Making life easy on our customers, that’s the mission of the TrustBuilder consultants. They configure and implement software so that it meets security requirements and enhances the user experience. We interviewed one of our consultants, Ruben Van Luchene, to find out exactly how he helps our customers and how he works with them while still staying in touch with his TrustBuilder colleagues.
When does your day start and what does it look like?
Ruben: I usually open my mailbox at 8.30am and check urgent messages. What happens next depends on the central planning: what customer I work on and what the customer project is. Most of my time is translating the security requirements into the technical implementation of TrustBuilder software, configuring our products to suit the relevant use cases.
Another part of the job is making documentation and architecture documents. And, of course, there are meetings to attend and discussions with the customer. For one of the projects that I am currently working on, all flowcharts were discussed and made beforehand. Writing out those flowcharts took several days.
Adding value for the customer
How would you describe that you add value for a customer?
Ruben: We enable our clients to offer digital services to their end customers. We ensure that those end customers can log on securely to different applications and using their authentication method of choice. That way we try to optimize the user experience. We bring value to the customer by integrating this securely and flexibly with different policies for different purposes, in a standardized manner, and with a short time to market.
In one day, do you work for one customer? Or several? And which do you like best?
Ruben: That depends on the size of the projects. I am now working on a fairly big project, so that means I work full time on this one project. In other periods, I’m assigned to three or more smaller projects. This means in one single day I may switch from one project to another. First, I work two hours for one customer, then I switch to the next customer for two hours. And so on. Personally, I prefer working full time on one project. You’re in the flow of that specific project, which is much more efficient. It’s also better for the quality of the work.
Do you work in the customer’s offices?
Ruben: When you start working on a new customer, it’s good to work at the premises of the customer, to get to know the company, the customer’s project managers, etc. That’s also best in order to build trust with the customer. I actually prefer to work in the TrustBuilder office, close to my colleagues. That makes it so much easier to ask questions to the developers or share ideas with other consultants. Working in the TrustBuilder office is also good to keep up to speed with anything happening inside the company. With COVID-19, we all work from home most of the time. I keep in touch with the colleagues through Slack, while we usually meet with customers over Teams.
Night shifts and weekend shifts
Do you have fixed working hours?
Ruben: Most of the time, I work fixed hours, but regularly I am asked to work in the evening or in the weekend. With some customers we have a change window on a specific evening, for instance on Thursdays. We also work for a lot of banks and then the change window is when we know no one is going to authenticate payments.
What is the weirdest thing that has ever been asked by a customer?
Ruben: When I was working on a project in Romania, they asked me if I could work through the night, to meet the deadline of the project. The entire team, including the customer team and external consultants had a white night, and by morning we’d finished.
IAM and Michelangelo
What was your nicest experience?
Ruben: The nicest and most special experience was working at Vatican City. They gave me a guided tour and I saw places that you don’t get to visit at the Vatican as a tourist. Beautiful halls with Michelangelo murals. And from the balcony, I had a great view over St. Peter’s Square. The project itself was fairly standard, but the surroundings were extraordinary. I was there several times, for a week or for two weeks at a time. My girlfriend flew over to spend the weekend in Rome, which made this project extra nice.
What do you consider the most important qualities of a consultant?
Ruben: Flexibility. Prioritizing. As a consultant you get a lot of questions and requests from different customers. Each time you have to evaluate what is important to a customer. I have no problems with flexibility, so long as everyone knows that flexibility is a two-way street. At TrustBuilder you really have that balance between giving flexibility and getting flexibility in return. I quite like it to decide on my own agenda.
How did you actually end up in our niche of IAM?
Ruben: As a teenager, I was always playing PC games, mainly Red Alert and Counter-Strike. I was intrigued by how PCs worked, what you could do to make your PC more powerful and reduce latency. That’s why I decided to study IT. When a recruiter approached me for TrustBuilder, I liked the type of projects and challenges that I would be working on. And that’s why I am still here, seven years on.
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