Name: Kasper Dissel
Place of residence: Wageningen
Background: After completing his Bachelor of Arts at the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Kasper worked as an IT Project Manager and E-commerce Consultant at various IT companies. For nearly two years, Kasper has been working with a lot of pleasure at Tinx-IT as an Integration Consultant.
What does it mean to be an Integration Consultant at Tinx-IT? Well, in short, they implement our Tinx E-commerce connector in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for various customers and projects. But how does the Consultant himself experience this? Our colleague Kasper describes his role, main activities, challenges, self-development, his dream project and what gives him energy, based on the questions below.
How did you end up at Tinx?
“That’s a funny story. Unfortunately, during COVID-19, my previous employer had to let me go. I did a Google search for work near my hometown and came across Tinx-IT. I filled in a form on their website describing my expertise and interests and asked if there were any opportunities at the company. It turned out that Tinx was starting a project where the CloudSuite connector was being installed. A coincidence, really. Since I had quite a bit of experience with CloudSuite as a platform, you could say it’s great timing 😊.”
“The CEO of Tinx approached me and asked if I could come by the office the next day because a great project would start with the CloudSuite connector. It was a great advantage that I knew CloudSuite. On top of that, I was also familiar with various other E-commerce platforms such as Magento and WordPress.”
Why did you choose Tinx?
“Having worked on the E-commerce side in my previous positions, I was familiar with the E-commerce platforms mentioned above. Previously, I would have quite a lot of interaction with ERP partners and always found their part during projects very interesting. I was looking for a consultant position where I could grow more towards the ERP side, and Tinx seemed a good fit. The great thing about our work is that Tinx is right in the middle between ERP and E-Commerce, so I get the best of both worlds. It felt familiar and new at the same time!”
When your first working day started at Tinx, what was that day like? Did you have an introduction program?
“It was actually quite nice. One of the reasons was that I was able to start on the exact same day as my fellow consultant Sam. We were then given a training document with exercises and videos to watch. This ranged from explanations on basic topics such as “How do REST APIs work? How do SOAP APIs work? And what’s the difference between the two? This allowed us to go a bit more in-depth concerning the technical aspect.”
“In addition, we got our own Business Central, WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify environments to immediately apply what we had read and/or viewed. We were able to test sending data back and forth concerning products, stock, orders, customers, etc. After a relatively short time, our colleague René Donkers allowed us to help solve support desk tickets. That’s how we got even more involved.”
“We had quite a bit of freedom in how to learn the consultancy profession. There was always an opportunity to ask colleagues for help when we couldn’t figure something out. We had access to a daily Q&A session with colleagues, which was very helpful. This allowed us to ask the more experienced people at the company for assistance whit whatever we ran into, including the support tickets.”
So, you quickly picked up solving customer tickets at the support desk. How did you experience that?
“Yes, that’s a very nice thing, of course! I compare the work a bit to mathematics. I used to get a kick every time I solved a difficult sum. When a customer creates a ticket at our support desk, he/she is usually already familiar with the software. This immediately makes it more technical than with a more generic support department. If you can then ensure that you can solve that part for the customer, it feels like a small victory.”
“Continuing the math parallel, I especially like that you can solve a sum via various routes as there are several options for helping a customer. I find it very challenging to choose the most efficient sum for the customer. In the beginning, I often chose the more complex path, but over time I managed to choose the most efficient path with the help of colleagues. This basically meant giving a customer the same outcome with less computing power required from Business Central.”
You started at Tinx together with your colleague Sam. How did you experience that?
“I really liked that! As a rookie consultant, it takes some time to get used to everything. Starting together with someone who goes through the same process makes it easier and more fun. You can also help each other, and I quickly felt at home because of the informal atmosphere at Tinx.”
Fast forward to the present. What does your average day look like as a consultant?
“We regularly start the working day with a team huddle, using Microsoft Teams. Everybody within the Consultant team participates and shares what their day will look like with the group. It’s also a moment to bring up potential issues and questions for projects. For example, it often happens that someone else has a solution to something I’m working on in one of their projects, or vice versa. This allows us to help each other carry out projects as efficiently as possible. In addition to this, we keep each other informed on the progress of the various projects Tinx has at any given time.”
“After the huddle, I mainly work on scheduled projects. We work with a project scope list that indicates exactly what the customer wants regarding technical requirements and other wishes. For instance, if a customer wants their customers to be registered in Business Central and then sent to the web store, this also entails that addresses and certain attributes have to be sent along as well.”
“Now, it is enjoyable for me as a consultant because this allows me to delve deeper into the technical matter in consultation with the customer. Like: What are those particular customer attributes exactly? Which fields must be filled? How does the customer see this, and what is the ultimate goal? What sum can I apply here to work as efficiently as possible?”
