Ram offers his top 5 tips to those who are looking to succeed as a Technical Architect, discusses the importance of ‘paying it forward’ and highlights what you should be looking out for from the future of Salesforce and the ecosystem.
Salesforce Republic (SR): You’ve had an incredibly successful career in the ecosystem, could you talk a bit about how you got to where you are today as an Associate Director at Accenture?
Ram Babu Singh (RBS): Soon after my graduation as an IT major, my first role was at Infosys. When I was introduced to Salesforce, there weren’t many who knew what Salesforce was back then. Little did I know at the time that I would spend this long in the ecosystem!
Working with this new technology had quite a few advantages. For example, I got exposed to multiple different projects early in my career. I also got many opportunities to work and visit various countries quite early. These things in combination, gave me proper exposure and confidence to make my path in the ecosystem.
I worked with two great organizations, Infosys and Deloitte, before joining Accenture. I was lucky to work on various big transformation projects at those organizations, which has helped me to grow both in my career and as an individual.
SFR: Is there anything other CTAs could be doing to ‘pay it forward’ and encourage others to begin the journey?
RBS: During my #JourneytoCTA I learnt from many fellow CTAs, either directly or indirectly. I read about several successful CTAs journeys, blogs, watched videos on various channels, and a few also helped me in my mock scenarios presentation. There is a strong sense of community in the Salesforce ecosystem, and it has helped in numerous ways.
When I started the preparation, the biggest challenge was to get a mentor who could help me identify my mistakes and point me in the right direction to improve my technical gaps, presentation skills, and other things. Salesforce is growing quite fast, and we need more and more CTAs in the ecosystem. I firmly believe that now it’s time for us to give back to the community in whatever way we can.
To try and ‘pay it forward’, I recently started, Certified Technical Architect – Gang of Four, with three other CTA friends to offer advice to others and to help make the CTA journey more accessible. Whilst it hasn’t been long since we began the platform, we have already received great feedback from the community. There are many other CTAs who are contributing in one way or another to the success of others. I have massive respect for these people and I think this is something that every CTA should look to do.
SR: What are your top 5 tips to those who are looking to succeed as a Technical Architect?
RBS: My top tips are:
- Develop a Learning Mindset: This is the key. Salesforce is growing very rapidly, and it is a must to dedicate a few hours weekly to learn about new offerings, new concepts, and to keep yourself updated. In addition, it’s necessary to know many ways to solve a particular problem and be able to analyse why one solution is better than another.
2. Think about the bigger picture: Architecture is the critical pillar of any successful transformation and implementation. Having a proper discussion with stakeholders, understanding the bigger picture, both the short term and long-term vision of the business and product are necessary to know early in the lifecycle. Not thinking through end-to-end, and not having the bigger picture at the forefront of your mind can sometimes costs a fortune to the project.
3. Commitment and Consistency: The CTA journey is very long, tiring and very fruitful in the end. This requires precise planning and getting perfection by repetition. It requires a serious commitment to filling knowledge gaps, working on presentation techniques, and providing clear and concise responses during the Q&A session. Setting a date for the exam and planning backwards is essential, this is something which has helped me cross the line.
4. Get exposed to a different type of audience: As an architect, you talk to many stakeholders ranging from product owners, to key business stakeholders and highly technical people. You may have to tell the same story in different ways depending on your audience to get input and keep them engaged. Finding the right opportunities to present while doing the projects can help you to develop in this area. Practice putting yourself in their shoes and try to build stories that everyone can digest.
5. Work on various projects: Working on multiple projects give you the opportunity to solve different problems. For example; one project might be data-heavy; another one could be on integration and identity management etc. Getting exposed to various issues broadens your knowledge base, and it’s beneficial in thinking about the bigger picture rather than solving the immediate tactical problem.
SR: In your experience, how can someone interviewing for an Architect role at an established company in the ecosystem, like Accenture, stand out from the crowd?
RBS: I have been on both sides of the table on this. My advice is to be honest about the work we have done, the scale of the projects, how that project created an impact, the challenges we faced, how we overcame those challenges, where we needed help, and how we navigated our team to get through challenges. Not everyone knows everything, and it is essential to ask for help as quickly as possible to mitigate the risk. Having the right problem solver attitude is very important.
Linking back to my previous response, as an architect, we should always be thinking about the bigger picture; analysing how one small change can have a ripple effect on so many things. Then, we should be able to make decisions with the proper stakeholder engagement that are quite necessary. These are important skills that you should mention during the interview process as they will help you to stand out.
SR: What are you most excited about seeing from the future of Salesforce and the ecosystem?
RBS: I have been in the Salesforce ecosystem for quite some time, and I have seen this platform grow from a pure CRM platform to everything it is currently, and it’s evolving day by day. It is fantastic to see how Salesforce integrates other cloud capabilities into the platform to deliver a decisive end to end solution.
Mainly, I’m very excited about the enterprise architect program that Salesforce has recently announced, I can’t wait to see how this unfolds. In future, I would like to see more and more offerings on IoT and the artificial intelligence space, which I believe will be very much required in the coming years.
SR: Finally, what is the best piece of advice you have received throughout your career?
RBS: I have been fortunate to have many mentors in my life, and I have worked with many individuals who lent a hand whenever I needed it the most. The three most important things that have helped me are focusing on short term and long-term goals, asking for help whenever needed and always thinking about the bigger picture. Lastly, the most important piece of advice is always to have a learning mindset. Nobody knows everything, and we should be open to accepting our mistakes and work towards fixing them.
If you’re a Salesforce professional and would like to join Ram in our Q&A series, please get in touch with us today!