do it. If you see a problem; fix it. There’s still a lot to do, but we will keep our current pace and we will not dwell on small issues for too long.”
Why not? Well, to answer that Jos likes to quote Sir Winston Churchill: “Perfection is the enemy of progress”.