“In the scope list, I see what is still left to do and what I can work on. Sometimes I need more information before proceeding with a specific topic on the scope list. I then schedule an appointment with the customer to get a hold of this information.”
“As a consultant, I also regularly work at the customers’ office. It always helps in building a good relationship. A nice additional effect is that the customer’s product becomes more tangible physically. This also gives you a better understanding of why processes are set up in a certain way. It makes your work more personal, and in terms of communication, it is more efficient, as you understand each other better. The combination between working online and offline creates a pleasant balance for me.”
“Besides this, I also have other tasks. Sometimes, our support team has questions for which specific consultant knowledge is required. Or that when it is a busy period at Support, I assist with solving tickets. You could see this as a second line of support in the background. We work in IT, and important systems are interconnected. If there is a problem somewhere, depending on the priority, it sometimes has to be solved ad hoc so that the data flows continue to run.”
“You have to be able to cope with being taken out of your planned work if an ad-hoc task presents itself, which time pressure plays an important role. I like this because working on projects and ad-hoc matters makes the work very diverse.”
How many projects/customers do you usually handle in a day?
“In general, a ‘happy flow’ project takes about two months. The happy flow means that the customer has all the information ready so that I can continue working on the project according to plan. A project is actually a dance that you perform together with the customer. The more efficient it is, in which I would like to emphasize that I also play an important role as a consultant, the faster a project can be delivered.”
“We work on several projects at the same time during a week. I may work all day for one customer, but it can also be several per day. Every two weeks, I have an update meeting with my customers about the project’s progress. As an example, it may be that the customer data flow is fully set up, after which I can fine-tune with my customer whether they can test and see if everything works as ordered. This can, of course, also be the case for other subjects from the scope list, such as products, stock, orders, etc.”
How would you describe your expertise?
“My expertise lies mainly with the E-commerce platforms. I am a certified Magento Commerce Business Practitioner and obtained this certificate through Tinx. It is great to see that we, as consultants, are given the opportunity to do this. Being in a small team at Tinx allows me to wear multiple hats.”
“My position is Consultant, but Tinx also invests in me so that I can focus more on the development side of things. In the near future, I am going to help develop the software.”
We often work in the B2C/B2B market in terms of projects. Any preference?
“Not really. We mainly communicate with the backend of a webshop. B2B is typically a bit more complex, the puzzle having more pieces of information flows to deal with. In that sense, you could say my answer is B2B, but actually, I like both types.”
Do you have a preference in terms of the industry the customer is in?
“Again, not really. So far, every Business Central environment has been different, and every customer has their specific way of working. We try to work with the standard Business Central tables whilst keeping the specific working method of the customer in mind. This makes working in different industries fun!”
Where do you get your satisfaction and energy from?
“The difficulty of different projects and the math I talked about earlier. The best thing is to come up with solutions for certain problems, implement them, and have a happy customer at the end of the day. That really gives me energy.”
Any particular project you’re proud of?
“Yes, that would be Jan van As. This was the first CloudSuite project we did as a company. Tinx wasn’t yet familiar with CloudSuite, and the connector was being built “from scratch” with the input I gave. It’s great that I was able to help with the basic principle of the CloudSuite connector. The project was quite complex as the product structure at Jan van As wasn’t what you would call “standard”. The way the products were built in CloudSuite and how they differed completely from each other in Dynamics NAV, was an interesting challenge. How do you deal with that? To think about this in consultation with the customer and how everything came together, in the end, made it a real dream project!”
Tinx works internationally. Could you tell me more about this specific aspect?
“Of course! An advantage is that we work with digital meetings via Microsoft Teams. Of course, different time zones can be a challenge at times. Depending on where the customer is located in the world, you can schedule meetings that suit both sides. It really works both ways in these cases. I will adapt if a customer wants to meet outside my office hours. The next meeting can often be scheduled outside the customer’s office hours so that we are both flexible.”
“It is important that your English is in order. I estimate that about 70% of the projects I work on are completely in English, both verbally and in writing.”
What would you still like to learn, or how would you like to grow within Tinx?
“Apart from the practical side of the connector, my current interest is the actual workings of the connector software itself in terms of code. Developers within our niche are scarce, so it’s great that Tinx allows me to develop myself in this area.”
“For example, I am now making a new onboarding functionality for the Tinx connector. If someone installs the connector from Microsoft’s app store, Microsoft AppSource (LINK), the software will help the customer to install the connector properly. The customer will see tips and tricks within Business Central regarding setting up the connector.”
Do you have any further additions?
“I do. My day doesn’t just consist of projects, coding and sitting behind a screen. It’s also about interacting with colleagues. In terms of relaxation, we also occasionally take short walks in the surrounding wooded areas of Ede, where we are located. These walks help clear our heads and allow us to continue working with renewed energy afterwards. And of course: we also have foosball!”