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This week meet Falk Fischer who joined VMware five months ago as a Consulting Architect for Automation. Falk is a remote employee based in Tyrol, Austria. He works with VMware Customers and Partners in Central EMEA. Read on to get to know Falk and find out what his role as Consulting Architect entails.

When friends or family ask me about my job, here is how I explain it:

My goal is to get key people around the table to discuss the possibilities of how to integrate their (mostly isolated) domains into an automation platform. These people are Service & Product Owners, Operations & Development people as well as Managers. All of them have different mindsets and goals, my job is to address each of their goals and help to find the best solution. It’s an iterative process in most cases. We start with identifying overlaps, which fit into minimal automation requirements and guide the customer to develop a more valuable solution in upcoming releases. I’m part of an incredible team, of Project Managers, Consultants, Software Architects, Software Developers, and many more who help me with achieving the best solutions for our customers.

As a Consulting Architect in VMware, you are part of the customer-facing team (together with other Consultants and Project Managers). We are scheduled to be on-site with customers from Tuesday to Thursday every week, which is great because there is no need to travel on Sunday or Monday.

When on-site, the customer often assigns us a dedicated office. This office quickly becomes a “micro-universe.” Much like an office in a busy startup, the focus is on the use of agile methodologies and the walls are usually covered in post-its and flipcharts. When I and the team arrive on-site with the customer, the first task is always to re-organize the post-its to provide full transparency for the team and the customer as well. We also attend the daily standup meetings, which are scheduled by the customer, these meetings keep us well informed about customers’ environment and requests. One of the main activities as a Consulting Architect is to gather as much information from the customer as possible. We do this mostly through on-site workshops and in rare cases, by using collaboration tools. During these sessions, we need to address the success factors of a process. Sometimes it’s required to start a discussion about the “WHY” first. That’s sometimes tricky and not easy to identify. Many workshops are necessary to identify and understand the background of existing design decisions.

It’s not only collecting information about the status quo. The most fun part for me is providing the customer with a new view into systems and processes that haven’t changed for years. In these moments, you are much more than an Architect for VMware solutions. You’re guiding the customer to build something completely new – like a new operating model, services offerings, or new processes. In these situations, you advise the customer in a complex change in culture and mindset. When all required information has been gathered and the process is confirmed, you need to write it down as a use-case for our software engineering team. Documenting the use-cases takes place on the two days where I work from my home office. A use-case is written from a problem or value-oriented perspective. The Software Architect will transform it into a solution-oriented document afterward, which is the basis for our Developers. There is a close partnership between the Software Architect and the Consulting Architect. We are in constant contact to ensure that we are on the same page and speak the “same language”. Our communication is oftentimes over collaboration tools due to our geographic distance.

When the software has been delivered, the Consultant will install it and brings it to life. This is an exciting moment because you can verify if all the conceptional architecture works as designed.

Spoiler: It always works! – Due to the support of a powerful and smart team.

 

 

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