By Maggie Schneider Huston-Oracle on Jun 23, 2015
As part of the ongoing series of profiles of Oracle Social Cloud employees, we spoke with Andy Ioannou about what it takes to be a Social Cloud Architect.
What is a Social Cloud Architect?
With so many development teams working on different parts of the Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, it’s easy to get lost amongst the technical details. My role is to find a unified vision for where the product is, where it needs to be, and keep everyone moving towards that goal.
Andy Ioannou, Social Cloud Architect, Oracle
When people hear about “architects” they often think that it’s someone who has a singular vision of the product, but in reality, good architects draw from the people around them to create a long-term picture of the product. We try to balance out the immediate needs with the longer, strategic vision. In the end, your platform needs to be organized in a way that can be maintained at low cost and easily extended. Without the focus on structure that an architect can bring, you increase the risk of spending ever-increasing amounts of time dealing with the complexity that comes from incremental changes.
What skills do you need to be a Social Cloud Architect?
A good architect requires decent people skills. I’m communicating with developers, technical leads, product management, and senior management every day. Architects need to advocate for the long term path, so the ability to persuade is crucial.
Management skills can be useful, too. I have a couple of people working directly for me. But a more important skill is the ability affect change through the larger organization, without relying on hierarchy.
I’d also encourage potential architects to think about what they like to do. Of course, a technical background is essential, but beyond that, if they like thinking about the big picture and working with people to achieve larger goals, this could be a good fit. Try convincing people to make changes that go beyond immediate needs. If you enjoy seeing something become, more organized, more elegant, then this is a cool job. I believe that there’s no set “path” to becoming an architect; whilst you can acquire the technical credentials, that’s less than half the story.
What’s the most challenging part of being a Social Cloud Architect?
I need more time! If I had an extra five hours in the day, I’d be just fine. I’m usually in the office from 8a-5p and then back at it after the kids are in bed. I’m always backed up on email. I do try to carve out "thinking" time - it doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but it takes time to synthesize ideas from customer calls, technical leads, management, etc. into concepts and ideas that you can communicate to other people.
What’s your favorite part of being a Social Cloud Architect?
I love seeing the results from my work. If I can look back and see something that looks more elegant or organized than it would’ve been… that’s awesome. I also really enjoy learning about new things. Everyone I speak to knows more about something than I do. I enjoy having the support of a network of like-minded people from across the SRM platform who share similar goals. My job could never be described as dull.
Still think you have what it takes to be a Social Cloud Architect? Apply at Oracle.