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Life @ 45 Degrees: Philippe Van Bergen

Who are you?

I’m Philippe Van Bergen, 57 years old and so I’m one of Diederik’s more mature prospects. So far, I’ve worked as an independent consultant for 15 years in a wide range of sectors: financial, insurance, as well as media and government. But fifteen years ago, I decided I didn’t want to work for large organizations anymore and started on my own. I like it because being a freelancer gives me a sense of freedom. 

What is your work experience so far?

Well, Enterprise Architecture has been my primary focus so far, but I also have a keen interest in innovation and technology. Architecture tends to be more theoretical, and I wanted to keep that hands-on tech feeling. I’ve been successful in doing so in the last ten to fifteen years.

I don’t have the bandwidth to become a niche or an expert. As an Enterprise Technology Architect, you need a broad field of expertise rather than specialization. But in my previous life, I did development work, so I also have a technical background.

How did you end up at 45 Degrees?

I’ve known Cronos for a long time and partnered with them during my time at Oracle, one of my previous work experiences. And I have many former colleagues who now work here. But in the past, I’ve also worked with other organizations within De Cronos Groep, so I was quite familiar with the group. However, my contact with 45 Degrees started through Monika (our recruiter, ed.) on LinkedIn. She explained me what 45 Degrees was about and we started talking.

What convinced you?

Of Course they positively spoke to me, or else there wouldn’t be a follow-up. So it was a pleasant contact and enough to trigger my interest. After Monica I spoke with Diederik, which eventually convinced me. He offered me the role that suits me best, which is Enterprise Architecture and acting at the highest level of the organization, with a link to technology.

I know that Bluu, the cluster 45 Degrees is part of, has a Microsoft focus. However,  I’m not 100% Microsoft oriented. I have other experiences, and that’s okay here, because many clients are moving towards multi Cloud environments, and that’s what we offer. Customers choose a strategic vendor as the main solution, but there are opportunities in other Clouds too.

What stood out about 45 Degrees?

Of course The CCOE (Cloud Center of Excellence) story is a good one, but it needs to evolve. It’s definitely not outdated, but many customers already have something like that. It often comes up with clients who already have it and want to evolve further. And in that aspect, there are still many possibilities to improve. For instance with AI because that’s currently missing. So the CCOE story needs to keep up with the market. The initial Cloud adoption phase is over: now, it’s about how we optimize it. And I think how we handle data needs to find a place within the CCOE.

How do you see your role in this transformation?

Diederik looks to me to help drive exactly that aspect. I have a strong background in information and databases. It is what I worked on at Oracle, so the intersection between architecture and data is something I bring to the table.

What are your ambitions for this assignment?

The ambition I’ve always had, though I might not always achieve it, is that I want to do something where I feel I can make an impact. Also towards the client. When you start, you don’t know the client well, so you’re not sure if you can make an impact. That’s hard to assess, but I always strive for it. I only take on assignments where I have that feeling.

However, in a consultant role, you have two sides: with the client and with your employer. Here, I want to contribute to the organization itself, focusing on data and information for the CCOE.

How would you describe yourself as a colleague?

Initially, it’s about doing your homework: what is the 45 Degrees story, how does it work? It takes time, it evolves. Where are the gaps, and how do we fill them? Then, you can talk with colleagues and Diederik and work together to fill those gaps. I’m not someone who believes in banging the table to make himself noticeable. You don’t bring about positive changes that way, and that’s what I want to ensure: triggering good collaboration based on input.

You also feel here that everyone brings their own experiences to the table, and we can learn from each other. You have to create those learning moments. It used to happen automatically in the office, but after COVID, it’s more challenging, so you have to seek out those moments. And I’m here to help add my part of the puzzle.

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