Name is Pekka Jalonen, from Tampere Finland.
I’m Delivery Architect at Capgemini, and have +10 years in different IT roles. In my current position I provide design and implementations of automation platforms in different hosting solutions like public Azure or on-premise private environments. I have been working with automation tools like UiPath since 2014 and couple years with BluePrism. My main focus is platform designs with infrastructure, security and availability. Multitenant solutions are my speciality.
For competences I can mention Microsoft technologies like Azure, O365, AD, and server / desktop operating systems. Full OSI stack networking. I have big interest in IT security and of course governance is relevant in any mature operational platform.
First of all, apologies for long introduction, but I want to start from the beginning, as it also gives kind of "road-map" of the skills needed to manage and operate robots in automation platforms.
I have +10 years in different roles in IT. I started as system specialist supporting end users with software and hardware problems. This was important start in my career as I gained a lot of knowledge about wishes, needs, requirements and simplicity. More detailed, I learned how Important it was to simplify management and work that was required to make people happy in their work and me and my colleagues happy in ours.
We started from local workstation setups with OS and manual software installations. I wanted stop running around configuring these machines to match each other, and started to onboard software to RemoteApp. Microsoft had just released Windows 2008 R2 (October 2009) with RemoteApp and of course I wanted to be first to pilot and take it into use in our company. I started to "bend" software which was internally developed and designed to run on Windows XP (x86) to get it running on Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64) as RemoteApp where there are multiple users on the same machine(addionally user coming over trusted domain) and I did not include "plan B" for it, but I put all my focus to get the "plan A" to work. During this, I learned how to work with AD, what are the dependencies with user profiles, ad user and computer accounts, windows sessions, windows registry, networking, security, audit and how to configure any of these to meet our requirements. These are all the same skills that are needed nowdays to run robots in windows desktop sessions with software clients like Office365 or SAP GUI.
Then I moved to platform owner position in which I learned the outsourcing business. Heavy governance, heavy change management, heavy everything... This helped me to get understanding on what do you want to outsource and what do you want to automate.
But it also helped me to understand what it means to be an "owner" of platform. It means you are responsible for architecture, security, costs, availability, changes, roadmap, users, governance in general and it processes. At this phase, I was responsible for finance and accounts business solutions. This is really important part of any automation platform. You need to have ownership for the platform and the owner should be technically advanced. It is never a good idea to have own platform and not having technical owner for it. It is not the same as technical lead or lead architect for automations, as typically those roles are responsible for automations, not all other important responsibilities mentioned earlier what comes with a platform. Platform owner even with technical knowledge/skill do not necessarily need to build automations at all, but need to know how if required of course.
Rest of my path has been different courses and certifications in line COBIT 5, ITIL v3, Hacking, Business Intelligence, Machine Learning and such. Well to mention, I got my Executive MBA in International Business done in 2018, so I have seen it to be really important to understand business when working with customers. As an architect, it is mandatory to have knowledge on both sides, IT and business.
Summary, to do what I do, is to have advanced OSI stack technical infrastructure/os skills, supported by business oriented knowledge and will to learn new things every day. It is easier to gather knowledge of business, or automation tools than learning the infrastructure/os stuff which in some parts might be quite old-school, but in many cases, so are the target software which the robots will automate. You can be hardcore lean, scrum, devops or something "hyper" than these, but without the basic things like OSI, OS stuff, you will always have too much complexity, unstable automations, huge maintenance effort and asking support from someone else.