Integration Hero: Alex ten Harkel

Alex ten Harkel Enable U

Enable U consists of individual heroes. Some work with customers, others send invoices. Some are our first contact when we get a call and others work in the background to keep systems running or make new connections.

But the Enable U machine works so efficiently because of our many integration heroes. This series of Integration Heroes is intended to honor those individuals.

Today we speak with the always good-natured Alex ten Harkel, Integration Consultant. Alex is a puzzler first class and wine connoisseur in the making.  His roots lie near the capital of Amsterdam; in Mijdrecht, but in the meantime his residence has dropped considerably to the south and via Eindhoven now located in South Limburg.

Alex, Enable U is your first ‘real’ employer, how do you like it here?

“I have been working at Enable U for two years now and I really like it! Enable U is a nice group of people and the organization feels dynamic. If you have a good idea or a quick fix, you can always run with it. There is room to grow!” 

How are you going to use that room to grow? What are your dreams for the future?

“I am currently working with three municipalities and do ‘separate’ jobs for our other customers. I like this since I am the first point of contact for questions or problems and am therefore literally the link between people and technology. In the (near) future, I would like to further expand my knowledge towards OpenTunnel, our own ESB solution for the government.”

What did you do for this?

“I completed the Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management at Eindhoven University of Technology. During my studies I learned a lot about things like data management, predictions and stock control. Not directly knowledge that I apply as a Consultant at Enable U, but the way of thinking is very similar. To build integrations, you need the same insights and techniques as when designing or managing business processes.”

What are your qualities? How do these come in handy in the work you do?

Laughing: “Coincidentally, I recently wrote this down for the end-of-year interview with my Teamlead, so I will have no problem telling you this. I am patient and take time to speak with customers well. Puzzling is what I like to do and finding solutions gives me satisfaction.  My motto is; something that is complex does not have to be complicated. In addition, I have a lot of self-discipline and I can work well independently. Incidentally, it is also important to be able to ask for help – and to dare to ask for help, because if you are stuck it always helps to have an extra pair of eyes watching with you.”

Do you often have contact with customers or colleagues?

“Customers always know how to find my mailbox. That also works best for me, I make sure to always respond quickly to my mail. To keep an overview of questions and projects, I always have my administration in order and I make sure that everything is documented. If I want to spar with colleagues, I set up a Teams meeting and we walk through it together. So I can’t often be found at the head office in Amsterdam, the travel time alone is almost a working day. Fortunately, there is occasionally the opportunity to meet each other, for example at the cozy Christmas event in December or during our offsite in Austria.”

If you have to choose: everything structured and clear or pleasant chaos and discovering it yourself?

“Then certainly the latter! I myself like to be the one who creates an overview and gives insight without everything being thought out or already fixed. During my master’s I worked with 4 fellow students on a startup: an automatic check-in system to hang coats at entertainment venues. We thought out everything ourselves, developed and started up and even won prizes (the TUe Contest and the Golden Lightbulb Challenge). We were completely ready for the pilot, until Corona came around the corner and all initiatives for the hospitality industry came to a standstill. So entrepreneurship does attract me, maybe I will do something with this in the future.”

When the working day is over, what do you do for relaxation and entertainment?

“A few months ago I bought a house with my girlfriend in beautiful Limburg.  Fortunately, it is not a handyman’s house, but there are always things you can do to make it your own. In the cellar, for example, we have now made two wine cabinets in the niches that were already present here. We now have room for over 60 bottles of wine! So I can quickly start working on my collection – and my knowledge – of wine.”