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'It's a matter of always trying to strike the right balance. Just like with DJing.'

Christiaan loves hamburgers, music and DJing. That is what drives him and truly makes him happy. But how do these drivers actually come up in his work? And what has kept him at Capgemini for over 11 years now? In this blog, Christiaan tells us all about it.

More than 11 years already! How did your career at Capgemini begin?

“I didn’t start off at Capgemini directly, but at another IT firm. That company was sold to Capgemini and I went along with it. It was a big culture shift, but mostly in a positive sense. I enjoy getting new things started, and then once a project is up and running I move on to the next one. I guess it’s a bit like the attention span of a fruit fly, haha! I couldn’t really do that at the company I was working for, but my approach fits right in at Capgemini.”

From what I understand, you've done quite a lot within Capgemini, right?

“That’s right! I started as a business intelligence consultant within the financial sector, then spent two years running projects as a business analyst / solution architect within health care. That was such an amazing experience, especially because of the social significance of what we were doing. Fast forward a few positions, and now I’m working in the Custom Software Development (CSD) department: our customization department where I serve as senior managing consultant and portfolio lead. I’m also part of Capgemini’s CTO network.”

What exactly does a portfolio lead do?

“Within CSD, we work with a range of methods and techniques relating to services that we provide. Examples include Java, Mendix, Outsystems, Blockchain, VR, AR and Artificial Intelligence. As portfolio lead, I act as the link between the department and the client. Part of my job is to look at the possibilities of the various techniques and analyze the market. I then team up with sales colleagues to see how this can be applied among our clients and what the added value is for them. We compile all of this information and place it in a more comprehensive and balanced portfolio so that we’re not just focusing on the fun stuff, but also the things that make money.”

Which of your projects from the past few years stands out head and shoulders above the rest?

“Setting up the Mendix team. At the time, Capgemini wanted to start working with Mendix and I was asked to set this up with a few colleagues. We started out as a team of four and have now grown into a club of over 55 colleagues in the Netherlands, 30 in India, 10 in the US and 7 in the UK. We branched out in every direction, essentially. It was a really incredible achievement and such a boost for my career. I was given complete trust and the freedom to approach the project in my own way. This also allowed me to utilize all my skills to their fullest potential.”

That sounds really exciting! Are there also less enjoyable aspects to your work?

“Absolutely. I hate administration! Keeping track of hours and all that. It’s really not my thing. On that note, I’m very excited about automation and I think that we can definitely make some great strides in that area internally at Capgemini.”

Which moment in your career do you look back on with pride, and why?

“The culture change we implemented with the management team within CSD. I feel really proud when I look back on that. At a certain point all of us at CSD had become a bit isolated and disconnected from each other. That had to change, so we as the management team developed a concrete plan. Everyone had lots of positive stories to share during a recap meeting, but I myself was very critical. In my mind our plan had actually failed. In hindsight I realized – mostly thanks to the team – that instead of only looking at the numbers, I should have observed what was happening around me as well. Over the course of a year, more and more people started coming to the departmental meetings. Colleagues were interacting with each other again and there was a great atmosphere at the office. You can’t see these things in hard data. In the end, I learned a tough but valuable lesson about what we had really achieved. The experience also taught me a lot!”

With the skills you have at this point, you could work at any number of companies. What keeps you here at Capgemini?

“Mainly the human aspect. I believe that every person has the right to be who they are in all their glory. No matter who you are, no matter what your abilities may be. I see a lot of attention devoted to that at Capgemini. We are given the freedom and space to approach things in our own way here, and we are genuinely encouraged to explore. I also come to work dressed in a simple T-shirt, just because I feel so comfortable.”

“Capgemini’s founder always said that IT isn’t about the technology and methods, it’s always about people: the clients, end-users and developers. You really see that at Capgemini.”

How is your work-life balance?

“I honestly have no idea. I’ve completely let go of that concept. When you’re doing work that you think is awesome, then it doesn’t really matter. I have three young children at home whom I take to school every morning and eat dinner with every night. That was what we agreed and it’s also something I really hold myself to. In fact, my working day is fully structured around this routine.”

Are you able to coordinate that with clients?

“Yes, definitely. I often let them know about my situation upfront, and everyone is actually very accepting. Ultimately, it’s about getting the job done and delivering what was agreed upon. You have to be flexible, too. For instance, an urgent request or emergency could always come up in the middle of my day off to be with the kids. In that case I’ll make a quick call or get out my laptop in the evening. It’s a matter of always trying to strike the right balance. Just like with DJing.”

Finally, the big question: Why should someone choose Capgemini?

“I think that if you choose Capgemini, you’re actually choosing yourself. You can be yourself here and you are truly given the freedom to do new things. We have fantastic educational programs at Capgemini and you can even give training courses yourself. We also work for so many great clients, which allows you to take a peek behind the scenes in numerous different places. That’s why I say: when you choose Capgemini, you choose yourself.”

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