‘A day in the life’ of a Hyland Technical Consultant
Our new blog series, A day in the life, explores what it’s like to work at Hyland, in one of a hundred different disciplines.
Today we chat with Cam Bowers, a Hyland technical consultant.
OnBase Blog (OB): Tell us about yourself and your past experiences? How did you hear about Hyland?
Cam Bowers (CB): I grew up in Westlake, Ohio, so I knew a little bit about Hyland, which is what initially drew me to it. I was in school at Ohio University and attended a few career fairs during my time there, at which Hyland always had a strong presence, very long lines and tons of free Hyland gear to take home.
I was in college, so I always appreciated the free stuff.
My junior year, I was looking for an internship and was interested in anything close to home, so I decided to see what Hyland had to offer. I ended up interviewing for an internship in Marketing, but ultimately did not get the position.
This led to me accepting a Brand Marketing internship with a heavy focus on Digital and Social Media in downtown Cleveland. At this internship, I learned that I had other passions and Marketing, Advertising and Promotions were not putting me on a path to a satisfying career. So I looked into the Management Information Systems major and opportunities in IT, as well as checking out Hyland again for a potential position after college.
I interviewed for a Solution Engineer position, which is now called a Technical Consultant, and immediately was more interested in this kind of career path. It had a great combination of focusing on technical as well as business relations/interpersonal skills with a strong emphasis on customer service and even some travel.
I am still in the position to this day and I can say I am still learning new things daily about our software as well as other applications in this rapidly-advancing industry. Taking a second look at Hyland really ended up paying off.
OB: How did you choose your career path? What lead to the choice?
CB: What specifically led to this choice was a recommendation by another Hyland employee based on my interests and skill set. I knew I wanted to go into a technical role to challenge myself and solve highly complex business problems for customers using technology.
I strive to make my life better using technology and automation, and overall, just to make things easier. So it was a goal of mine to find a position where I could do the same, but for businesses of all sizes. Since I was initially interested in Marketing and held a double business major, I am very aware of customer satisfaction and wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. I found that I could do that with our software, and more specifically as a Technical Consultant going out and implementing our solutions to help people do their jobs better and easier.
OB: How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience was needed?
CB: I majored in Management Information Systems and Marketing. This program helped me develop SQL Database skills, C# coding skills, the ability to analyze business’s problems and provide recommendations, and how to monitor current events in the IT industry. It also gave me an introduction to ERP systems, with a focus on SAP.
Using these skills and networking with other individuals in the IT world at events sponsored by my college and other organizations helped me determine what type of roles were out there that fit my strengths.
OB: What technology do you work with closely with (e.g., certain databases, servers, programming languages, etc.)?
CB: I typically work with Microsoft SQL Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), our entire OnBase software suite, Windows operating systems, SAP ERP, various scanners and multi-function devices, Microsoft BizTalk Server, and SAP ArchiveLink.
OB: What are some projects that you have been recently working on? What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
CB: The majority of my projects right now are large, ongoing engagements with customers, but I do have some smaller projects as well. I typically work with three to five customers per week when I am not on-site for dedicated time with one customer. My work also depends on the stages that the projects are in, with the longest stages being implementation and testing support. Some of the smaller stages that my projects can be in are discovery, user/admin training and go-lives.
I also work on a lot of our SAP integration projects, which tend to be longer and more involved with customer SAP teams since we are integrating with such a large and powerful line-of-business system. I spend the majority of my time on the phone with customers or working in their environments remotely with VPN access, either implementing solutions, troubleshooting or addressing issues. I also work closely with other groups in Global Services on projects such as the Business Consultants, Project Management, and Solution Developers.
OB: What are some of the common misconception(s) associated with your job?
CB: I think one big misconception is that we are just “installers” that install the software for our customers and then hand off the solution to someone else or the Technical Support team. I think this has been a misconception of the past, especially now with our new Technical Consultant job family that clearly outlines our roles and expectations.
Oftentimes, we are doing things other than consulting or installation work – whether it’s managing our own projects, up in front of a room of people conducting a discovery session with business users, or training users with different skill levels how to use our implemented software solution.
OB: What are you average weekly work hours?
CB: My average weekly work hours when I’m in the office in Westlake and not traveling are Monday-Friday, around 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This can change when I’m traveling and often Sunday or weeknight travel is mandatory to get the necessary time on-site with customers.
My time in the office is usually still around 40 hours whether I am in Westlake or traveling. If it increases a bit one week due to travel, flight delays, or more demanding project schedules, then I just make other adjustments in my life and make sure that the work for the week is complete.
OB: What is most enjoyable about your job?
CB: What is most enjoyable about working as a Technical Consultant in Implementation Services is helping our customers achieve the goals they have set out for their companies. I am very results-driven and have a passion for making things easier and creating more enjoyable experiences, so when I can help someone else make their life easier, I feel rewarded.
Customers see just how powerful and amazing OnBase can be for their businesses during the sales process, demos, and various events and training that we put on, and it is up to someone in my role to deliver on that and actually put a meaningful software solution in place.
OB: What are some personal tips for doing this job well?
Personally, I use Microsoft OneNote, Outlook and other checklist and task applications pretty extensively. If I have downtime in a project or get a few minutes back after a conference call that ends early, I am usually updating my daily tasks, logging time in my timesheet for that day, re-arranging my calendar, marking emails as priority, or taking detailed and organized notes in OneNote.
Earlier this month, my project total was fairly high and I had to be extremely organized in order to keep all of my customers separate. This sets me up for success when I need to work with many different types of software solutions and customers in one day, often back-to-back.
OB: What is the worst part of your job? What helps to deal with it?
CB: The worst part of my job is (at times) the travel this position requires. Although the travel has greatly declined since I started this position, the simple fact that you cannot control other people or modes of transportation doesn’t allow for a firm schedule and you often need to be flexible when you’re on the go. It is important to have plenty of cleanup/organizational work tasks as well as some fun things to do while you travel, such as catching up on a TV show or making it a goal to go for a run right when you get to a new city to explore it and keep on your exercise routine.
If you maintain a consistent lifestyle while on the road, it is very easy to transition to travel weeks and not feel like you are working 24/7 when you have to take business trips. The flight delays, public transportation and difficulties of being in a new environment when you travel will never get easier to manage, but if you find a balance, then the travel isn’t all that bad. It can even be great to experience new places in the world and see how other companies run their businesses.
OB: What is your advice for people who are interested in this position?
CB: My advice for someone looking to enter in as a Technical Consultant would be to take courses or develop expertise in the following areas: IIS, SQL Server and databases in general, networking and servers, various ERP systems, Public Speaking, Customer Service/Relations, and Project Management techniques.
OB: How do you progress in your career path? How can you move up in your field?
CB: In order to progress in the Technical Consultant role, you can become a Module Apprentice or Module Expert, or advance to a Senior Technical Consultant or Lead Technical Consultant. You can also transition into other areas in Global Services such as the Database Engineers, Business Consultants, Project Management team, or Solution Developers group.
Each department contains an entry-level, developing, career and advanced-level of proficiency in that position that is clearly defined for everyone in Global Services to be aware of. As you can see, there is a lot of room for growth and it is greatly encouraged at Hyland.