Sitting down with Rob Akershoek (DevOps / IT4IT Architect) after the recent Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Summit

By Ash Patel – Marketing Specialist, The Open Group

After the recent Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Summit (Hybrid Event), we reached out to Rob Akershoek (DevOps / IT4IT Architect) to tell us more about what he does, advice he may have for those interested in a career involving IT Management, and much more. Thank you again to Rob for his time. Please see the full interview below:

What does a typical day look like for you?

On a typical day, I work for multiple customers/organizations, where I am involved in the architecture, design, and implementation of a new digital operating model, optimizing end-to-end value streams, and improving the end-to-end DevOps/IT4IT tool chain combined with new ways of working.

So typically, different meetings/sessions and interviews with various stakeholders within organizations, covering:

  • Assessing current state of managing the IT services / products
  • Creating a target IT4IT / DevOps Architecture / Blueprint
  • Define high level roadmaps/ blueprints
  • Design and implement end-to-end value streams, IT processes and tools

I work with executive/IT managers, CxOs, and Architects

The majority of my day involves engaging with various stakeholders, participating in design workshops, advise, and creating target state blueprints.

I also work on the development of the IT4IT Standard within The Open Group.

Do you have a highlight of your week you would like to share?

Recently, one of the highlights of my week was a trip I took to London. As I was invited to do a presentation at the SITS22 event in London. It was great again to be at a large-scale live event at the London ExCel conference center.

What is your most-used productivity shortcut?

For me, this would involve the use of checklists and reference models (e.g. the IT4IT Reference Architecture). I would also suggest not starting with an empty page, but starting with a reference model instead. I use this method to visualize the current state, identify gaps/issues, and co-create with various stakeholders the target state. This really accelerates the entire transformation journey. Also, I find looking at the bigger picture first, before zooming in and trying to work out specific details proves very useful for me as far as productivity goes.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self before starting in your role?

One piece of advice I would give to my younger self before starting in my role would be……sometimes (or often) I talk too much. So my advice would be to myself: take more time to listen to people – understand their agenda.

What is the most common question you are asked at events or a particular topic you are encouraged to explore and talk about?

The most common question I get asked includes: “how do I transform my IT organization to a modern and automated digital organization? What is needed and where to start?”

What do you like most about The Open Group events?

What I like most about The Open Group events is the focus on face-to-face interactions, having discussions with many different people, to meeting new people with similar challenges and ideas.

What did you like most about the April Quarterly, London Hybrid event?

I really enjoyed seeing all those familiar faces again, meeting some new people, and really learning from actual conversations. I was also humbled to win the President’s Award for ‘Most Valuable Contributor Award for an Individual’.

What advice would you give to recent graduates who may be interested in a career involving IT management?

First off, it is important to note that IT management is a complex area, with many opportunities and challenges, and a lot of changes (e.g. DevOps, cloud, continuous delivery, risk, and compliance, AI/ML etc.).The advice I would give here is to try to link what you are doing to business outcome and purpose.

Purpose being the key word here, further involving connecting your work to the purpose of the organization. Try to connect things together, understanding the end-to-end system / value streams – don’t try to optimize individual processes/capabilities.

Ash Patel, Marketing Specialist, joined The Open Group in 2020, initially working in the Certification Team as a Certification Services Agent, before moving into the Marketing Team where he now works on digital communications, content for the staff intranet (O-Zone), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and analytics. Ash holds a First-Class Bachelor’s Degree in Media Production (BA hons) from Coventry University and has a background in content writing, copy writing, script writing, photo editing, and video editing. He is based in the UK.