'Helping people with smart IT solutions is what motivates me. Both my colleagues and the travellers at Schiphol'

Publication date: 24 April 2024 I Reading time: Minute
Without a robust IT landscape, it wouldn't be possible for Schiphol to operate 24/7. People like Bart are therefore very important. He had been working as an IT architect at Alliander for almost 12 years before deciding it was time for a new challenge in 2022. Learning about the IT landscape of an airport, that's something he wanted to tackle. He started working as a solution architect and now he's an enterprise data architect. Together with his colleagues, he designs smart digital solutions, tools and applications for the airport of the future. 

Future-proof IT solutions 
'As an enterprise data architect, I focus - as the name suggests - specifically on Schiphol's data architecture. Think of it as creating preconditions for everything that focuses on data, BI, analytics and artificial intelligence. That's what I do. I find it interesting to see how you can create effective future-proof solutions in this area and integrate them seamlessly into the larger IT landscape. Like data products that serve the organisation with ready-made data building blocks, for example. But also information products such as dashboards, analyses and AI models. Schiphol is like a sweet shop when it comes to data, with all the sensors, cameras and measuring equipment spread throughout the airport.'

'When I look at how the enterprise architecture is set up within Schiphol, I feel like we've very hands-on here' 

Bart ensures a robust and agile IT landscape within Schiphol, in which systems communicate and interact well with each other. 'It is also important that the IT landscape fits well with the processes and the organisation. We translate the airport's strategy into IT objectives. In the case of Schiphol, this means an autonomous airport in 2050. Where processes function as independently as possible through applied information technology. This is how we try to help the organisation move forward.' 

Both strategic and practical 
In the 2 years that Bart has been working at Schiphol, he has already developed considerably. From solution architect, he grew to the more strategic side of the organisation. 'To be honest, enterprise architecture didn't really appeal to me at first. I had the feeling that it was quite far removed from the operation and from reality. That is certainly how I have experienced it with other employers. But when I look at how enterprise architecture is organised at Schiphol, I think that we are much more 'hands-on'. It also encompasses facets of solution architecture. It feels a bit like a mix of both sides, you are also very practical. That's what makes it dynamic and fun for me! Furthermore, Schiphol offers an unprecedented number of possibilities, both for personal ambitions and for innovations and other good ideas. With that freedom, I will certainly never be bored at Schiphol!' 

'Making the connection between different departments, people and domains. That gives me energy' 

'What I really like about working at Schiphol is that you can also participate in the operation. This allows you to see with your own eyes the situations that the employees in the operation have to deal with. Because I know what is possible with IT and data, I can respond to this with smart IT solutions. I have now done a few airport assistant shifts, in which I spoke to travellers as a host. One of the things I discovered, thanks to a question from a traveller, was that the information on the signs at the airport did not match the information in the Schiphol app. These systems are probably fed by two different data streams, and something went wrong there. I was able to immediately report this to my colleagues and it was resolved immediately! That gives a feeling of satisfaction. You feel connected because you really see with your own eyes why you are doing it.'

'Helping people with smart IT solutions is what motivates me. Both my colleagues and the travellers at Schiphol' 

Putting ideas into practice 
'There is a lot of room and potential at Schiphol to improve, which I really see as a challenge. Connecting different departments, people and domains gives me energy. And helping people with smart IT and data solutions, both my colleagues and the travellers at Schiphol. That's really an intrinsic motivation. I like thinking about how certain IT and data solutions can help Schiphol further. In fact, this is something that motivates many colleagues within IT & Data; we all want to make Schiphol even better and more efficient. I also see the organisation putting a lot of time and energy into making the sector more sustainable and greener, something that I - with a background in energy transition - find very important. To society, but especially to Schiphol's immediate surroundings. 

'The atmosphere in our team is very open and approachable. Everyone is willing to help each other. We make time for each other and know how to find each other' 

Growing and learning together 
We have several enterprise architects in our team. Some work for the business domains, others are closer to IT. We differ in background, knowledge and skills. It's diverse group and we learn from each other. The atmosphere in our team is very open and accessible, with the necessary dose of humour. Everyone is really willing to help each other. We know where to find each other and always make time for each other.'